Everyone has a period of their youth they enjoy looking back on.
For me it was 1996 -1999. At the time it felt like it would never end, three years of consistent painting and creative achievement before somehow falling into a normal day job. During this time I was generally broke, living from one art commission to the next, with hindsight I can see I also had focus and drive. It’s something that’s easy to lose when you get comfortable.
Oh, I also got to have fun painting out and about…nothing hardcore, just taking advantage of some under utilised spaces.
I’ve always enjoyed the immediacy of spray paint. Working quickly is a luxury while working fulltime and trying to pursue painting in my spare time.
The challenge with spray paint though is scale (it’s best suited for larger works) and texture. Spray paint is typically quite flat. Stencil artists overcome this by letting a little over spray or drips through their stencils or masked areas. More traditional graffiti character masters often take the approach of highly rendered illustrations replicating the smoothness of air-brushing, or larger works that are like hyper-realism.
With these sketches I’m trying to work quickly, on a smaller scale with a soft technique rather than solid colour, enjoying the natural drips and marks of the spray paint rather than hiding them. There’s been a lot of absolute failures, here’s one or two that are kind of moving in the direction I like.
Some older examples of painting the female face. I’ve never formally studied painting or potraiture although I have done a little bit of life drawing. Most of my work has tended to lean towards solid lined work because of my graffiti background.
In future posts I’ll share newer work which has less rigid linework as I break away from what I learned through my early graffiti work.
A little blast from the past…10 years ago I was footloose and fancy free, travelling overseas. My active days as a graffiti writer were already long behind me but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to particpate in the painting sessions at the famous Scribble Jam in Cincinatti.
more photos at http://www.graffiti.org/cinci/cinci_1.html