Victor Malagon is a great artist who has been giving a lot of artist their shine and props along with an opportunity to reach a much larger audience. Having said that, let’s turn the tables and ask some questions to an artist who has been putting out a quality magazine along with quality artwork of his own. Get to know the man behind the name and realize as I do how down to earth and cool he is while juggling all us crazy ass artists and still making it in his own life! Enjoy...
1.What neighborhood did you grow up in and what neighborhood do you live in and represent now?
I lived half of my life the East Bay, the Bay Area up until age 13. Because of cheap housing, my parents relocated to the 209 area code. I’d say I did all my growing up and throwing up here. Modesto, CA. definitely a blue collar town.
2. How did you first get into the graffiti game? Who were your early influences?
There is a bridge that connects the Southside of Modesto to the downtown area nicknamed “The Lions Bridge”. Back in the day, every single inch of that bridge was covered with graff. I think it has about 16 huge walls you can paint on. It was a hidden gem. I had seen glimpses of color from far away, but never seen it up close. One day while ditching school, I walked down there and was visually assaulted by wildstyle pieces and crazy color combinations! That was it man. I had no idea how it was done or who did it, but what I did know is, that is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life! Good or Bad, I have been doing it ever since. Some of my Early influences where hometown heroes: Wicks, Hocus, the LORDS crew. Back in the day, I saw a piece that Krush AWR did and immediately became a fan of his style. The internet was becoming accessible back then, so I got to see work from different parts of the country and the world thanks the ArtCrimes.com . European writers like Swet, Dare (RIP) and Loomit became writers I looked up to.
3. How do you feel about street art and graffiti as compared to the gallery seen these days. I know everybody’s opinion very’s, I’m just wondering how you feel about it having covered both in your magazine the refused.
I remember back in the day, at least in the circle I ran with, it was all about letters. Characters were lower class. Stencils and wheat pastes were frowned upon. I think as that kind of art became more creative, higher risk, though provoking, bigger and more complex, it blurred the lines between strictly street, and gallery. I think as long as the artist doesn’t compromise his/her own integrity, and the integrity of the work, it doesn’t matter where the artwork is located.
4. Can ask you some of the positive experiences you had with the magazine and maybe some of the negative experiences you had with the magazine and what you’ve learned from it all?
Realistically, I think there was more negative experiences that came from creating and publishing REFUSED that positives: people lagging on the deadlines, people not paying you for the magazines we front them, Tower Records going bankrupt and loosing thousands of dollars …
The people we featured in the magazine are artists that we are fans of. Unfortunately, a couple turn out to be assholes. It kind of ruins the image I had in my head about em. We don’t expect anything in return, but a Thank You would be nice, and there has been a few that don’t even say that, but they do want to know how many free copies they are getting. Its kind of a bummer. One the flip side of the coin, the positive experiences that make everything worth it are the times artists get their exposure through the magazine, and more opportunities open up for them, and more positive things start happening for them. That right there is the essence of the magazine. Being some kind of help to positively promote artists. There have been a few artists that were so stoked to be featured, that they actually give us original pieces of artwork. So humbled and honored when that happens. Special thanks to Marcos LaFarga, Max Rain, Gabe Toci for your gifts! They are proudly hanging on our walls.
5. Can you name some graph writers or maybe just styles that you are feeling these days?
This dude Else, CBS. Dood, you got awesome letters! That is real talk! Paser MFK, Chez GL, Task TM, the Gheto Farceur crew, Nuetron LORDS, the homie Neto LORDS, Dmise Laws, Skel SOA. Dare TWS still has that timeless style. Krush AWR, Craola CBS, Clowns TITS, Satyr LORDS… all the dudes in the WBSM crew (Kasm, Lumiere, Somber, Nuka, Fyerbom) a 5 man crew which I created, are all really good friends of mine, who can flex 3D ish… Wall Burners/Spray Monsters.
6. I could remember the first time I saw 3-D style graffiti from Ernie out of New York and I was just blown away! I know you paint the 3-D style can you tell me where that came from and do you remember the first time you saw the 3-D style?
The first time I saw 3D, I cant remember who it was, but it wasn’t a style I liked at first until I saw artwork by Loomit. The idea of 3D in perspective is something I never saw before, and I became a fan of the style immediately. That is over 15 years ago… Some of the productions that he did with Duro 3 from Canada still burn today. Daim is killin it, Delta kills it. I have always been a fan of complex, long sharp pieces. I try to make my style that way. I have been at it for almost 15 years now, and just now, I feel like im barely headed in the right direction. I am far from good, I’m just getting it, understanding it… I practice and sketch everyday, but I am still a novice at it.
7. I’m sure working with the magazine put timelines and deadlines into perspective for you, do you have plans for where do you want to see your art career go,and if so what are they?
I have been super blessed to have commissioned pieces lined up, one after another. And blessed to have the cliental that I have, fellow artists, music producers… people I am proud to say own my work. I just want to keep it going. I would love to live off of my artwork. I’m close. I just need the right push, the right exposure and I am sure I will be right there. I see some artists make 7-10 thousand dollars off of a paintings that took them a few hours to make. My work is so time consuming, if I could make that off of my paintings, I would be set for sure. I am also lucky that I don’t have a gallery taking the 40-50 percent commission. People are coming to me directly, and I have a wait list, so things are going great, no complaints at all. Rising slow but with integritiy. I’m not sure if my work will every fit, or be good enough to make it to the MOMA, but that is one of my goals, one of my dreams.
8. Okay hit me with your dream city,dream wall, dream project, dream lined up to paint with if you could make all that happen? I asked this question recently and I thought it was a good one. Who, what, where would it be?
Damn. Talk about pressure. I can easily do this for hours.. New York! I would love to paint at all 5 boroughs. 5 points, FX crew… instead of one huge wall, and hella writers, it would be cool to hit spots with different groups of artists… I would love to hit New Jersey with Zephyr, Paris with Astro and Kanos, Austria with Phekt, Shue Vader and Nychos, Germany with Loomit and Daim, New Zealand with Pest 5, Denmark with Zyek and Swet, Amsterdam with Delta, France with Bims, MFK/LAWS – Paser and Dmise, Close to home, Los Angeles with Krush and the big homie Else and Man One with Vyal, Locally, I would love to paint with Vogue, Estria, Spie, do some kind of collab with Twist… that would be the ultimate!
9. Do you have any upcoming plans or projects that you’d like to put some shine on?
The only thing I am really going to try and make happen, if we still have the Barnes and Noble distribution is one last issue of REFUSED. Maybe by next summer.
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?
Neighborhood Love. Else, Thank you so much for this opportunity. I appreciate it beyond words! Neighborhood Love till death!
Shout out to my wife and son first and foremost! The crews, The diabolical wall burning spray monsters! WBSM, LORDS, ALB, UM. Susan Farrell @ ArtCrimes, Thanks to Hi-Fructose magazine, Submerge magazine, Fecal Face, Frank 151 magazine for the exposure and featuring my artwork… damn, Too many to name. I have been blessed with great friends and surround myself with people who keep it 100%, you know who you are, you know what it is. Neighborhood Love, another solid block on the foundation. Peace.
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