We hope you enjoyed our last interview with CINCO today we present our fifth installment of our Artist Spotlight: SUBHUMANOID
Subhumanoid (or SUBS) is a one-man sticker machine. His human-blasting computer characters can’t be ignored on the streets of Los Angeles. While traditional graffiti and new-age street art might be the typical means to gain attention- SUBS has accomplished the same results through a mind boggling amount of hand-crafted stickers. Stenciled vinyls, hand-drawn, or vinyl screen printed- anything goes. With time as the true test of success-this dude is an arguable candidate for the Los Angeles sticker Mayor! We are proud to present Subhumanoid for this weeks artist spotlight.
Many may not know this- but “Class Of Nuke ‘Em High” is easily the best Tromavision cult film. I’ll never forget when those kids smoked that doobie laced in toxic waste. The ambitious sequel is titled “Subhumanoid Meltdown” – any correlation with your choice of alias?
The name comes from the band Subhumans , which was my favorite band at one time. I found out about the movies later, which are are great too.
How many years have you been representing Subhumanoid and where can one see your work?
I started doing the thing in 2005. You can see most of my stickers in greater LA . I also do a lot of collaborating and trading which helped me reach other cities across the world.
What is the meaning behind the character?
Subhumanoid computer is an ever changing character that morphs into different things. Kinda like a transformer or a liquid terminator. He likes to hang out outdoors.
How many stickers do you think you’ve put up in your life? How about in a year or a month? a week?? take a guess…
I counted every sticker, the count is 24,657 stickers up ….haa I dont know. I like to bring a bunch with me every time and see how many disappear.
Do you consider yourself a street artist or a graffiti artist?
I am a professional exterior decorator.
You represent RTH/JDI crew here in Los Angeles, tell us how you fit in and how you stand out within your crews.
I try to rep my brothas whenever I can with stencils and such. There is nothing like being a part of a hooligan mob, those guys rock.
You make some pretty teched-out stencils, have you ever used laser-cutting technology to make any? Is that “cheating”?
Laser cutters devalue stencil art, I have fun cutting out stencils, it takes focus and it zones me out for a while. When you’re done, you feel good about the result. Leave the laser cutter for the guy in some factory.
Here at T$F we are beginning to believe the internet is as powerful or MORE than the voice of the streets, do you agree or disagree?
Yes, the internet changed street art, and you have to go with the flow. Instead of people in one city people all over the world have a chance to see your work.
How productive is sticker trading, flickr groups, and the likes? Does this stuff work?
Thanks to trading through flickr I was able to reach people from Poland to Chile and everywhere in between. It takes some investment in time and money but its worth it. I wish I could see through the computer eyes at places they look at everyday.
Not that we were much different at that age, but why the fuck do you think kids LOVE free stickers so much?
Haa, there is something magical about stickers. Maybe because they defy gravity and kids they love physics those crazy kids.
Share with us your goals outside of graffiti, is gallery participation important to you?
Gallery shows are fun, I try to participate in ones where I know I can go party at during the reception. My goals are to travel more, I see foreign cities in my dreams often.
What else keeps you motivated to continuously grind?
Ideas hit out of nowhere at times, once they do I need to make them into reality.
What’s been the wildest moment or most disastrous event?
I just have to say, even when you think its safe, its not. Always look around at least.
Any quotes, famous last words, or plugs you wanna drop?
THANKS SUBHUMANOID! RE$PECT!
We hope you enjoyed our last interview with ABCNT, today we present our fourth installment of our Artist Spotlight: CINCO.
Cinco is an interesting dude to say the least. He can hang with the hardest fools and still be a loner by design. Normally we’d ask the typical questions about “whose your influence” and blah blah blah, but Cinco is more intriguing than that. This is a dude with strong convictions and opinions. It’s worth your time, if you’re lucky enough, for him to drop some knowledge. We expect nothing less than the explicit truth as we dig deeper into the mind of the mysterious 5er.
1. How long have you been writing and how did you get the name Cinco?
I have been writing since 1991. I chose the name CINCO because I wanted a name that represented me and my Mexican culture equally. With 5 being my lucky number, and important date in Mexican history, it was a natural fit.
2. If you had to describe the style of your graffiti- what would you call it?
I am and always will be a PURIST. (A purist is one who desires that an item remain true to its essence and free from adulterating or diluting influences.)
I am a product of the 80’s. I don’t have to study Subway Art or watch Style Wars in order to understand the origins of our culture, I LIVED IT as a little kid. In the early 90’s, when I was ready to join the game, my foundation was already set.
With that being said, my style is CLEAN and CRISP. It’s forged by the attitude/brashness that only an old school education and a West Coast upbringing can provide.
3. You reside in Atlanta, but like clockwork you write “L.A.” with your name, can you expand on what that means to you?
L.A. means everything to me. PERIOD.
In 2006 I came out of retirement to start writing in Atlanta. I decided that I wasn’t going to hit up my L.A. crews.
I was alone and without soldiers, and hitting up my west coast affiliations wasn’t enough. I needed to make an impact that was immediate.
So, I decided to hit up my CITY, I felt that would let folks know where I was from and how much heat I was going to bring.
From day one, I felt that L.A. wasn’t really being represented in Atlanta. Ultimately my mission was to change that.
4. Since moving to Atlanta, what are the major differences in the graffiti culture?
It really isn’t fair to compare the two. In Los Angeles our impact on graffiti culture is GLOBAL not regional.
That global element allows us to view graff culture with a broader perspective, be open to new ideas, and a progressive execution. Doing the same thing over and over isn’t something that interests us.
How does the general public & law enforcement react compared to the Southern California population?
Atlanta is wide open and that’s the best part of it. The public and law enforcement are a lot more relaxed about graffiti. In Los Angeles it seems that everything and every spot has been burnt to a crisp. It feels amazing to find locations that are untouched and virtually blank. Spots that you would never have access to on the west coast— spots that you can walk into, wave hello to people who might see you sneaking in, and they could care less! LETS HOPE IT ALL STAYS THAT WAY.
Do you prefer writing in Atl or L.A.?
I prefer doing everything in Los Angeles. Next question.
5. Do you write with a crew? Who?
Yes. I grew up writing with FTL and 213K. If you lived in Los Angeles between the years of 1991-1997 and traveled on the 5, 110, 710, 105, 91 or 605 freeways then you are familiar with our work.
Our crews were raised and inspired by KTS-STN / DUKE, NUKE, TEMPT and all those legends. Since 2000 I have been a free agent. My old crew all retired or moved on to other forms of artistic expression. I’ve decided to set out on my own like Caine in Kung Fu.
6. Besides graffiti- are you an artist in the more traditional or commercial sense?
When it comes to my graff— I am strictly a ‘NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION.’
I have means that generate a proper income, so I’ve never had to rely on my art to make paper. I am not against cats doing that, not by any means, but my graff is for the streets.
7. How do you feel about the present divide between graffiti and street art?
Divisions are a part of life and people are always going to take up sides. When it comes to Graff vs. Street Art, I don’t see why they cant both coexist.
The streets have plenty of room for both, but make no mistake, they are two totally different mediums.
As a purist, I believe Graffiti has certain basic elements that can never be ignored— if you aren’t using those elements then don’t lie to yourself.
You may be an artist but you are NOT a graffiti artist.
But is it all still just “getting up”?
At the end of the day, yes its all still ‘getting up.’
However— I feel the divide starts to rear its ugly head when street artists start trying to cross over into the graffiti realm. It’s not impossible, but you must bring the pure elements, and there is no room for interpretation. You better have your handstyle perfected, you better have your throws on point, and you better have an original approach. If you are lacking in these departments don’t expect to get the crossover acceptance you desire.
Would you or do you use mediums like posters/stickers/stencils/video/sculptures/etc to gain attention in the streets?
I would and have used all of those, but at the end of the day, what really makes my dick hard is straight up graff. NO GIMMICKS.
8. What can we expect to see next from Cinco?
You can expect the same tactical strikes you’ve always seen from me.
“Appear at places which HE must hasten….move swiftly where HE does not expect you.’” – Sun Tzu / The Art of War
9. What do you think about The $tatus Faction?
I have to give T$F credit for coming at the game from a different angle, but as you already know, whenever you try coming at simple mutherfuckers with something unorthodox they are going to fear it, and that fear will eventually find its way back to you in the form of hatred.
When I started in this game we used to handle issues face to face, but this is the age of the internet gangster. Nowadays suckas hop on their ‘online-soap box’ and try to enforce imaginary rules and regulations.
But check this out….
When it comes to EXPRESSION, there no rules and there are no regulations. This game is RAW— if you want structure then this isn’t your hustle.
Allowing others the space to fully express themselves is the only real rule.
10. Don’t be shy, please share your craziest story while getting up:
I got too many mobbin’ stories to share, but one of the best includes me with a broken leg and the big homie NOS carrying me outta the war zone on his back like a scene straight outta PLATOON!!!
11. Any famous last words or respect you wanna lay down before we jet?
“If worst comes to worst….I make whole CREWS disperse…you know its FAMILY FIRST.”
PAK ONE, IMPER ONE, EVE ONE, ROCKO ONE, TONZ ONE, E-MONEY, NICKY 2 GUNS, THE MUSE, NOS-TRADAMUS, K22, LOS ANGELES – AZTLAN.
THANKS CINCO! RESPECT!
Stay tuned for more upcoming artist interviews!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our interviews with RICH (HBT) & INEPT, as we continue with our third installment of our “Artist Spotlight.” Today we present Los Angeles based street artist/musician/anarchist: ABCNT.
1. Explain where the name “ABCNT” comes from, does it have any significant meaning?
In the mid 90’s I used to write the alias ‘Absent’ and even had an acronym for it (Always Be Successful Entering New Terrain) and my DJ name was ‘AbcntMnded’ so I merged the two to simplify into one main idea, or entity. Not a brand— that’s one thing I am not, and will never be, I’m just me.
2. Where can one see your artwork?
Spots in L.A., Hit+Run events, or on the web at www.abcnt.info (technically on TV as well!)
3. How Long have you been doing art in the streets and how did you get started?
1996 was initially when I first started tagging, catching spots, thinking more about style and art, before people were even saying “street art.” Inspiration was just more about keeping up with graffiti and stenciling. But I didn’t come up with the ABCNT “business bandit” logo until 2004, which is just more iconic and easier to stamp in a persons head.
For those who don’t know- can u explain the meaning of your iconic “business bandit”?
At the time I made the “business bandit” image, it was a few years into the Dick & Bush era and I was more involved with protests and it was always mandatory to avoid police profilers who videotape the identity of protestors, to look for the regulars aka dedicated activists, to establish so called ‘leaders’ for some bullshit fascist data, who knows. So we’d go masked up to protect our identity. With that scenario constantly in my head, fucking around one night the image just naturally merged into the idea of creating this anonymous yet professional figure that people can identify and rely on for a message of truth. Adding the drips just helped the image float and communicates an aesthetic that to me is timeless and connected to the zeitgeist. The business aspect is my form of subversion. If I can infiltrate a company or establishment with my ideas, that seemed more productive to me than screaming at some sanctioned protest surrounded by police.
4. What do you enjoy most about street art and How does art affect you?
I like originality and creative solutions that enhance the landscape of the city. Style is cool but gets boring, someone with something to say is always more interesting. Content is king. Every major city’s art scene is crackin’ right now and there’s a lot of great shit happening, its all inspiring. Except for the cute shit, I can’t stand toy bugged eyed Mickey Mouse bullshit, and biters with wack ideas and poor execution.
5. What’s the theme of your art? Where does your inspiration come from?
Politics & activism is a heavy influence in my work. When I read things, ideas come to me and I’ll write them down in my book and revisit it build on it etc. I just gravitate towards that realm, it’s in my blood and I’m here to address issues that I think are important. It channels through me, I’m just a messenger. I try to keep ABCNT on that avenue of focus while other types of work & style I get out my system through either working with Hit+Run or commercial work as a freelancer.
6.) By design, you’re clearly a dedicated activist/anarchist, do you ever create abstract visual art too or exclusively stick to political art? Would you describe art with no meaning like a non-alcoholic beer?
My collage work is sort of abstract. I guess it may depend on who’s viewing it. I definitely explore different realms of visual art. Political art is just easier for me and feels more important and immediate. I don’t hate on anything if it doesn’t have any meaning to it necessarily, because sometimes the meaning is in the process and technique. For instance my friend Vahe Berberian does a lot of abstract paintings and I really love his work. Recently I was allowed to select a few of his paintings and collage them for a new EP by BEI RU. That’ll be out soon.
7. Many people may not know your involvement in the music scene— how does this differ from your visual art that most people are familiar with?
Well I came up in the 90s “golden era,” before the internet really became accessible to the population. A real west coast hip-hop fanatic, with a kind of militant attitude towards consciousness, and I made an extra effort to practice the elements. So if I wasn’t working on styles & letters, I was trying to uprock and do a power move, or freestyle and write rhymes with my crew. Surprisingly to a lot of people (except my inner circle) I did more rhyming than anything else. As a result I started diggin’ in crates, making beats, mix tapes and still doing it but more to maintain my own spiritual connection to music. (Download ABCNT’s latest mix tape HERE.)
Do you prefer one medium over another?
I’m not sure if I prefer one over the other. It’s just a matter of what I feel like creating at the moment. It just happens that visual art has more of my time occupied.
8.) Since leaving rhyming in the past- what’s your opinion on the current state of lyricists? What/who is fresh and what isn’t?
It’s evolved. I mean artists that come to mind from; Saul Williams, Ras Kass, to Mos Def, and GonjaSufi They did it, and in most cases, are still doing it and taking it further. But yea no one is checking for rappers these days, shit’s dead. If the lyrics are real though, I will dig it. As of now, I’m bumping that CRIME Kills Kids, DamFunk, Zackey Force Funk, GLK, KUTMAH, that whole BRAINFEEDER experimental beats movement. Everyone else is sort of making history because TV or iTunes said so.
9. What are you currently working on and what are the future ambitions of ABCNT?
Currently I am working with Stardust trying to pay my bills and move this ABCNT movement forward by the same means, but bigger and better like everything else that grows with time.
10. Any readers you wanna thank or famous last words?
“He who seeks titles, invites his own downfall.”
Big shout outs to Restitution Press, CRYPTIK, Brandy Flower and the Hit+Run Crew!
As we continue with our second installment of our “Artist Spotlight” we present Los Angeles based street artist: INEPT.
1. Explain where the name “INEPT” comes from, does it have any significant meaning?
I picked up the name while attending college as a reflection of my behavior. Growing up I had a bad sense of judgement which would often put me in bad situations.
2. Where can one see your artwork?
My work can be found all over Los Angeles, San Diego and some parts of San Francisco. INEPT FLICKR.
3. How Long have you been doing art in the streets and how do did you get started?
I got involved with graffiti at the age of 15. Me and a couple of my friends would catch the bus and hit spots all around the city. I had fun with it for a while but dropped out due to overwhelming responsibilities, which required 100% of my time(work, school, relationship, band, etc). During this time I was exposed to screen printing by some friends that ran a record label called GO Records. I picked up the technique pretty fast and started making band shirts and limited work. I implemented all my artistic and creative energy into making art for bands(lay outs/covers/flyers). Around 2006 i started messing around with bucky o’hare characters and pasting them all around the city (love that series!). It would get my adrenalin going as it did with graffiti. I broke away from that and started creating my own characters.
4. What’s the theme of your art? Where does your inspiration come from?
I began drawing when I was very young. Growing up I was strongly influenced by comic books, cartoons and science fiction films. The majority of my art is science fiction based. I’m fascinated with futuristic themed characters such as cyborgs, space ships, cities, and the likes. Much of my inspiration comes from artists like Blek le Rat, Snub27, Orticanoodles, Broken Crow, Obey, Banksy and more. Seeing what these artists have accomplished gives you the motivation to push your work even further.
5. Many people may not know your involvement in the punk and hardcore scene, do you think maintaining a straight edge positively impacts your drive on the streets?
I’ve been part of the underground hardcore/punk scene for years now. The underground graffiti/art movement inhibits the same characteristics. Both share a network of friends which support, help, and inspire each other. Artists interact with others without the rock star mentality. Living a straight edge lifestyle removes all distractions, keeps me focused and alert. Being under the influence of any type increases your chances of getting caught.
6. Would you consider that working on a legal wall or permission spot is like a beer with no alcohol?
Legal walls tend to run a little longer (obviously haha). It all comes down to having your work seen by the public, regardless if its legal or not I’m game.
7. What do you enjoy most about street art and How does art affect you?
Street art/graffiti gives me the ability to express myself. It provides an escape from all the bullshit I deal with on a daily bases. Graffiti gives you a feeling of having some type of control of your city. It gives you a sense of satisfaction to have the public stop and admire or question your work. It is the easiest, less costly and most effective way to target an array of people. I enjoy driving through LA and seeing tons of graffiti/street art, these are signs of a healthy city.
8. What are you currently working on and what are the future ambitions of Inept?
I’m currently working on large scale stencil pieces, new shirts, stickers and hopefully soon a web site. Everyday I’m learning something new, finding better and more efficient ways of doing things. I hope to have a solo show early next year.
9. Don’t be shy and please share your most outrageous story during a covert mission.
On my way home from work I would always drive by this blank billboard on top of this donut shop. One night I set out to smash it with a huge paste up. As I was lathering it up a fuckin cop pulls up and parks right under me. The fat bastard gets out and walks into the shop without noticing me (blind as hell haha). I was laying down keeping quiet as paste dripped down onto the roof of his pig-mobile. He get back and drives away without noticing anything wrong (close call!).
10. Any readers you wanna thank or famous last words?
To achieve something great you must give it %110. Don’t let anyone discourage you on what your set out to do. Expect set-backs and bad criticism but turn this into positive/creative energy towards your work. Believe in yourself and don’t give a shit what others think. I want to thank anyone that has stuck by me and believed in my work from day 1. The best is yet to come!!
THANKS INEPT! MUCH RESPECT!!!
The $tatus Faction is excited to introduce a new reoccurring topic to our blog- interviews. Seems so obvious- but we’ve just been so busy talking about our own fascinating lives. Our ARTIST SPOTLIGHT content starts today with RICH (HBTK) from Portland, Maine.
Since we’re just starting this, we question-jacked from GrafHead, also check that site for more dope interviews and original graffiti videos. Stay tuned, future interviews are already in the works- next up is street artist INEPT from Los Angeles. ENJOY!
ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: RICH HBT
1. How long have you been writing?
2. How did you get the name Rich? Did you write anything else before?
My first piece was a hydro piece. I used to write different words back in the day… Glock, Duos, DJ 2 Rich, Richie Rich…etc. Everyone in my neighborhood called me Rich, Richie Rich and Daddy Rich ( a play on the Third Bass DJ ). Rich just stuck because that was my nickname in the neighborhood.
3. Who were your influences?
There weren’t any older writers around for me to look up to in my hometown. Subway Art was shown to me via a couple of brothers in school that had recently moved from Jersey City that I used to break with. The book and subsequent graffiti cameos on television is what got me started. But my crew was the biggest influence on me. I was fortunate enough to have a huge abandoned warehouse across the street from the projects I was living in which provided a weather-proof place to paint and more importantly, piece, any season, 24/7.
4. What crew are you from?
Hostyle Bomb Thret Kings. I’m also fortunate enough to have been put down in some big crews too. HBTK is what I rep mostly though because it’s my friends. More importantly my friends I came up with.
5. Do you paint at yards or strictly street action?
I paint the yard and lay-ups on occasion. At 36 with 2 kids I can safely say my street action isn’t what it used to be. I’ve had some really intense chases in the last few years (knock on wood) and had fun last night catching a few tags on a cross-town walk with some writers almost half my age.
6. Do you like to paint at permission spots?
I like getting some beers and relaxing with my friends at legal walls and doing intricate artwork but some days are better than others. Legals don’t bring the same sense of accomplishment when finished like a boxcar or street spot. But rarely would I spend 8 or more hours at either of those scenarios. Legals have their pro’s and con’s I guess. I get some commissions and side work off of them.
7. Why do you write graffiti? Are the legal ramifications worth it?
Avoiding a 40 minute lecture, I’ll say graffiti is a great escape from my head. I try not to think about the legal ramifications.
8. Do you have any crazy stories you could share with us?
There was this one time in 90′ or 91′ when 5 or 6 of us ( Myself, Bern, Asend, Case, Self and Baste R.I.P. ) went to Ames on a rakking mission. When I say rakking mission I mean we militant about it. We would line up in a single file line in the paint aisle. I would fill the backpack in front of me. The guy behind me would fill my backpack and so on and so on. We had as much paint as we could carry so we headed for the door. I remember hearing a “Code Charlie” or something to that effect blast over the loudspeaker and saying “yo guys we gotta fuckin’ bounce”. Right as we hit the main aisle looking ahead at the door about 50 yards away or so security lined up in front of the door. It wasn’t your stereotypical security force either. It was 4 or 5 overweight buzzcut women with Mag-light’s, walkie talkie’s. Stretching and tucking in their shirts and stuff. They were obviously thinking about man-handling us…so-to-speak. So we ran towards them like an NFL special teams from hell. Baste ducked under one of their attempts to grab him and was the first out the door. The biggest of the brawny women got Bern in a head-lock after he punched her glasses off. Being the good friend I am, I speared the 2 of them through the front door in a tidal-wave of shattered glass. I immediately helped Bern up. I remember one of us doing figure 8’s around a few parked cars with 2 of them giving chase. We all managed to run down the 200 yard parking lot to a street perpendicular to the strip mall. The sirens were loud and on top of us instantly. We ran through a wooded section and dove into a swamp up to our necks. We watched 3 or 4 patrol cars fly by us and got out as soon as they went by. We ran down a long stretch of road to get to the train tracks to catch a breather. Gasping for our breath and laughing about the security and the amount of paint we had we bombed the tracksides the whole way home and the city that night. I don’t condone hitting women, but these women outweighed us all and went to put their hands on us, so we did what we had to do.
THANKS FOR SHARING RICHIE RICH!! RESPECT!