Art Asylum: Scribe, for those who don’t know, tell us about yourself, who you are, what you do, background/lifestyle?

Scribe: I’m an Average quiet guy who spends a lot of time creating and dreaming I guess. I lived all over the world as a kid and ended up in Boston where I went to High School. I left Boston to go to college in Kansas City, met my lovely wife, got into trouble here and there, later had kids and now use the Midwest as my home base.

Art Asylum: How did you come up with the name Scribe? Is there a meaning or story behind it?

Scribe: I met a guy in an animation class in Boston named Bandit. I was already paying close attention to graffiti and street artwork around the city but he was an active writer. We hooked up during class and he brought me books and all kinds of things to soak up. It was then that I realized I needed a name. I went home and started by looking in the dictionary. I came across the word “scribe” it felt like a lightning bolt. One thing I noticed was “public writer” and with a twist on words it seemed to fit with what terms Bandit used like “writer” or “graffiti writer”. My Dad is also a pastor of a church and I grew up in a Christian home.

Scribe was a term I also saw biblically used and historically used. Scribes had a responsibility to tell the most accurate stories possible through picture then later words. It is through them we have our history and religious texts. I think that is why story telling is so important to me in my work.

Art Asylum: What made you decide to continue using this name as your moniker throughout your artistic career?

Scribe: It was just a natural progression and a long story. The summer of 94′ I was arrested for graffiti and also asked not to return to school. I was very vocal when I heard teachers and administration tear down graffiti but kept it as a separate life outside of my artwork, in school. I kind of wandered a bit after that trying to figure out what to do. I ended up getting some walls around town and one thing led to another. Through that came gallery shows from meeting people on the streets, while painting and the name just seemed to stick. There was never any planning on it or excessive marketing of what I did. One thing just led into another naturally.


I don’t claim to go out and wreck stuff anymore at all….I respect what others do and worry about myself now. My family and other dreams are important to me now. I do on the other hand, feel that I helped change a city’s mind about what graffiti is, and have some seriously hard stories I could tell and feel like I have a right to use a name that taught me a lot about who I am as an artist. Now that there has been some success in the street art/ gallery scene it is hard to watch students use it as a calculated scheme to work into a job or show…I’ve been doing this for over 17 years now and glad I have a slow foundation.

Art Asylum: How long have you been painting / designing and how would you describe your artistic journey?

Scribe: I have been drawing since I was a kid, but if you don’t count school then I would say close to 17 years. I didn’t get to finish school and that was my fault but graffiti and some of the artists I have met along the way have been my teachers. Painting on a wall taught me things about working on a canvas or a design layout and vice versa.

Art Asylum: What was your first paying gig as an artist?

Scribe: As an independent contractor I would say it was a mural on a place called “Big Dudes Music City” here in Kansas City. They found me after my graffiti arrest made the news. It was a huge blessing to me because it helped pay for the heap of fines I had and showed me a direction I thought wasn’t possible, especially here in Kansas City.

As a full time job I would have to say Children’s Mercy Hospital. I have been doing murals, signs and design work for over 5 years with them and it changed my life for the better in a multitude of ways. I owe them a lot.


Art Asylum: Where do your characters come from? Do they originate from imagination or inspiration? For example, the ever popular Rumpus?

Scribe: They are a combination of both. A lot of old folk lore uses animals as main characters in storytelling. Some use an animal with a stereotype of having certain personality traits to re-enforce the moral of the story. Scribes tell stories or record history and I use animals to do both to the best of my ability.

Rumpus is actually a self portrait. I was reading up on rhinos and came across some interesting traits that seemed to fit with me. Rhinos are big solitary animals like me! They are not very aggressive unless they are provoked or feel they are in danger then they unleash. The last couple of traits were interesting. They have poor long distance vision and at the time I was developing Rumpus I was wandering in my own life with no long term purpose. Rhinos have also been known to stomp out mini fires showing a protective side. I’m not sure yet if I put out more fires or cause them yet. The jury is still out on that one I think.

Over time more animals and research came into it all and this story started to naturally evolve. I used them on walls and canvas work alike and they became like giant snap shots of my life and interactions with others and my own wrestling mind. Many of the animals I draw are personality traits in my own mind. They work for and against each other to make sometimes a simple decision in life, other characters are family, friends, types of people and peer pressure.

Now these characters also have a place they live. It started with this place called the Resound Fields where these characters could go to chill and had the feeling of the flat lands in Kansas and Missouri. With miles of tall grass and landscapes, like old Remington paintings, the land has grown over time and evolved into a moving island yet to be named. A mural I did with some members of the DF and ATT crew members added the next location of land mass on the island where a tremendous battle took place known as the “Desert Feud”. And also a small-town on the other side of the island where they do an event every year called “The Running of the Hamsters” like the running of the bulls in Spain. I could go on but I’m sure readers are starting to wonder what is wrong with me.

Art Asylum: Your style as an artist is unique, what and who are your major influences in the development of your style?

Scribe: This is a tough question because I always feel like I am leaving something out. To start on the graffiti side and in no particular order it goes like this; East, Gear, Rapes, Emit, Sub, Dalek. These are people I personally knew that contributed through encouragement, color theory, comedy, craft, taking a second look and pushing the envelope. Outside graffiti influences of people I don’t personally know were people like Barry Mcgee aka Twist, Os Gemeos, Toast, Ryze, Alert, Byg, and Zodak. I know there is more.

For other types of artists I would say Walt Disney the person and artist ( not the corporation ), Hanna Barbera and Warner Brother cartoons and really most things animated. I watch a wide range of stuff and have a ridiculous collection of animation and love the history to current cartoons. I watch Cartoon Network when my kids are around and after they go to bed. A lot of times when I paint I have cartoons on just to listen to like a radio.

I also was influenced by Fredrick Remington, Maurice Sendak, Jim Davis, Berkley Breathed, Gary Larson, Tony Curanaj, Jason Brunson, Craola, Vaughn Bode, Ben Edlund, Sam Keith, when he did The Maxx, Maxfield Parrish, Thomas Hart Benton, Monet, and many more.

For the toy design stuff I would say MAD, Okkle, Kathy Olivias, Brandt Peters, Joe Ledbetter, DGPH, Jesse Hernandez, the Rocket World stuff and honestly a ton more.


Art Asylum: As a graffiti artist can you tell us, what has graffiti given you and taken from you?

Scribe: Graffiti has given me an education and outlook on artwork that I didn’t expect to come to me over time. It has given me some very passionate friends that love what they do and encourage me even when they don’t know it and without getting a paycheck for it. I admire that. It helped me to take responsibility for choices I made, where before I used to blame others.

Graffiti has also altered my life in negative ways too. Public perception has made things take longer in my life and choices I made on the subcultures behalf, at the time, changed the course of my life and made some dreams take longer. But the creative influences helped mold a style some people see as Scribe or D.Ross.

There isn’t much out there that doesn’t have good and bad points. Religion as a structure (not to be confused with faith), politics, the work place and so on all both sides of the coin. I guess it just depends on if your dreams and faith are bigger than the battle.

Art Asylum: You started writing graffiti back about 15 or 16 years ago, what was the scene like? How has it changed? How has it remained the same?

Scribe: The same rebellion is there that has always been there and a lot of the stories you hear about why a person does it are the same. The approach and trends in styles might be different and working in those circles much like how fashions have a way of coming back around reinvented.

Also, if you are doing something that happens to get noticed then you get a group that uplifts you and another group that either try to tear you down. All because they share different views and act them out. Sometimes it is jealousy. It can be hard to tell.

There are a lot more tools out there to help a painter learn quickly. Better tips, and paints have made some serious advancements. On one hand I think that is great and I use all of those tools for sure, and on the other hand I am glad I had to figure stuff out with watery paint and caps of household cleaners or old testers cans. Both ways have produced amazing artists over the history of the movement.

Art Asylum: Do you still write with the crews ATT (Abstracting The Typography) and DF (Demented Freaks)? How did you become a part of these crews?

Scribe: I do still write both of them, although the meaning of the crew names is different since I don’t abstract typography and don’t view myself as a demented freak! ATT was through East in Kansas City. He had moved there from Chicago and with Gear and Krie mentored the beginning of my career. DF was though Emit. When I was in high school in Boston there was a shop down the street from my school on Newbury St. and they were people I had admired though magazines.

East later moved to Colorado and hook up with Emit out there. East was pumped about meeting him and invited me out to paint with them. The rest is history.


Art Asylum: When you first started writing did you anticipate how global and culturally encompassing graffiti would become?

Scribe: When I started my mentors told me never to mail flicks i to a magazine. Magazines would trickle down to KC but I think I was in a bubble so I never really thought about the global impact and how fast it was growing. I was happy to know, later, I might have been part of that growth in a region most wouldn’t consider it to be.

Art Asylum: What do you think of the current “Street Art” movement?

Scribe: I don’t sit around and think about it too much. I have continued to see some of my favorite talent come out of it and that is what I like. The politics in it just get bigger and smaller with the trends. There will always be people that get into movements for fame and money and others for love. Time will tell on who was in it for what I guess much like a lot of the writers I have looked up to.

Art Asylum: What did you used to write when you were a “Toy”, was it Scribe? For those that don’t know explain what a “Toy” is?

Scribe: To me a “toy” is naïve and has a lot of dues to pay. I was told “you’re a toy until further notice” I was mad at first but now I’m glad I was talked to like that. It was good motivation for me to prove them wrong, rather than run off and hate them and start issues with them. My first name before I really picked “scribe”, was 2DP…for 2 Dimensional Peace. I was listening to too much De La Soul 3 Feet High and Rising!….still listen to it though!, it is like a cartoon CD.

Art Asylum: Three words to describe your work?

Scribe: Attempt at honesty

Art Asylum: You are well known to some as a toy designer and to others as an artist while some still view you as a graffiti artist, how would you describe your art for somebody who does not know your work?

Scribe: I just started getting into the toy thing a little over a year ago. Toys are the fun side of what I do. I take it seriously and have a real passion for it but I know that some in the art game don’t take it very seriously. I’m doing what I can to have some concept behind the newer paintings. I don’t want to go too far into the toy thing and loose that message. And I also don’t want to be stuffy and some of my walls and toys help with that. I’ll have to say, the toy collectors also purchase a lot of 2D artwork and are some of the most dedicated people I have seen. I’m glad I have had the pleasure of meeting people who love artwork in general. I don’t think I described anything? I hope my artwork and characters can be taken seriously in all the mediums I am doing and I also hope some of it makes people laugh.

Art Asylum: As an artist, what do you love most about what you do?

Scribe: For me doing artwork is a form of worship. I’m lucky I get the chance to do it as often, even if it is serious or funny.

Art Asylum: As an artist, what do you find to be the most difficult challenge?

Scribe: Not to worry. Not to be concerned about the next guy. Not to be influenced by the world so that it alters what is really supposed to come out of me. One of the things that helped me in the graffiti world was to respect the old characters and older hip hop influences in a lot of stuff, but not try to be what wasn’t natural for me.


Art Asylum: Is painting and designing toys your only job? If not what else do you do?

Scribe: Sort of, I kind of do that stuff all day at Children’s Mercy Hospital too but it just has more structure and a specific purpose. Where I work I do design, painting of murals and more, and even 3D work.

Art Asylum: If you weren’t an artist what could you picture yourself doing for a career?

Scribe: When I was kid I was always into animals. I guess it still shows, so something like working at an honest zoo that helps with research. I also played saxophone for years and still wish I never sold it.

Art Asylum: How do you see the evolution of your art compared to what you did in the past? Is it important to you as an artist that you constantly evolve or would you like to continue maintaining a unique style that represents YOUR work?

Scribe: I think evolving naturally works best for me. I’m lucky if I do have a style and I have seen some changes in what I have done over the years. I’ve seen people just sit down and say “I’m going to evolve my style today” and some cool stuff has come of it and also some bad stuff that looks like they are trying too hard. Evolve your work into the next stage of “you” not “you to fit into a trend”


Art Asylum: In what point in your graffiti career did you feel the need to expand your mediums to both design and branding? Was this intentional or did it happen accidentally?

Scribe: I had started using some characters repetitively because I was more concerned about telling a story than anything. Later I would meet people and they would say “you draw those rhinos” and I didn’t think about it as a brand. So I guess it was an accident. I just don’t want the brand, if it is one, to become stronger than the ideas in my other work. Maybe it can be a tool to expose people to the other stuff I do.

Art Asylum: You came out with a book, “There’s An Octopus Under My Bed”, Is there any chance for more children’s books like this, maybe a small series?

Scribe: I do have a follow up idea for that story that tells where stuffed rhino goes for the night but I haven’t had the time to sit down and do it the way I would like to. I do have another book I work on here and there but it could be a bit before it comes to light. I can’t afford to make it my main priority right now.

Art Asylum: What inspired you to make a children’s book? Tell us a little about the story behind it?

Scribe: I have always wanted to do work for children. They are usually more honest about what they like and don’t like and don’t stress on the career behind it or who drew what. My son Elijah was very young when I started it and he had a security blanket named Boo Boo which is where the inspiration came from. I was watching him learn how to not depend on it so much and learn to stretch out of his comfort zone. I was doing a lot of the same things and thought about how most people have something that is their security blanket. I was pushing out in faith in some new directions and realized some things never stop.

Art Asylum: You now exhibit in a number of group shows, how has the transition of taking your art from the street to the gallery effected your art and your creative process?

Scribe: More than anything it is just smaller and a lot more planning. A lot of what I do on walls I don’t even sketch anymore or I only do a doodle bubble guy pose. When I work in other mediums for galleries it is just a slower process. I have mixed the two into galleries but it just isn’t the same as seeing it out in an environment.

Art Asylum: As an artist who works in multiple mediums have you ever attended art school or are you primarily self taught?

Scribe: Like I mentioned earlier, I came to Kansas City to go to the Kansas City Art Institute but things didn’t work out how I planned so I made it only one year. All the techniques and mediums I use now are self taught.


Art Asylum: As a multi platform artist, what are your current aims, inspirations, and challenges?

Scribe: The main thing is just keeping the balance between Family, Art and work without becoming a workaholic that ends up losing his family. On the one hand working hard helps us all, but so does spending the right time together. My aim, inspiration and challenge has and will be to figure out the balance between it all.

Art Asylum: You have been in the game for a long time, how long have you been doing art for?

Scribe: I have been doing art most my life, but been doing the ‘game’ part of it for a little over 15 years.

Art Asylum: With so much taking place at once, what motivates you to make work and stay focused?

Scribe: I try to stay still and not do it sometimes and I end up pacing around the house. If my wife and kids don’t have me doing something at that moment then I end up sketching. I don’t know how I stay focused.

Art Asylum: What other interests do you have besides art? What is your idea of fun? If given a chance to skip work for a day, how would you spend your day?

Scribe: I could spend days swimming and snorkeling. My parents always thought I was part fish because I wouldn’t come out until I was forced to. I wish I had more time to do that. I also have had this urge to take boxing lessons.

Art Asylum: What other interests do you have besides art? What is your idea of fun? If given a chance to skip work for a day, how would you spend your day?

Scribe: I could spend days swimming and snorkeling. My parents always thought I was part fish because I wouldn’t come out until I was forced to. I wish I had more time to do that. I also have had this urge to take boxing lessons.


Art Asylum: What is something that has not been asked and that you would like to share with your followers, what is something we have not yet learned about Scribe?

Scribe: I would rather take this spot to thank people. Thanks to Darren at Shake It Records in Cincinnati for putting out my first book along with the DF book. You publish stuff because you believe in it and I admire that. Jamie and Nick at Cardboard Spaceship in Santa Cruz are responsible for opening my eyes to the Toy stuff and they also produced my first figures and that made some serious changes in my life along with a bunch of great conversations and perspectives. Jason Brunson who is a dear friend and always supports what I do and doesn’t have a selfish bone in his body. Last but not least at all is my wife Alisa who has had to put up with the juggling of it all, doesn’t complain but supports and also finds the time to inspire me with the plush work she does.

Art Asylum: You have worked with many artists on collaborative projects and shows, is there one artist in particular that you would like to work with that you have not yet had the chance to?

Scribe: If I could make it out to California for a minute I would love to paint a wall with Greg “Craola” Simkins. I saw one he did with Sub overseas and I was pretty jealous.

Art Asylum: What can we expect from Scribe in the not so distant future, any news you would like to share or maybe a preview of what’s to come..? Gallery shows? Projects?

Scribe: It is hard to say for sure. I have several things in the infant stages but not worked out enough that I can share yet. Sometimes I feel like when I talk about it then it doesn’t seem to happen if that makes sense? I am slowly working on another book and also working on filing in the gaps and starting to tell a story more. I’m not sure if that would mean comics, a graphic novel or what but I have been writing and I’m just going to trust that it will come together when the time is right.

Thank you – Scribe

For more information on Scribe visit: www.scribeswalk.com

www.artasylumboston.com

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5 Responses to “Scribe”


  1. 1 JENNIFER ROSS
    October 19, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    HEY BROTHER! I MISS YOU. JUST WANT TO SAY THAT I AM PROUD OF YOU. YOU PROVE THAT WITH HARD WORK, PASSION AND DEDICATION WE ALL CAN REACH OUR DREAMS AND DO WHAT WE HAVE IN OUR HEART TO DO, NOT JUST WHAT OTHERS THINK WE SHOULD DO. LOVE YOU!

  2. October 19, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    incredible artist and person

  3. 3 Lbreaux
    October 19, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    I have known Scribe for the last five years and while I learned something new about him from this interview there was one thing I would add and that is this young man has made a big positive impact on Children here at Children’s Mercy Hospital. His art work has trilled kids, gave them a distraction when they needed one and helped our care givers in many ways. Children enjoy his work as it is fun,interesting and always appropriate. Scribe is quick to credit all who work on his projects while downplaying his own acheivements. Humility and respect for others say alot about a person and I for one cannot say enough good things about Scribe and his passion for art and his work here at Children’s.

  4. October 20, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    scribe is all that and a bag of sun chips
    wait till you see what we have in the works
    represent

  5. November 5, 2009 at 7:26 am

    gran persona , gran artista , graffiti puro…
    personas valiosas que me encuentro en esto…
    paz
    amor

    1sa crew
    mexico!!


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