We’re great fans of your wondrous characters that have found a home on the walls of our city. Who are these characters? Are they inspired by folks you know?
No. They’re straight from my head. They’re kind of a mix-up, I suppose, of different comic characters inspired by a range of sources from Marvel comics to Warner Bros cartoons.
When did you first start getting up in the streets?
About two summers ago. OverUnder got me into it. We started painting together, and he sort of encouraged me to start putting up work. I was drawn to it right away and got hooked.
Does the ephemeral nature of it bother you?
No. It actually helps me develop my work at a faster pace. There are just so many ways your work can get destroyed. Instead of getting frustrated, I try instead to not treat each piece as a precious object, and that frees me up to work more. If I was to get too worked up about everything that didn’t last, I’d be depressed all the time.
Have you any favorite spots?
Not really. I almost never make a piece with a spot in mind. Coney Island, the Bronx and Philly are all spots I’d like to do more work in.
Any fears when you’re getting up?
I tend to move around a lot, so when I’m up high I’m always a little concerned that I’m going to do something stupid like walk off a ledge.
Have you ever been arrested?
I did end up spending one night in jail. I got chewed out by the Sergeant at the Bed-Stuy precinct who said ridiculous crap – like, “How would you like it if I tagged all over you!?” The whole thing was kind of ridiculous.
I guess they just don’t get it! When did you first come to NYC?
I was actually born here. But I grew up mainly in Portland, Oregon. Then six years ago, I came to NYC for the summer. And I never left. I just feel like this city is more to my pace than the West Coast. I’m much more productive here.
We’re certainly glad you stayed! Have you any favorite artists?
Some of my favorite comic artists are Robert Crumb, Jack Kirby and the Hernandez Bros.
What about printmakers? Any favorites?
Quite a few. Ben Shahn and Saul Steinberg come to mind. I like anything with a heavy line that is a bit sloppy. It makes the work more relatable to me.
You’re quite a prolific painter. Have you had a formal art education?
Well, I recently went back to school to finish up my undergraduate degree. I was about half way done, and figured I should probably finish it up.
Do you feel it has had a positive impact on your artwork?
I have mixed feelings about it. In a lot of ways school sort of slows the creative process down. I’m definitely making more work now that I’m back in the real world.
Have you exhibited your work in any galleries?
I was in a three-man show at Pandemic Gallery a while back. It was with my friends, Labrona and OverUnder. It was stressful for me because I spent a long time worried that I was going to look like a fool. Those other guys are really solid, and I didn’t want to be the weak link. In the end it came together, but I remember thinking after it was done that I didn’t want to do that ever again! I’m beginning to think it’d be cool to try it again at some point, though.
How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all of this?
Without it, I wouldn’t know who anyone is!
I’d love to travel and paint some walls in other cities. Maybe even go to other parts of the world. But locally, this is a good time of year to just knock on doors and see who’ll let you paint the side of their building!
Good luck! We sure hope those doors open!
Photos by Tara Murray & Street Art NYC