Interviews

Above

       

By Vincent Morgan |  Published on Monday, June 22, 2009.

Interview of Above after the end of the South Central Tour. The street art globe trotter!

Above south central tour

 

Above is a free street artist that you might know, he's the Arrow man... This globe trotter puts his paintings everywhere. His art is clever and interact spaces around it. FFS: funny, funky and shiny. welcome to the Above world...


Before reading this interview, you can watch the three parts of his last tour : The South Central Tour  , 11 countries over a period of six months. Brasil, Ecuador, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Argentina, Peru, Panama, Mexico and Paraguay. All the Above's adventures during this tour are here : South central tour Blog

 

FC:Where are you from? What's your background?

I was born and raised in Sunny Northern California. Both my Mom and Dad were artists and musicians so I was fortunate to have them as parents. I grew up being influenced by skateboarding and tagging at a young age.

 

FC: What was the interest in art and what lead you to create all those things?

I was/am interested in creating pieces of art that have an impact. Both of my parents are artists so growing up I was influenced by them a lot and found it normal to make artworks.

 

FC: How would you define your work and what inspires you?

It's hard for me to talk about my works. There are many different mediums I work with and applications so its hard to pinpoint them. 1 common theme is that most all of my works involve color, and a hand made approach.

 

Above street art arrow in UK

 

Above street art piece in barcelona

 

FC:What kind of reaction do you want to evoke from your art?

A good laugh.

 

FC: Ok before going deep inside the Above let's talk about your
different works. First Tell us more about the sign language? Every
creation has got an sense and a goal...

Thank you first of all for realizing the site-specific works of the Arrow Mobiles. The Sign Language Tour was an extremely intense and organized tour around literally all of Europe. I was able to go to and install the Arrow Mobiles in 26 COUNTRIES on that tour. My focus for that tour was to find a situation or atmosphere in the streets and then hang the WORD/PLAY Arrow Mobiles to either comment on or give attention to that specific situation. An easy example would be something like when I hung an
arrow in Amsterdam in the Red Light District that had BLOW/JOB stenciled on the arrow, or in Barcelona HACE/SOL (Its sunny in spanish) in a busy intersection in Helsinki HONK/HORN. and on and on. The Arrow mobiles spin constantly so there is this form of silent communication used through movements exactly like SIGN LANGUAGE.

 

FC: It's a smart, funny and tripping idea. Are you sure that the average people notice it, and understand it? There 're a lot of word play. Sometimes it's like a private jokes isn't it?

It's a mixed batch of witty comments, messages, and Word/Plays so depending on a specific arrow mobiles someone might not get the joke, or message. You might not think this from seeing a photo of an arrow mobiles but like I said before they are constantly moving and spinning around so the lively spinning arrow mobiles catch a lot of attention
from people walking by.

 

above arrow bro

 

above arrow big

The Big Brother arrow


FC:When I discovered your work I understand that you are a globe trotter. How many country did you visit?

I do like to travel a lot as its important for me as a person and on my artworks. I stopped counting how many countries I have been to. The world is a large place and It would be great to visit and create artworks in a lot of interesting and new areas.

 

FC: Before going in a specific country, do you know people there? Or
every travel is totally freestyle?

I do both depending on what country I am visiting. I have said this many times before and insist that I keep saying it because without the amazing support of this community of artists, and friends literally around the world that help me along these tours it would be nearly
impossible to travel to so many places. THANK YOU to all my friends out there (you know who you are!) that have let me sleep on your floor, met me at a train station, showed me your city, painted with, and supported me on these past 4 tours around the world.

 

FC: Tell us about your recent South Central Tour .

 

Honestly I’m not really sure where I can even start with this question. Some of the basic information would be that the SouthCentral Tour was an enduring and very difficult 6-month long voyage. I started the SouthCentral tour in October of 2007 in Rio De Janeiro, Brasil and
traveled up to Mexico City, Mexico by the end of April, 2008. I was traveling with another artist named Ripo and we both experienced a whole lot of crazy things down in South America. With all of my past tours there was a huge amount of planning and organizing previous to the tour. I had never been to South or Central America prior to this
tour so I was extremely fortunate to have other friends who have been down there help me out with contacts of local artists to stay and link up with. For me personally the SouthCentral Tour was a very successful tour both artistically and personally. Being in a totally different
part of the world with Spanish being the predominant language I was able to learn Spanish, new customs and cultures as well as paint really big illegal pieces.

 

Fall down above piece of art

 

FC: I heard you got stabbed AND Robbed at gunpoint along your
SouthCentral Tour. Tell us about that.

Yeah well basically I was painting Illegally in a sketchy neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina during the daytime. My friend ElTono from Spain was down in Buenos Aires the same time I was so we went out to go paint. That day ElTono and I were painting we got rolled up on by 2 young kids about 18-19 years old with guns. They showed us their guns
in their pants but it was only until 1 of the thieves pulled out his gun and pointed it at my head that ElTono and I gave them our cameras and money. It was a real fucked up situation but in the end were better off safe than sorry.


Then 2 months later in Quito, Ecuador I got rushed by 3 crack heads and had my arm stabbed. This was the most fucked up situation as I had 1 guy with a knife in my arm holding it there while 2 other crack heads were running their hands through my pockets looking for money.

 

Above south central tour piece

 

FC:How do you work your letters, and how do you choose where you 'll
place it in the street?

I paint everything from hand with either a spray can or a roller. Its hard to get the spacing and size typographically correct a lot of the times but thats part of the art as well, the in-correct aspects. I choose to paint a Word/Play just like I did with the Arrow Mobiles
when I hung them. I try and observe a situation or atmosphere that is very present and then I comment on it with a large painting of words.

 

FC:If your style was a music band or a song? Which one would it be?

Something funky and full of energy. JAMES BROWN sounds about right!

 

FC: You like quotes. If your style was a quote, Which one would it be?

"NO COMMENT" -Above

 

FC:Name an artist (or many) whose work you respect and admire.

For me its not so much the visual aesthetic of the artist and their art but the passion and integrity they hold with their process of making the art itself.

 

 

South central above

 

FC: Which media/support and tools do you prefer? Bombs, stencils,
walls, ads, wheatpaste...?

That all depends on the space I,m working with. My artworks all are specifically rooted in the context and environement of the location, So deciding what medium to work with that all depends on the surface and location. It seems that in recent years I have used a lot of Wood
for the Arrow Mobiles, Fabrics, glued on to them, and some stencils for the highlights. I have recently been doing a lot of figurative sitautions from stencils and freehand. There is a lot to explore and introduce to the streets. I'm excited about the future.

 

FC:What's your worst and best habits?

Travelling, and Travellling again.

 

FC: Do you do drugs? Do you need something particular to be creative?

Sometimes if there is a good situation for it. What makes me get inspired is traveling and seeing just day to day life and people.

 

FC:Do you feel the work you are doing is something that should be
preserved or stayed transcience?

I love and enjoy the fact of the non-permanent and ephemeral aspects of having artworks in the streets. The works can then take on an uncertain lifespan in the streets. Some "live" for only a few hours while others grow old for many people to see. If I wanted my artworks
to be permanent I would have painted them inside or in a space that can preserve them. "What goes up must come down at some time."

 

FC: Where did you get this obsession of visual patterns and repetion?
It's linked with all your work...

I find a lot of curiosity in how we as humans repeat things on a day to day basis,I find a lot of curiosity in how we as humans repeat things on a day to day basis,I find a lot of curiosity in how we as humans repeat things on a day to day basis,I find a lot of curiosity in how we as humans repeat things on a day to day basis,I find a lot of curiosity in how we as humans repeat things on a day to day basis.

 

Above in denmark graffiti

 

FC:ok! What was your most adventurous and dangerous graffiti?

There have been several close calls and some stupid spots I have put my life in risk while painting. One that comes to mind is the "BUCHAREST DEATH DROP" in Bucharest, Romania. The ledge was about 2 feet wide to walk on and the height was about 12 stories up! Death would be certain if I fell.

 

FC:What did you do last week (paparazzy style)?

I flew from Lisbon,Portugal to Dublin, Ireland. Stayed 3 days in Dublin then flew back here to San Francisco, California. I was finishing up a some projects in Italy, and Portugal. check out some of the prints here (Studio Chromie)

 

FC: Ever have any serious graffiti beef?

Sure, It's part of the job description...I think? I'm sure there are a lot of people who love to hate my artworks but then again what makes something good is being controversial. I don't waste my time with that stuff.

 

FC:How would you describe street art and what makes it different than
graffiti or would you say it all falls under the same umbrella of
shit. Don't you think it's totally different?

Its all good and there is a place for everything.

 

FC:What's coming up in the next few months? Show, travels... etc…

Check out the website to find out more. (WWW.GOABOVE.COM)

 

FC:What's your real goal?

Trusting in the unknown and just going with the flow.

 

FC:Any words of wisdom?

TRAVEL!

 

Above on FatCap

 

Thank's Above!

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