City Kitty Collab: Game Night with the Portland Guys
I met this trio of artists a year ago, starting with Dr. Scott; an artist with a level of dedication to his art that only a doctor can have. A few months later, in their first power trio trip to NYC, I finally got the chance to meet the other two members whose work I already knew and admired. Inspired by their work and personalities, I began collaborating with these artists as quick as they would allow me to. If you don’t know Rx Skulls at this point you don’t know the sticker game. I don’t think I’ve been to a city in the past ten years where he doesn’t have a presence. When it comes to Voxx Romana, his work is a nice mix between punk rock anti-government propaganda and teenage angst, with enough talent and vision to fill a canyon. Think of every street art buzz word and this trio has it covered. Stickers, stencils, murals, wheat pastes, silkscreened, hand painted, hand embellished, collabs... like I said they got it covered. I was lucky enough to catch up with these guys on their latest trip to NY to see what we could create together.
Other collaborations with Dr. Scott, Rx Skull and Voxx Romana
City Kitty: I can lay out some paper on the table for us to work on?
Dr. Scott: I think working on the table would be wise.
Rx Skull: Here’s some contributing pieces to start with. (He hands over a stack of assorted images)
Voxx Romana: I have a bunch of paint pens here to use too.
CK: Are you guys going back up on Steve’s roof?
Dr: Everything came down way too quick last time!
CK: True. I’m not sure what Fumero uses but he’s the only person I know who has really gotten pieces to stay. I think my paper is just too heavy.
Voxx: It’s a stucco wall, and it’s a hard texture to get pieces to sit flat.
CK: When I was walking around today, I’m pretty sure I walked by at least one piece by each of you that was still up from last year!
Dr: Pieces ride so long in NYC! None of our work lasts in Portland.
CK: You say that but on average my work will stay up a month here.
Rx: It’s funny I feel like most artists get more respect in other cities than they get in their own city. But you have to earn it. If you consistently get up in your own city you will have a bunch of haters, or just be a target because you’re always there.
CK: Or people will take your work because they know you will replace it.
Dr: Your pieces are taken all the time.
Dr: Ok let’s see what we have to work with. (Dr. Scott and Voxx start sorting through the growing stack of images)
CK: So Rx my first question is for you. Before I met you I found your work everywhere. Every city I went to you had stickers up! How did you achieve such coverage?
Rx: It started with years of trading stickers where I never turned down a person who asked for a sticker pack. After spending thousands of dollars on postage alone I started selling sticker packs and found that some people were buying packs just to put them up. So I contacted those choice few that were putting them up well and started sending them free stickers. Also I travel a lot for business and with my family. The vinyl as a medium helps as well. They last and the silkscreen ink doesn’t fade.
CK: So what drew you to silk screening? I do some of it myself but it is a rare medium in the street art world.
Rx: T-shirts were my introduction. I use to buy T-shirt’s whenever I traveled and started to get interested in the process and the graphic design behind shirt making. My girlfriend at the time (now my wife) bought me one of those speedball silkscreen kits and I started from there. Though it wasn’t until a trip to Europe in 2009 that I really was taken by the street art scene, in Barcelona, and saw how I could use this skill in street art.
Dr: Ok guys back to the drawing. How about the game of life? What if you had the torturous game of life and you keep losing and dying. The kitty keeps having these choices. You go left or right. You have a family or you die in a bad accident.
Voxx: I can work on a collective piece for the middle of the board.
CK: Does anyone have a ruler or a straight edge? I will start working in the border.
CK: Now Dr. when I first met you the thing that amazed me is your dedication to the craft of drawing. Every time I see new work from you it’s obvious you are searching and growing as an artist. You have a tremendous amount of dedication that probably comes from being a Doctor and using that same passion in your drawing. But what started you drawing so late in life?
Dr: I had a lot of changes happening in my life at the time I started drawing. I have a friend who has a drawing studio, and he invited me over to draw. I had never really drawn, but my friend convinced me, and it was very revealing to me that this is something I needed in my life. From that point on I started drawing once a week. That was three and a half years ago. Every week I try to push myself into an area I don’t understand. It’s really hard; I get nervous, and nauseous, even if I’m not going to show someone.
CK: It took me years to reach that point. I don’t get it much with this type of work but when I sit down to make a painting I know it’s going to be good when I get angry and think I ruined it. It forces me to grow and problem solve.
Dr: My drawing teacher says we fall in love with our drawings and they become precious. But we have to let go and ruin them to grow.
CK: That’s great advice! I’m glad you have a drawing teacher. If it’s someone you respect and know how to take their criticism it really helps.
Dr: I agree it’s all about process and that’s what I’m into. I also show a lot of what I make and that really helps as well.
CK: It’s also impressive that you're just starting out, and you have the guts to put your work out on the street. Have you received much feedback from putting your work out in the public forum? I always warn people once they decide to put their work on the street that they will have to deal with the criticism.
Dr: People have been brutal and would say some ruthless things. Though people have also been very kind.
Rx: There are always going to be haters but there is a lot of love in community as well. Say you have 100 followers maybe 90 of them like your work and have positive things to say. As you grow, and more people pay attention to what you're doing, the number of haters increase, but I think the ratio stays the same, so that means there are more people encouraging you. Though it’s still difficult because you have more haters.
Dr: CK you know the game of life? What events should we write in here?
Voxx: What are good things that happen to artists?
CK: Solo show!
Voxx: 100k followers!
Rx: Started your first Big Cartel!
Voxx: What bad things happen to artists?
CK: You get busted!
Rx: You sell out!
Voxx: Company uses your art illegally for advertising purposes!
CK: So Voxx what made you choose stencils as your weapon of choice?
Voxx: I really like the effect that it gives. Also it’s a clean fast way to reproduce once the stencil is made. I get a lot out of being able to experiment with different colors and techniques once the stencil is cut.
CK: You’ve reached a level between your subject matter and how well you cut and spray your stencils, along with your mastery of color, that puts you in a different league in the stencil realm. I know you do a lot more than stencils, but I feel a lot of aspiring street artists use stencils as their intro into the street art world, and it can become very boring, so when you see an artist utilize this skill to the point where their personality comes through, the work it’s very impressive.
Voxx: When I first started doing street art I was focusing on stickers and wheat pastes, and quickly realized I should be using every tool in my arsenal to create. Just stickers, tagging, or wheat pasting isn’t enough so why not do all of them! So stencils came into the mix, and there was a sense of excitement when you spray a stencil and get to see what you just made. I didn’t start making street art for beautification, but as a platform to get a message across. I was pretty pissed off and politically motivated so I wanted to do something about it, and create a positive change. I mix it up a lot between different mediums, and practices, because I get bored just doing one thing. I believe the idea should allow you to choose the medium. If you let the medium control your vision it limits you.
Dr: Rx do you want to make a spinner for the game? I’m going to start working on some cards you can get if you land on a square.
Voxx: CK, Do you want help coloring in the teeth?
CK: That would be great! I’m going to grab the off cuts from your collab in the center here and start some characters up top.
Dr: What if the spinner had 9 slots like a cats’ 9 lives?
Rx: The ninth could be death!
Voxx: I’m going to make a banner at the bottom here where we can write in the name of the game.
Rx: I can color it in. What we’re you thinking color wise?
Voxx: Maybe Black with white writing?
CK: Ok gents I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it’s getting late and I have to get up early for work. Do you mind if I take this home with me and finish it up?
Dr: Not at all but you will have to name the game.
CK: How about life’s a bitch?
Final Photo By Raphael Gonzalez