Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pheaturing ChrisRWK

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile, entertainment in disguise. How are you? It's been so hot here in Florida again. It’s so hot that instead of tapping phones, Rupert Murdoch has been tapping kegs. It’s so hot that even Michele Bachmann believes in global warming. The British government may cancel Rupert Murdoch’s $14 billion satellite deal because they’ve discovered that he’s evil. In the media business, being evil isn’t always a bad thing. There’s also the lovable kind of evil that we have at Disney. One of Murdoch’s tabloids was hacking people’s phones and listening to their voicemails. Victims said their iPhones were so messed up that they were actually working. Murdoch shut down News of the World, which was almost 160 years old. It’s always sad when something that old comes to an end. It was like the last episode of “Larry King Live.” Michele Bachmann says that if she’s elected, she’ll ban pornography. We have multiple wars, skyrocketing debts, a recession, unemployment... Yeah, let’s ban pornography. Bachmann says she wants to end things that are “vulgar and a detriment to society.” She’s talking about me, right? The world’s steepest roller coaster opened in Japan. It goes 80 mph and flips upside down seven times. It’s like carpooling with Mel Gibson. For most of the 1800s, roller coasters were called “Russian mountains,” which is also the name I used to dance under.When I’m on a roller coaster, I love the way the wind whips through my hair, which is why I never wear pants. Hey, this week was Spain’s annual running of the bulls. Or as bulls are reporting it, “This week was Spain’s annual chasing of the idiots.” So, next week Captain America: The First Avenger movie comes out, and I have an exclusive screenshot of the film. Check it out.

I thought he would of shopped at Target myself. And like DC did with the Green Lantern, Marvel released a Captain America inspirational poster.

And now for the sad part of the Phile...

Googie Withers
March 12, 1917 - July 16, 2011
Don't know who she is? Just go Google Googie.
Sherwood Schwartz
November 14, 1916 - July 12, 2011
So long, little buddy.

It's Sunday, so here is my wife's least favorite thing about the Phile. I think I am gonna have to end this pheature soon. Anyway, enjoy.

Okay, today's guest is the second artist to be pheatured in the Peverett Phile Art Gallery, and the creator of the website His work is amazing as you have seen. Please welcome to the Phile... ChrisRWK.

Me: Hello, Chris, welcome to the Phile, man. How are you?

Chris: I'm doing pretty good. Thanks for asking. How are you doing?

Me: I am doing good. I have a million questions for you, and don't know where to start. Should I call you ChrisRWK or just Chris?

Chris: A Million? I better grab a snack. Chris is cool.

Me: Where are you from originally, Chris?

Chris: I'm from Staten Island, NY. You know home of the Wu-Tang clan and David Johansen the lead singer of the New York Doll, aka Buster Poindexter

Me: Do you still live in New York?

Chris: Yes sir.

Me: Okay, let's talk about the website Explain to the readers what it is, and what made you start this whole thing?

Chris: OK, if we have to. Well is a website dedicated to showing the work of artists that are usually over looked by the everyday public. I'll explain a little of the history with it. I wanted to have a website that showcased my artwork and luckily I met Kev/RWK in 2000. I was lucky cause he knew all about websites and well I knew nothing. Oh, and he's a nice guy too. So I started to pick his brain. The more we talked the more I felt it would be great to offer this ability to show work to people all over the world. I was always into graffiti so why not offer up a whole section for people who were never really taken serious. So in March of 2001 we launched the site. So this is our 10th anniversary year. Over the years the site has morphed and matured but kept that one feeling that i always felt. "You wouldn't give us a space, so we built one."

Me: Where did the name originate from, and do you think robots kill? Some do I guess.

Chris: I was doing an art residency up in Vermont in 1999 and I was drawing stickers while my friend Chris Rini was working on this huge painting of a cell phone holding up a guy in a suit to what would be his ear. Such a great image. Well anyway, on one sticker I drew a old box style robot and wrote "Robots Will Kill" across the top. It stuck in my head for awhile. So when I met with Kev/RWK about starting the site we needed a name. I said "Hey, I have something that i think will work". He loved it. The name was always open to interpretation but I always looked at it as if you do something like work all the time or going through life doing the same thing over and over, you become robotic. Things like that can kill of your creativity, originality, the thing that makes you different then everyone else... But on a side note, oh yeah there's robots out there that will kill you. Just ask Sarah Connor.

Me: How many artists belong to RWK, Chris, and how do you get artists involved?

Chris: We have a lot of galleries on the site for artists that can ask for contributor accounts but there is a core group of artists that have been asked to help out with things like murals, clothing design, sticker designs etc. These artists have become close friends even though most of us are from different parts of the world. They are Kev/RWK (USA), Veng (USA), ECB (Germany), JesseRobot (Belgium), Peeta (Italy), Flying Fortress (Germany) and the very newly asked OverUnder (USA).

Me: Let's talk about your graffiti art. You paint over walls, right, on different buildings? Do people ask you to do that, or do you just show up and paint?

Chris: Most walls are permission these days. Usually you show the owner a portfolio and talk with them. But lately a lot of building owners have seen the work and approach us. It's always a great feeling when your standing on a ladder painting and you hear someone yelling from their car window, "Hey you up there, I have a building, wanna paint it?"

Me: When you approach a wall do you know what you're gonna paint ahead of time?

Chris: Yeah, you gotta have some plan. You wanna make sure you have enough paint for the project. I mean there's been plenty of times I just paint off the top of my head but for big walls it's good to have a concept.

Me: What and where is the biggest painting you have ever done?

Chris: Just a few weekends ago I did a big guy in a beaver costume. He was around 20 feet tall. That was in Brooklyn, NY.

Me: One of my favorite paintings you done is the Batman one, Chris.

Chris: Why thank you very much. My uncle is a huge Batman fan and I had done that as a gift. As soon as I posted it I received emails asking if it was for sale. I told them it wasn't so they asked if they could commission me to do one for them. I did 5 different ones in total so far. I love painting him for a few reasons. I live the idea that he's an alter ego/ hidden identity. Another reason is the colors associated with Batman are great, bold and recognizable. And one last one is my uncle got me into comics when I was young so when I work on him it reminds me of what helped influence me.

Me: Your graffiti work is very detailed and colorful, Chris. How much paint do you use, and how long does it take to do one building?

Chris: Thank you very much. I like to mix mediums. I use spray paint and latex paint. The latex goes a good distance. The toughest and most paint used part is buffing the wall. Buffing the wall is probably more commonly know as priming the wall. Getting it one sold color. On a big wall a few cans of spray paint some quarts of latex.

Me: Have you done this in New York only, or other parts of the world? You need to come to Clermont, Florida and paint over the Citrus Tower.

Chris: A few others places. Mostly in the Tri-state area. But stickers, well that's another story. They've been everywhere I have been. Cali, Fla, Paris, Tennessee and a bunch of other random places but with the sticker trades they have made it all over the world. Russia, China, Africa, Ireland, Australia, pretty much 6 out of the 7 continents. Dang you, Antarctica! I would love to come and paint in Clermont. I'm probably gonna be in Orlando next year so I'll hop on the Ronald Reagan Expressway and stop by. Is that the best route?

Me: I think so. I am terrible at directions. Anyway, when did you first start to do graffiti art? I imagine you started out as a doodler like me when you were a kid, Chris.

Chris: I first got into graffiti through my brother and his friends. That was around 1989. They were bombing and doing pieces all the time because back than things were different. They weren’t cracking down as much, people didn’t have cell phones or anything like that. So I'd always take a ride with them when they’d go take pictures of their stuff in the daytime. I'd tell my friends about it and how awesome it was that these kids I knew were out doing this but they weren’t really into it. I was already drawing comics and stuff but I started to mess with letters. Around 1991 I met some other kids into graff and we’d mess around with markers and spray paint. I started to follow writers more closely and pay more and more attention to who was who and what was new on the street. I messed with different characters and stuff for awhile. As far as art before graff, yeah I was def a doodler. I loved drawing my own comics and copying skateboard graphics.

Me: Okay, let's talk about this whole sticker trading thing. I don't get it. You swap stickers? What kinda stickers? With whom do you swap them with?

Chris: HAHA, yeah, it is kinda weird. Especially to people who don't really know the scene. Back in '96 I remember trading stickers with MCA from Evil Design. I had a friend in college who knew him and she knew I made stickers. She said, "Hey, I have a friend back in Massachusetts that makes stickers" So she gave me his address and I sent him a pack of stickers. Next thing I knew I got a pack back. It was awesome! So when I started RWK I reached out to a lot of other sticker artists and asked if they wanted to trade stickers. It was really cool because I was trading with people all over the world. All kinds of stickers get traded. Hand made ones, printed ones, vinyl etc. These days I trade less because of time issues. I get at least 10 requests for trades a week through things like Flickr, Facbook, etc.

Me: I wish I had the Peverett Phile logo stickers. That reminds me, I submitted the original Phile logo on your website and chose you as an artist. Now what happens?

Chris: I know a great affordable printer. You can tell him Large Marge sent ya, I mean tell him Chris from Robots Will Kill sent ya and he will give you a break. What do you mean? You sent in your logo and asked for a gallery?

Me: Oh, that's what it is. I thought if I sent a pic it'll be turned into a sticker somehow. I am an idiot. If a Phile readers wants to trade stickers with you, where do they send theirs? And you send stickers back, right?

Chris: They can send em to cc PO box 090373 Staten Island, NY 10309. Might take a bit but they will def get stickers back.

Me: How many stickers do you have? Where do you stick them?

Chris: OHHHHHH... that's probably unanswerable at this point. I started collecting sticker when I was really young. I loved those prism stickers you would get for 50 cents at the grocery store. From there it went on to skateboard stickers, punk and hard core bands, graffiti and street art ones, everything and anything sticker related. Where do I? Haha, where don't I. My car, dresser, sketch book, folding chairs... probably too many things.

Me: Okay, apart from stickers and walls, what else do you paint? Posters?

Chris: Canvas, posters, wood, vinyl toys, clothing, sneakers, cars. Lots of things. Pretty much if it's standing still for a second i'll try to paint on it... or at least put a sticker on it.

Me: Do you have merch to sell, like t-shirts?

Chris: Si senor. I started designing shirts in 1997. It was a fun thing and thought it was cool that someone would like my design that they would wear it. When I started the site in 2001 I really started to make more designs for shirts, hats, sweatshirts, etc, more seriously. I figured it was a good way to get the name out there and bring in money for the site for things like stickers, ads, web service.

Me: Do you ever show your work in galleries, Chris?

Chris: Oh yeah. I love doing gallery shows. I've been showing my work consistently in galleries since 1997. I always liked the idea of putting something that a lot of people would walk past everyday in a gallery and they would have to look at it.

Me: I mentioned your Batman painting already. I am guessing you grew up reading comics like I did. Were you a Marvel fan or DC?

Chris: I was definitely a Marvel kid but I really got into Dark Horse and some of the smaller companies. It was great cause my uncle was there to show me all these different companies that most kids had no clue about.

Me: Chris, you have to draw something that says The Peverett Phile on it. Can you do that? Do people usually ask you to draw stuff?

Chris: Hells yeah. I'd love to! Thank you for asking. Yeah, lots of people ask for things to be drawn for them. That started back in high school. Lots of friends would ask me to draw their girlfriends names. It was a good way to make a couple of bucks for spray paint. This was before the whole "you have to be 18 to buy spray paint law".

Me: I have a million more questions for you, Chris, so I hope you come back onto the Phile again soon. I have to thank a good friend and artist Michael Banks for hooking this interview up. How long ago have you known Mike? He's a very talented artist as well, isn't he?

Chris: I'd love to come back. This was one of the best interviews I've done. Mike? Mike who? Just kidding. Mike Banks is definitely one of my favorite artists and closets friends I've made through RWK over the years. Him and his work inspires me a lot. Hmmmm, we've probably been talking since 2004 maybe 2003. Double check with him though because he's one of those guys that it feels like you've known them forever.

Me: Go ahead and plug your websites, and maybe some Phile readers will get into this sticker swapping thing. Take care, and keep painting, my friend.

Chris: Well, first off I'd like to thank you for doing the interview. It means a lot to me when someone wants to learn more about me and what I'm up to. I'd also like to thank Mike Banks and all of the artists that have inspired me over the years and my fellow RWK artists. OK, when you have some time stop by,,, last but not least Jason thank you so much for doing the interview with me.

That's about it for a Sunday entry of the Phile. Logan and I are now going out to Disney for a day. Bu first, thanks to Chris for a great interview. I really love his work, and I hope he'll come back to the Phile again soon. Thanks also to The Phile will be back tomorrow with Jason Rueger and Ben Bullington from the cool new band Country Mice. And then again next Sunday with jazz musician Rick Stone. So, spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

No comments: