How long have you been doing this?
i started doing GIVE UP in late 2000 or early 2001 after taking a couple years off from traditional graffiti.
Is “give up” a team effort or is it just you?
i do it all myself.
How would you describe your style?
that's still a difficult concept for me. since it straddles the lines of photography, collage, and print. and, again, the art couldn't exist without each of those elements. but visually i would say it's generally fairly dark and gritty.
Where do you get the ideas for your imagery
i try not to force anything. if i'm not feeling particularly creative one month, i don't try to push it. but then sometimes my mind will be swirling like a storm and i just have to get it all out as fast as possible. i shoot all the photos that the work is built around myself. so i'm always shooting. whether i'm just shooting random things that i think might turn into something later, or i'm setting out with a specific finished image in mind. being that a lot of my work could be considered dark or threatening or apathetic it's almost like a therapeutic release, as opposed to other less constructive outlets. sometimes i'm just trying to get outside of my own head.
Where do you get your inspiration?
a lot of the work from the last couple years has had a lot of organic themes to it. i think there is a lot of beauty and peacefulness in nature, but there is also a lot of brutality and terror on the more animalistic/survival side of it. and even if there isn't an organic element within a particular piece, i hope it still conveys both of those feelings. as an appreciation of something beautiful that at the same time acknowledges a less safe side and the temporal nature of things. from a process perspective, i assemble and collage all the elements of a particular piece using a photocopier and scissors in the manner of early punk and hard core fliers, so i have to give credit to all of those early bands using photocopy and cut 'n paste out of necessity. as well other artists who's work has stuck with me like hermann nitsch, francis bacon, stephen kasner, and so on.
A lot of your imagery can viewed as shocking and controversial, what exactly is the message that you are trying to send?
there isn't one specific message and any art i think is open to interpretation. but whether it's a threat or a challenge or an affirmation or something more personal and self referential can change from piece to piece or even within the same piece. i don't think that at this point i'm particularly trying to shock anyone, but more reflect what i see and/or want to see.
Is your work premeditated or do you just go out guerilla style and post things wherever you can?
the work doesn't really exist the same without the context of the street, so i'm always looking for new spots. but for the most part i just post up what fits best as i come across it. very few pieces are spot specific.
Do you consider yourself a graffiti artist?
no, i do not. i have too much respect for graffiti and real writers to consider gluing posters to things graff.
What are your thoughts about the current graffiti scene
i have friends that are writers and i really enjoy each time i see something new up whether its a hand style or a throw up or a full piece, but really i'm pretty far removed from the graffiti scene. haven't seen a lot of crossing out lately, and people are taking good advantage or available real estate. so i'd say things are pretty strong right now.
Have you done much or any commercial work?
i do art and design work for bands for time to time. mostly more metal and hard core stuff. tour posters, album covers, etc. and a few things for some skateboard companies. it feels pretty good to think that someone would want what i'm creating visually to be attached to what they're doing aurally.
What came first, the clothes or the posters?
definitely the posters. the tshirts and stuff really aren't my main focus. but my stuff is pretty print specific, and i couldn't keep turning people down when they asked me to make them a shirt.
How is the clothing and merchandising industry?
i don't know that the level or volume that i print tshirts at would really garner me inclusion in the clothing industry. i really just print a handful of shirts if there is a design that feels conducive to that application and if i think there might be any interest. it just seems that at this point the larger percentage of my audience is more prone to purchasing a shirt than they are a print.
Have you have any moments where you were hassled by the police?
i've been really lucky that i haven't gotten into any mentionable trouble since transitioning to the GIVE UP stuff from traditional graffiti.
How have people reacted to your artwork?
a lot of times it's hard to judge a reaction other than seeing the work slashed on the street. but thanks now to being online for a little while, most of what i hear directly is pretty positive. but i think any kind of response is positive because to me it means that people are at least noticing.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
i feel really fortunate to be able to support myself off of being an artist, but i wouldn't consider it a job in any sense. and if it ever turned into that for me, i would have to reconsider my entire program and motivation. but really i enjoy most aspects of it, and i think that's what keeps me going. from the conception and creation, to the process of printing and execution, to the street application. none would exist without the other, any if any of the elements became a chore or distasteful i don't think i'd be able to continue.
Do you feel your work reaches out to people?
i think that making the work public seeks an audience more actively than maybe waiting on a gallery invitation. but ultimately the work is fairly personal and any reaction or feeling that someone wants to attach to it is up to their own interpretation.