Interview with Graffiti Artist: Optic

1.) How long have you been doing graffiti?

Since 2004-05, so about 7 years or so and going strong.

2.) Do you have an artist name? Why that name?

Yeah, the name Optic was given to to me by my cousin’s friend who was a big influence on me. I had a few names before that also.

3.) Why do you do graffiti?

I just do it for me. It makes me feel good, I get a feeling of accomplishment from it.

4.) Where do you get inspiration?

I’m always inspired. It’s more of a motivation that keeps me going, I’m always trying to get that spot before the next guy or else I lost and someone else gets that fame.

5.) Have you ever done it on public property? Why?

99.6% of the time it’s on public property. That’s where graffiti belongs, you can go to a zoo and look at a tiger in a cage but it’s not the same as in the wild. Same thing with graffiti, it can be on a canvas but it’s just not the same.

6.) Have you ever been caught for doing your graffiti?

Twice as a minor.

7.) Do you have a special trademark in your graffiti?

No real trademark, I have a style of my own and I try to keep it simple and clean.

8.) Is the graffiti you do symbolic in any way?

Not really, symbolism is great for poetry not for graffiti. I try to keep it very clear with what I’m doing.

9.) What’s your favorite medium to work with?

Aerosol paint and a cement surface, trains are cool too.

10.) Why do you think some people don’t consider graffiti an art?

I guess because they just see it as blatant vandalism, like throwing a rock through a window or something. They just can’t see the expression that’s actually put into it. By law it is vandalism dont get me wrong graffiti is a crime, but it’s not so black and white like people want to make it.

11.) Do you do other types of artwork?

Yeah I fiddle with ceramics it’s pretty fun messing with mud.

12.) Do you imagine art/graffiti always being in your life?

I’ll never stop painting, maybe I won’t be hopping fences and all the stuff I can do now, but I’ll still be up.

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Artist: Optic

Check in tomorrow, April 1st for an interview with the artist!

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Interview with Graffiti Artist: Opi

1.    How long have you done graffiti?

About five years.

2.    Do you have an artist name? Why that name?

Opi. It’s a long story, but I got that nickname in sixth grade and it just stuck. It was based off a person that would smile a lot, and since I do, my friends called me that.

3.    Why do you do graffiti?

Well, I always thought it was cool looking. I started in eighth grade, but I gave up after a while because it was too difficult for me. Then in ninth grade I took an art class, which got me doing it again. I really enjoy doing it, it’s a great way to express yourself.

4.    Where do you get inspiration?

Good question. I’d have to say surrounding artists, music for sure (rock and alternative mainly), and it’s hard to explain that I also get random times of inspiration as well that just pop into my head. I’d have to say my main source of inspiration is from other artists because it challenges me to want to outdo their work.

5.    Have you ever done it on public property? Why/why not?

No, unless you want to call the side of my shed public property. I find spray paint to be incredibly difficult to work with since it drips a lot and it has its own technique. I can do an outline of a piece of art in spray paint, but doing the actual shading is extremely difficult. Plus it’s a much bigger canvas to work with.

6.    Where’s your favorite place to do graffiti?

I enjoy doing it most in my room, specifically on my art desk.

7.    Are there any unique places you do graffiti on? Why do you do it there?

I do it on canvases, shoes, and backpacks, but mainly on shoes. It’s fun to do it on these kinds of objects, plus it’s quick and unique. Shoes I enjoy the most since I can incorporate a lot of different little things on such a small canvas, but when I put it on a bigger canvas, it doesn’t look nearly as cool. I like the idea of people being able to wear a type of artwork, not just seeing it on walls.

8.    Do you have a special trademark in your graffiti—like a certain style—that makes it different from the others?

Well, apparently some other people do this, but I consider myself to have a specific style to it when I use a lot of colors. I also like putting a lot of a realistic touch to it.

9.    Is the graffiti you do symbolic in any way?

I wouldn’t say it’s symbolic, I just think artwork is a way to express yourself without saying words. I’m sure people that see graffiti art can find a kind of symbolism in it, but I don’t purposely put it in there.

10. What’s your favorite medium to work with? Why?

Tough question. I like working with black pen, but my favorite thing to use are paint pens. There are these certain paint pens that are designed specifically for artists, and I enjoy the brand molotow the most. It has a variety of colors and sizes, made of acrylic paint, doesn’t bleed or run, and it enables me to make finer details in my graffiti.

11. Do you consider certain types of graffiti (perhaps tagging) an insult to the type of graffiti you do?

No, not really. I think people just express themselves in different ways, so graffiti like tagging is just a different way of expressing it; it doesn’t really make a difference to me.

12. Why do you think some people don’t consider graffiti an art?

Well, I think nowadays graffiti has become more of a mainstream kind of art, so I think people are more accepting of it.

But I did this report just recently on graffiti, and I found out that in the 80’s in New York, graffiti was used more for social and political protests. In the past twenty years, though, it’s been adopted in a type of art form.

13. Do you do other types of artwork?

Sure, but it still has a graffiti-type feel to it. I’d have to say the things I do outside of graffiti that I enjoy are painting things like space, clocks, and I really enjoy including the earth the most. Around sophomore through junior year of high school I started incorporating a mix of realism in my graffiti, and ever since then I’ve enjoyed mixing those together.

14. Do you imagine art always being in your life?

Of course. I plan to start my own company of merchandise with things like shirts, shoes, snowboards, backpacks, and things like that.

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Q&A* with Steve Rotman

Here’s some art by Steve Rotman!

“Pose 2” “Defie” “Disobey”

If you want to check out more of his photos go to the his Flickr page here or if you want to read an interview about his views on Graffiti Click here. In the interview he also talks about some places where you can find some great art in SF.

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Opi graffiti

Graffiti isn’t always found on walls of San Francisco, but it’s still dazzling on paper, and even shoes! I’d personally love a pair of them, I’m sure the citizens of San Francisco would as well.

 

Tune in this Friday, March 31st for an interview with the artist!

 

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Whoa, this is pretty trippy!

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Reyes graffiti

It’s amazing to see the same artist in different areas of San Francisco. Different subjects in their graffiti, but you can still spot their own personal style. It’s pretty colorful and eye-popping!

Artist: Reyes

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