Faile Signed Prints & Originals

Biography for Faile

FAILE the artist is in fact a pair of Patricks. Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller grew up together in Arizona, studied side by side at art school in Minneapolis and with the addition of their friend and then film maker Aiko Nakagawa they created, in 1999 the artistic phenomenon that is FAILE, an anagram of 'A Life'.

FAILE was at the fore front of the street art explosion to break cover at the start of the Millennium. Attaining global recognition for their pioneering use of wheatpasting (fly posting) and stencilling, FAILE has reached dizzying heights, quite literally when in 2008 they were invited to plaster the exterior of Tate Modern in a 240 sq ft image of a Native American, in full regalia amidst a shredded collage of pulp images and scavenged signage. An iconic FAILE piece, which has subsequently become the immensely popular 25 colour relief print on Sommerset Satin paper 'Tender Forever', edition of 315 and signed bottom right in pencil Faile.

Bucking the trend towards masculine street art that was predominating at the time, FAILE began producing pieces of the female form. In FAILE's words: "working fast and loose" they plastered the walls of the meat packing district and the Lower East Side of New York City in monochrome images. FAILE's 'Nude Series' was soon to be seen, as quoted in the '99-09 Prints and Originals FAILE' book: 'floating across brick walls, dreaming on metal doors, sinking into graffiti.'

In 2002 FAILE took a trip to the UK to explore the street cultural rapidly developing in London's East End. There FAILE had their first show, exhibiting works involving images of Elvis, the Challenger spaceshuttle, see the signed print: 'Challenger', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, 4 releases, editions of 25. 'The Fashion Chimps', 'Bret "The Hitman" Hart', see the signed print: 'Bret the Hitman', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper' 5 releases, edition of 10. And 'The Boxers', see the signed print: 'Fight Vanity', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 160, signed bottom right Faile. And signed print: 'Faile Rampage', acrylic, silkscreen ink, spray paint on paper, edition of 15, signed bottom right Faile. These images evolved from their sketch books that they carried around. Quoting FAILE from '99-09 Prints and Originals FAILE': "We'd begin with simple marks of pencil, crayon, or marker, followed by random hits of whatever screen we were pulling at the time. This process let serendipity do its job, revealing new combinations and planting seeds for future printing explorations.

Our sketchbook studies helped us to mature a loose, unrestrained use of colour. A lot of work by street artists then (Faile included) was graphic, only using black and white. The traditional way to get color into screenprints was the clean, tightly controlled process of multicolour registration: you map out where the colors go, create a screen for each one, and line them up to the millimetre. This methodically stiff approach did not appeal to us at all. We were after something more organic.

We experimented with putting hits of color on the paper, then quickly printing on top of that - a spray, a scribble, a brushstroke, a gesture, and then a chance registration to see what came together. By freeing the media in the work, we moved towards a style that was truly our own." These early FAILE works recall both the shredded commodity collage of midcentury decollagistes Mimmo Rotella and Jacques Villegle, and the pulp-cultural appropriations and comic books sensibilities of sixties "pop" artists such as Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. These influences were intensified in FAILE's work by the rapid fire splicing and re-assemblage of sampling, and the direct-to-audience urban raids specific to the golden age of graffiti.

FAILE's first exhibition in London was quickly followed by shows in Copenhagen, Paris, Tokyo and New York, employing the same strategy at each location; they made the monoprints for the gallery, created the rest of the exhibition on site, and got as many pieces out onto the street as possible. Quoting FAILE from their book '99-09 Prints and Originals FAILE': "We put up numerous "Bunny Boys" and "Faile Dogs". Whatever the images meant when first created, they took on new meanings as we pasted them in city after city. The more time we spent working with a single image, the more we became connected to it.' See signed prints: 'Bunny Boy-Print', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Bunny Boy/10 Ways', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 7, signed bottom right Faile. 'Bunny Boy II', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Bunny Boy #5', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 11, signed bottom right Faile. 'Bunny Boy #6', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 9, signed bottom right Faile. 'Bunny Boy #7', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 11, signed bottom right Faile. 'Sexy Bunny Boy', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 6, signed bottom right Faile. 'Faile Dog', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 8, signed bottom right Faile. 'Faile Dog Ecru', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Faile Dog II', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Faile Dog, Shimmering Red', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, 10 releases, edition of 10, signed bottom right Faile. 'Monster/Faile Dog', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 15, signed bottom right Faile.

During the early years of their career, influenced by contemporaries Shepard Fairy and BAST, FAILE generated both a process of assemblage and urban circulation, and consistent visual cues and themes. One such example is the Challenger spaceshuttle (as mentioned above) which crashed shortly after its launch in 1986. Not only does the shuttle appear in various forms in much of FAILE's work, the year "1986" is appended to their pieces as a signature that both invokes their specific use of the shuttle image, and also a reminder to their audience of the event itself, of its role in their personal history. "1986"  is both indicative of a populist or dialogic impulse in much of FAILE's work, and also an example of the characteristic ambivalence or dualism in their practise. Recurring themes of binaries such as Love/Hate, as depicted in signed print: 'Smoking Silence#1: Golden Orange', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 8, signed bottom right Faile. Peace/War, acknowledged in signed prints such as: 'Poison Boy in Black', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 14, signed bottom right Faile. 'Poison Boy II', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 14, signed bottom right Faile. 'War Profiteer: Horror Show', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 3, signed bottom right Faile. 'War Profiteer: Syriana', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 5, signed bottom right Faile. Triumph/Calamity, Satiation/Desire as graphically portrayed in signed prints such as: 'HRH Prince Charles in Black', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 20, signed bottom right Faile. 'Sinful Pleasures', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 10, signed bottom right Faile. 'Sinful Pleasures II', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 8, signed bottom right Faile. 'Sinful Pleasures III Starry Night', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 8, signed bottom right Faile. 'Sinful Pleasures #4', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 4, signed bottom right Faile. 'The Agony and Ecstasy in Shimmering Blue', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 18, signed in pencil bottom right Faile. 'Sinful Pleasures on Blue', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 2, signed in pencil bottom right Faile. 'Sinful Pleasures on Green', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 2, signed in pencil bottom right Faile. Are all prevalent, seemingly to assimilate the global urban landscape but tenders only to oblique opinions about that landscape.

Being on a budget, the paper FAILE were using to print on at this time was sourced from wherever they could get it. In FAILES words "We'd get rolls of butcher paper from restaurant supply stores and scrounge paper from the neighbourhood. Whatever was available we would print on it."

This by-any-means-necessary approach led to the "New York is Our Bag" Prints, on Key Foods weekly advertisements. And used in the execution of the signed prints: 'Faile Love Remix: Key Foods in Blue', acrylic, silkscreen ink on key Foods paper, edition of 13, signed bottom right Faile. 'Faile Love Remix: Key Foods in Brown', acrylic, silkscreen ink on key Foods paper, edition of 8, signed bottom right Faile. And 'Stories of Love in Key Foods', acrylic, silkscreen ink on Key Foods paper, edition of 25, signed bottom right Faile.

2003-2004 saw FAILE exhibiting all over the world including a major show in Berlin. New icons were added such as "F-Head", see signed prints: 'F-Head in Blue', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 7, signed bottom right Faile. 'F-Head in Yellow', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 10, signed bottom right Faile. 'F-Head II', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 10, signed bottom right Faile.  "Butterfly Girl", see signed prints: 'Butterfly Girl-Pink and Cream', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 11, signed bottom right Faile. 'Butterfly Girl: Shimmering Red', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, 10 releases, edition of 5, signed bottom right Faile. 'Butterfly Girl II', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. And the "FAILE Crest", see signed print 'Faile Dog#5', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 14, signed bottom right Faile. As FAILE says "The space was enormous, to fill it we plastered it with prints from the street, painted murals, and incorporated found objects that we applied stencils on. Instead of making discreet pieces, we interwove and juxtaposed the works to inform one tapestry. Our visual language was taking shape."

Until the Berlin show nearly all FAILE's work relied on paper. Now stencils became a key part of their method. Turning to stencils meant they could apply images to new surfaces that hadn't work so well with paper. This introduction of stencilling transformed the nature of their shows and of FAILE itself. As FAILE says "Not only did they solve logistical problems (dwindling paper supplies and having to find screenprinting labs on location) the stencils pushed us towards stylistic innovations. They offered a permanence and versatility that paper couldn't provide. We stencilled enthusiastically on the streets, applying them to walls, windowpanes, other posters, and foundations of paint. The layering effect was irresistible, and we saw how old surfaces could be brought into a new artistic expression." As expertly portrayed in such prints as: 'Stories of Love in Blue', acrylic, silkscreen ink, spray paint on paper, edition of 18, signed bottom right Faile. 'Mao Countdown', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 3, signed bottom right Faile. 'Momento Mori Remix', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 8, signed bottom right Faile. 'Forbidden Love Stencil', intaglio-wiped wood print, acrylic, spraypaint on Sommerset Texture paper, edition of 9, signed bottom right Faile. 'Get Acquainted Stencil', intaglio-wiped wood print, acrylic, spraypaint on Sommerset Texture paper, edition of 6, signed bottom right Faile. And 'My Story Savage Dreams Stencil', acrylic, silkscreen ink, spray paint on paper, edition of 8, signed bottom right Faile.

FAILE finally found a suitable studio. With Aiko Nakagawa no longer involved, 2006 became the year to expand and experiment with new visual language and storytelling through the allure of untold narratives. Elements of comic book covers were used to dramatic effect in signed prints such as: 'Monster', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Monster II', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 10, signed bottom right Faile. . 'Monster III', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile.  'Mermaid Monster', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 10, signed bottom right Faile. 'Savage World-Silver Monster', silkscreen ink, spraypaint on paper, edition of 14, signed bottom right Faile.  'Happens Everyday: Aqua/Olive', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Happens Everyday: Aqua/Olive/Pink', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Happens Everyday: Aqua/White/Pink', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Happens Everyday: Pink/Green', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 8, signed bottom right Faile. 'Happens Everyday: Pink/Olive/Green', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Happens Everyday: White/Camel/Olive', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Happens Everyday: White/Camel/Pink', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Happens Everyday: White/Green/Pink', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Happens Everyday in Brown', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Masters of Love and Fate', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 15, signed bottom right Faile. 'Masters of Love and Fate in Navy', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. Old advertisements and Phonebooks, created to dramatic effect in such prints as: 'Faile Yellow Pages', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 16, signed bottom right Faile. 'Yellow Pages II', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 5, signed bottom right Faile. 'Sexy Ad Color', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 14, signed bottom right Faile. 'Sexy Ad in Brown', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. And the back pages of magazines as graphically portrayed in signed print: 'Happy Home II', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 6, signed bottom right Faile. All these exciting new elements were added to their vocabulary.

All of FAILE's prints are given their own individuality. "It is imperative" FAILE says "to give each print its own personality. We always wanted each of our prints to have unique embellishments and eccentricities." All FAILE's prints from the studio are hand-painted and can take up to a month to create. See important FAILE images brought vividly to life in the expertly executed prints: 'Surfer Horse in Blue' acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 10, signed bottom right Faile. 'Surfer Horse in White' acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 10, signed bottom right Faile. 'Bunny Girl-Print', acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Bunny Girl Scarlett' acrylic, silkscreen ink on watercolour paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Savage World-Silver Monster, silkscreen ink, spraypaint on paper, edition of 14, signed bottom right Faile. 'Couldn't Fight Temptation' acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 16, signed bottom right Faile. 'Couldn't Fight Temptation in Blue' acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Heartbreak in Brooklyn in Dark Blue', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, 3 releases, editions of 15, signed bottom right Faile. '10 Ways: Vaidade', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 23, signed bottom right Faile. 'Shanghai Vanity: Pink, Pink, Yellow, Gold', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 8, signed bottom right Faile. 'Brave and the Strong', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 24, signed bottom right Faile. And 'Get Acquainted with a Faile Girl', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 11, signed bottom right Faile.

In 2007 FAILE released their own prints online, it proved to be an instant hit, so successful in fact that the flood of traffic caused their systems to crash and much confusion followed with collectors being charged for prints that were already sold out. In an attempt to make it up to people and to say "thank you" for their patience FAILE released the signed prints 'Hits and Crashes Negative' and 'Hits and Crashes Positive'. Both silkscreen ink on paper, editions of 90 and signed bottom right Faile.

2007 exhibitions include 'From Brooklyn with Love' shown in London, print releases from the show include: 'Heartbreak in Brooklyn-Blue', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 6, signed bottom right Faile. 'Heartbreak in Brooklyn in Dark Green', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'Heartbreak in Brooklyn-Green', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 9, signed bottom right Faile and 'Heartbreak in Brooklyn in Dark Blue', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 9, signed bottom right Faile. And the show 'Nothing Last Forever' exhibiting in New York's China Town, print releases from the show include: 'Forbidden Love: Black and Blue', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 7, signed bottom right Faile. And Forbidden Love Stencil', intaglio-wiped wood print, acrylic, spraypaint on Sommerset textured paper, edition of 9, signed bottom right Faile.
2008's agenda began with explorations free of any theme, partnering with Justin Israels at Pace Prints FAILE explored new printing methods, such as applying wood grain, their aim being to add looseness to their technique while working with even richer colours.

2008 also saw FAILE take a trip back home to Arizona. While growing up there they had been surrounded by elements of Native American culture, both authentic and kitsch. Trawling through old cowboy and Indian comic books they realized the vintage imagery could be re-contextualized to address current social tensions. As FAILE says "This was early 2008, in the months before the financial collapse. The credit-card culture of "Buy! Buy! Buy!" materialism was reaching its apex, especially in New York City. The visuals we assembled seemed the perfect symbols to address so many questions: excessiveness versus sustainability, man versus nature, greed versus the sacred." These ideas were translated onto paper, leading to the series that became 'Lost in Glimmering Shadows'. Which includes signed prints such as: 'Wrong End of the Rainbow', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 12, signed bottom right Faile. 'No Escape', acrylic, silkscreen on paper, edition of 23, signed bottom right Faile. 'Warriors of the Night', acrylic, silkscreen, edition of 24, signed bottom right Faile. 'The Great Leap', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 20, signed bottom right Faile. 'Reach for the Truth', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 20, signed bottom right Faile. All was transported to London and became a major exhibition housed in the Lilian-Baylis Old School. The works within the exhibition included the reworking of the American flag in the style of a Navajo ceramic: 'Star Spangled Shadows', signed print, acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition size 300, signed bottom right Faile. A Life size cast of a boy with rabbit, functional prayer wheels, circular discs paintings, and stacks of multifaceted apple boxes, all emblazoned with brightly-hued text and found imagery.

In 2010, teaming up with the artist BLAST, FAILE successfully pulled off the exciting interactive experience that was 'Deluxx Fluxx'. Between Feb-March in Greek St London and then again in April-May on Manhattans Lower East Side, FAILE produced a show comprising of custom made, operational arcade games and foosball tables, that the audience were encouraged to play. All the arcade cabinets were wheatpasted, blurring the lines between traditional art displays and the commercial operation of a gaming parlour. By creating 'Deluxx Fluxx' FAILE was successful in obscuring the lines between artist and consumer, viewer and participant.

These sell out shows were subsequently followed by 'Temple'. This extraordinary installation was FAILE's first contribution to the international circuit. 'Temple', a full scale church in ruins was erected in Parc dos Restauradores Square in Lisbon. 'Temple' bought together a variety of FAILE motifs-street art vernacular, prayer wheels, and a dualistic interest in the globalization of commerce and new forms of spiritual immanence. The piece itself, a building in ruins was fabricated with components such as iron gating, ceramic relief work, and painted ceramic tiles from local manufactures. FAILE's 2D image "Scuba Horse" as illustrated in the signed print; 'Scuba Horse Blue/Pink', acrylic, silkscreen ink on paper, edition of 16 and signed bottom right Faile, came to life as a sculptural fountain, and  the color palette of white, blue and gold was a nod towards the Portuguese landscape. As with FAILE's previous shows 'Temple'  achieved in blurring the boundaries, this time obscuring the lines between art and architecture, object and display environment, further more it amplified underlying currents in FAILE's work, such as an emphasis on openness and participation, the porousness of cultural and institutional boundaries, and the fluid integration of visual culture and the built environment.

FAILE's most recent works reflect FAILE's concern that "everything that requires skill is disappearing from the world", the 'Temple' being an "expression of the crumbling beauty of this disappearing world".

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