You’ve seen his work all over Los Angeles and most recently he completed a mural above The Comedy Store in Hollywood. Septerhed is helping define the Los Angeles street art scene with striking imagery sneaking up on you all over the city — like a pack of rabid wolves. He was kind enough to answer our foolish questions and gain a little insight into his world and thought process. Now when you see his art — which all of you have — you can give a silent nod and whisper a ‘support’ under your breath. We sure do.
US: Street Art sometimes only has a few seconds to make an impression — how do you select the imagery you put out there?
SH: It depends on the spot. If it’s trying to interact with the environment then there are guidelines. If it’s facing the street then it has to be read easier from the inside of a car going by. If it’s facing the sidewalk it can be more detailed because people might even stop and take a look. All of my imagery is selected by my mood. I just try to represent the forces in the universe that control my hed and the way I create. Sometimes, sometimes not. I try to make everything just a little bit funnier, weirder, sadder, and radder. I try to kill it a little more than the last time. It’s the only way.
US: Go big or go small with pieces on the street?
SH: I like both. Big more often than small. Each has a different advantages. Big is expensive and easier to collect heat to be buffed, but it looks cooler. Its also easier for more people to go over your shit. Every time you make something and put it on the street…its basically like throwing it away. You have to learn to create and let go. Its very hard and painful at 1st…but it gets easier. Small lasts longer because its out of the way…so in a sense its smarter. I have noticed that almost every artist has one spot out of the numerous that outlast all of them. Its strange. I try to be prepared for both. There is no guaranteed spot anywhere.
US: How do you chose a location for your pieces?
SH: I stay off of private property for the most part. So really the only thing that’s left is the public. The location must fit certain criteria as far as availability. Is it old, distressed, a mess, is it cursed, is it worth even putting up(good surface)? I recently ran into some trouble with a SharkToof installation, which was on the street with no signs of being an installation. I felt really stupid and apologized. He was cool though. I mean I feel we all sometimes choose bad locations…it just happens.
US: Does the location determine the type of images you put out there?
SH: When I did the Snagon vs Nomade it did. The spot and the meaning was perfect. There was just the right amount of tension between the 2 images. I wanted to interact and challenge the chariot. I wish I had more time and resources to get methodical about it. It might not sound smart….but I just make make make. I almost always try to make something new and most of my locations are just easels that happen to be on the street. I have so many ideas for so many specific spots….I am almost afraid to stop and take the time to address them. Right now the way I function is pretty smooth. The determination of location for a specific piece makes me feel like I’m throwing a wrench of doubt in my plans. But believe you me…I got some cool shit coming up.
US: Art School? Expound.
SH: My experience with art school was half disaster half rebirth. Its very expensive. At the moment I have feelings of contempt and anger towards it. This is because all of the debt that I have racked up to learn how to do a specific job is not being used how I see fit. I got a degree in advertising. I can’t find a job in advertising. I know it’s not my talent or ability. It’s the market. Here is where the contempt comes in. Because the job market is so bad…when I sit here unemployed I blame myself and my ability. I am a born creative. I proved that with 4 internships and produced work up until I graduated. I have Creative Directors all the time telling me my stuffs good…but no job. I feel trapped in a bad dream. My life needs to move forward and I am stuck. I really don’t know whats going to happen. I guess my biggest mistake was expecting . On the other hand…some the things I learned in art school were amazing and priceless. Some of my teachers really knew their craft. Great environment….its too bad a lot of that time they had to spend babysitting people who didn’t give a shit.
US: Wolves – tell me more.
SH (and wikipedia): The gray wolf or grey wolf (Canis lupus), often known simply as the wolf, is the largest wild member of the Canidae family. Though once abundant over much of Eurasia and North America, the gray wolf inhabits a reduced portion of its former range due to widespread destruction of its territory, human encroachment, and the resulting human-wolf encounters that sparked broad extirpation. Even so, the gray wolf is regarded as being of least concern for extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, when the entire gray wolf population is considered as a whole. Today, wolves are protected in some areas, hunted for sport in others, or may be subject to extermination as perceived threats to livestock and pets. For me the wolf symbolizes my fear,anger,invincibility and vulnerability all at once. People don’t realize it but actual wolves are scary motherfuckers. I’ve had dogs attack me before. There is no greater feeling of helplessness when something as big as you is trying to bite you. I love howling, scowling, wolves. They feel right. I just haven’t decided if they are more for me or against me. They definitely capture my expressive soul at this moment in my life.
US: Collaborations? Necessary, unwanted, or part of the beauty of street art?
SH: Collaborations are AWESOME. If we are talking about authorized ones. If we are not then they are still awesome. A lot of times people see pieces and they think collab…but its really just people going over one another. Sometimes they work out great, other times they just look like a disaster….but look around the streets….neutral, BORING and cold….I welcome disasters.
US: Stickers – homemade or vinyl?
SH: Homemade vinyl. I get mine made…only because I haven’t explored printing them myself yet. There is a little more involved with making quality vinyl stickers by screenprinting them. Special ink, vinyl and a drying process. There is an artist by the name of Inept who prints his own I think. They look great. I am a printer by trade…so I don’t know what the fuck I am waiting for. My hed feels like its gonna explode at the moment. Anyways…its pricy$$$$$$$ to make stickers when you don’t make any money.
US: Thoughts on DTLA?
SH: Big and scary. IDK…Haven’t really been down there as much as I would like to. Theres a lot to explore that I need to get on. From what I’ve experienced I like it.
US: Your car is on fire with Keanu Reeves and Tom Cruise inside — you can only save one. Who is it, hotshot, who is it?
SH: If my car is on fire I’m going to go ahead and assume it’s one if not both of their faults.Fuck both of em. Let em BURN. Scientology will sort them out.
US: Hit in the crotch by a ball pean hammer wielding midget or shoving your face in Courtney Love’s vagina?
SH: I am a huge fan of women and their vaginas. Technological advances have made just about anything cleanable. So I am not worried. I must insist that she sings “Malibu” while I’m down there.
US: LA Street art scene – how are we doing?
SH: I think we’re doing great. From what I’ve seen anyways. I mean we got some great spots with some great talent. LA seems like such a liberal city…I wish it was cherished and embraced more.
US: LA Street art – a family or friendly rivalry?
SH: It functions like any family would. I mean mostly everybody gets along…but you know you always have the disrespectful family members that fuck it all up. What I have experienced from other artists is a nice open dialogue with people respecting each other. That really blew me away at 1st. As far as the rivalry its only human to be like that. Its important to never settle and want to top others. That’s what separates us as individuals. Then theres “Phone Jacks”. That asshole just blacks out and pukes all over everyones thanksgiving dinner with his cock in his hand and his ass in the air. Next time your cruising LA…look around. That guy gets up more than anyone, usually right over the front of someone’s great stuff.
US: Daytime or nighttime for wheatpasting?
SH: Either….but remember your chances of being harassed and not finding parking are greater during the day.
US: Remember the movie that came out where if you hit the button you would get $1 million but someone, somewhere would die? Do you hit the button?
SH: How many times can I hit the button?
US: Best thing about Zombieland?
SH: Not Eisenburg. Prolly the word Zombie.
US: Quitting art all together or getting a tattoo of a cock on your face (I mean a detailed tattoo)?
SH: Do we get to choose the cock? Because I love cock, only my own though.
US: Will street artists show in a gallery or does that take the meaning away from their pieces?
SH: They already do. I don’t know…street artists can still make art…it doesn’t have to be on the street. I mean look at fukn galleries. So boring , so stuffy, the white cube is WEAKSAUCE. Nothing about white walls does anything but move further away from the whole point of artistic expression. But we don’t really decide that do we? People can’t buy the part of the street that your piece is on. I feel that street art is perhaps like many other mediums that have served the same purpose in the past. Its unauthorized…its real, its raw…its in your face. Its curated by fate. Completely random. Now if you want to make money as an artist and you have to bring that same energy into a gallery, hell yeah. Money still turns the rock we’re stuck to. It decides a lot of things that don’t seem right.
US: What artist do you have your eye on?
SH: At the moment it’s a bunch of different ones. I’m very self obsessed so its hard to really follow anyone but myself. Its true. So here’s the list. Skinner(he’s fukn amazing), KH No 7, Jay Doronio, Bryce Takara, Shark Toof, Destroy All Design, Jeff Soto, Florian Bertmer. All these people interest me greatly and I am excited to follow their progress.
US: Mr. Coffee or Mrs. Butterworth?
SH: Mr Coffee. Uppers RULE!!!
US: Video games or real life?
SH: Real life. It wasn’t always that way though. I don’t want to knock video games entirely. I mean look at ‘Burgertime’…that’s just like life except in that game I had more salt to throw on the hot dogs and eggs that chased me. I use to play GTA like nobodies business all night long totally on drugs, LOVED THAT GAME. Then, because I was on drugs it became everybodys business, which was kind of a bust so I had to stop playing GTA.
US: Do you have any artistic influences? Please explain.
SH: So many many many many. The world and my life is usually enough. But I study colors/textures/type/layouts/messages/line/weight/theories/beliefs/vices/disorders/love/hate/life and death just to name a few. Experiences fuel my art as well. Just trying to document them is enough to last any lifetime. I am fascinated by religious art and meaning which controls people. My feelings are so out of control from good to bad on a daily basis that I find a very solid palette from which to express. I realize that they are just feelings and that is what interests me in trying to represent them so badly. They can make or break existing on any given day, at any given moment. So very interesting. The world is full of powerful meaning. Some of it is just more exciting than others.
US: “Bling Bling” or “Clank Clank”?
SH: Clank Clank…only because it sounds like 2 robots dying and falling to the ground.
US: Skateboard or fixie bike?
US: Why Los Angeles as your canvas?
SH: Why not? Its about as convenient as it gets.
US: If you could be in an 80’s hair band, which would you choose?
US: If you could be in a rap star’s entourage, whose would you choose? Why?
SH: Whichever one could get me those GORGEOUS girls with the AMAZING ASSES that dance and wiggle and drop to the floor. Because its mesmerizing.
US: If you could wheatpaste a celebrity, who would you choose? Why?
SH: Joaquin Phoenix…with those shitty Adrian Brody pastes. Just so he could feel the pain that my eyes did every time I had to look at them.
US: If you could wheatpaste the White House, what would you put on it?
SH: Well…a 50ft septerhed diamond of course. With a map to the location of Osama Bin Laden underneath it….with a note underneath that…which said: YO WTF?…this economy is shit….FIX IT!!!!!!!Stop sending people to die for $$$$$…..Stop lying, dealing drugs…don’t tell me I have to be 18 to kill myself with the shit you tax. Stop taking away my freedom. Little by little. I want to believe in you BUT I DON”T TRUST YOU. Under that would be a list of things that other people wanted to say who cared more about politics to them.
Thank you Septerhed for the candid responses and glimpse into your world. Can’t wait to see big plans you have to Los Angeles. Below are links to his site and links to his work on TheDirtFloor.com (another friend of ours).