Your Bald Man Watching has quite a presence here in Seattle. What inspired you to get your art up on the streets? When I first moved to Seattle, I noticed big bright blocks of color on the streets. All sorts of stuff caught my attention. I was 13 at the time. About a year or two later, I started getting my images up in the streets.
What is your first graffiti-related memory? When I was a kid, I used to take long walks with my father. We lived at the time in a small town outside of Seattle. I used to watch him tag inside the infrastructures — statements of randomness in Hindu script.
Are there any specific artists who inspired you? There’s M.C. Escher and Chuck Close. I was also inspired by posters, especially all the spin-offs of “Big Brother Is Watching You.”
And now we’ve got Bald Man Watching us from just about every street corner in Seattle! He’s on stickers and paste-ups all over town. How do you choose your spots? If I see a spot, I work on it.
How do you feel when you see your work in a public space? Is the illegality of it an issue to you? I love walking around and seeing my artwork. The illegality of it doesn’t factor in.
Have you ever been arrested? When I was about 18, I got a little reckless. I was on the train, when security came over and took my sketch book away. A bit later, some officers entered my home in Seattle with a search warrant. They seized bags and bags and bags with all sorts of supplies and hundreds of cans of paints. I ended up with $4,000 in fines and 20 days in jail.
What was that like? The 20 days in jail? I did it during the winter break of my sophomore year in college. There were about 35 of us and one other graf artist in my cell. My art was my currency.
What is the attitude of your parents to what you are doing on the streets? Both my parents are supportive. They’re concerned, though, about my safety.
Have you had any difficulties these days? Hardly. As a white male, I get away with quite a bit.
How do you get your materials? Mostly through networking. I recycle others’ excess.
Have you made any money from your art? I’ve sold paintings and I’ve gotten mural commissions, but my main source of income is from my work as a dancer.
A dancer? Yes, I’m a professionally trained dancer. I’ve been performing just about all my life.
Cool! How did you get into that? My mom is a dance teacher and a dancer.
So you live a life of art! Yes, all the time, except for when I’m eating or sleeping!
Have you had any formal art education? I was homeschooled until my second year of high school. Then I put myself into high school and college.
What was that like? College? I have a BFA in Choreography. Let’s just say I made lots of connections.
Has your artwork been exhibited in galleries? Yes, I had a solo show here in Seattle, and my work has also been exhibited at the Anne Bonny and at the Colombia City Theatre. You can check out my art on http://www.flickr.com/photos/baldmanwatching
Who are some of your favorite street artists? There are quite a few. Here in Seattle there’s Team Nerd, NKO and NTG. And there’s my girlfriend, Brynk Cynk, who forever inspires me.
Interviewed by LoisInWonderland