Dude, we met you because you rolled into a show with a late entry, and the entry was so big that it almost didn’t fit through the door. Do you always ball so hard?
Someone once told me, if you can’t make great art make it big -- so then people will at least have something to say about it. With my work I try to accomplish both, big and great. In many ways, my physical size transcends my art. At 6’3” with a size fourteen shoe and really long arms I like to think I was born to create art on a massive scale.
Tell the world about the art installation at school. Something illegal, or ill-advised?
Hahaha! Good question. It depends on who you ask. While it’s true that my work is heavily influenced by Graffiti, Street Art and its culture -- where breaking rules and making art go “hand in hand” -- I wasn’t trying to be a renegade. For my final project during spring quarter at UCLA, my vision was to create an ensemble piece that encouraged adults to act like kids. I built a semi function playground complete with a seesaw, two swings, and non-functional slide. Apparently, lawyers don’t think tying swings off a balcony is such a good idea. Lesson learned.
Where did you even come from and how did you get to ShockBoxx and how long have you been in the game?
I was born and raised in the 310 -- a few minutes away from LAX. The planes have never bothered me, if were being honest I barely notice them. ShockBoxx kind of found me, I guess. Literally days before the “FUN in the Sun” exhibit opened, Drew Carolan (a close family friend and killer photographer) called and told me that there was going to be a show in Hermosa that was inspired by the FUN Gallery and that they needed another piece. I sent him a shot of what I was working on at the time and next thing you know, I was in my first show.
Art has always been a big part of my life. From an early age, I have been drawn to graffiti. The colors, images and letterforms captivated me. Driving down Lincoln Boulevard, I was mesmerized by the murals, tags, and throw-ups. In 2011, I went to “Art in the Streets” at the Museum of Contemporary Art. It rocked my world! My passion had a name (Street Art) and it was legit. I was only twelve years old, but I knew my purpose. Stickers, stencils, sharpies and spray paint became my medium. My early art was inspired by Shepard Fairey, Banksy, Kenny Scharf and the L.A. Street Art Scene (West Coast Graffiti).
Do you know why we want you as a Usual Suspect at the gallery? Care to elaborate?
Cuz I ball hard?? I hope it is because you like my art and think that it will complement the amazing work of the other Usual Suspects. All of my pieces are images pulled from my head and influenced by my daily life. With my style try to incorporate my love for graffiti and street art with my knowledge on fine art and how the two can coexist on the same surface. I love repurposing trash into something new and different. For me, thinking about and creating art is exciting and energizing - I can’t seem get enough of it.
Take us into your studio….when you start a piece, are your ideas fully formed, or to you experiment as you go? How often do you paint? Do you work with any other mediums? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’d take you into my studio if I could…as sophomore in college, I share a one bedroom apartment in Mar Vista. So, I paint where I can get away with it. My paintings are too large to keep inside and studio space is limited at UCLA. To compensate for my lack of a designated studio, I set up shop on the 7th floor of the Broad Art Center at UCLA. It’s a pretty cool setup. So far, so good.
About 80% of my daily thoughts are about my current projects and future pieces. I am constantly experimenting with new materials. Between classes, I work at Blick Art Materials in West LA. Before I started working there, I worked solely with ink, spray paint and acrylic. Now, I experiment and incorporate all types of materials into my work. This willingness to take risk and utilize different mediums has helped me grow as an artist.
As for developing ideas and inspiration, my approach is to work on multiple pieces simultaneously. By working on several pieces at the same time, I’ve discovered that it really helps me avoid getting too stuck on a single piece. Working through different ideas stimulates my creative thinking. Rarely do I start a piece with my ideas fully formed. I’ll stretch or prepare my surface and go at it with whatever is in my head at that time. I bring sort of a blue collar work ethic to my work. I am industrious by nature and make a point to work on stuff every day -- late nights are common for me.
As for five years from now, I will have graduated from UCLA. You will find me in my studio with music blasting. I will be drawing, painting, sculpting and having a damn good time! I make art for the sole purpose of delighting others -- creating images that capture people’s imagination. Public art is also something that I will do -- murals and major sculptures -- something that you could see on your drive to work in the morning and maybe even on your way home. :)