New York–based Todd James (born 1969) pioneered a distinct cartoon-based graffiti style in New York in the 1980s, working under the name REAS and gaining the respect of both a street-culture audience and the art and design market. He has since produced work for the Beastie Boys, Eminem and Iggy Pop, among others. This unique artist’s book is the first publication by James in half a decade, and collects 60 of his drawings, all created exclusively for this volume. Bearing close resemblance to his best-known graffiti work, each drawing is complete unto itself yet also represents a potential painting for the future. Yield to Temptation is of a piece with James’ broader concerns: American excess as represented by the forms and fictions of sexuality and the ravages of war. James invites his audience to glamorize these issues, even as he undercuts any assumptions about them. His drawings have the expressive, minimal intensity of a cartoon Franz Kline and evoke the Day-Glo era of 1970s print culture, where Schoolhouse Rock crosses over into Playboy cartoons. Yield to Temptation is being published on the occasion of James’ solo exhibition in Tokyo.
Published by Testify Books. Foreword by Rachel Greene.
Todd James belongs to a small, influential group of artists who acquired the earliest elements of their visual languages painting New York City subway cars, and in doing so altered an entire generation's perception of urban letter forms. Filled with over 150 raucous paintings, drawings and signage, Todd James is a solid catalogue of work from the internationally known artist and designer. This small treasury is an irresistible compendium that highlights some of the artist's best-known works from the last two years, as well as many exclusive works taken directly from private collections and sketchbooks. It is an intense, hilarious and wholly compelling window into the art of one of downtown New York's most celebrated street artists.