Interview with Scribe

myplasticheart is super stoked to have Scribe in Intrinsic Value, a solo show featuring all new work. We wanted to give you a look into the show’s theme and into the mind of the artist, so we spoke to Scribe and the result is an in-depth interview with him to get you even more hyped for this show, opening Friday, May 18th at mph from 6-9pm. I feel very lucky to have been able to probe the mind of such a talented and inspiring individual.

You’ve done a lot of work that is child-centric in a way – ie. your children’s book and creating art for the children’s hospital – why do you find yourself drawn to this work?

When I was in Junior High and living in San Francisco I really wanted to see Disney’s Snow White when they released it again in the theaters. I actually cut school to get to a theater and sat in the back. Another school actually brought a couple classes on a field trip to see the movie and they were all a little younger than me. Now I have drawn cartoons since I could remember but I specifically remember looking at the reactions of kids faces during the movie and how cool it was that cartoons could bring forth such honest emotions. I knew then that was going to be a part of my life. I never thought I would end up at a Children’s Hospital. Someone told me a story just today of their daughter who was working with a girl who was fighting cancer at our hospital. One night she asked to take a walk around and look at the artwork in the facility. People often use the artwork as destinations to walk to for happy distractions. The little girl passed away the next day. The young lady that was working with her told her Mom how much the artwork made her happy. If a kid is there for a day visit, short stay or long term, I think part of my calling is to be a part of that stay by offering that imagination and escape.

You’re know as a family man as well as an amazing muralist and artist. How do you find the time to balance art and family?

That is honestly the hardest thing I have ever done. I wake up at 4:30am and am out the door by 5am so that I can be off early at 2pm and have real evening time with them. What I try my best to show my family is a couple of things. I want to set an example of having passion for what you love to do in life and that sometimes that means sacrifices. On the flip side of that when I spend time with them, it is all about them. I also include them in what I do. My kids draw with me a lot while I work. I do a lot of my paintings at the dinner table while they do homework and I offer them clay and supplies while I work on custom figures. I tell them that I love them every day and this summer I am not doing any shows or Comicon so I can swim with them as much as they want and also just paint walls in my home town. The summers go by too quick and I don’t want to look back with regrets.

You’ve been able to work a lot with your talented wife on artistic endeavors. Can you tell me a little bit about the process for working together?

It is funny you asked that. Alisa is the best thing that has ever happened to me for so many reasons but the fact that we can do some artwork together is such a crazy bonus. When we first started working together I would come to her with some ideas and she would work them up but ask me along the way about my thoughts. I have had a story behind my work for years and most of what I do ties into it in some way so she felt like she needed to ask me more often. I think that she has become more of a co-author of that story and because we understand each other so well that need to talk so much about it has gone away. I just come home from work and she has added something wonderful to one of my characters… and it always fits. In October of this year, Alisa and I will be starting our 20th year together.

How do you bring art and creativity into your kid’s lives?

Like I said before, it is really about including them in what I do and helping them understand what I do with a hands on approach. We bounce ideas off each other and since I have no problem just saying crazy stuff all the time we end up just challenging each other with ideas. I guess sort of like the “What if” game. There is a lot of laughter in our house.

You’ve worked on some very large scale projects – wall murals, an ambulance, a helicopter and now even a jet plane. Do you prefer working in large scale? Is there a reason why you often find yourself working large?

I think my graffiti past just lends itself to knowing what to do on a large scale. When I was in high school in Boston and was taking the subway to school I would see that stuff and the scale always impressed me and that fact that people had access to it. I think graffiti helped just take away that fear that scale is an obstacle. I also just really love to be outside working if I can!

Your characters are always engaging and interesting. Is there a reason you have a strong animal presence in your work?

There is a couple of reasons for that. When I started doing graffiti in the very early 90’s I just didn’t see much around me that was animals. It seemed to mostly be people, Bboys or evil hard core creatures. None of that stuff, even though I tried was really who I was and came out naturally. When I was a kid it was always animals that would encourage me to draw and they say that when you don’t know where you are going to go back to the beginning. That was one of my original passions so I just found myself again.

Do you usually come up with a back story for your characters?

Not always, but for a lot of them I do. Most of them are all connected in some way and a lot of walls are actually connected. It may sound stupid but I feel like there is something that has grown over time and I have grown to care about some of these guys and it has been fun to watch them grow as I have.

When you’re lacking motivation, what or who do you look to for inspiration?

I watch a lot of cartoons, spend time with my family, study the bible, philosophy and other cultural stories. Most recently though, I have bought a scooter. Riding around and just not thinking about anything has had this great way of bringing me this peace so that when I do need to get going I just feel rested. I’m lucky that I don’t lose general motivation. I don’t sit well, so working in the yard, on the house and just having variety helps a lot for me.

Whose career in the art community have you been watching closely lately?

Honestly, there are too many to list that are a real encouragement to me and I don’t want to leave any one out.

Where does the name “Intrinsic Value” come from? What is the idea/theme behind this show? What can we expect from this show?

“Intrinsic Value” is something that is a little hard to explain for me. I hope I can say clearly the way I see it. It is about the tangible and intangible when it comes to value. This seems to be a large part of doing art and where its value comes from. Like investments, people get involved with collecting for so many reasons. There are often reasons beyond the physical aspects of materials and time that create a price and willingness to purchase. Intrinsic Value is independent of informational or evidential value and may also be based on an items direct relationship to a significant person. Where does this all come from? meeting them, others liking it, media hype, or whatever?

A big thank you to Scribe and we can’t wait to see you on May 18th at mph for the opening!

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