Cope2 has lived his whole life in the Bronx, in the public housing projects on the opposite end of the earth from Wall Street in Manhattan. He came to graffiti like everyone else in those days, at the age when young men and women begin to explore the urban labyrinth where we all live. Cope2 is a graffiti artist who created a legacy in New York with his art and creativity. Read on below as Cope2 talks to us about past influences, his debut RUNs and more in the latest 1xRUN Thru Interview…
1xRun: Tell us a little bit about this original piece for Naturalism, how did the idea and execution come about? What materials did you use?
Cope2: I called this piece Naturalism because the way this piece was naturally is just how I do it. I’m natural in what I do. I pretty much just freestyle when I do pieces on walls or painitngs. I never go with a planned outline or colors. When I do a painting I go about it the same way, I didn’t want to call it Natural, so I liked “Naturalism”. It was created in 2011 towards the end of the year. Sometimes I make paintings a few at a time and basically just used acrylics, enamel and some spray paint.
This is a dope painting. This is one of my favorite little canvases. I really do love this painting. I think it was 36 x 36 inches, if I remember correctly. It’s got a nice classic Cope bubble in pink and blue, right in the back that I used to love to do, just the PE in the back. It’s got some pieces of a subway map. If you look at the top corner above the Cope tag in pink, there’s a little collage piece of the Berlin subway map. Then all the way under the Naturalism, there’s a piece of the New York City subway map. Can you see it?
1xRUN: Ahh yea, I see it now.
Cope2: That’s the good thing about these paintings, you see shit and you didn’t even know. I’ve really been trying to do that with my new pieces lately, these are looking crazy, I’ve been trying do a little less graff, lots more painting. This shit gets fun after a while! I’ve been getting a lot of good feedback.
1xRun: How long did the piece take from start to finish?
Cope2: It took me a couple of days. When I do paintings I will do 4-5 at the same time. Sometimes you want to let it dry, make sure you’re adding the right thing, you might flip it here, add something there.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Cope2: I really like the title Naturalism, it’s just such a dope title it fits the piece.
1xRun: Describe this print in one gut reaction word.
Cope2: Naturalism.1xRun: This is the 4th print we’re releasing with you, tell us about the quick sell out and why we all feel this one will have the draw of your collectors.
Cope2: I guess being a New York City graffiti artist for 30 years, people start to recognize and embrace some real and true history. That’s pretty much gone, there’s not too many graffiti legends from New York City still doing it today and staying relevant–not only on walls in the streets–but with paintings in gallery’s collections or auctions through out the world. That’s what I’m doing it still today in the future hopefully I’ll be in the Gagosian gallery someday my dream.
1xRun: What is your insight on why getting prints in the hands of younger collectors is important?
Cope2: So they can have a piece of my history and work. Who knows, when they grow older and they’re making good money they can buy a real piece from me for their collection or walls in their home and I’m grateful for the support from the younger collectors. 1xRUN: You’re coming to Detroit in the spring, why Detroit, what’s the draw for you personally?
Cope2:I see they’re doing a lot of nice walls down there and really hooking up the city with some amazing art on the walls, and I’d love to support and be part of it, so let’s rock it down there. It’s pretty cool, it reminds me of the mid-80’s when I was bombing all the sides of buildings and abandon buildings in the South Bronx and doing pieces inside the abandon buildings. It’s something you really can’t do today in New York City cause they’ve pretty much fixed things up here. So it would be cool to get that vibe again for a few, it’s so raw I love it.1xRun: What is on tap for you in 2013?
Cope2: I’ve got my first show of the year coming up at Gallery69 in Tribeca on February 16th. It will be good to have hype coming up too. I’ve got something coming with Obey, it’s a writer collabo with Shepard Fairey, that’s coming out in his spring collection.
Working on some shows in Germany and Australia. Focusing in the studio, working on some more massive paintings. I’m trying to catch up to KAWS, that guy! I’ve known him for years, I remember when that dude would be afraid to step foot into the Bronx to paint a wall. He wouldn’t do a wall in the Bronx unless he called me. I did 4-5 walls with him in the Bronx, those are some good pictures. I’ve got 30+ years of photos, I’ve got to start putting these in books.