Icy and Sot are pencil artists from Tabriz, Iran. They currently reside in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2006, the brothers have made a name for themselves in the world of graffiti art, establishing themselves as competitors in the urban art culture as both skaters and artists. Their work, while seemingly simple, is meant to illustrate human rights, social and political issues, as well as dismantle pre-conceived notions of Iranian tradition through their striking stencil work and occasional Molotov cocktail. The duo’s artwork can be seen around the world, from Iran to New York City. While New York has bare witness to graffiti for generations, it is illegal and rather uncommon in Iran. The brothers estimate that the entire community of street artists consists of six to ten people. The two refuse to reveal anything more than their street names for the sake of their protection. The two personally experience danger due to their artwork shortly before leaving for New York, where they were held for five days and at one point blindfolded for an hour. While the two were reluctant to progress their career in graffiti after this incident, their hometown friends and members of the bad The Yellow Dogs left Iran for New York in 2010, and the brothers decided to follow suit after completing their obligatory military service. The boys can no longer go back to Iran, but it doesn’t prevent them from pursing their dreams.
Their art consists of relevant issues of youth culture. Their work has been primarily focused on social issues rather than political, with the exception of “Beer Is Not a Crime:” Alcohol is outlawed in their country and strictly enforced, and punishment is often severe. The statements made in their art isn’t often clear cut, exemplified in a piece of their art entitled “Almost Blind,” where a boy’s eyes are blindfolded from wearing 3-D glasses with vertical lines. The true meaning of this, while left unclear, is meant reflect back more on the audience rather than the piece of artwork itself.
Their work can be seen on their website at icyandsot.com.