1xRUN Thru Interview
Castles In The Sky by Bisco Smith
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this series…
Bisco Smith: I wanted to do something new and fresh for these pieces. I do a lot of graphic collage work, but I have yet to build these sort of environments. These pieces are a surrealist approach to the cityscape style works I have been doing for a long time. The main ideas behind them are freedom and exploration. These are my castles in the sky, where I find a peace of mind and freedom to create and explore. Growing up I spent a lot of time in abandoned buildings. So for me there is something very nostalgic and freeing within those environments.
1xRun: What materials were used to create this piece?
Bisco Smith: Wood, latex, acrylic, and spray paint along with a camera, computer, and some heavy resin.
1xRun: When were these pieces created?
Bisco Smith: These were all created in January of 2014.
1xRun: Anything immediate you would like us to highlight?
Bisco Smith: While working on these pieces I wrote a few songs keeping the visuals and concept in mind. These are a collection of tracks, lets say my artists statement, in the form of beats and rhymes. Dflat, my studio mate produced them and I put the words on them. We are releasing this collection free through our label Daylight Curfew in celebration of this art release with 1xrun. Check them out, download them, and maybe get some more insight behind the art.
1xRun: Tell us a bit about how the idea and execution for this piece came about?
Bisco Smith: The idea just happened. I try to not think too hard when working, and through the process I land in a certain place, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Either way in the end I am surprised. As far the the execution, for years I have been finishing my work with a polyurethane many times over, and when available I will screen print the image and then poly coat it. Over time I lost access to the screen printing and at the same time discovered the resin. Stylistically I love the graphic feel of screen printing, so I have always tended to work in that approach and aesthetic. This particular mix of mediums was developed over the past few years while being in L.A. It took a few big failures to get it to where it is, but I finally worked out the process.
1xRun: How long did this piece take?
Bisco Smith: The boards are hand built and individually painted, the images are designed and transferred, then the resin is poured. Total time was about three / four weeks for everything.
1xRun: What is unique about these pieces?
Bisco Smith: I have yet to see this particular mix of mediums, and with these pieces and my work in general I like to touch on my roots of graff, but bring in a very refined overall aesthetic. Content wise there is a good juxtaposition between the grime of abandoned buildings and the actual physical high gloss finish.
1xRun: Why should people buy the one of these pieces?
Bisco Smith: These pieces are made to open the imagination. I heard a quote recently, I think it was from Da Vinci, saying something like his approach to art was to paint the unseen, paint what they can’t see. I think that inspired me when going to work on these. When the viewer looks at them they are taken into a new world and from there they too will come up with imagery, ideas, and hopefully be inspired to build their own castles.
1xRun: Describe this series in one gut reaction word.
Bisco Smith: Ascension.
1xRun: When did you first start making art?
Bisco Smith: I have been making art as long as I can remember. It wasn’t until I discovered graffiti that I really started to make art with a purpose. That art form really brought me much deeper into it all.
1xRun: What was your first piece?
Bisco Smith: I would say my first notable gallery piece was in 96’ maybe. My homie Leias and I did this big traveling mural for aids awareness that went to galleries and schools in our community.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on?
Bisco Smith: I mainly grew up in Connecticut before the internet, so the local writers were the heroes. We also had the train lines and highways really rocked by NY writers at the time, so those two worlds, NY and CT were the big inspirations. crews like 594, TVT, DF, BLT and IMOK. As we explored NY and discovered graff mags and videos I would say the big FX and TATS crews production days really inspired me further.
1xRun: What artists inspire you now?
Bisco Smith: First its my friends, the ones who work hard and I am closest too so I can see it and vibe with them. Bishop203, Meres, Leias, Dfalt, Sek3, Cern, DMC, and the people around me in my studio setting in Venice. Outside of my friends I love what JR is doing, some very big socially impactful work. Retna is like today’s Jackson Pollock for me, the scale and freedom in his work is inspiring. I am really inspired by writers who have taken there work further than the walls and push new ideas and styles.
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what?
Bisco Smith: When I am outside painting or building the boards I keep it dub. In Los Angeles the sun shines a lot and for me there is nothing better then dub music in the sunshine. On the flip, my studio is a cave with no windows so it’s the total opposite energy. When I am working in there I tend to bump anything beat based. ie. Dilla, Dfalt, Bonobo, Teebs, Shabbazz Palaces, Dj Krush, I Pandora all that and I am good for days.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why? Any deceased artists?
Bisco Smith: Thats a tough one, first thought is Lee Quinones, he is a great artist, style king, and an overall great person. He is the perfect example of a writer who has developed deep into the art world from the graff world. Then I would say Ces, he is probably my biggest inspiration way back when, so to burn a wall with him would be ill. My first thought for the latter would be Jackson Pollock, I have always loved his scale and freedom.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it? The last?
Bisco Smith: I think it was this diptych mounted 8.5 x 11 drawings from a guy who posts up on the floor inside of the 14th street L/C station in New York line selling drawings of aliens attacking the city. I most definitely still have them. The last pieces I bought were from Can Love in LA. They make these really fresh metal flowers made from paint cans. I also did a dope trade while in Miami for Basel with, Remote, a fresh artist/writer from down there.