1. Do you recall the day you decided to write graffiti?
I was leaving school one day in 6th grade and saw a person finishing a piece on one of the school portables. He had been commissioned to do a piece there and he let me pick up a can of paint and fill in a few areas of the piece. I went home and immediately started scrounging up any spray paint I could find. My neighbor gave me a few cans and I went directly to my ping pong table that was standing upright in storage position. My Mom let me go at it until all the paint was gone. A couple days later I somehow bought some cans of Krylon paint and I waited until it got dark out and just snuck outside to skateboard and find a wall to put my tag on. From there it slowly became a frequent habit.
2. Do you recall the day you decided to make music?
I cant really recall the day I decided to make music because Ive been playing drums since the age 5. I can recall the first time I attempted to make a rap beat though. That had to have been back in 1998 and I was 16 years old. I was wondering around with some fellow Graf heads and we ended up at a friends home studio that day where he taught me how to make beats on an MPC 2000 (Old Analog Sampler / Sequencer). I was immediately interested and had to get one of my own.
3. What drives you as an artist the most?
I think it is amazing that people can develop the skills to create things that others have the benefit of experiencing and enjoying. I am driven most by our finite time on earth and every day I wake up hearing the clock ticking and every minute that passes that I don’t focus on some sort of project I feel Im wasting. Also I am heavily motivated by my son and giving him examples of goal setting and follow through. Another push I get is from sharing my creations with the people of earth and witnessing their reactions. I really get a boost of energy especially when I see someone enjoying a mural or piece without knowing the artist is standing right there by them anonymous.
4. What kind of problems did you as an artist musically or visually come across while in early development?
The problems I faced were usually ones I had no idea I would identify later in life. Problems that revolve around being self absorbed and a growing ego. Times where I may have benefitted from at least thinking about how the audience would receive my work. Also in the music industry there are so many brick walls that require investing to climb over. In the visual art world I feel I spent too much time wasting opportunity and not focusing my potential. The problems I had to work through are very small now in retrospect. The problems I face now are a different beast because we ALL share them and I cant claim mine are any more important to solve than others. Quarantine, no plane travel, no international travel, Banks are sketchy, people even sketchier, Where to spend money, where not to, When to take time off, When to push for more. That sort of stuff.
5. What are your favorite mediums to work with?
I love doing large murals with spray paint. Thats my number one medium of choice. I Paint canvas mainly with Oils and acrylics and I occasionally like to do some digital art. Not too often though. Thinking about getting into some sculpting soon too though.
6. Tell us the difference between the great north west and the rest of the US related to arts and culture.
It seems like our artwork here in the Northwest has some native American overtones and for a long time we were kind of known up here as being "Hip Hop preservationists". Our Anarchists are passionate and the artists are mostly grass roots types who might be deemed "street artists". The graffiti here for a long time was frequently painted over but lately has been left to age in many places. In the Northwest we tend to express ourselves a bit more freely or at least it seems. There is a lot of experimental art and people who might not exactly WANT to adhere to any guidelines.
7. What are some of the artistic goals you have?
The goals I have currently set for myself are all over the spectrum. One of the goals I have is to work more on my original art using original photo references that I personally create using models and manipulated environments. Also to paint these pieces on bigger surfaces. I want to scale up quite a bit. Like a lot lot bigger. If I could start painting 5000+ square foot murals that is where I think I will thrive. I'd also like to work for clients that appreciate art on a new level where they hand over complete artistic freedom to very large wall surfaces. It is my main goal to be more sustainable and by that I mean having the facilities and tools to continue working without the need to rent a lift or having space to create. I feel comfortable existing how I have been but gradually pushing harder for myself is how I have been operating. Also focusing more on responsible business practices. I'd like to be fully self sufficient in the future. This way I can go paint whatever the f@%k I want to in my free time.
8. Who are some of the music artists you would like to collaborate with that you have not already?
I'd have to say, realistically I don’t know what more I have to offer the music world. By that I mean I don’t know if the music I make in the future will see the light of day. I'd probably want to collaborate with a group like Khruangbin or Skin Shape. At best I will be making beats and sending them out into the wild but I've been so into painting, being a Dad and husband and building old cars that music is something I rarely get to do anymore. I suffer from being interested in so many things and attempting to do so many things that I have a hard time focussing my attention on any one of them for long enough to make real waves in any direction. So I focus on my two favorite things, Family and painting. In a perfect world, if I was aiming at the stars It’d be cool to produce beats for greats like Aesop Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Homeboy Sandman, MF Doom, Logic or J.Cole. Those fellas are way outa my league! Lol I made thousands of beats and will continue to make them just not as profusely as I use to. Now I'm on a one a month diet instead of one a day.
9. Why are you interested in cars so much and what is your latest car related project?
I've always liked old muscle cars and VWs. When I was a child I was raised in an area where they were everywhere. In the late nineties lowriders were everywhere. I was just approaching the age where I could drive and I really just always liked how they looked. I would see lowriders in rap videos like Dre day with Snoop and Dre and always thought how bad I wanted one some day. My first car I owned at 18 was a Chevy Caprice which I immediately slapped some Daytons on and threw some sounds in the trunk. It was a good car. My Dad had friends who were motor heads and I think those cars really left an impression on me. I've reached a point in my life that I realize the best example I can set for my son is to set some far out but realistic goals and show him that the pursuit of reaching these goals is the best part. Even though learning new things can be challenging and uncomfortable, that we end up better people in the end when we taste success. This is how we build on aspirations. I imagined myself driving with my family in my fully restored Impala and realized IT IS attainable for me at this point in time if I focus. I also realized that if I was to do this that I didn’t want to buy an old rust bucket and just put rims and beats in but rather that I would do every nut and bolt restoration and build it how I envision it. Something my family and I can enjoy for decades. Something I can also insert my artistic ability into. I have car club friends hitting switches in some of the nicest cars in Seattle so I just said to myself "Just start saving." Now I am almost done building my dream Super Sport Impala Hard Top. It is almost road ready. I also currently have a 63 VW Beetle Ragtop that is a cool car too but not as much of a project.
10. If someone was to visit Seattle what should they check out before they leave? and why is it important?
If someone is in Seattle and about to leave I would go look at the view of the city from Beacon Hill during sunset. Maybe partake in some herbal horticulture and visit the EMP or now know as MoPop. Depends what they are into. touristy shit like the gum wall and the waterfront piers or if they are foodies. Hard to say now that everything is shut the f@%k down. They could go see some police beating up protesters but might run the risk of getting beaten as well. They could see much much more art. They can go see lots of homeless people who are desperate to work and restart their lives. I don’t know... Maybe if they like walking they could see damn near the whole city in a day.
11. Where are some of the best places to travel for art and or graffiti scene?
Best place I've been so far for art is Germany hands down. I toured all over that country and it is amazing. Although there isn’t a lot of money for upcoming muralists I feel like it harnesses the energy of artists and since most places don’t paint over graffiti you encounter pieces from decades ago. painting broad daylight felt refreshing. I cant imagine what it is like there right now with the pandemic going on. Next to Germany is my birth state California. The coolest place I've been for graffiti. I was preparing for a trip to NYC when all the rona hit. Germany and CA are the coolest places Ive been for art in my humble opinion.
12. What do you think of technology and how it effects the graffiti scene, -ig -facebook etc?
I think the effects are vast but I grew up looking on a website called ArtCrimes to get inspiration so I'm kind of use to that effect but I do think websites like the ones people use now (as Snowden pointed out) are used to surveil the public. If i were an active Graf head that cared at all about pure anonymity l would be careful about all aspects of digital life. I pay attention to the signs of a growing big brother but my lifestyle is pretty straight and narrow now and I have lawyers now so I don’t sweat anything. I utilize IG a lot and dread FB so I rarely step foot there. I just stick to myself and mind my own business so my views of those websites are that I use them as online portfolios with the ability to build bridges with like minded people. I stay out of politics as much as possible. They don’t end well for anyone getting involved in them.
13. Tell us how to be prepared the best if the government comes after us.
I would say start with knowing as much as you can about their tactics and their plans. Also preparing yourself in ways like having seeds stock piled and setting yourself up to be sustainable. Garden, Livestock, well water, defenses, scenario training and many other things you can do. I recommend every family owning firearms and training how to use them and when it is the right time to use them. We should pay attention to the amount of blind faith you are asked to put into your government. We should all get to know our neighbors and know them well. We should be able to have plans for "if they, then we." Keep full face gas masks in some of the areas of your house and not a bad idea to hide fire arms around your house as well as long as there are no young children roaming around your house. I don’t know. With the amount of surveillance and military weaponry the gov has I don’t know what we'd BE ABLE to do to stop them from barging onto your property and attacking. Lets hope that doesn’t happen but another thing I think that is huge that we can do is educate ourselves. Learn that this country is being torn up, bought and sold like shares of a corporation. It is torn to shreds by vultures posing as eagles. Hold down your neighborhoods. Use your own critical thinking. Take tactical training. Get healthy and start a mini farm. Chickens and everything you think you need to do to cut out the middle man. Try to rely as much as you can on the art of self governing.
14. What do you think life is about for the average human?
Depends what you mean by average human. In the case of the average person who might have grown up in the city I think it is about finding a sense of purpose great enough where you can think of yourself as productive and deserving of your creature comforts. I think for them it is about supply and demand. Paychecks, groceries, cell phone bill and speculating whatever worldly news is circulating. But... If we mean average human like as in the law of average saying that there are billions who live on this rock, I would assume the AVERAGE HUMAN is still just trying to survive on a hunter gatherer / common market basis. Maybe their life is more geared towards simplified living.
15. What would be your dream mural project to work on if money was not an option?
I would like to safely paint ten story + size murals internationally where my family could also come with and just stay doing those type of gigs.
Maybe be commissioned to paint on monuments. IDK kind of hard to say.
16. What is the last book you read and was it worth the read? and do you think humans should read more or less?
Its been a while since I've read a full book front to back but I started a book called The Epic Of Gilgamesh that is kind of crazy, talks about the great flood and another that is good called Atlantis and the Seven Stars. I think people should know if they enjoy reading for knowledge or fun and either are good for your mind to reflect. I think people need to reflect and keep reflecting. I think people know if they are pieces of shit or not deep within themselves unless they are sociopaths. Those ones are the ones we cant do anything for. Reading can be instrumental in helping people reflect.
17. Where can we check out your music and where can we find your artworks?
Music : Graves 33 on Spotify / Pandora / Bandcamp / IG: @Graver33
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