Over these two-and-a-half years since Dee Dee’s work first appeared, very little has been learned about the artist. While street art has become saturated with those seeking greater exposure, Dee Dee has remained in the shadows, leaving the art to speak for itself.
An important aspect of street art is its allowance for an artist to communicate directly to people in an unexpected way. One thing I have noticed over the years documenting street art, is that most people seem more comfortable discussing art on a busy corner than within the walls of a gallery or museum. On the street, people are freed from the expectation of being familiar with, interpreting, or even understanding the piece. A majority of people who admire or snap a photo of street art often do not know anything about who created it. This dynamic is what gives street art the potential to be liberated from the persona of the artist, because their personal biography is not necessary; only their willingness to produce work and take the risk of making it public.
It’s this sensibility that embodies Dee Dee’s work, which is presented with very little context. I recently met up with the mysterious artist—in first-solo-show preparation mode—and quickly found that Dee Dee wants to keep it that way. When I brought up how often I’m asked for more details, and that without them various identities have been projected on to the artist, I was told, “People want to know more about me? Why? Everything about me is in my art.”
These works are more than just beautiful images. Through collage, Dee Dee seems to be deconstructing gothic, pop, and rock iconography, along with elements of storytelling. One of Dee Dee’s earliest pieces is a prime example: a model’s head is replaced with Damien Hirst’s diamond-encrusted skull, while the words “Surrender Dee Dee or Die” (a reference to the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz) hauntingly float to the side.
All of this makes Halloween a perfect time for Dee Dee’s first solo show, The Day Is My Enemy. Hosted by Station 16, the exhibition will explore the public personas we show to the world and the private identities we keep to ourselves. “Everyday is Halloween in my head for me. My art is my mask,” Dee Dee says. “My show is my Halloween party. There is no other time to have a show for me. I’m excited!”
The Day Is My Enemy opens October 15th from 6-9pm at 2 Rivington Street in NYC and will run until October 18th.