How long have you been selling in SoHo?
I have been in the SoHo circuit for two years now. This, at one point, was once Jean Michel Basquiat's spot.
Can you talk a bit about your work?
It's all Pop Art. I went to school for art and design back in California, and became a graphic designer for an action sports retail company and then for Levi's.
A lot of my art is very line-oriented, there's a flow to them. This giant nude I have here, the inspiration for this was a sound wave, a frequency, just to get the peaks and valleys up and down, and just to make something that was a frequency sent thru space.
How did you make that piece?
These are actually automotive paint on powdered aluminum. My family owned an auto paint and body shop. We would build hot rods and cars back in California, and I incorporated all the training that I got from that shop and school. I lay down an initial color and on top of that, spray another color, and on top of that another, and it's all a series of stickers and masking until I finally peel everything away and I'm left with this image. But you can buff and wax this is just like a car hood.
What's special about SoHo specifically?
There's a legacy here. Everyone speaks of the times when the artists originally started out here, and they did run into some type of benefactor or angel investor or collector. Maybe it was Mary Boone that walked by. The opportunity to make connections out here on West Broadway really do something big if you're worth it.
What connections have you made from meeting people on the street?
I've made fantastic connections. My life is funded by selling this artwork. It's kinda funny the way it happens; people have hive mind. Someone sees someone buy this Lolita piece and goes, "Oh do you have another one of those?" or "Can you make one for me?" and then all of a sudden you're swiping credit cards, wrapping stuff up.
I get commissions for steakhouses, restaurants, and I just finished a piece for the Barclays investment firm over in Santa Monica, California, and a place called Burger Parlor out in Santa Monica as well. It's pretty cool to meet someone here and then it sparks a commission.
What are some of the biggest challenges and frustrations of working here?
[One issue is] street patina for the work; you're transporting this stuff and you're always taking risk. A lot of the places around here have no place to park. You do end up getting hit—you get tickets, but that's the cost of doing business.
The most frustrating thing is haggling, people trying to really get a deal. If there's someone that appreciates your work, there's no problem with that. I'm more than willing to give someone a break so a piece goes to a good home with a person that deserves to have it. But there are other people that are all like "Man that's a lot of money. How 'bout I give you 40 bucks?" The materials alone cost $40! You don't know the work that went into this! But that's life.