Artist Birdcap on traveling for art and working with fancy spray paint
Birdcap has fasincated us with his colorful style of characters plastered across the urban walls of Denver and many other metropolosis' across the world. His humble approach and love for what he does were a few things we identified as we talked with the budding artist to see what was next for him on a long and accomplished resume.
31/M/currently Memphis, Tenn.
Preferred mediums to work with?
Fancy spray paint.
Favorite Slurpee flavor?
Biggest pet peeve about other drivers.
Just that they chose to drive at the same time that I did. I drive a unwieldy ‘99 Chevrolet conversion van and it’s unreliability is matched only by my lack of confidence when driving it in heavy traffic.
What's your first memory of making art?
That’s tough. I remember drawing big castles with moats and dragon yards when I was really young. I drew a lot of rock star themed Ninja Turtles around that time too. Denim. Ninja turtles in denim jackets, with denim bandanas, that were frayed. My work hasn’t changed a whole lot unfortunately.
You seem to be an avid traveler; any favorite places you've been to?
Honestly, I really love Denver and Chicago when it comes to the states. I’d like to spend more time in LA but I just haven’t gotten the chance yet. South Korea has a special place in my heart if we’re talking outside of the states, but to be honest I’ve never painted in a place that wasn’t really redeeming and worthwhile. People are just pretty nice wherever you go. Faith in that seems to be rewarded pretty regularly so far at least.
When you do drop in to other countries, do you always paint there?
Definitely. I don’t ever travel without it being for a painting job, so it’s inherently in each trip. I definitely try to paint with locals everywhere I go. The best part of the whole mural thing is the community. Nothing gives you a better bead on city then meeting the local painters and having them take you around/just getting time to make work with them.
Do you feel, that in 2018, artists are compensated fairly or is there still a disconnect there?
It really just depends on the situation. At the moment I’m in a pretty deep financial struggle of a year. Freelance is scary in a country where your healthcare isn’t even mildly assured. I’ve been working 60-hour weeks for a long time and I’m still a ladder slip or cavity away from career ending debt. It shouldn’t be on the shoulders of small businesses to provide for the artist class either, but it’s really what it’s become.
Social media tells us you had a bunch of shit stolen a few months ago. Ever catch who done it?
Nah. Some dude in Philadelphia has a ton of spray paint and crusty lookin’ shirts now though. It was the worst possible timing too. Me and my ex-girlfriend had been sick for a few weeks and we got up the idea to leave NYC for a weekend and have a nice romantic time. Within the first couple hours all our gear was gone and we were just spun for the rest of the weekend.
How devastating is that kind of thing for an independent artist?
Man it was real bad. [laughs] My laptop, my tablet, all of my merch/swag that I sell online. All my spray paint. I was suddenly like $6k in the hole and I had like a thousand bucks in the bank to choose what to replace. It was tough. Hard to make money when the tools you use to make money are what needs replacing. I still haven’t bounced back fully on it, but it’s on the way. Could have been way worse, I’m not gonna complain too much.
Who are you looking up to now in the art world? Any up-n-comers we should know about?
I’ve been really enjoying what’s coming out of Casey Kawaguchi, Nosey42, Frenemy, Richt, Taj Francis, Wingchow, Baghead, Frankzilla, Sixcoin, Royaldog, Junkhouse, Jay Flow, Artime Joe — man so many more. Ghostbeard has been doing these crazy illumination characters lately I really dig on, too.
Send me money to @birdcap on Venmo. You won’t be compensated!