Urban Vinyl Daily: Would you mind telling us a little background about yourself ?
Scribe: I have been drawing my whole life but it got a little more serious when I left home in 93 to go to school. When school didn’t really work out I started to take odd jobs and would learn things like the computer and stuff as I went along. My current general base of operations is a small dressing room off my bedroom where I am sharing the space with my wife Alisa where she does her sewing. I draw and work all over the house so I don’t end up locked up in a room away from my two kids. It takes a little longer to get things done and I stay up late but I don’t want to be absent from their lives.
UVD: Would you mind telling us about some of the designs that you came up with when you were first starting out and how designs have progressed over the years?
Scribe: If you are talking about graf then I would say that a lot of it had to do with limitations. When I painted at night then I did high contrast to be able to see what I was doing. I went through a phase where everything was dash lines and people seemed to see it as a unique look but in truth some of it was what I was trying to do and some of it was because I felt lintier on drawing clean lines like the guys I painted with so I figured out how to mask my short comings until I caught up. Learning how to use a can over time had an effect on how I drew and was a huge teacher in my evolution of my so called look.
UVD: What are some things that influence you and your work? Is there any artist’s work that inspired you and your style early on in your career?
Scribe: I am really influence by emotions on peoples faces and how they carry themselves. I constantly look at body shape and the distances between stuff on the face. I love the jokes that all happen in the background and the stuff that hits you later. There are so many that have influenced me over the years that it is getting hard to list so I will answer with my earliest in different realms. – Graf, Mode2 and Twist were the earliest. – Cartoons – Warner Brothers and Walt Disney – Cartoonists – Vaughn Bode‘ and Jim Davis – Toys – Dalek and Pete Fowler….all of these led to a lot more people but those are my earliest memories in those areas.
UVD: With so many prolific characters in your paintings, it is incredibly hard for me to choose a specific figure to ask about. But I guess I will ask how the idea for Rumpus the Rhino came about (since he seems to have received the most widespread popularity that I have seen) and how he has possibly evolved over the years.
Scribe: Rumpus, my rhino character was a long evolution. It started out with just being attracted to the animal and giving it a try. Most graf writers I was around at the time or exposed to were doing people and made up creatures or coping comic stuff. I didn’t seem to see a lot of animals and I didn’t have the common bond with b-boy characters like others did because I missed the 80’s when I lived overseas as a kid. I painted a couple rhinos, got some books on them and started reading more about them. I felt like I was more like them then I had ever realized. They have trouble seeing long distances and I was having trouble seeing into what kind of future I was going to have in life. I was a big guy who liked to spend a lot of time alone but wasn’t something you wanted to cross when pushed or frightened…so do rhinos. The story of Rumpus was an evolution and had to mature like a kid. He continues to make an effort to grow like I do so the story and adventures seem to follow my life.
UVD: With living in Cincinnati, I have heard widespread lore of the days of the DF group and their command of the streets along with Scribble Jam. Would you mind telling us a little about how you were recruited in to the group and maybe an interesting story during your time in the group?
Scribe: I started in a group called ATT who was founded by East. DF was founded by Emit and Sub. I had moved to the midwest for college from Boston. DF was something I had followed some when I was on the East coast and I had serious respect for them before I moved. ATT started going to Scribble Jam forever ago and Jason used to but together the graf part of it. Jason was an ATT member and a DF member and in my opinion had a lot to do with bringing us together in a closer way when we all came to his wedding many years ago. It was then that many ATT member were also put in DF and vice versa…lot of cousins so to say. One of my favorite memories is when a lot of them came to my wedding in Kansas City…I spent a lot of time up till the day before my wedding just painting a huge wall with them which seems like the last thing I should have been doing but my wife is awesome and we had such a good time.
UVD: Though I could ask all day about your graffiti and figures, I will switch gears to the figure series that you produced with Cardboard Spaceship. Would you mind walking us through how you guys hooked up to produce a set of vinyl figures and what it was like for you seeing your figures in that 3-D realm?
Scribe: Turns out that Jamie from Cardboard Spaceship is also a Cincinnati native and was also at some of the early Scribble Jam stuff too. I didn’t realize that our paths had crossed so early. He moved to Santa Cruz and opened a Toy store with Nick. They asked me to do my fist solo show and mailed me my first figures to paint on. I knew a little bit about the scene but them giving me a little push literally changed my life. The direction it helped start is just a crazy journey. Later they wanted to get into producing stuff for themselves and when they asked me I was blown away. All of us have been blessed by the fact that they were received so well. It was a big risk on their part and I was a new comer to that world and still feel like I am to this day. There have been a lot of people that were not even toy collectors drawn to the designs and that is something all of us were hoping for.
UVD: As a generic set of questions, since every custom figure you show that is a commission is amazing in its detail and execution, do you keep a catalog of customs so that images do not repeat since undoubtedly some people as for similar characters? And would you mind highlighting a couple of the customs that you are most proud of the way they turned out?
Scribe: There has been a lot over the past several years. I don’t look back at them much and am not sure if I have repeated any thing or not! Currently the stuff I enjoy the most are the collabs I do with my wife Alisa who does Plush work and design…she makes my stuff look way better.
UVD: Being that a lot of artists look up to you and would love to work with you, would you mind telling us a couple artists that you would love to get the chance to collaborate with and why?
Scribe: Currently I would love the chance to paint on a wall with Jeff Soto and Greg Simkins “Crayola”…I look up to them in a lot of ways and they have been painting more walls again. I feel like on a wall is the only way I would be some what comfortable…canvas work and illustrations then I wouldn’t be able to begin to hang.
UVD: If anyone has spent any time on your facebook, they would see that your graffiti characters have made the transition in to the realm of every day scenery, and help make your job look amazing. Would you mind telling us how about the process of going from “street artist” to artist who gets to paint murals on ambulances and in hospitals, and how surreal it possibly felt at the time and maybe feels today?
Scribe: It is a really surreal thing. I am blessed that I happen to have a style that can walk on that line right now. I don’t have to work to hard to force anything and try to much to lead some double life in my looks or choice of subject matter. There are going to always be things that are not totally right for either side or just don’t fit but I generally don’t feel like I am making a sacrifice on either side of the fence and that just blows my mind. My family is provided for which is number one in my life and it also helps me train more for the other projects I do outside of the hospital. I found out last week that the next thing I am going to paint for the hospital is an airplane!….so weird!
UVD: After watching the “Banksy vs. King Robbo” video, it called in to question the value some people place on graffiti as street art. Would you mind sharing your thoughts on this trend where an artist can be despised and another can be revered for their vandalism?
Scribe: I was thinking about that the other day in regards to that even happening in my own area. A street artist in my neighborhood is doing “LOVE” mini paintings and nailing them to poles without permission. I follow a group online from my neighborhood to stay up on what is going on and people were praising this person and bashing some graffiti in the area too. I felt like it really send a mixed message. Both are people taking public space into their own hands but one is something you like and the other is something you don’t. I feel like they were saying it is OK to break the law as long as “we” like the subject matter….it kind of bummed me out even though I like the “love” paintings. I see lots of bad and good graffiti and same goes for street art but I am sure someone out there is the total opposite of me and that is totally fine. I feel like what people are saying is “I understand a “love” painting or a Bansky piece so I will lower my guard on how it got there….but I don’t understand Graffiti lettering and haven’t figured out that I have been brainwashed over time to think they are all thugs”. The thing in that movie that upset me was when a street artist in the movie said they think more about the spot and why it was put there…that was such a bunch of crap. I know plenty of writers that put in the same effort. That was just a jab to elevate themselves so they stay on top right now with the wave of people buying that stuff. I personally like some of the clever messages in that type of street art but agree with many that the skills it takes to complete something with a can freehand is something I admire more. It is like the guy who uses a projector vs the draftsman….natural draftsman win in my opinion.
UVD: Are there any future projects that you wish to discuss for the reader to keep their eyes open for in the upcoming future?
Scribe: I am working on that. There are a couple of figures coming out I cant announce yet…fingers crossed. I have some shows but am trying to pull back so I don’t burn myself out.
UVD: What would your encouragements/suggestions be for artists/designers that are either just starting out or who are trying to get themselves noticed?
Scribe: dunno, everyone is different. Make it a real priority, not a romantic one you just project through your image. Don’t be afraid to stay home and work and skip out on a party if it really means that much to you.