1. My earliest memory is drawing on the walls with crayons, and then getting a spanking.
2. Anyone that’s seen my art knows that I like to pay homage to the great classical painters including D’Avinci, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt among others by recreating and referencing their work in the style I developed on the streets of NYC. When I started painting for gallery shows I decided to merge traditional studio methods of studio painting with my street style.
3. I started painting fashion icons over 10 years ago and with anyone I paint, the focus is always that person’s life. The colors, and brushstrokes represent the subject’s emotions and history. With the Anna and Karl pieces, I wanted to explore the relationship between the artist and curator – the emotional bond that exists between collaborators.
When I started 9kMpgUto paint, I wanted to paint what I enjoyed, and I enjoyed fashion; I like fashion, and I always collected fashion magazines. I’m friends with fashion designers and used to hang out with Donna Karan at her home. It was always part of my lifestyle, so I decided if I was going to paint a subject it was going to be whatever I enjoyed. It’s always been hard to merge art and fashion, and it’s still the Holy Grail for a lot of artists to do that.
4. One of my ex-girlfriends was obsessed with her and used to style herself similarly to the point where I kind of started to feel like I lived with Frida Kahlo. As an artist I have a deep respect for Frida Kahlo’s process of self-examination and the way she represented that in her work.
5. Kate Moss has always been a great source of inspiration for me as I explore the relationships between celebrity, royalty, and fashion. When I first started hanging out in downtown New York the presence of fashion figures was just a part of the lifestyle. But New York has changed in the last few years and you don’t see these people as much as you used to. You used to go to parties downtown, and all of a sudden you’d see Kate Moss, Andre Talley, Anna Wintour or Karl Lagerfeld, and that was a part of my lifestyle.
6. Early on in my career I created digital work for Def Jam records… WuTang Clan
7. Absolutely. On the street you get direct reactions from people, they’ll look at the work and tell you whether they like it or not. That’s what I was dealing with when I decided to paint Anthony Bourdain last year, which was a hard choice. I’m looking at this wall, and I see what piece should go on the wall and I knew I gotta paint Anthony Bourdain, and it was a complex decision on how to do it. It was a very hard painting to paint, but the responses have been just amazing, people have been thanking me, it’s good energy.
8. Although I have my studios in New York and Miami, I never really spent more than a couple weeks in any one place and was always moving. Now because of the pandemic I’ve been in the same studio more than ever before.
9. Today’s brands are like yester-years dukes, kings, or wealthy businessmen who commissioned artists. Working for brands allows an artist to expand their viewership. Warhol did a limited edition T-shirt collection, and Keith Haring did a swatch collaboration, so this idea has been part of the art world for a while now.