An accomplished San Francisco based graffitist by the name of Chor Boogie hosted his art opening at the Project One Gallery this past Friday. Recently having painted a mural at the Olympics in China and using his talent as a ticket to travel the world, Boogie has developed knack for creating spray painted images that leave admirers speechless. His solo show is entitled "Romanticism" and runs through January 3, 2009. Seher Sikandar caught up with the electric artist before the show.
SEHER SIKANDAR: Why do you paint?
CHOR BOOGIE: Because I love it. I've been painting since I was like 5 years old. Picked up spray paint around maybe 10, 11? Yep. And fell in love with it ever since. And it's just my calling - yeah. Over anything else; it's what I'm good at.
SS: And what got you into spray paint?
CB: Actually, just seeing it around my city, San Diego and stuff. Some influences like Phase2 and Vulcan, Sake. Coma, and a couple other cats.
SS: What do you feel are your greatest strengths as an artist?
CB: Well, color therapy as a matter of fact; using mass amounts of color. A certain technique that I use: upside down technique. And just the technical skill aspect; the flowing movement of my work is something unique, original, and it stands alone.
SS: How would you define color therapy and the upside down technique?
CB: Color therapy is another spiritual aspect of, let's say imagination and emotion, which is tied to romanticism. And I believe you could help people with colors; you can heal the world with colors. We're surrounded by colors everyday - we live with color, you know. We are 'in living color,' literally. And you can look at broad spectrums of color, or you could hone it down to something real simple. I mean, look at this room that we're in - how does it make you feel?
CB: It's mellow, right? Smooth. Because, it's a calming color [cream]. That's why they paint prisons a certain way, that's why they paint hospitals a certain way - it's to keep people calm within these certain environments. But, as far as it being in a spiritual aspect - it's only if you believe in it. Because it can actually heal you in general - mentally, physically, and emotionally - if you believe in it! See. You know, we're distracted by all these illusions around us and, you know, we're blinded by our own color. The simple things, you know.
SS: What about the upside down technique?
It's pretty much an old school technique but nobody ever really used it. It was pretty much looked down upon. It was kinda, like, banished. And so, a friend showed me it and, nobody ever really did it with images and characters and stuff. So I started doing that - and just took it beyond extremes. To whole different levels. Like, I'm able to paint any size with that technique. So I broke the limit barriers with that technique. It was just a challenge - it fit.
SS: What are your current challenges?
CB: Probably myself. That's the main one. You know, always got self improvement. Always. Ego, pride - all that stuff. That's my challenge.
SS: And how do you tend to deal with your challenges? What's your approach?
CB: Psh, wow. Intentions. Having good intentions. And enthusiasm. Strength, patience, tolerance. Some abundance. Some peace. Hmmm. Some genuine spiritual love. Some gratitude is attitude. Hmmm. Honesty - that's key right there. 'Cause if you ain't honest with yourself, you can't be honest with anybody else, you know? That's how I live - and it shows in my work.
SS: As an artist, you've had the privilege to travel the world. Can you share some of your memorable experiences?
CB: Just painting for the Olympics in China was dope. That one was just amazing. Australia, Federation Square. Oh, wow - just painting live in Federation Square for 3 days. Its like in the middle of the city in front of everybody - same thing with China, too. Dubai was probably the most futuristic you can ever see in your life - like Futurama or something. It's only, like, 10 years into development, and you got like 75 buildings going up at once. Did some stuff for MTV Arabia there. We're in cahoots with the government out there, so they'll probably bring us back and work on some more mural projects.
SS: What's been your most experimental or off-the-wall piece?
CB: Wow. It's the one that's in the show right now of the 2 Baroque style women with the white tiger. Because it's actually a series within a series. Just the perspective and the outlook of it - and the design work is so moving. It moves you. It's the first part of I think three more paintings. The ladies are painted in chrome, actually. Metallic. I think the other ones, they'll be painted in like gold, and bronze with some other type of animals like panthers and tigers or lions or something like that.
SS: You mention teaching others as a sort of calling of yours. You also repeatedly express a keen interest in working with youth. Explain that.
CB: You gotta teach the children. There's nothing wrong with being creative, innovative. And as far as the youth goes, you know, I've been through some hard times as a youth and I know how it is when you don't have any inspiration or you don't have any influence. It's like, you gotta find it - and that's what I had to do as a youth. Nowadays, it's like a calling; if you're out there doing what you love to do, you gotta give back. And that's how I feel you gotta give back is through the youth. And inspire them.
SS: You've accomplished many things, but it always seems like there's something left. What is a dream you have yet to realize?
CB: Support myself fully on with a family with what I love to do. And have some kids. And, you know, be a good father. And hopefully I inspire them with some artwork. Still keep traveling the world - as a given.
SS: Is there a specific dream project, art-wise you haven't done yet? Have something in mind?
CB: Well. We are talking about doing the biggest mural in the world in Dubai. That's probably one of them. And this is so big, you'd probably see it from space. We're talking some serious stuff. They have the biggest everything else in the world - why not? Albus Cavus - it's an east coast collective that I'm down with. We've been working for two years now. And we're planning on these projects out there. So imagine that - that's a pretty big dream: actually see some of your artwork from space? That'd be amazing. Any other dreams? Let's see. Make some movies. Like, 'The Boogie Bird Movie.' 3D animation - maybe get with Pixar, Dreamworks. I think it'll be, 'Boogie Bird saves the world,' or something like that. I wanna try and get an artist reality show going. Like, do some world traveling with some artists. See what happens. We kinda proposed to MTV Arabia - they were hyped on it.
SS: If you could use just one or two words to describe the essence of your work - the common thread - what would those words be?
CB: I'd say originality. I've had some influence, but I would never let that take over my work. I believe I have dug deep within myself to find a style, to develop some reality with what I do.
SS: Any last words?
CB: I would like to thank you. I would like to thank Project One at projectonesf.com. I would like to thank Bast and Enchantress for doing the live installation. Actually, Bast is my fiancee, and Enchantress is her friend. They let me paint on them. Now they're in my invisible canvas frame. That's gonna be my new poke-fun-at-the-art-world thing. "What? You don't see it? My invisible canvas!" [laughs] Steve, Joe, and Brooke - I'd like to thank them, from Project One.
You can learn more about Chor Boogie and his work on his Web site.