Interview with Sloke, Austin!

February 7, 2017 at 5:18 pm

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3. NHLV: How would you describe your style that you do and where do you see your style going in the future?
SLOKE:I would describe my style as clean and evolving. I like all aspects of graffiti but wildstyle is where my heart is at. I hope to keep building off of the last piece I painted.
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4. NHLV: I know you and I talked about being a full-time artist and how difficult it can be between jobs. Can you talk about how you started to become a full-time artist I know that’s a difficult transition for a lot of people out there.
SLOKE: I started doing art jobs back in 1994. Back then I was more interested in the streets. I had another source of income at the time so I wasn’t really concerned with commissions. Around 2000, I really started to focus on making a career off of my art or at least pay the bills. There were a lot of setbacks at first but I kept on going. Graffiti wasn’t really accepted by the public at that time so I had to paint what clients wanted a lot of the times but I still did my own art. Eventually, I began to focus on my style of art and really just got out there and hustled hard. It took years to pay off but slowly it has started to. Sometimes it’s steak sometimes it’s ramen. The main thing is to not give up!
5. NHLV: I have to say that both me and my boy for 4sakn really noticed you painting a lot of cities and putting in a lot of work over the last couple of years, can you tell us what were some of your favorite places to paint?
SLOKE: I travel as much as I can. I enjoy meeting and painting with writers from all over the world. It blows me away the level of talent that is out there! There are many cities/countries that I’ve enjoyed painting in. Some of the ones that stick out for me are New York,Los Angeles,San Francisco,San Diego,Chicago,Barcelona,Paris,Amsterdam,Prague,London…to name a few. I have so many more places to visit!
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 6. NHLV: Where there any particular reasons why in the last few years you stepped up the amount and quality of your work?

peeped on the streets! Stephen Pellegrino

July 27, 2016 at 7:05 pm

As NHLV gets back in touch with the heartbeat on them streets, from the East to the West and everywhere in-between, NHLV highlights photographer Stephen Pellegrino. Stephen AKA Emptycans.NYC, shoots images of graffiti, daily life on the East Coast, and scenery of the city. Stephen sometimes shoots people in motion, with streaked or clear clarity on his subjects making them look like ghosts of the city. Enjoy!

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Interview with Ekto out of England!

June 22, 2016 at 4:34 pm

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I Had no idea what painting in London would be like, and I was given a chance to get a wall with EKTO, and it was well worth it. The guy is a wall killer, plus a good all around graft head. He’s on my radar for big things in the future and he should be on yours too!

Neighborhood Love: What neighborhood did you grow up in and what neighborhood do you represent now?

Ekto:  I grew up on the outskirts of East London in a town called Dagenham. It was a pretty shitty estate but we was young and made our own fun, I still live in Dagenham, born and bred I’ve been here since day one.

NHLV:  How did you get started doing Graff, and who would you say were your early influences?

Ekto:  I started doing graff thru friends. I was last to start out of our group. There was ‘dose’ ‘inta’ ‘faze’ ‘lame’ ‘tobs/shiny’ (rip). They had all been doing it a while, so when i started i looked incredibly bad. While they had their handstyles on check, I was just figuring out how to hold a pen.

My influences were mostly local writers, and of course London’s DDS. I was into my dubs and tracks, so it’s natural to look up to them guys. No one’s done it as good as they did since, or ever will. An early influence of mine was ‘tel’ who later become ‘vainz’ of esk and then later awe crew. He was from my estate so all my pals latched on to him and learned a lot.  He got up and crushed it locally. He was the guy for a bit. Before him was ‘binone.’ He was a bombers bomber. My later influences are simple, ‘shine’, ‘react’, ‘ster’, ‘brave1’, ‘stet,’- wildstyle painters and all rounders. Top writers who all crushed it at one point or another.

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NHLV: So these days, the trends in graffiti have switched to basic or old school styles, with an emphasis on color. I consider you more of a wild style type. How do you feel you fit in to the graph seen these days?

Ekto: It seems graffiti is cyclic for most writers. I found myself stuck in a cycle of rinse wash rinse repeat, I wasn’t trying to push myself all the time.  I am now. There are personal reasons for that but that’s a whole different story. Those that know- know. Nowadays I’m kinda breaking down my graffiti into 3 separate tiers: the wildstyles I save for events / big paint ups, the semi wild I keep for the average days painting, and the more styled letters for quick pieces or if I need to paint something faster than usual. I like painting all types of graff whether it’s a blockbuster a character or a wild mild or child ;). I’m not a one trick pony and people seem surprised when I drop something else, but hey- I’m that wildstyle guy! In answer to the question, I fit where I’m needed to fit. If I’m painting with writers that paint simpler styles with chunky shapes, I’ll do the same for the sake of the wall. Nothing better than a nice wall with styles that aren’t too different

NHLV: Graffiti’s growing worldwide these days. Can you tell us about some of the cities you’ve traveled to and painted and what are your favorites?

Ekto: I haven’t travelled as much as I should but for me Ireland is spot on. And if you’re looking for a place to go you won’t find a better bunch of people. No egos. Just real writers where the rules still apply. Cardiff in Wales is a hotshot too. Them guys burn!

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NHLV: Do you think the city of London has had an effect on your graff or how your graff comes off?

Ekto: No. I predominantly ignore London and it’s styles. It’s got a great scene, the people are great and I love the writers, but it’s not my scene.  I live on the border of Essex and East London. But I consider myself to be from Essex where everything is wildstyle. It’s what we do.  London is very diverse for style. There is a lot of stencil and arty stuff that goes up. Not a lot of it is good and it dilutes the real graffiti styles.

NHLV: Can you tell me some of your favorite spots of London, like maybe food spots, drinking spots or even places to paint?

Ekto: If I hit London it’s normally Leake Street or a day out that has nothing to do with graff. I live so close, it’s a novelty you never use, if that makes sense. I’d sooner travel 500 miles to a different town as it’s not the ‘norm’

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NHLV: As styles turn to old-school and basic, I noticed that your wild styles have gotten more complex. In fact, in my opinion, you’re one of the best wild style artist out there right now. Do you have any plans for your styling in your graffiti career?

Ekto: Thank you. But I feel I’m far far far from a word like ‘best.’ I know where I’m going it’s just taking a little while. I’m building up to it. I’m personally looking to pull off some of the wildest pieces ever painted but still keep it readable. That’s the trick. If the letters are too wild then it’s a mess. There’s a balance and it’s easy to overcook a piece. I’ve done it many times! Haha that’s the future. It’s wild. Really wild.

NHLV: Do you have any upcoming painting our projects that you’d like to put some shine on?
Ekto: That would be telling. There’s a video dropping in the United States for a paint company hopefully sometime soon but that’s all you’re getting 😉

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NHLV: I definitely would like to see you out in the United States painting.  Are there any cities that you would like to hit or people you’d like to paint with?

Ekto: I plan to hit the US at some point not sure when but it will happen. Maybe a few of us. Definitely swing out West and hook with the CBS guys, they are doing it, ‘saute’, ‘elser’, ‘apexer’, etc etc. And of course NYC, hit up some cool guys there. It’s on my list for sure! It will happen maybe next year.

NHLV: Thanks for everything. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re looking really fresh. Last would you like to give me shout outs?

Ekto: Thank you bud ✌.  Shouts to everyone I paint with and who have pushed me along the way. Especially the past two years, Kanz, and the 4D crew, ster, rask, react, and everyone along the way. Respect to all.

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Viva Las Vandal! 2016

June 8, 2016 at 6:38 pm

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Viva Las Vandal was a great event with 25-30 people enjoying Las Vegas, painting and laughing the whole time with no beef or stress!

I had the idea for “Viva Las Vandal” from a couple of things, and I’m glad it all came together. I felt really lucky to be a part of the first couple of “Colorado Crush” Events out in Denver Colorado, to help them grow and bring both coasts of the USA to paint at that event. Also, in the past, I had painted the “Meeting of Styles” and the “Cobras VS Lords” events in Las Vegas. Ras One was a great host both times. He is a chill easygoing guy who has put in a ton of work to make the old downtown area of Las Vegas, a real painters paradise and an art district respected by the city.

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So I decided to ask Ras if he would help host an event that would grow year by year, and he said “yes”. “Viva Las Vandal” was born! I had bug plans for the first event, but had to readjust – having just moved into a house with my wife. So I let everyone know, if you still wanted to come through and paint, that I couldn’t cover paint the first year, but that it would still be a great time. I’m thankful to all that came through. And I know next year will be bigger and better! Next year, I look forward to getting paint sponsors on board, selling paint at the event, getting food trucks, and vendor booths to help support the event.

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As word of the event grows, I plan on bringing in graffiti painters from both the East and West coast. Plus I have my eyes on Europe, to bring in some dope painters from over seas! I have no doubt that this will be an event enjoyed by many people and will grow to be a staple in the graffiti community. See you there in the future and stay painting.

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a HUGE thank you again to all the businesses and heads that came through and helped roll walls, keep a great vibe and help out. I look forward to Viva Las Vegas 2017!

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NHLV talks with Sril out of Salt Lake City.

October 12, 2015 at 7:07 pm

Organ Doner – The Streets Are Calling

March 17, 2015 at 1:11 pm

Organ Doner is one half of the photo blog The Streets Are Calling as well as a partner for hype production company Thee Static Age

This dude sees and records my Los Angeles in photographs. Here are just a few of my faves. Hope you enjoy.

Neighborhood Love Radio episode 89

February 25, 2015 at 10:00 am

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Spring is right round the corner. Got us feelin that joie de vivre!

Guests this eve are Egan and Paul from the hot podcast GRAND THEFT AURAL. We shoot the ish and play some of the finest in Soul n Funk.

Come past. Put your feet up. Enjoy.

The playlist:
1) “Can You Get to That” Mavis Staples
2) “Mojo Hannah” Esther Phillips
3) “What She Said” Deep Street Soul
4) “Wait A Minute (Kraak & Smaak Remix)” Lack of Afro
5) “At A Loss (feat. Malik “The Freq” Moore & Black Shakespeare)” The Lions
6) “The River” Dharma Gypsys
7) “Another Ordinary Day” Low Country Kingdom
8) “Comencemos (Let’s Start)” Jungle Fire
9) “Chalupa” Jungle Fire
10) “Firewalker” Jungle Fire
11) “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)” Irma Thomas
12) “Cavity (Shigeto Remix)” Hundred Waters
13) “Coming Home” Leon Bridges

 

 

 

 

Interview with Northern California artist Victor Malagon!

January 12, 2015 at 3:38 pm

Interview with Canada’s Keyes CBS!

January 6, 2015 at 4:20 pm
Keyes has been coming up strong! I’ve seen his graff game grow quick and with style and growth. I’m hoping he’s going to be around for a while and I’m hoping his work will keep stretching it’s limits! I’m hoping you will feel the same way about him and his work and I’m hoping you’ll enjoy this article as we chop it up with Keyes…
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Neighborhood Love
1.What neighborhood did you grow up in and what neighborhood do you live in and represent now?
Keyes:
I hail from Canada, grew up in a city called Kelowna. It’s in British Columbia, really nice spot and I was lucky to live there. Snowboarding paradise in the winter and a popping Beach town in the Summer. About 100,000 people lived there but it’s growing at a fast pace. Nice to visit, weird place to grow up.. In my later teens I became a bit mis-guided, and being a heavily influenced biker town I started hanging with the wrong people and having some bad role models directing my life into a dark place.  I got wrapped up pretty bad in some non-graffiti related charges being wild and young. They red-zoned me from all of Downtown Kelowna and my bail conditions were real strict, add that with some Family troubles and I transferred my probation to a city called Victoria, BC. It took 3 years and a good ass lawyer to become free again and I’ve been between Victoria and Vancouver ever since.

2. How did you first get into the graffiti game? Who were your early influences?

I was just getting into High School and hip hop was already the soundtrack to my life (and a little bit of punk music.) Where I lived there wasn’t too much in the open graffiti, but one cat was putting in work in my hood. He wrote “Made or Mader” and repped a small local crew with a cat named Koba, the crew was AC crew. I always saw these tags and it really sparked my curiosity. How anonymous it was, how it was everywhere. I felt as if his tag was a representation of him, and he was everywhere all at once – I wanted to get into it.  Shortly after doing some partying with kids from another neighbourhood someone introduced me to Made. I had my black book on me and me and him got down right away, and painted lots. He now writes Ntox – we’re not as close of friends anymore and live in different cities but we still stay in touch and give each other respect. Another big time influence who I still am close to this day was “ANSR” from POS crew. Also would like to shout out Remorse (RMRS) too for guiding me and being humble even when I had some beef with his crew.
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3. Are you the kind of painter who has no plans of where you want to go, or are you the kind of painter who has set goals of where you want to get in your graffiti career?
I definitely have goals for sure. Painting is my life, not just lifestyle. They’re not specific either than always paint something more challenging then last and try to improve every time. Progression is so important, I’m never happy with what I paint so it makes me want to get out and try it again and again and again. In the future I want to just do more travelling and painting, maybe relocate to bigger metro area, or help build a strong scene wherever I’m at.

 4. Do you see a difference in Canadian graffiti compared to American and European graffiti, and what country would you like to paint in next?
Style wise we all have influences from different places. Canada is a huge country, I’ve never even been to the east coast so I can’t speak for their behalf but on the west coast we definitly were on the LA tip for awhile in the 90’s and early 2000s. Now with crews like VTS and WCB pushing the change of style to a more east coast funk from a sharp west coast one.  As far as politics and what not, I find people very opinionated but rarely will do anything about it.  I’ve always had hardcore beef, kept shit real and don’t EVER get down with fakes so that’s why I find myself more connected with my boys that do real work in America.  We have a lot less writers in Canada but I’ll be honest and say most of them are really good, so it’s cut throat to stand out and be somebody sometimes. I really feel I need to make a strong all-Canada trip or two because there’s so much to do in my own Country. Recently I’ve become eligible for a Dutch Dual Citizenship so you might see me doing some Netherlands/Europe trips in the near future!
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5. Can you name some graph writers or maybe just styles that you are feeling these days?
Anyone from CBS crew, we have such a diverse group of talent. More specifically I love shit like Xaust paints, what Haste is into, the art of Mear and so forth.  But for more of influencing my style I have to say Ryno, 7seas and some of those Bay area boys get me going!
 6. When we talked the other day we said that there’s so many talented graffiti painters out there these days it’s hard to stand out, what do you plan on doing your career to stand out?
Always keep it real. People may talk about me, but they’ve never met me. The ones who meet the real me know I take no bullshit and will always put action behind my words. My personality as a writer is something people know me by, and of course my art as well.  Lots of cats think you have to be a train king to be a true canadian writer, but I live on a train-less Island. It’s kinda the who you know type of industry and I know some really cool people. Standing out is important but if you focus on that you might get caught up in politics. I just try to have burners at all the spots and paint daily for myself, and it pays off.
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 7. I know you got put on the CBS recently, how do you feel about moving up into a world-class crew,and what part do you want to play in that crew ?
At first it didn’t feel real, the whole, “pinch me?” sort of feeling.  But the dude who recruited me and then the homies I got down with were the real deal, this was no joke. I’ve never asked or demanded anything from anyone in this game, and I have so much heart (too much at times.) So now that I have painted or partied and met most of the crew personally the dream feeling is gone and it’s all reality. I love how much the crew supports me and my weird attitude we really are family.  The role I want to play in the crew is huge, I don’t want to say I’m the future or anything like that, but realistically when I grow up and the crew evolves I will be the older guys in the crew, and I need to make sure we take care of it for longevity. I’m a very business/management minded person and would love to see myself building a more administrative role in the crew to help keep it organized and tight.
 8. Okay hit me with your dream city dream wall dream project dream line up to paint with if you could make all that happen with the snap of the finger,who,what,where,and when would be? That’s a big one, no pressure!
Sounds silly because I could paint anywhere with this wish, but my dream would be have the homies from American be able to cross into Canada and paint a spot with me in BC somewhere. I want to share my community and show the fam around. I can’t pin point what the line up would be, but definitely the heavy hitters from our crew.  I also would love to paint with some Canadian legends like BSM crew or even AA, but hell who wouldn’t?
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 9. Do you have any upcoming plans or projects that you’d like to put some shine on?
In the near future nothing major, I have some musical performances and commision paint projects to do but nothing I’m trying to hype up. I just made a nice run of limited prints so if anyone wants to buy or trade for one I’m game.  I really just need to dedicate more time to sketching and working in my studio.  Oh, I did get word that there might be a NYC jam in the future, that’s got me stoked.

 10 I would like to say a big thank you and respect to you from neighborhood love! Thank you for taking the time to chop it up with us, and last is there any shout out you’d like to give?
Shouts to my Mom for being open-minded, and anyone who is on their grind.  Would like to big up NEVR CFW, RELFY, Shouts to my whole HRT family, and of course my old school TCK heads who pushed through and were there for me in thick and thin.
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Last I would like to say If you like what you see here, then give the article a “LIKE.” Please repost the link, promote it, talk about it on your Facebook, instagram or whatever.

If you want to contribute photos, stories, or remember it different, etc, then please email us at info@neighborhood-love.com. Thank you and spread that Love, Love Your City, Neighborhood Love!

Meagan Spendlove

December 18, 2014 at 8:44 am
  1. Neighborhood Love: What neighborhood did you grow up in and what neighborhood do you live in and represent now?
Meagan Spendlove:
I remember my Father’s house the most. Which was in Buena Park near my Grandparent’s home in La Mirada. The most consistent place I could easily say, regarding memories. There was a move with my Mom to Seattle where we lived for a decade. Followed by Phoenix until 2006. Then Los Angeles for several years on my own. Which was something I just needed to do; and was an interesting experience for sure. In 2008 I moved to the Bay Area, my favorite place so far. Treasure Island and then San Francisco until I decided to move to Oakland in 2013. If you consider the fact that I have travelled to and painted in over 80 cities around the world – it gets complicated to answer that question sometimes. For awhile I would just say “planet earth” when people would ask me where I was from. If anything just to spare them the laundry list of locations; that I feel influenced by, or that they could possibly relate to. Not everyone has the kind of sense of humor I do though…

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2 .I always ask the artist if their neighborhood had a hand in the sculpting their artwork, but because your work is so folky I definitely feel your neighborhood did. how do you see your environment playing a part in your artwork?

​This is the first time I have lived in a “community”. Something different. In Phoenix we had friends that lived within a similar area. Carved out our own stomping grounds so to speak. As my daughter and I walk to school each morning. Then again as we walk home each day after classes. We see and converse with familiar faces along the way. Students I teach during an after school program. Whom I have known for several years. The ages range from Kindergarten to High School. Some of the kids went to preschool with my daughter. It has been an incredible experience to watch them grow up. We run into each other everywhere just walking or hanging out on the porch, doing sidewalk chalk – etc. There are also a lot of cats that I used to know from growing up with graffiti that have moved to the area lately. Others who have lived here for a long time that I used to visit while in town. Due to all of this inner connectivity and there is a real sense of awareness in the area. A lot of energy which depending on your own mood can create different motives for creating artwork. I find that I need more time alone with my paintings or murals these days. In order to process a lot of what I experience and take on as a teacher. ​In the past perhaps when I was ernest to share a vision it was about producing as a team. I have so much surrounding me that speaks out and in turn commences me to mentor to the all levels of ability at times. My artwork carries each story I hear or thing I see that Im not sure I have the power at times to change by any other means. Any other way but to channel it somehow through the tools I have. Our hearts, minds, eyes and hands in order to communicate how we feel somehow while working so hard to survive, provide and flow.
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3. I’ve seen your work grow the past few years quite a bit, what do you think the driving forces are behind that?

I appreciate that. There was a sense before as if I felt more dedicated than I do now. Perhaps due to what I was referencing to in the last answer. That I feel when I do while teaching and my experiences with the students even while not on the clock. Its become a part of me, basically. I can see my own evolution or progress if I rifle through the archives sometimes. I have boxes, stacks of containers in my closets. Of work that I have only let several people see. Most honestly because a lot of the time I can be hard on myself when it comes to my own portfolio. I am really happy to be drawing frequently again, like I used to. I missed that part of my spirit immensely du​ring several years of major mural projects. Being a parent – on the grind, pushes me to keep up with perspective. The fact that I actually have a studio now is truly something. After nearly a decade of working in kitchens or living room set ups.


4. How would you describe your style of ​art​work?

​Some sort of modern Art Nouveau. Although Art Deco ​really speaks to me at times. Im a “work in progress”. The influences I felt when I was younger which compelled me to create are basically the same. Mode 2, Mucha. Yet I’ve explored and expanded – if that makes sense. In my early 20’s I was focused on producing work that was clean and sharp. When I became aware of the fact that I might be able to actually do what I love for a living. I had people surrounding me at that time who were inspiring, motivated and encouraging. The colors I used switched up from dark to bright when I relocated to the desert. The friends and crew I painted with in the SW taught me a lot about the history and fundamentals of Graffiti. They believed in tough love. Some still do. Getting your bearings and respecting the rules. Each one of the guys in NG painted in a completely different style. Yet there was an understanding there and sense of trust.

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5. What are  some of your favorite projects are that you have done over the years? ​What do you think you’re most proud of?

​A couple of years ago I was contacted by a woman in San Francisco about a mural project. She was interested in hiring me to paint the front wall of her house in the Mission District. She has the same name as I do, spelled differently. ​She had travelled the world as a marine biologist and had recently gotten married. I worked on the mural for her while she battled breast cancer. I am more to pleased to say that she beat it and is a true kindred spirit. ​I was grateful to paint the front of Flax Art & Design ​a couple years ago. The business was celebrating 75 years of business in San Francisco. They asked me to create a small mural on the store front below their iconic sign. I was elated.

6. What are some your favorite neighborhood shops or places to eat where you live now,that you feel other people should know about?

​There is an amazing vegan restaurant called Shang Ri La; where Id eat every night if I could afford to. A patio covered with bogenvelia with a mural on the side by a local artist. The food is beyond good for every part of you. I always leave feeling replenished and thankful. The neighborhood I live in is called the fellowship of Long Fellow. Near Ghost Town and Temescal. On the border of Oakland and Emeryville. An area that is undergroing much chamge. National Geographc just did an article on graffiti in Oakland. Which had some agreeable things to say while other opinions felt totally off base. Most of the real places I would take a friend to while hosting are pretty nondescript. Due to them being businesses that cater to a specific skill or trade. Something particular pertaining to their nature. A lot of roll down store fronts or interesting work/live set ups. There is an older woman who sellls herbs and tea out of a classic mobile home. Mail trucks get painted and converted into delivers services. People ride share almost as much as people ride bikes. Pixar is two blocks away and serves as sort of willy wonkas chocolate facotiry amidst mom and pops, start ups and rapidly growing retail chain stores. There is really everything we need in a small section of this area due to the city limits requiring citizens to have ammentities within the district. Even if the section itself which sits between two seperate cities, is only 1.7 miles in radius. The marina in all three are just as beautiful as the next and a place to go in order to have a great view of SF and the waterfront. Little establishments are suggestive. Not to many start ups prefer to set a flashy tone for more than one reason here. Its very blue collar yet at the same time is an expanding area with new vibes flowing in and out on the regular.  I still go to the city on a weekly basis and can easily say, that I have never been bored living in the Bay.

7. What’s a dream project for you? Like if you could pick the next thing that you have always wanted to do?

One of my dreams for a while now has been to run a printing press and a little library. A Creative Resource Center. ​
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8. Who are some of the artist​’s that ​you admire that are doing things out there?

​I really love the work James Jean creates. The murals by Tristan Eaton are amazing!​ There are so many outstanding artists and so many ways to view their work these days. It’s an incredible time we live in.

9. Can you tell Neighborhood love about some of your projects or things you like to put some shine on?

​Im excited about a project being held next Spring. I’m curating my first show in Oakland during the first two weeks of March, 2015. ​
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10. Would like to say thank you for taking the time to chop it up with! last, any shout outs to anyone out there that you would like to give? thank you from all of us at Neighborhood-love.com!

​Thank you very much Else, for reaching out and providing the opportunity to speak about my work. Much respect to one of my best friends and a fellow rail fan Strut, NG. ​Plus other crew mates such as Pez (LIES) and Kaper (Boxstars). A major inspiration through out the years would be Fear, UTI.