We all know that monsters stomp Japanese cities into smithereens, strike fear into the tiny palpitating hearts of disobedient children, and wreak havoc the world over. What may come as a surprise, though, is that one monster – clad in pink, with a spiky Mohawk that’s apt to impale curious onlookers – is hell-bent on bringing new meaning to the word. And he’s doing it with art.
While the origins of most monsters are rooted in provincial folklore and mythology, much is known about Buff Monster, the pop culture chimera in question. Originally from Honolulu, Buff left O‘ahu for Los Angeles in 1997, where he began candy-coating the city with posters bearing his adopted moniker and character: a bulbous icon with X’s for eyes and devilish horns protruding from its head. For years, he inundated the streets of Los Angeles with his iconographic street art – inspired, in equal measures, by heavy metal music, ice cream, and Japanese culture – and his violently fluorescent shade of pink. His work quickly garnered the attention of everyone from Nike to Scion to Hello Kitty, all of whom he worked with on collaborative projects.