November 13, 2023
Black started with Rustos before he graduated to designer cans, and it taught him that it is not the tools but the artist that make a piece ultimately. Art and graffiti has played a major role in his life ever since he was a kid and as he progressed, he later found that it was his gift to the world. Black lends his talents to his community in projects like the recent ArtUok mural he did with BooBoo Stewart and the students of Stanford elementary. This was a collaboration to bring awareness to children about the importance of mental health and also to add a constant inspiration to be seen every day for the kids. Black stays busy as an artist, solo and through group collaborations. He has a large body of work that is incredibly versatile on top of his skill set. We asked him a few questions about his background to learn from him:
◼️1. What got you into doing murals and graffiti?
Graffiti has always been my jumping point. Which led me to be inspired by murals from writers like LOOMIT,
◼️2. You've done a lot of beautiful work it must have been really cool to see the kids faces light up for the ArtUok project? Has there been any instances where you've received feedback for you work that made it all worthwhile?
Thank you for saying that! Every “wow!” Every “great job!” Every “I wish I could do that!” Is not lost on me, I think if someone stops their day to express that sentiment to me then I’m doing a good thing. When a child or young person sees something, I've painted I usually see them get an urge to create from seeing my work. Like it’s got the gears turning in their mind, like their making up a story about the art in their mind, or it inspires them try their hand at it, to make it this way, or that way. To me that type of engagement is highest above all, to create a cypher of creativity with all who view it.
◼️3. What was art like growing up for you?
When I was about 3-8 my older cousin exposed me and my older brother to graffiti and art. He wrote KAPPACINO, aka KAPP. His room was WU TANG posters, spray cans on every shelf, SABER MSK posters, and lots of colorful black book pieces he made. He was a major influence on me. My father was also, he collected antiquities, including neo classical paintings, as well as pin up art which to this day I still try to emulate. Luckily my brother and I always sharpened our skills in drawing and painting with these influences in the background of our mind. Trying to be as cooI as our older cousin and make something our dad would be wowed by too. So on my own I studied a lot and continue to study art techniques and art history to keep myself sharp and growing
◼️4. On your bad days how do you stay motivated?
As far as motivation goes, I’m always motivated to create because I know art is my life’s calling, I made that decision up a while back. There’s no question in my mind, what I’m here on earth to do, so I keep myself busy creating something every single day. Usually on bad days I ll try to go zone out in nature, look at plants and just breath. I look at other things non art related to be inspire a-lot of the times, art imitates life so when I’m in a funk I try to explore. If I’m painting a project on a bad day, painting the artwork gets me to focus and I couldn’t think about anything else if I wanted to. I study Taoism and Hermetic philosophy, which help me not to overthink and to just keep moving.
◼️5. Are there any tools or supplies that you use today that you wish you knew about or had when you first started?
I needed to not have the tools I presently have to learn how to paint. Doing a thing the hard way has the potential of building your skills up. For example, starting off with all Montana cans may not be the best educational experience for someone who is starting off with spray paint. I learned how to make Colorplace ,quick color, and Rustos look good before I got to graduate to designer cans. It taught me it’s not the tools but how you use them.
◼️6. Any advice for struggling artists or for those that would like to start doing large scale works?
Well, what I did was take on all the odd jobs in art that came my way. I didn’t say No because I wanted to learn how to paint all types of styles. Essentially you can go to art school and pay someone to teach you art skills or get paid to learn it. Let’s say someone asked me to paint their dog, but I've never painted a dog before, I would agree on a reasonable price for the painting, I was then being paid to study and learn how to paint a dog. Having said that, it’s very valuable to know you limits, don’t bite off more than you can chew or over promise on something you can’t deliver. Start off small or offer a style you feel comfortable painting in ,and incorporate new techniques slowly to build upon it.
Here is a bit of background on the next three pieces from first to last:
◼️A. Black with Werth @Werth_MSK
◼️B. ARTUOK campaign to support mental health awareness through the arts. The murals' purpose is to remind kids that its ok to share their feelings when they see it. The mural was created with Black 57, Booboo Stewart and the students of Stanford Elementary.
◼️C. Mural for the 2023 Life is Beautiful event with the I.S.I. Group. I.S.I. Group is a arts and entertainment group supporting Las Vegas.
I would tell him to listen a lot more, listen to those around you and be willing to change your perspective over and over again. Listening to one’s intuition is very powerful, listening to the intention of those who care for you is just as powerful. Listening to your oppressions will not only show you who you are, but who you are not and either reenforce your perspective or show you faults in the perspective you currently have, but you need to listen.
◼️To learn more, purchase works (ETSY) or contact Black 57 visit his profile: @Black57TCB
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"I like to use bright colors because in the midst of chaos, having expressive colored art draws the attention and awakens those good feelings in people. My intention is to not only influence people in graffiti but also children who are discovering new things."
"Gosto de usar cores vivas porque, em meio ao caos, ter uma arte colorida expressiva chama a atenção e desperta esses bons sentimentos nas pessoas. Minha intenção é não só influenciar as pessoas no grafite, mas também as crianças que estão descobrindo coisas novas."
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