WHEN DID YOU START CREATING ART?
I took art classes in high school but never really took them seriously. I got in a lot of trouble in high school so I didn't really have time to dedicate myself to making art. I was in night school most of the time. They don't have any art classes in night school, but you could just draw the whole time, so it was basically art class. All the art teachers I’ve ever had in school had rules for making art. It was always the first thing they would open with - "the rules of art." For me, especially when I was in high school, I would automatically shut that out. I would say to myself, “No, I just want to draw the way I want to draw.” All I did was really draw on paper in high school and do graffiti. Once I got out of high school, that's when I actually started taking myself seriously and tried to challenge myself.
WHAT MEDIUMS DO YOU PREFER TO WORK WITH?
I like to work on canvas and sketchbooks. Acrylic paint, spray paint, ink, paint markers, ballpoint pens, copic markers, watercolors, water mixed into acrylics. Whatever it takes.
DO YOU THINK GRAFFITI INFLUENCED YOUR STYLE AS AN ARTIST?
Graffiti always influenced me. I was drawing before graffiti, but the natural progression was to get into graffiti from being a skateboarder and being a little rebellious. I just like having an adrenaline rush. Graffiti was always the best rush of my life. Some of my friends, particularly Fabian Rubio and Sean Mckenna, who were graffiti writers, and big inspirations. I remember being in the back of Special Sauce (Skate Shop) when I was still just a “toy” graffiti writer. I was terrible, ha ha, and I was just trying to get better. I was looking at stupid stuff online, which you’re not supposed to do. I saw Fabian do this dope piece on a backpack and I remember asking Sean, “what do you call this style?” thinking he was gonna say something like, “ Ohhh..New York Wild Style” or something they would tell you online. He looked at me all confused and said, “That's Fabian Style.. that's what its called.” I had to think about that. That's really what matters, no one can call it anything other than Fabian’s; you know he owns that. That's when I’m gonna stop trying to copy anyone else’s stuff and just try to work out what I can do. I knew I had talent as an artist and that I could develop as a graffiti artist.
WHO WERE SOME OF YOUR EARLY INFLUENCES?
When I was younger, I didn't think, “Oh wow, this guy really inspires me.” But once I got older and I looked at my art and my style, I always loved The Simpsons, I think Matt Groening would be my biggest inspiration other than my Father who is also great artist. Also, Neil Adams who is a comic artist, and also who drew cover art for National Lampoon Magazine. He is an amazing artist and amazing with color, too. He really made me think about the way colors work together, for instance when he put purple into a person with black hair or purple on Batman's suit, but not because there is actually purple there, but because of the way the light was hitting it. That really blew my mind. My Father's been a professional artist since he was 22 years old. He went to art school for about a year, but he has been drawing his whole life. He is one of the best artists I know. Right now, he works at Hit Entertainment and he used to work for Nickelodeon. Ren and Stimpy was awesome too. They were like the first animators to do the “close up” shot, which SpongeBob Squarepants also used. Usually it’s a really basic cartoon, but then they “zoom in” and they are hyper detailed such as being all pimply and gross.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROCESS?
Honestly, the only thing I worry about or think about when I draw and paint most is just someone’s expression. I just start drawing. I usually just start with the face. I add emotion first. I just start with emotion and then figure out what I want to do with the rest of the figure. My process sometimes starts with just a character I’ve drawn a couple times on paper; and then if I like it, and I’ll transfer it to a painting. Other times, its just something I make up on the spot. I really love color. It’s something I really want to get better at. Every few months I’ll say to myself, "Oh man, what the hell was I doing?” And then in six months, I’ll say, “This painting is shit ha ha.” I try to put only nice stuff in my black books; but most of the time, I can’t because once I’m in there, the pressure is on and like I said, I can’t be creative under pressure. So, most of the drawings I do like are on a scrap piece of paper. I’ll start drawing something on a napkin and I'm like, “I like this drawing. I like the way his face looks.” Or, I’ll figure out a new way to make someone’s face really expressive. What matters to me the most is figuring out how to make someone look really expressive, like really angry or really sad, making sure all the curvatures of the face go together. They are fictional characters, sometimes based in reality. Like if I’m at a bar, I’ll draw the bartender or the bouncer. If I see someone who is a character, “boom!” You are getting drawn automatically. I always think people might not have a good sense of humor about it, but they are always cool with it. A lot of people like seeing it and being made fun of a little bit. It always tells a story. I want to draw myself the way I’m feeling, or sometimes I’ll transfer it to another character; but I want it to be me.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO MAKE YOUR ART?
Just trying to be a better artist motivates me. It’s pretty nerve-racking trying something new. For instance, I could never really draw good hands, so I just wouldn't draw people with hands. I’d do anything to avoid drawing a hand; and then once I got older, I was like all right, if I'm ever going to draw a hand, I have to draw like 2000 hands a day ha ha. Honestly, sometimes if someone wants to commission me to do a painting, I don't like being put under pressure to make something. If someone wants to buy a painting... cool. If you want me to do a painting and give me an idea, I’ll roll with it and turn it into what I want to turn it into. I'm not trying to give out work or sell anything that I don't like. It's hard, you can’t force being creative at all. It just has to come to you. Some nights, I’ll start painting at like 9pm and stay up till like 6am. Some nights, I wont paint anything at all. But, I try to at least draw one thing everyday - just put the pen on paper. But when it comes to painting, that's just a different story. It’s really nerve-racking for me. I have to be under certain circumstances. Sometimes, I see people on social media who can sit down and do paintings in like a couple hours and that really blows my mind, I don't know how you do that. Once I start feeling not as creative and feel like I'm starting to rush stuff, I just stop right then and there.
WHAT ARE YOUR ASPIRATIONS FOR THE FUTURE?
I'm moving to Colorado in a few days. I just want to keep making my art. One day, I’d love to write children's books with like a touch of adult humor thrown in there.