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3D Printed Crack Cocaine on Display in San Francisco: Artist KATSU, Pushes Material Boundaries

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gray areaSan Francisco is known for many things, and being a buttoned-up, conservative city just isn’t one of them.

As the same can be said of the art world in general, it stands to reason that the art scene in San Francisco is particularly cutting edge and ready for anything.

KATSU, a prominent–and prolific–artist, hacker, and activist, is no stranger to pushing boundaries. Best known for his graffiti and encouragement for viewers to participate in his art (vandalizing the vandalism is encouraged for his graffiti pieces), KATSU works with what we can safely call nontraditional media and messages.

For a currently running exhibition at San Francisco’s Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, KATSU is one of 30 participants in the F.A.T. GOLD exhibition, from “renegade art organization” Free Art & Technology (F.A.T.) Lab for the artist collective’s final show, running May 21-31st.

F.A.T. GOLD: San Francisco brings together an international group of thirty collaborators comprised of artists, hackers, engineers, musicians, and graffiti writers,” the event notes.

fat goldCertainly anyone attending such an event would expect it to be an unusual experience (as compared to, say, antiquated collections of classical art seen in some traditional galleries), but perhaps few might anticipate the collection of Shitheads present.

zuckpoopI’d say “pardon my French,” but that’s the name of a collection of pieces from KATSU, in which he took his own excrement and applied it to a canvas; the collection of works depicts three of KATSU’s prime considerations as “Shitheads”: Eric Schmidt (with a portrait called “Eric Shit”), Mark Zuckerburg, and…KATSU’s old cocker spaniel, which fits in because of its frequent barking.

“I like getting my hands dirty,” KATSU said of his works to TechCrunch’s Kim-Mai Cutler. “I was thinking about the human body removed from all art mediums. I was thinking, what is the human body capable of producing pigment-wise? You can use blood, feces, semen and urine. If you just stripped away and removed humans from everything and all technological devices, what could the body naturally produce?”

Alongside his other edgy works, including these somewhat infamous fecal paintings, KATSU is presenting another (presumably) one-of-a-kind display. Prior to setting up his area at the show, KATSU wandered into San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, well-known for being a place where a person can find pretty much anything they’re looking for.

In the Tenderloin, KATSU bought $250 worth of crack cocaine. The crack, though, wasn’t intended for personal use, but was simply KATSU’s next experimental medium.

In a message about gentrification–an issue affecting many low-income areas that are being “revitalized” and seeing long-time residents priced out of their own neighborhoods–KATSU turned the drugs into art.

“A 3D printer spent the night replicating his score at a much larger scale for a message about gentrification,” noted Business Insider UK.

3D printed cocaine3D printing the crack might not be the most typical means of getting across a message, but then KATSU–also recently in the headlines for defacing a billboard of Kendall Jenner using a spray paint-carrying drone–isn’t one for traditional means.

What do you think of KATSU’s in-your-face approach to art? Are his choices of materials edgy or maybe a little too much? Let us know in the 3D Printed Cocaine Art forum thread over at 3DPB.com.

 

 

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