Puneet Varma (Editor)

BiP (artist)

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BiP (Believe in People) is an anonymous street painter who is identified, from clues released on Twitter and by his intermediaries, to be a male 2007 Princeton graduate and former investment banker and current artist.

Contents

Practice

He expresses his creativity in various manners: as a graffiti artist in New York, a street artist in New Haven, Connecticut, and “a pro bono exterior decorator” in other sites (source). Because graffiti artists focus on perfecting lettering styles, spreading their brand and other common characteristics of graffiti, BiP does not consider his spray-painting, stenciling, and wheat-pasting in New Haven to be traditional graffiti. In fact, he thinks “traditional graffiti writers would probably be infuriated to hear his New Haven work called ‘graffiti’”. His work is not committed to graffiti for graffiti’s sake but rather, dedicated to a spirit of resistance to skepticism and estrangement, so as to positively change the way people interact with their environment.

Inspiration

In 2011, BiP allowed Kimberly Chow, a 2009 Yale University alumnus and former Yale Daily News reporter, to interview him and witness him in action painting a piece that visualizes the origins to his creative work. His alias “Believe in People” is more than a name. It is a manifesto in response to a theme he discovered repeated throughout his deceased childhood friend’s journals. BiP told Chow, his friend expressed that“the ideals that humanity professed were all fake ... people would do whatever necessary to justify their behavior. There was one line in particular where [my friend] said, ‘I don’t believe in people.’ So in some ways the name was an answer to that. I read that line and immediately thought, “Okay, I’m Believe in People.’”

Art by BiP

BiP’s spray-paint and stencil murals began popping up overnight around New Haven beginning in Oct. 2010. Early in his career, BiP would paint on buildings and spaces around Yale University in New Haven. One of his highest-profile paintings is a large smiling portrait of Anne Frank located outside of Partner’s Cafe, a bar on Crown Street, a nightlife district in New Haven, Connecticut.

An intermediary named Neils explains

“BiP began the wall in broad daylight during the confusion of the St. Patrick’s Day parade that year [2011]. He knew that he would not be able to finish the wall at night without being arrested, so he had decided the best way to go about it would be during the daytime with crowds distracting police and passerby. Toward the end of his painting, the owner of Partner’s Bar arrived and confronted BiP. BiP spoke with the owner calmly and asked him to give him a chance to finish the wall, showing him sketches of the final image. The owner was initially very upset, but appreciated that BiP had white-washed the aging wall before beginning to spray-paint, so he agreed to give BiP the rest of the day and night to finish his work with the understanding that if he didn’t like it, BiP would paint back over it. In the end, the owner was thrilled with the work and decided to leave the piece.”

His mark can be found on city and private properties in New York, California, Russia, and Taiwan.

List of Works

BiP lists his works on his website.

  • Vintage Oakland, California
  • Blown Vallejo, California
  • Ice Climbers Novosibirsk, Russia
  • Warehouse Eye Krasnoyarsk, Russia
  • Graffiti Joy Tomsk, Russia
  • Money vs. Happiness Novosibirsk, Russia
  • Bury Me All You Want Tomsk, Russia
  • Self Consuming Self - Dave San Francisco, California
  • Alone San Francisco, California
  • Satire Kenting, Taiwan
  • Fake Plaque Installed on Front of Yale Art Gallery
  • 21st Century Lovers Visiting a Forest Detroit, Michigan
  • Acid Hand Metro-North Train Line, WHL
  • Cemetery with Flowers Krasnoyarsk/Siberia, Russia
  • Clock Reading Self-Help Book Bronx, New York
  • Roy Lichtenstein is Rolling in His Grave Detroit, Michigan
  • Awkward Dreams Shilin, Taiwan
  • Dreamer Winchester Factory - New Haven
  • Sunflower Fill Detroit, Michigan
  • Innocence New Haven
  • Antihero Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei
  • Suicide Taipei, Taiwan
  • Supathug New Haven
  • “I will only Work Finance One Year” Yale University classroom
  • Note to Self: Cash Paycheck, Call Grandma, Paint That Spot, * Don't Get Arrested Bushwick, Brooklyn
  • Brick Doodle New Taipei,Taiwan
  • Geronimo Takes His Skull Back Skull & Bones' Temple - Yale University
  • Spray-Can Eyes Shilin Night Market, Taiwan
  • Not Again New Haven
  • Summit New Haven
  • Two View, One City New Haven
  • Shadow New Haven
  • Loverboy Lincoln St. Theater- New Haven
  • Eroding Liberty Vallejo, California
  • Fake Advertisement: Buy the American Dream Bronx
  • Surveillance Yale University
  • Diagram Brooklyn
  • Taxi Driver Kenting Beach, Taiwan
  • Giant Sunglasses Keelung River, Taiwan
  • YOLO Winchester Factory - New Haven
  • Braille Tag: Vision Beats Sight 50+ New Haven ATM's, Elevators, and Vending Machines.
  • Tribute to CT Industrial Unemployment Winchester Factory - New Haven
  • Papel Picado New Haven
  • Breakthrough Mory’s Club - New Haven
  • What I thought about When I met You New Haven
  • Shennanigans New Haven
  • Encurbagement Interactive Map street curbs in New Haven
  • Yale - N.U.S. Protest in Steam Tunnel Yale University Steam Tunnels
  • Mountain Jumper Hull's Art Supply - New Haven
  • Murder Thermometer New Haven
  • Safe Cracker New Haven
  • All Kinds Yale University
  • Lurking Yale University
  • September 2010: Boy Posts Lost Dog Flyer. January 2011: Boy Finds Dog New Haven
  • Iconography New Haven
  • Red Handed Yale University
  • Crashing the Yale Masters Thesis Exhibition Yale University School of Art
  • Understanding Harvard University
  • Sun Wukong Xing Tian Gong, Taiwan
  • Off the Deep Bronx
  • Getting Paint in Your Eyes Yale University
  • Hong Kong Dove Apliu Electronics Market, Hong Kong
  • Reaction to Work

    Reactions to BiP’s work have been polarizing. City officials condemn his works as acts of vandalism. Abigail Rider, real estate manager for Yale University says:

    “Our position on graffiti is that no matter how beautiful it may be (and most of it is far from beautiful) it is an act of vandalism which if not promptly removed sends a signal to people in the area that the owners and residents of the area think it’s not worth it to maintain their property. Graffiti makes people feel unsafe and attracts additional vandalism. The key to controlling graffiti is to remove it quickly and completely.”

    City spokeswoman of New Haven Elizabeth Benton on "Encurbagement" project of BiP says:

    “The City of New Haven and the arts community strongly support public art in a way few communities in the region can match. But murals or stencils on private or City property without permission is vandalism. The City can’t be in the position to support certain acts of vandalism over others based on the interesting nature or attractiveness of the messaging.”

    Some of his work even makes reference to the danger he faces of being caught. In the piece Note to Self: Cash Paycheck, Call Grandma, Paint That Spot, Don't Get Arrested Bushwick, Brooklyn pokes fun with a painting of a large post-it note listing what the artist has yet to do; “don’t get arrested” is included in the list.

    References

    BiP (artist) Wikipedia


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