I recently had the pleasure of discussing my process, inspirations, and evolution with the great Dutch Art/Fashion/Music website THRLD. Thanks much Jordi & Co. For the feature we focused on my greyscale work across disciplines. *THRLD website is no longer live so I have included the Q&A below . . .
You see with the most artists the passion to create something starts at a really young age, how was it expressed in your own childhood?
For as long as I can remember I’ve known what I wanted to be. Art and Design have always been my path. I was fortunate to have creativity all around me as a child. My parents always encouraged me to make art, and they never told me not to make art, even when they knew I was working under the moonlight between two trains. In high school I managed to get through the academic hoops by listening and saying something clever from time-to-time, but for most of those years I was spread out in the back row of class with my sketchbook and drafting table all assembled on my desk. It was no secret that I was more interested in my drawings than I was in the classes, and I am grateful for all of those teachers turning a blind eye when saw me doing my thing. Most of that early work was made with pencil, eraser, and black Sharpie pens. So for this feature I have chosen some key examples of my more recent monochromatic work across disciplines. Indeed I am most known for my full color Art and Design work, but I have always focused a lot of energy on Black & White as well, especially in the Wintertime, when I create a new grayscale series every year.
What do you do others don't or can't do, how do you set yourself apart from the others?
I believe my biggest strengths are my versatility, constant curiosity, and my unique combination of interests and research. I live by the mantra ‘range is conducive to growth’. This simply means that working on a lot of different projects, in adjacent disciplines, and collaborating with other folks who specialize in things I am eager to learn, all of this energy results in me growing as an artist. You can make a recipe of your work, what would be your secret ingredients? My favorite projects are the ones that are hard to describe. Is it art? Is it design? It is decoration? Is it functional? If it can be all of the above it is a real hit. Cross-pollinating ideas and techniques from my painting studio to my design laboratory, and vice-versa, is my favorite way to work. Curiosity is the key. It is the secret ingredient to always moving forward.
Which song describes your work the best and why?
I listen to a lot of Hip-Hop music. Anything from Aesop Rock to Jay-Z works for me. Even more interesting for me, as an artist, is to know what type of music each of my works reminds the viewers of. At my gallery exhibitions I am always pleased to hear abstract words like ‘habanero’, ‘free jazz’, ‘cadence’, ‘feng shui’, etc. Everyone has their own unique soundtrack when viewing artworks. I enjoy learning about how folks perceive, and ‘listen to’, my visual output.
Who or what is your most important inspiration you can rely on?
I am grateful to have a large global community of talented artist friends that I look up to and discuss ideas with. I could make a list a mile long and still not cover half of them. A quick list of folks I have connected with recently : Jurne, Poesia, Kofie, Duncan Jago, Roids, Aerosyn Lex, Turdl, Lerk, Pete Chile, Tim Clorius, Eric Michelovic, Horfe, Tomek, Conie, Alex Trochut, Curve, Rich, Learn, Graffuturism Collective, and the list goes on and on. In addition to people, I am very inspired by travel, nature, science, mathematics, and dusty old books.
Imagine you can exhibit just one work in the Modern Museum of Art in New York, which one will it be and why?
Another tough question, especially since I am still so young and I have not made my #1 masterpiece yet. If this opportunity came to me tomorrow, I would do a performance piece. I would put myself in a large glass cube in the middle of an exhibition room, and I would ‘live paint’ the walls until the clear cube is covered in artwork from the inside. A real-time-lapse installation.
What are your daily essentials?
Strong coffee, healthy food, bike ride, sunshine, smart conversations, good music, reviewing the day’s work with my girlfriend, delicious dinner and laughs, watching a quality film, plenty of sleep.
Finally, what do you desire in the near future and how do you contribute to that with your work?
A big push I have been making in these past years is towards functional design and sculpture. After many street level art projects, design, fashion, murals, skateboards, sneakers, product, and packaging, I am now even more hungry to work on larger scale projects in architecture, sculpture, furniture, and even city planning. I want to make permanent contributions to the urban landscape. I want to make sculptures, and then paint them. I want to design intricate mosaics, and direct a team of bricklayers to actualize these layouts in city parks. Much of my personal work these days is moving in this direction. I launched Core Deco a few years ago. It is a functional design brand with a focus on items for the home. 2014 will be a fun year, lots of travel, and big projects. I am always searching for new collaboration opportunities. Anything is possible with a clear dream and the right team.