My goal is for someone to see a face or a tag of “hope” and in some way that either gives them more optimism in their day or it makes them feel less alone or motivates them to make someone elses day better.
Are you from the SF Bay Area? If not where are you from and what brought you here?
-Im from the Midwest mainly, but have lived all over. PA, NC, SC, MI, OH, WA, and CA of course. The last place I lived besides CA was Toledo ohio. What brought me to California originally was protesting. I was (and still am to some degree) a radical anarchist and saw all the stuff that was going on in Oakland and hitch hiked from ohio to help out. Ive hitch hiked across the country, by myself, three times.
Where and when did you start making street art? What got you started?
-I haven’t been writing “hope” since then but I started doing street art in the 7th grade in Michigan. I can’t explain why, it just felt like the right thing for me to do. My childhood was horrible (I was majorly abused to the point that I once jumped out of a moving car to get away, dads profession was a con artist, Ive had like 4 moms, and many more completely fucked up things that no one should ever have to go through) so I guess it gave me a outlet to express my dissatisfaction with my situation.
Why do you write Hope and usually with a face?
I started writing hope in a time when I desperately needed it. It was a message to myself (and still is) to keep going, fuck the bullshit, focus on my goals and reminded me of the power and responsibility to others that I have, with my art. Now it also is a message to others to not give up and to push forward.
Its usually clearly written too (usually calligraphy of some sort) so people can easily understand what is being said. It’s a message of “you aren’t alone”. Life is designed make us fail, and is full of horrible things like rape, child abuse, police brutality, war, greed, bigotry, etc and its easy to submit to that. “hope” and “hoping” are me shouting “I understand your frustration, your anger, your dissatisfaction, your pain, and your sadness and Im here for you”. I chose this message because it was the message I was looking for, growing up, and didn’t find, so I decided to start it. I know other people feel the same way I do and just want to scream at the top of their lungs, and im here to do that for them.
My goal is for someone to see a face or a tag of “hope” and in some way that either gives them more optimism in their day or it makes them feel less alone or motivates them to make someone elses day better. I usually do a face because I feel that a person can take away more from a painting, more emotion, more of a message, when they come across a facial expression. Its something we do every day with the people we associate with, always judging the way they are feeling based on the way they show it with facial expressions. I feel people can take away more with a face, something we can all decipher and relate to, opposed to letters. If im angry, you’ll clearly see it, if im sad, you’ll definitely know.
What or who has influenced or inspired your art and style?
-man, this list could go on for days. I pull inspiration from many areas. Some of them are comedians, musicians, other artists, movies, philosophers such as Jiddu Krishnamurti, the various people in my life who have helped me hang in there, my own life experiences, etc. some movies are v for vendetta, equilibrium, 21 grams, fear and loathing in las vegas, fight club, hanna, sucker punch, all of the matrix movies, the last two punisher movies and 7 pounds ( I could go on for days). Comedians like George Carlin and Bill Hicks have influenced my thought and art from a very young age.
Music is also a HUGE influence. Its mainly music that speaks the words that I was already thinking, but didn’t know how to say. Bands like Stick To Your Guns, the Unseen, Mos Def, Deltron 3030, immortal technique, hopsin, eyedea, the flashbulb, atmosphere, whitechapel, insomnium, killswitch engage, slipknot, Mothers cake, Deftones, rage against the machine, hatebreed, etc. Influence knows no genre boundaries.
I honestly don’t take things from other artists, just things like “oh that looks cool, let me try my face in that perspective”, but there are many who have helped me along the way. “Saveonersk”, Ernest Doty, “Oath(269)”, “Payntr”, and classic stuff like Goya. Banksy has to be one of the biggest in the sense of implanting the thought that street art, graffiti, can be more than just a word, it can be a message, a way to reach out, a way to change lives, and I find any art without one of those to be boring and not utilizing the potential and power they have.
What type of piece do you do? Where can they be seen? What types of tools do you use?
I do a wide range of various pieces, and its usually something new every time. I feel like if im not challenging myself with every piece, im not evolving as an artist. The tools vary as well. Rollers, roller poles, spray paint, markers, bucket paint, using the top caps of cans for splatter effects, brushes, stencils, etc. They can be seen all over, if you’re looking for them. My thing is abandoned spots. I come from Toledo, which is covered in abandoned buildings, as well as making trips to Detroit, which is the king of abandoned spots (Shout out to Detroit writers. You guys have all the good spots lol.)
I paint to become less stressed, so bombing on the street isn’t my thing because im constantly having to look over my shoulder (as I usually paint alone), watching out for cops, people who just hate something they don’t understand, dogs, etc. I don’t do broad daylight spots either. I go in unseen and I come out unseen, those are my rules. If I cant find a way to do that, I find a different spot. Abandoned spots give me the ability to add beauty to something that’s decaying and ugly, while actually relieving stress.
Do you have an art and design background? Do you do art for a living or outlet?
-I have always been artistic and into design, even from a very young age and it started with Legos. Design was always my way to escape. I took all the art classes available in high school, including a majority of the graphic design and videography classes. I actually only took one computer graphics class then he passed me in the second one because he realized I was already way ahead of that class, and he stuck me in an independent advanced videography class. Like many artist, I strive to do it for a living. Slowly getting commission work and selling canvases (The more the merrier!), so it’s a combination of both, living and an outlet. Starving artist hard at work!
We understand you are into music. Do you want to tell us about it and how music and art relate and influence each other?
-Art and music, often times, I think of as the same thing. Music is art. It involves the same mentality used in creating a painting, it’s just a different venue. I HIGHLY respect musicians. If it wasn’t for them creating the amazing art they do, I probably wouldn’t be here today. As far as the music I make, I make various forms of EDM (electronic dance music) and dabble in other instruments such as piano (my favorite), vocals, and guitar. Ive been slowly learning how to combine music and my paintings, as well. I was working on a canvas one day and was listening to a song I loved and thought “I want to portray the emotion behind this riff, how would I do that?” and I ended up painting the tabs for the riff onto the canvas. I have a saying: Im like jack skellington, merging worlds. That’s why all of the art that I do (music, painting, photography, videography, video editing, graphic design, etc) is under one name: Hope. I am all of these things, and all of them are related.
You have made several videos. Tell us about them. Some show you painting. They convey a similar theme with words like I understand you, no matter how hard I hit the ground I will still smile, we still beleive, we are the ones who will achieve while the world dreams
-Part of it is me using the technology we have, to reach as many people as I can with my message. Another reason is because I love filming and editing. I also wear different masks, which represent my depression, anger, sadness, etc. All of these things are further extensions of my expression. It gives me the ability to combine all of the things I do, into one video. Painting, music, videography, etc, are all in one spot at the same time, something I cant fully do on a canvas yet. The words often associated with my videos are the same as the message that I try to portray on the street. I try to reach out and motivate in my videos the same way I try to reach out and motivate on the street. Ive actually had people contact me on youtube asking to talk. People struggling with thoughts of suicide, bad living situations, people who need painting advice, etc. im here for all of that because ive been there, ive had suicidal thoughts more times than I can count on two hands, and more than willing to have a conversation with you.
You posted a Robin Williams tribute video. Since you are about hope and he was about uplifting everyone’s spirits do you want to share how you feel about his passing?
Robins death was very sad to a lot of people. When I found out, I thought it was a fake news article. How could someone who was so funny and so uplifting, be so sad that they commit suicide? That day, I had to get completely off of social media because I got completely sad every time I saw a article with his face and I examined why his death affected me so much. I came to the conclusion that 1) Jack was one of the first things in my life that taught me that its OK to be different. As a kid, that movie, and his acting, had a huge impact on me and was yet another thing that made me feel loved and not alone. 2) he committed suicide. Having had those thoughts many times, I completely understand the mentality he was in, at that moment. I feel like we, I, failed him. If he would have had the right person to talk to him, he might still be alive today. Granted I don’t know the situation, but I cant help but think it was our fault for not helping a fellow human being in need. Im not blaming anyone, im more blaming myself.
A lot of people think that fame and money will end all their problems and they will be happy, but this is a clear example of that being a complete fabrication.
So I got off of social media, sat down with my DAW and just produced with him in mind. It was me saying sorry that I couldn’t help him and goodbye.
Do you have any current projects or upcoming project or show you want people know about?
Anything else you would like people to know?
-no shows YET (nudge nudge =p) but im always looking for commission work, have canvases for sale, always producing music, always making videos, and looking to collaborate! I just want to let people know that we have to potential to be something completely extraordinary, as the human race, but its up to us to realize that and push forward thought and action that will help achieve that. The people you see every day have thoughts, feel pain, sadness, guilt, loneliness, betrayal, unloved, etc and they are no different than you. Take this into account and try to make someones day better, because it’s the same thing that you would want. You don’t have to do anything extraordinary to do that, either. Smile at that clerk that seems like they are having a bad day. If you can, give the homeless person a dollar and if not that, a hug or a conversation. Help someone who is handicapped, bag their groceries. Try to relate to random people in conversation.
The possibilities are endless when attempting to change the world for the better. Most importantly, never give up Hope.
Watch other videos produced by Hope and listen to his sound selections on Sound Cloud
Watch Hope youtube videos at hopeisart: Hope Videos
Listen to sound selections on Sound Cloud: https://soundcloud.com/hoping_music
Hope Sound Cloud
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