Clown - tits crew

Clown - tits crew

June 29, 2018

We were lucky enough to get together with the highly respected west coast artist "Clown" from the legendary TITS crew. Gratefully he had some sage like insight from over 20 years of playing with spray paint. 

What is your artist name and where did it come from?
I write clown, it comes from watching a batman cartoon with the villain called "clown" on the episode. As any writer knows when you have a pen in your hand or even no pen at all, that your fingers are always subconsciously practicing letters. To my surprise, when the episode was over the paper I was scribbling on had one line clown tags all over it. I liked the flow of the letters


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How long have you been writing?
I started really tagging as well as trying to paint pieces in 1992

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Are you a part of any art collectives, crews, or teams?
We no longer consider ourselves a "graffiti crew", although we at one time did limit ourselves to that label. My little group of old guys is called "tits" or tapping into the system or thunder in the sky.


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What do you think you are best known for, and how would you describe your style?
I can't say what anyone else thinks of when it comes to what I have done. I make it a point to constantly keep changing it up. Over the years I  have gone through all kinds of phases such as fat cap tags only, to stamps, barely readable wild styles, fonts, logos, organic, san jo newave, classic funk, bombing a profile clown, painting serious characters, readable wild styles, abstract, geometric, medieval, traditional tattooing, acrylics, sign painting, sculpting/carving, faux finishes, watercolors and a bunch of other tweeker art phases. I guess it just depends on what situation and individual came into contact with me in. You know what , hopefully being a person that does everything is what I will be remembered for.

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Going back to the beginning, how did you originally get into creating graffiti art?
Graffiti art started through skateboarding. All my buds and I painted all over a mini ramp that was in my backyard. From there we would paint at other skate spots. It was usually just writing "skate and destroy" like on the stickers and copying the ratbones character. Vandalism was part of skateboarding at that time.


Does the graffiti have special meaning or value to you?
Graffiti is the foundation and savior to all my actions, mistakes, and lessons. So, yes it has all the value to me


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If you never did graffiti art what other hobbies do you think you would do?
If I never found graffiti my time would have been spent on drugs and a life in prison or perhaps and early death 

At this point, what is your favorite thing about graffiti?
The brotherhood I have with my crew and camaraderie from all of our associated crews.


What’s your favorite brand of spray paint to paint with and why?
For painting fast all fatcap pieces, I prefer Ironlak. Plus it is the most affordable, and the hardest part of painting for me is obtaining more paint


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What are your favorite colors to use? What kind of nozzles do you tend to use?
Silver fills are my favorite , all fat cap . They are efficient and in the end the letters are what's important.

What is a trick you've picked up over the years that helps out your painting process?
I wish I had some tricks to help out with the painting process. Ask me this again in another 10 years

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Do you have a favorite marker? And why?
Juicy classic silver Pilot pens are by far my favorite, plus there are just too many items on the market now to keep up with, so I stick with what I know.

You leave the house for a night mission, what are you bringing?
A painting mission require the paint supplies and emergency t.p.

Any decent chase stories?
I prefer all the times I didn't run, stood my ground, and convinced the law to not arrest me and was allowed to finish my piece. Let's be honest, it is only applying a layer of paint to a surface. If anything the paint has added a layer of protection
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Longest stint in Jail- is there a story to it?
Rule number 1. Don't get caught ! Rule number 2. (which works well with my first rule) Don't go to jail!

You're not just a respected graffiti artist, you're also a accomplished tattoo artist. What drew you to the tattoo industry, and how do you think your background in street art has helped you as a tattoo artist (if at all)?
In tattooing I am still just getting started. It took 20 years to get a solid foundation in graffiti. Tattooing will take about 20 years as well. Any craft takes about 20 years to build a reliable comprehension.

You're a very versatile street artist, how important is it for you to mix it up and try new letters and structures? Also, with such a dynamic range, how important are your letters verses the overall piece - we have seen some serious focus on letters from you, but we have also seen some stuff that looks more funky and experimental - whats the balance for you?
You need to always come back to your foundation. Do a couple of crazy weird ones and then do a simple letter. Next jump to a font. and then back to a wildstyle. From there try some hybrid styles. So a part vintage lettering mixed with a furry filter. All I know is, if I just showed up and painted the same piece I would have quit a long time ago. I tried to learn every trick in skateboarding and it kept it fun and new so why not use that same formula for everything else in life.

You have put some serious years into street art and graffiti and your clearly not a kid anymore, what is it about making art with a spray can that has lasted through the years? Why not take up golf instead? Not kidding, people outgrow hobbies routinely - something still has to speak to you after all this time.
The nostalgia keeps me going. A New York fatcap is pure magic. Plus, I set out at 15 years old with the intention of getting good at this shit someday. That day hasn't come. The road to mastery is never ending.

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If someone asked you why you write graffiti, what would your answer be? Being an active graffiti artist requires a lot of energy, What motivates you to keep getting up night after night? 
I am not really active in the getting up sense anymore. I do feel the need to occasionally get out there and do some "real graffiti" as opposed to just some spray can art on a legal wall. Those little stints I go on are necessary to maintaining my sanity and appreciation to what I owe everything to.

You have enough paint for one Burner or several throwies, how do you use the paint?
you can always squeeze out a couple of throwups with the leftovers from a burner. (trick question) do it all!


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What kind of project gets you most excited (i.e. Legal walls, crew productions, wholecars, freight bombing)
it doesn't matter the project, they all connect, be it a sign painting gig, a tattoo, or a burner. They all stem from the same place and they all connect as one entity

What do you think of instagram and what impact has it had on you as a graffiti artist?
I don't know if this social media thing has helped me with being a graffiti artist , but it has helped substantially with all other art endeavors.



You’ve painted with a lot of people, any artists in particular you enjoy painting with?
I enjoy painting with everybody. You can learn a little something new from every experience, not limiting that truth to graffiti, but to all experiences. Over the years I have painted mostly with tits folk, as well as other writers outside of the crew such as Zone, Jaber, Vhue, Fishe, Plek, Self, Dras, Emit, Yes, Charms, Sloke, Shiver, Apart, Nick Sawyers, Skolr, Nugs, Rebuke, Hype, Car6, YesOne, Rok1, and that list goes on and on. I am not trying to be Mr. name drop guy but those are all names of people that I will always be working with

Do you have any big projects we should be looking out for?
The last two years I have been working on my second lettering book. Illuminations 2 "Smile Now, Cry Letter". It will be available mid July. It is all 100% new art just for the book. It has the complete dissection and anatomy of lettering. It covers all styles of lettering. Having no limitation as limitations. I took a break from graffiti, fine art, and tattoo watercolor painting to get it done. I look forward to moving on from the project and getting back to spray painting on a regular basis again. The book will be available at timeistooshort.storenvy.com. The link will be on my Instagram


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In interviews people always ask the artist ”Do you have any advice for the beginner?” Beyond the obvious response like “practice more” - What sage like wisdom can you offer the neophyte regarding the culture, codes and ethics, safety tips, tools and techniques, ect?
Everybody knows that your reward in life will always be in exact accordance with your efforts so I won't get into all of that. As far as youngsters going bombing a lot. Perhaps a lot of them need to stop looking like "graffiti writers" . Some of these kids can be spotted a mile away. Even when I was young, the cops would drive right past me. They have even stopped me to help me out, assuming I was lost walking in the secluded places that I have been. Just keep in mind that the best criminals will walk right past you right under your radar.



your end game goal?
My end game is to live to be 100 and make as much art as possible in that period of time. Every day may very well be your last chance to create one last thing to leave behind. Put your all into it and don't put any labels on yourself, for they will only limit what you produce.

If someone wants to get a tattoo from you or purchase some of your artwork, how can they reach you?

Clown2076 on instagram

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