Red, White and Kwue... Living the Dream Shaolin Style [VIDEO]
He is waiting in his Staten Island driveway, surrounded by music coming from a speaker dangling from his wrist. Beckoning us into his backyard we follow him down a well-worn path to his inner sanctum, his bat cave, an old wooden garage at the back of his property. "A place to throw paint on the walls" he tells us with a sly grin.
Just like the number of letters in his name there are four constants in KWUE’s life: his mother, his music, his wife and his art, each one as important as the other and each holding a piece of the mystery that is KWUE.
KNOWLEDGE WISDOM UNDERSTANDING EQUALITY
Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding and Equality, all traits instilled in him from an early age by his mother, the person he credits the most for shaping the man he is today. A very spiritual woman, a medium, and someone "connected to the universe at a much higher level" his mother opened his eyes to the world around him. He speaks lovingly of an unconventional childhood that included drives around Manhattan to see art on the streets by Keith Haring and other artistic pioneers.
Music came into his life early also. “A calling”. His musical career took him all over the world, producing, mixing, managing hip hop, r&b and soul for the likes of the Wu-tang Clan. He traveled on tour for over thirteen years and during a nine-year period was home for only twenty-seven days. Seeing the world allowed him to get to know every race, creed, color and kind of man.
Seven years ago his kidney gave out and he had to spend an extended time hospitalized. It was during this period with a great deal of soul-searching and the advice of friends like Ghostface Killah, he decided to make a change. "Ghostface said to me, ‘KWUE, all you do is sketch, go do what you love to do’.” His eyes twinkle as he talks of going into the phone booth and coming out with a new identity, his real heart. “I had to scrape out all that bad shit from inside me, I had to feel righteous... I’m gonna do what I do on walls to express myself because to me a wall is the biggest platform in the world... you can have a microphone but that’s not a wall, a wall is your one chance to spread the word and show what you stand for."
Welling Court 2016
"I am on an endless creative journey through my life” he says. "So now it’s not the music game, it’s the art game but it’s the same, networking with people, traveling the world with my knapsack." For the last six months he has traveled and painted in seven different States… the red, white and KWUE tour.
And his wife: she is his rock, she holds his world together and allows him just to be KWUE.
Four constants just like the four stars on his black and white flag.
The future of KWUE? "It’s an evolving sunup to sundown thing…I never plan any of this, it just comes to me naturally."