20 Questions with ART!
My man Art is from PG County. He’s been messing with graffiti since he was a kid, sketching in his notebooks in class. His style is a little different: there’s no black books, he’s not rolling out with a crew… he hears the street call him, and he’s there. He’s down for whatever: Working with whoever, bombing any surface. Check out this 20-Q w/Art:
1. Hey man – what city do you rep?
I rep both Prince George's [county] and the District of Columbia.
2. What’s up with the name “Art?”
Ever since I was a kid, I’m talking about at least 3 years old. I guess you could say I had a natural gift of drawing. It was my most cherished talent. So when they'll ask me what do I want to be when I grow up? I always said an Artist. There was time I was doing music with a friend. I was thinking of a rap name and Artist came to mind. It ended up being my first graff name when I was out in college. When I came back I decided to cut it short to Art. Besides, isn’t that what an artist makes?
3. Every hero or villain has an origin story: how did you start?
I started doing Graff waaaay back when I was still a kid. but I didn’t start hitting walls up till I was out of state in college. I had got sum paint at a Wal-Mart and caught a few tags with 'em. I guess you could say it was a way to escape the boredom from staying in those cages we call dorms. Anyways when I came back to DC. I guess you could say I caught the bug. within that week I got sum paint. and I guess you can say it all really started from there.
4. Did you go to art school?
Nope.. fuck school it’s just a way to bind ya to the system.. A lot of mind control and conditioning goin on in those places.. but I digress… btw did I say me and Kanye West got sumthing in common… what was the title of his first album again?
5. What or who influenced you to start writing?
Man the thing that influence me to start writing.. the main reason I even started graffiti was from a video game called “Jet Set Radio Future” for the original Xbox. I was just a little kid hyped to be getting an Xbox. It was the time when the Xbox came with the two-game bundle. Anyways, I just couldn’t wait to get it… so I did a little research on the games that I was soon to get. When I started learning what the jet set radio future game was all about.. that shit nearly took me off my feet… a game that has you spray graffiti all ova the city while wearing rocket powered skates. I never really knew what graffiti was until I got the game. Long story short graffiti found its way into my life. I started doing sketches. it quickly became one of my favorite things to do while bored in class.
6. So how do you do to practice, and how do you make your tag stand out?
I don’t practice man.. I don’t even got a black book. I guess you can say my shit evolve as I go along with it. I just wanna get up, but I still make sure my shit’s decent. You peep my alien trademark? I know that ain’t ya average tag.
7. What’s the process from your brain to the surface (wall, train, pole, etc.)?
The process is pretty much me… getting a feeling… you could say that the streets start calling: You either take the call or not. Most of the time I find myself rackin up paint for a nice walk that evening.
8. Some graff artists have said that DC is one of the hardest places to get up, due mostly to the fact that there are so MANY different types of Police forces here (Pentagon, Campus, FBI, Homeland Security, Marshal’s Service, Metro Transit, Supreme Court, National Zoo, Federal Protective Service, State Department, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Uniformed Secret Service, Metropolitan, Housing, Amtrak, Capitol, Park, Naval District Washington, Treasury, GSA, Postal, Defense Protective Service, Veteran's Administration, Military Police, Nat'l Institutes of Health, Gov. Printing Office, Library of Congress, and thousands of security contractors). Does it feel that way to you?
Yea man it could be pretty hard getting up... most streets have no place to run or hide. But I feel like you can’t give the police too much of ya power cuz in reality most are out of shape and lazy. I use to think feds was sumthin serious.. but once u see the truth.. you'll see it’s all just one big illusion.
9. Are people in the graffiti game nice to new writers, or is there a good amount of shitting on you/hazing?
Man when I started, my shit got hella dissed. I don’t really blame whoever dissed my shit cuz I didn’t really have an idea of what was really happening in the scene. All I can really say is this graff shit isn’t some nice fun game kids play… it could get real hard and ugly at timez. If u starting out new just stay true man, and keep gettin up. you'll earn ya stripes eventually.
10. What’s up with NDTK?
NDTK is a crew that originated in pg. It was the first krew I joined. Right now a nigga doing his shit solo. I’m still hella cool with the krew tho.
11. Who’s been really cool to work with?
I had a lot of fun bombing with Lost and Shaz. If I had to pick anyone to bomb with both they names come to mind.
12. Ever been in a beef?
Yea man… I love beef even tho I’m a vegetarian. A lot of people wanna beef with me.. Some people don’t really know who they dealing with cuz I can be a fanatic foe.. I had my beef with my nigga Meo from DCB but that shit got squashed.. I also got some beef right now with two writers but they don’t get up to me at all. So me mentioning their names seems irrelevant. Both they names start with a B, they bomb mainly in PG.
13. What’s the one piece you wish you could have finished, but didn’t have time to? Is there a story behind that?
There was one day I was catchin a few tags. Where I got to a nice ass spot. It was very open but the time I was out, the streets was practically empty. I wanted a fill so that’s what I did. Anyways as I was doing it, some hero rolled up and started honking the horn. I ain’t even move I kept handling my business. I guess he called the feds cuz I peeped a white car speeding towards us. I quickly ran to a fence. Lucky for me there was just enough bushes over the barbed wire for me to jump it. Ever since that I never really found a good moment to finish it.. but people would till know it’s from me tho.
14. If you had a day to do ANY graffiti in the DC Metro area scot-free for a day, what would you do, where would you do it, and why? (I.e., would you do a vertical “Art” down the side of the George Washington Memorial, flames on the side of a US Air jet, or…?)
I'll definitely hit the white house up.. and I know almost every writer at least thought of this once. I know for a fact that shit will stun people. I’d properly do a chain of throw-ups with fills… That’s sure to hit the news lol…
15. Who’re your favorite DC artists?
My favorite writer would have to be Stamp, Che, Moe, Yopes, Beks, Nero, Drout, and whoever else bombs all-city and is hella up. I look up to those guyz cuz they bomb like crazy and that’s what I’m all about.
16. What’s your favorite piece of your own?
My favorite piece at the moment is the one I did in the abandoned warehouse near the west Hyattsville metro station.
17. What’s the sickest piece you’ve ever seen?
Sickest piece I seen was in Baltimore. It was a Mural of the universe. The writers name was Space, and within his letters you could see all the stars and planets. it was soooooo nice man.
18. What’s your next move as ART?
My next move as art is to keep gettin up and stayin true to this graff ish... hopefully meet some writers and really take this shit all-city.
19. Do white girls love vandals?
Man they love us. I had a few moments where I had some see me do a quick throw up and after each time… they start goosing for me... I guess graffiti intrigues them… like wow I just saw someone break the law.
20. Do you have anything else to say?
Yea.. Stop eating food but don’t starve to death... stop wearing sun glasses and stare at the sun... enough with the thoughts and meditate, have orgasms but don’t ejaculate... breaths deeply and slowly... and love others... That’s wisdom beyond measure. Peace and love and thanks for the interview.
If you know some DC writers, sticker artists, yarn bombers or the like in the DC Metro Area that want to be interviewed, let him know @ email@example.com.
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