1xRun Thru Interview
Funny Farm by Above
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this piece, what materials were used & when was it created?
Above: I painted this arrow with rollers, latex paint, and spray paint onto an old barn. I think the barn was about 30 feet wide x 30 feet tall at the pinnacle. The Funny Farm piece started with the help of my friend Denial, who invited me to participate in the Free 4 All Walls project in Canada last month. Denial had organized a massive barn for me to paint for the project. This was the largest arrow I’ve ever painted and most coffee I drank in the duration of 4 days. Tim Horton’s coffee should be illegal.
1xRun: When was the piece drawn and created?
Above: Just last month (November, 2013) in Windsor Canada.
1xRun: Anything immediate you would like us to highlight?
Above: This was the largest arrow I’ve ever painted thus far in my career.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Above: The idea was quite logical to be honest. The shape of the barn and the arrow both are very similar, so the foundation was already laid and ready for a big arrow.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Above: It took about 4 days and 48 cups of large coffee with two crèmes and no sugar.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Above: Besides the fact that it’s the largest arrow I’ve ever painted, it’s on the side of a barn. My first time painting a barn as well.
1xRun: Why should people buy this print?
Above: I enjoy this print because of the colours, boldness and size.
1xRun: Describe the piece in one gut reaction word.
1xRun: Tell us a little about your moniker Above, how did the name come about and how long have you used it in various forms?
Above: I chose the moniker Above because both how the letters flowed next to each other, and the optimistic and powerful message to ‘Rise Above.’ I first started tagging on freight trains in California in 1996. Since then I’ve focused less on the letters of Above but more the mentality and message. I’ve just gone with the flow and it’s taken me to different mediums like stenciling, word play text pieces, and the painting the Above arrow logo.
1xRun: Take us through the years with your work, what have some of your favorite pieces been since you’ve been putting pieces up throughout the world?
Above: The most exciting works I feel I’ve done are the ones with a strong voice, message and or political or social meaning behind them. Some of these works would be the ‘Diamonds are a woman’s best friend and a Man’s worst enemy’ in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2012. ‘Giving To The Poor’ stencil in Lisbon, Portugal in 2008. ‘#socialmedia’ time lapse piece in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2012. and the ‘Give a Wall St. Banker’ wordplay / installation in Miami, USA in 2011.
1xRun: You travel like a madman, as the year winds down where have you been this past year and what have you done ?
Above: I started 2013 in California printing some editions of screen prints. Once those were finished I returned to London, Paris, Berlin, San Sebastian, Copenhagen, Detroit, Toronto, Windsor Canada, and now back here in San Francisco. I’m back to London in Jan 2014 as I’m now based there.
1xRun: What have some of your favorite new places been and why?
Above: I was in Detroit in 2004 when I was doing my USA Sign Language Tour. This year I had the pleasure to return to Detroit to work with you guys. Seeing the city and the beautifully ugly aspects of Detroit were fucking rad! Detroit is hard to sum up or describe in just a few words. I am super optimistic about Detroit’s come up. I reckon in these next years a lot of artists, and creative types (among other people) will seek this city out.
1xRun: Much of your street work tends to have a time-sensitive message, what are some political interests or disinterest that get your gears moving?
Above: Politics, greed, corruption, lies, you know, typical nastiness.
1xRun: In November you joined us here in Detroit, how often had you been to Detroit previously and how, if at all, have your thoughts towards the city changed over the years?
Above: I kinda touched on this on your previous question but it’s been since 2004 since I was back in Detroit. 9 years later I’ve noticed that the energy here with the locals is optimistic about a turn around in situations. Everyone in Detroit knows that the city has a lot of fucked up shit and lack of proper things a city needs. However instead of bitching about it I noticed the people I was around that are from Detroit were looking at the city with a ‘glass half full’ approach.
1xRun: Any artists that you have really been digging lately?
Above: 3615 from Paris, Reka from Melbourne, Roids from London, Escif from Spain and Kuma from NYC.