Bisco Smith has been putting in work on the streets of Los Angeles for years, and has begun to put it all together into a cohesive body of work that explores his love of graffiti, abstraction, and hip hop. His latest solo show opens this Saturday night at C.A.V.E. Gallery. Please enjoy this Q&A with Venice-based Bisco…
What’s your favorite taco?
Probably Tacos Por Favor in Venice for the Veggie Taco and chip plate. I also am steady at Komodo in Santa Monica for the ill fusion mash ups…
When and where are you most happy?
I’ll take a quote from Hitchcock for this one “ A clear horizon — nothing to worry about on your plate, only things that are creative and not destructive…” I love getting to the studio with zero plans, meetings, or other things I need to do. Nothing but work, paint, and create until I decide to leave for the night.
What was your path to becoming an artist?
Skateboarding brought me to Hip Hop which brought me into writing, rapping, painting, and Dj’ing, all that brought me to art school where I studied Graphic Design. From there I learned how to run my own studio and create for a living. Los Angeles brought me into the studio practice and where I am at today.
What’s your favorite hidden corner of LA?
I stay pretty hidden in Venice.
When visitors come from out of town, what’s the first place you take them?
My studio is a few blocks from the ocean. So normally we start there, Venice Beach, then tacos are a must, and for sure we are drinking beers by the ocean. Pretty much coming to the west side of things feels like a summer vacation for everyone.
What are your impressions of the current art scene in Los Angeles?
I think it’s really energized on every level, from the low brow to the high brow. I think its vibrant and there is a lot of light on the city right now, Overall I think it’s a great time to be making art in L.A. and I am really thankful to be here living and working.
Do you have a lucky number?
hmm, maybe 22.
How did graffiti shape you as an artist?
It has shaped every aspect of my art and practice. It was, and continues to be, my vehicle into taking the idea of making art seriously. I learned how to work solo and collaboratively, how to spend time on something, how to accomplish big projects, how to let go once it’s done. A big one would also be the people I have connected with through painting. I met the illest artists and just people in general. All that comes with inspiration, possibility, and friendships. I thankfully went down a path where the troubles I landed in, in retrospect, were minimal and all those detours led me to get professional with creativity and eventually put me in a place making fine art.
Also, I think maybe I am always chasing the feeling of being out catching tags and doing stuff on the street. Those moments are the best highs and the energy is crazy. with tags, it’s up and out. I love that moment. When I work in the studio there is so much spontaneity, speed, and motion that I think maybe I really am just trying to catch those feelings, reach that higher level, and get lost in the moment as if I was painting a wall and all I had to think about was the line I am making.
What’s the most beautiful thing in the world?
There is so much beauty its hard to pick one.. my wifey for 1, when birds fly there’s magic, the golden hour right before and after sunset paint the world beautifully, and the diversity of people existing in peace is beautiful. Recently I was in NY and I had to get ordained for a friends wedding, so I went to city hall. I sat in the waiting room where people go before and after getting married, and I watched so many different couples, all walks of life, all there for love and filled with hope for the future. That was probably the most beautiful thing I have seen lately.
Got any shoutouts?
Cave Gallery for the opportunity to show work and really go in. A giant shout to Jasmine Angelique Smith for crafting the Process video, so sharp. Dfalt for supplying the fresh tunes, L.A. Taco for the light and taco inspirations! And to all the people who support my work, and send me energy back on the things I put out there into the world. Whether it’s economics, or a simple “like” on the web, a note via email, a convo in person.. it is all much appreciated and it keeps me moving ahead, smiling… Thank you all!
Gallery Show Info
C.A.V.E. GALLERY PRESENTS
“Process” – Solo show by BISCO SMITH
Opening reception: Saturday, July 30th – 6:30pm – 9:30pm Beats by DJ BUSRIDER
Exhibition Dates: July 30 – August 29, 2016
PROCESS—the unplanned, unexpected, the collected in a corner, saved in a stack, the leftovers, the beauty, the magic in the scraps. Process is motion. It’s the forever in the moment, until it isn’t. It’s the notes, the plans, the dates, maps, and scribbles. It’s the paint that missed the canvas, the test before the print. It’s the ghost for the catching, the zone for the coasting. Process is forever unfolding.
Bisco Smith (b.1980) is an American contemporary urban artist who’s work is characterized as a blend of graffiti deconstruction, abstract gesturalism, graphic design, and “visual freestyle.” Using household tools learned from painting on street walls and influenced by the process of freestyle rapping and song writing, Bisco fuses the spontaneous art forms into style-writing and action painting. His technique involves energetic, expressive brushstrokes that reflect the flow of music and translates the consciousness of the moment into painted lyrics and abstract black and white works of art. Bisco believes that art is energy transmitted through various mediums, and as such, the artist becomes the conduit. He aims to bring a good intention to all his paintings in hopes that the energy will continue to resonate wherever the art lives. His art captures the unseen rhythms of music, the untamed energy of a moment, duality, and good intentions. Bisco has exhibited art, performed music, painted murals, and partnered with creative brands and live events worldwide. Bisco’s work is regularly exhibited in major markets and is collected by both national and international collectors. Bisco Smith currently lives and works in Venice, CA.