1xRUN Thru Interview
Marduk by Doze Green
1xRUN: Tell us a bit about this piece and the idea behind it.
Doze Green: This piece is titled,”Marduk” who is one of 5 of the Babylonian/Sumerian creation Gods. In Egyptian and Sumerian mythology many of these personas and stories parallel. In fact I believe the whole ancient world tells the whole story of man’s creation, rise and fall (i.e. The great battles of the gods and the downfall of the angels can be interpreted in sacred texts such as the Enuma, Elish, the book of Enoch, the Mahabarata, the Bible etc.) His name has been transformed from primordial times to Egypt to Greece and now into Catholicism. But the holy trinity was Anu, the Ptah of Epypt, Osiris of Egypt and Marduk would be (Horus) the sun god, he represented the sun(son). His mother Damkina would translate into Isis. In Catholicism, the father the son and the holy ghost.
He has been referred to as Helios, the god of thunder, lightening and light. He wrestled Tiamat, who was the watery serpent that separated the heavens and earth, to create the earth and the third dimension. So he was the creator and the destroyer at the same time. So I’ve been doing this series of creation gods because I feel it’s an appropriate time to scan back to our legendary origins to remind ourselves that we are divine, and that we individually and collectively as humans and CREATORS feel it imperative to start looking into our cosmic connection to the universal laws of interconnectedness, and that we manifest our worlds and possibilities thru our latent shamanistic and magical abilities. The time is ripe for decoding the mysteries and pulling back the veil of mental sleep that has caused us to fall into a sort of spiritual slumber for the past several millenniums. I believe humanity is changing on a molecular and spiritual level. We are going through a Metamorphosis, what I feel is a paradigm shift, we’re coming to a dark rift, to the center of our universe. You snooze you lose.
So this is an awakening of sorts for me. That’s in a nutshell what I’m doing. I’ve been creating a new path. Like with Rammellzee did where he created his pantheon of characters, but I’m doing a whole series of gods, goddesses, guardians, demons, and heroes. Right now I’m still working on the gods and guardians. It’s first gravitating to more demi-gods and heroes. When I say heroes, I mean that they’re going to be the personification of b-boy heroes. I’ll be translating Hercules with Cool Herc, Flash with Hermes. Melle-e-melle is also based on Hermes with Jupiter and Saturn because of his wisdom. So, I’m trying to translate our icons into the classical mythological themes, these older romantic themes and what not.
1xRUN: So where did Marduk fall in the series? This was fairly recent correct?
Doze Green: Yeah, this was very recent piece. I did it just this last spring for my solo show at Open Space gallery. That was just basically to show the Trinity and the creation gods. From that point on, it’s all gubernatorial, it’s like the governors, the watchers. We live in a society that’s hierarchical, and there’s that same hierarchy in the god system. But you know, I’m the rebellious monkey king. As far as the heroes go, I’m going to deify them as answering to the gods, and just tell that story. If you’ve watched my paintings throughout the years they’ve always had the themes that are akin to something celestial, to something that’s happening in the psyche of man. The subconscious, these mythological and metaphysical realms. So I’ve just always applied things in an arcane kind of way where people, if they look into things — without looking at them — they’ll find the keys. There are keys to these paintings. There’s puzzles and riddles and all kinds of fun shit. Your mind is the decoder. Visual scrabble. I’m really enjoying that right now.
1xRUN: OK. Do you kind of want to talk about how the execution came about when you were painting this piece?
Doze Green: Yeah, you know, it’s a little bit of a departure from my usual style actually because I’ve delineated the line in some of these paintings. I’ve taken away the line, but the lines still exist with the core attaching of color and shape through the platonic solids (sacred geometry). So there might be a tetrahedron, meeting up with dodecahedron or octahedron, you know they’re all the different forms. Basically the five platonic shapes that make up anything in the physical universe, that make up form, I’m trying to crystallize it, like Rammellzee did, and weaponize it. But you know, it’s becoming a little more futuristic and abstract, and I guess cubist point of view. I think the process was to delineate the line, and still show the line by breaking color up, and dividing the line. So there’s still the same type of paintings without the lines, yet the lines still retain their integrity.
1xRUN: Do you remember how long this one took? Or are you working on a few pieces at once?
Doze Green: I usually work on five to seven pieces at once. It was in a series of paintings I was working on at the time for collectors as well as for the show, so they’re in a family. In a grouping like this I will get a lot of pre-sales from collectors, so that usually breaks up some of the family. But 1xRUN is actually the first to show this year’s newest painting, which to me is pretty awesome.
With these piece I’ve been working in the negative, working on black paintings trying to highlight the vibrancy of these pieces. I’ve been revisiting spray paint, and have been using a hell of a lot of Montana. Mixing it up with acrylic, even going so far as oil sticks, and these different mediums and inks. All kinds of crazy shit. Shit that’s not supposed work, haha, I’m trying to force it. Well, not trying to force, but experiment with these oppositions. The base versus the levels of different mediums like oil with the finishing layer.
But yeah, I think it’s really important to revisit the colors that inspired me as a kid. All the bombastic flavors that we used to have back in the day before OSHA and Ansi. Back then we had really great lead-based paint, and Montana definitely captures that spirit in the graff realm, and I’m just using a lot of it and it’s been just ridiculous.
1xRUN: You mentioned it briefly, but what were some of these other mediums you were using?
Doze Green: Acrylics, there was always a little spray paint, but I had to give my lungs a break, so that’s why I stepped away from it for a number of years, because my lungs were pretty beat up, but I have a top of the line respirator now. GO!
There’s so much more in these. It really expands my world so much more. I love painting with the brush. I love brush strokes and hand strokes, because it reminds me of tagging. That’s why the line work is fun for me because it reminds me of script, like taggin’ up. So there are times like when I really get back with the cut. The flavors and the blends and shit. I really enjoy creating blends and foreshadows, especially with the shadow black. All the revisited tools just adds a whole new realm to my transparencies, it’s really dope.
1xRUN: Did you run into any obstacles during painting this one?
Doze Green: No. I really didn’t have any obstacles, I let my paintings talk to me. I’ll start off with one thing and they kind of just develop themselves. You probably hear that all the time. But, I think that’s key for any real artist — who’s not being an egoist — just let things flow, and not worry about where the cards might fall. It’s kind of cool to be dictated to, instead of dictating preconceived intent to the lines. That usually works out great, but it just takes time. That’s the thing, the only problem with my painting is that, it’s a process to see it all. It’s not like you can see it all in one shot, if I could see everything I’ve always wanted, then I’d be a fucking brainiac. I’d be the Omnibrain. But it takes a while for me to see things. A painting takes longer for me than I guess it would for the average cat, if they’re just doing something that’s preconceived. For me I have to sit and marinate with it, and work on other things to catch up with feeling the mental/ visual connections. I work on five other things and I look back at another painting at another angle and go “Oh shit! Wow, I see the correlation.” They all kind of gravitate toward each other through these family or collective paintings. In the family, they all communicate. So that’s why I like painting in 3′s, 5’s and 7’s.
1xRUN: Take us back to the beginning for you, how did you get your start creating artwork?
Doze Green: I used to paint when I was a little kid. I come from a family of artists. My dad was a sculptor, my mom was a painter, grandpa was a pianist. So I was around jazz and music, and the Bohemian life, if you want to say that, in a lower, middle-class setting. But yeah, I was just drawing all the time early on, primarily just super heroes. What really got me into art was in 1972-73 I started seeing graffiti on a large-scale. Work from people tagging with El Markos jumbos to mini wides to Uni wides and of course the fat cap jiffy foam tags! The jumbo markers scene, the Marvy markers, the big pilot markers, the mop tips and all the other stuff. I’d say around ’73 I got involved when I was in junior high school, but after three years of private school, I went to IS 44 in Manhattan where Mackie of the Rebels, including Zephyr, Revolt, Nova, Dean, BYB Crew, PhK and Salsa all went. That’s where the famous wall of fame & handball court is, with Eva and Barbara 62, Wasp, Piper, Snake 1 etc. Bombed to shreds. That’s my junior high school. Being from the upper west side I got to witness the expansion and development of “broadway style” first hand. I used to skate and do tagging runs with the Rebels and BYB & 3Yard Boys, shortly after that, I got into graff by participating in a graffiti contest. I came in second place and that was pretty dope for a kid who didn’t know shit about graff.
I went on to the High School of Art and design that’s where I met Seen, Mare, Fable and Mr. Wiggles, Lady Pink, Daze, Airborn, Tack, Erni etc etc… That’s where I met everybody. My alumni is probably one of the most famous classes of any high school, as far as graffiti goes. We also had some High School of music and art legends with the likes of Skeme, Puma Kid, Macky and other cats. My school was basically FBA, TC5, CIA, TR, RTW, TNS,TVS, I mean, we had everybody. We were all city because we had kids from all over the city at our high school, so I met kids from every borough and from that point on, you know, it just snowballed.
That’s when the lower east side/Soho scene started to take off. Shows started taking off. 51xFun gallery, it kind of just steamrolled from that point. I wasn’t in it for that reason, but that’s kind of like what happened. My teachers were Dondi White and Ramellzee. Those guys were basically my inspiration to keep it rolling. Back then it was just being vice-president of TC5, just running the crew. Just trying to get up. I also watched the rock steady crew happen simultaneously in ’77. I got down and with the crew the proper way in about 1979-80. Before R.S.C. we used to be the Rockwell Association. A few years previous to that, I met Kenny (Ken Swift) as a young boy. We started Young City Boys, we merged with Rocksteady around ’79 .
It was our parochial school, our college, our sleep away camp, it was all of that. It was basically our vocational high school and university, because all of us were searching for our craft in a sense. We were all doing a little bit of everything. Most b-boys did. Every b-boy — that I knew at least — tried to dance, DJ or emcee. It wasn’t unusual for us to rub elbows with Doug E. Fresh, Cold Crush Bros, the Fantastic 5, Grandmaster Flash, Bamm, Slick Rick or KRS-One, even go catch a tag with those cats. Everybody was basically communicating in some form, whether it be sonically or visually.
1xRUN: What’s the story behind the name Doze, did you have any other names before that?
Doze Green: No. Hahaha. I had a few names beforehand, I won’t even speak on those. I was a toy. When I got Doze, it was a combination of things philosophically — if you want to say philosophically for a 14-year old – but, you know, I was just called Doze a lot, Sleepy or Dozey and shit. Everybody picks three to four letters. After five, it gets really difficult to tag up and get away with it or make pieces. But I just liked the flow of it. I remember this writer named Aztec. His Z’s were so dope, so I said I need a Z in my name, and it just flowed. I loved the Z at the end, the omega before it, so it was like a double Z symbology, then E turns in at the end. I learned my early mathematics from the 5% nation, I learned the value of numbers, letters and the signature. It’s all a science, if you want to call 5% a science, or the Zulu nation science, you know it’s beef stroganoff for the mind to the young uninitiated street bastard like myself. It is basically a foundation of metaphysics. That’s what got me into metaphysics, the Zulu nation and 5% nation, which got me into studying the arcane and esoteric, the hidden teachings. But, yea, everybody has a role in their crew, mine was a b-boy, graphics, scribe, scholar and symbol breakdowns.
1xRUN: Who were some of your earliest influences?
Doze Green: Jack Kirby. Definitely Jack Kirby with comic books. Cheech Wizard and Vaughn Bode of course. All the underground comic stuff that I could get my hands on. I’d go to 42nd Street at these old bookstores to get the old porno mags, the old dirty old men magazines and shit like Cavalier. They had these really crazy hairy-armpit-buckwheat-
1xRUN: Do you want to touch on how your influences have changed over the years and some influences that might not be so apparent at first glance?
Doze Green: I’ve got a thing for the really early Cubists, not the Picasso crap, but the stuff that’s really obscure. I like a lot of the early stuff, with every group there’s always the Sideshow Bob’s, the ones that should have got attention, but never did. A lot of that stuff is more genius to me than the run of the mill (Metropolitan Museum of Art) MET/MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) repetitive stuff. I’m the type of guy who skirts on the edges when it comes to painting and the art scene. I don’t really follow the mainstream. I like my solitude and try to employ the natural world into my settings. I like artists like Lee Bontecou, who is one of my favorite sculptors. There’s a lot influences here. The futurists, Matta, abstract expressionists like Raschenberg and Frank Stella. The Mexican muralists, Byzantine to Proletarian propaganda, the Romanticist movement. I’m influenced by African art, Taino, Cuban, Mayan, Sumarian,The Maori. There’s a lot of stuff that just inspires me, especially indigenous stuff and things that people would label as “outsider art” or whatever you want to call it. Really it’s just a ton of stuff. I can go on forever…
1xRUN: You seem to have a pretty large thirst for knowledge in these various different things, have you always been like that?
Doze Green: Yes, and you know it’s an ongoing process, I’m always thirsty for a mindfuck and I have to respect that. I’m always on a quest for delving into new works and ancient scribe societies, getting into them in a mystical metaphysical way. What inspires me is the root meanings of things. I like the all encompassing way of it, I like digging.
1xRUN: Do you remember the first piece of artwork that you bought? Do you still have it.
Doze Green: Oh man, I think it was the Kirby piece. It was a Captain America piece yeah, I think it was Captain America. That alongside my jumbo Fantastic Four poster. Yeah, Kirby was probably the first poster I got. But then you know I got a bunch of art as a kid, let me see. A Peter max print, fake Stella style posters and pop art curiousities from 42nd Street novelty stores. Black light art, Frank Frazetta and rock posters, punk magazine issues and posters. Funkadelic artwork and of course black books! But comic books were really the first art I bought, if you want to consider that, which I do. I sold my comic book collection in 1979. If I had it now it today would be worth at least $100,000, at least. I know it.
1xRUN: Did you sell it altogether or piece by piece?
Doze Green: ALL TOGETHER. Well…you know I really wanted some leather pants and other stuff at the time. I wanted to look like Grandmaster Flash. But yeah, I wish I had that stuff now. I have some of the Cheech Wizards left, I have some of the Kirby stuff I kept. I liked the New Gods and the Eternals. Nobody collected those, but those are the ones I really liked by Kirby because they talked about — once again– gods and ancient mysteries, secret society shit. So that shit blew my mind. Actually, that’s some of the most ornate stuff Kirby created. Then later, a lot of people say he lost his mind, in the end he started doing the five thumbs and stuff like that. But I think some of that stuff is genius. He was one of the first artists to integrate photographs and comic books, and start drawing over the photographs in pen and ink. I really love his psychedelic trips, in his centerfolds and posters. I used to take those, if I would get doubles, and I would just pop them out of the middle and just like stick them to my wall, it was super psychedelic. Yezzzzzzzzz.
1xRUN: Right on, what have you been up to recently?
Doze Green: I recently went to Korea to work with a group called Cartel and to also attend the BC1, the B-Boy championships. I painted a canvased wall on the evolution of the b-boy a brief history. Respect The Architects was the title. I went back to my origins, and for this trip I got to paint a few mugsy heads like I did way back in 1980 – 81. I think that is what was called for, to bring back the MUGSY/Prince Ken Swift! Painting in Sao Paolo, mural project in Portugal in June with MARS1, Nunca, Vhils and Pulse in May with Blackbook gallery. I’ll be at the Juxtapoz show in April at Jonathan Levine gallery for the release of a 3-foot Bronze goddess sculpture commission. I’ve also got a show coming up at Jonathan Levine gallery in November of 2014. There will be the release of the Doze Green spraycan color and special color limited edition from Montana. Then finally I’ll have a show coming up in Morocco March of 2015. I was also recently in the Graffuturism show this past December at White Walls with Poesia and everyone. Other than that, I’m working on new waves for next year.