This past weekend, I had the pleasure of interviewing
California based muralist and graphic artist David Flores
. We agreed to meet at
the Church of Skatan
in downtown Santa Barbara, where he is currently setting
up a show with his colleague and owner of Shorty’s
, Tony Buyalos. I have to
admit, it takes a lot to make me nervous, but this blogger was fangirling, hard!
As soon as we shook hands, however, I knew that David
would disprove the
stereotypes that I had heard about artists who've made “it”. And don’t get me
wrong. David Flores
has indeed made it. Flores
has created murals all over the world and has had artist collaborations with brands like Stussy and
Vans. He’s even been illustrated as a Simpsons character
and is on a first name
basis with Shepard Fairey
…but he is still far from the stereotypically pretentious Warhol
Interviewing David Flores
felt more like a conversation then work, and pretty
soon we were talking about everything from his art and his girlfriend to how
ridiculous animal shaped phone cases are.
Click below to read the interview!
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background
David: I’m an artist. My background in art is skateboard graphics…I
started doing them real young. How I got started in that was I was just a
skateboarder. I wasn’t really good enough to go pro or get sponsored, but my friends
were. One of my friends, Ricky Higgins said, “Hey Dave, I’m going pro, do my
board graphics!” because he knew I could draw. I said “Alright” and did one
board graphic for him and it got printed and produced. That was when we were
teenagers. From then on I knew that this was what I wanted to do.
DNA: Do you have any training in art?
When I was young my mom used to take me to oil painting
classes. I barely remember it but I remember sitting at this lady’s house
around this giant dinner table. She would set up little easels for all the
kids. It was on the weekend and I remember really liking it. I’d have to go to
church with my mom, I didn’t like that. I remember having to go to school, I
didn’t like that. But when my mom was like, “Hey, we’re going to go to art
class” I’d already be in the car waiting.
DNA: Do you have a favorite medium that you like to work in?
I’ve really gotten
into spray painting lately. I’ve also been really into 3d sculpting, vinyl toys,
and big walls. I’m doing a lot of big murals around the world. It’s really fun.
DNA: Have you experimented with 3D printing at all?
Years ago actually, when that technology had first came
out. I was doing some sunglasses with Oakley…they had a 3D printer. They were
cutting it out of a block. That was back in 2005.
DNA: Did you have any mentors?
Yup, Tony Buyalos. My mom, who used to draw little things
for me. Jeff Klindt, Tommy Guerrero. All these guys who were like proskaters at
the time. Skateboarding and art for some reason go hand in hand. It always has.
Skateboarders are creative in another way, and I’ve come across a lot
interesting people through the industry.
DNA: Do you have any artists that you’re inspired by?
I’m really inspired by how clean Shepard
does his work.
Tristan Eaton. I like J.R’s stuff a lot too. I like a lot of people equally, there’s no one
that I like more than anyone else. There are people that I don’t like, but that’s
a whole different story.
DNA: What is your favorite piece that you’ve produced, if you
had to choose.
I have a favorite painting that I did, but I sold it and I
kind of regret it. I did a portrait of Salvador Dali with roses coming off of
his mustache. It was the first time that I had experimented with gloss black on
flat black backgrounds. The painting came out perfect.
Do you do any guerrilla art?
Nah, sometimes. I’ll throw some stuff up here and there
but nothing serious. I think that genre has been said and done and anyone whose
doing that now is kind of like a Johnny-come-lately. Shepard and those guys
were doing that years ago.
|Mickey Mouse Death Head|
DNA: Is there any underlying commentary behind your art?
Social, political, or otherwise.
I think a lot of it is personal, some left over angst
from corporations that have burned me in the past. There’s also a frustration
with the way things are in society today. So there might be. People can look at
it and take it for what is it.
DNA: Do you go into a work with a message or commentary in
mind, or does it just happen?
Sometimes. Sometimes I’ll have a mission statement with a
piece. Sometimes I’ll just be making stuff…As far as saying something, I try to
expose things for what they are.
DNA: Where do you find your daily inspiration?
Other artists. Things I see either online or in the
streets. My girlfriend is pretty inspiring. If I’m tired a mural, she’ll just pick
it up and finish it. She inspires me to keep going.
DNA: How would you define success?
If you are happy with what you are doing, then you are
successful. It sounds cliché, but if you want to be an artist you just have to
keep doing it until you can’t be ignored.
DNA: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
You have to stick with it, and you have to be good.
Water and grape soda.
DNA: What are your top 5 Songs of the moment?
November Rain by Guns N Roses
Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd
Check the DNA blog soon for an exclusive interview and feature post regarding David
and Tony's upcoming show at the Church of Skatan
, NO PARKING.