Interview with San Francisco street artist Cameron Moberg.
Credit inteview goes out to: Denny Simmons

Simmo: Straight outta San Fran is Cameron Moberg, or Camer1 in the streets. For those of us that aren’t familiar with you, give us some background info and how you got rolling in street art.
Camer1: I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember. I would build model cars with my dad and then try and draw them from every angle, or I would copy skateboard graphics or something. My mom would even take those drawings and get them hung in coffee shops and such. As I got older the hip hop scene really infiltrated my life in every way. I was obsessed with all the elements, but when my brother showed me a graffiti magazine when I was in 5th grade I was hooked. There was no other art that spoke to me like it did in that moment. It was alive. The vibrancy and movement was so compelling. 
Simmo: I’ve heard you’re a real “student of the game”, and take the time to teach others about the history of graffiti. Who really inspires you the most as you look back through the great “writers” and muralists?
Camer1: Yeah, I love teaching people the little I know about the history. Once internet graffiti blew up, so much culture was lost because unwritten rules were no longer passed down. People just saw photos and videos on the Internet and assumed that’s all it was. 
For me, many inspired me over the years. Besides my brother I had a group of friends I just vibed with and would go bombing with. After my bro it was my friend Cody who inspired me. Then I met Fasm later in life who used to be in Lords. That’s the dude who really took me to another level. 
As far as people I looked up to and didn’t know. In the 90’s I would say reminisce, mike giant, dream, and cycle really inspired me. In the early 2000’s I got inspired by keep, giraffa, silencer, and satyr. 
Now, I’m really in to does, smug1 and a lot of Euro cats. 

Simmo: You’re a pretty musical guy. Been known to lay down a beat on a set of drums from time to time. How influential is music in your work both outside the studio, and inside?
Camer1: I love doing music and just vibing out. Graffiti is definitely my main focus but sometimes I need to express myself in a different way. Music becomes that thing. Also I’m a man of faith, but like most artists, I probably have A.D.D. so prayer is hard, but when I write lyrics I can focus and have a conversation with God. 
As far as my music influencing my graffiti and vice versa, I’m not sure it does. I’d rather use each as a tool to compliment one another when producing a video. 
Simmo: In talking with you, and watching your YouTube videos, one can’t help but notice that you’re a very spiritual guy. Something not normally associated with a street artist. How do you connect the two and find success?
Camer1: Art and faith should be an expression of who one is. I can not separate my faith from who I am as a person. Sometimes I paint overtly Christian imagery because that’s what I am feeling at the moment. Other times I paint nature, which to me still speaks of creation and belief of God. 
 I used to get hated on for being a Christian artist and sometimes still do. But in a world of so many fakers these days, I find my art has become more accepted by others. I think people just want to know you’re genuine. I’m not trying to be anyone I am not. If I didn’t paint things that were life giving I would be faking it. I simply can’t do that. Art is too important to me to sell lies…and so is my faith. 
Simmo: In your mind is there a new subculture with spiritual artists growing within the graffiti scene, or should there be? 
Camer1: Hmmmm…that’s a tough one. There are a whole lot of Christian artists out there and there has been for a while. Our crew has been around since 96 and we’re all Christians. There are other newer Christian crews and such. I guess it is growing. Maybe it’s simply because Christians are realizing that we don’t have to change who we are but rather become who we are supposed to be, which is creative people. Maybe it’s because they are tired of hiding in fear of being ridiculed within the scene.  I don’t know the answer, but I do know that it hasn’t been an easy road for Christian graffiti writers.

Simmo: Congrats on winning Oxygen’s “Street Art Throwdown” recently. Your winning mural was incredible. But from one graff artist to another, did you ever see a reality show embracing street art?
Camer1: I kind of expected street art to go on reality TV at some point. I mean people have been marketing it for years so it was only a matter of time. It’s nothing new though. Look at all the YouTube pages where big name writers are making a killing financially off the videos of their lives. Wouldn’t that make what many do “reality TV”? 
For me, I knew the show was going to get hate. But it was going to happen with or without me so my goal was to help steer it in the right direction and rep the graffiti side of street art well. I hope I did that. 
Simmo: What/who inspired you to try out for the show?
Camer1: My friend Tyra saw an ad so I just went for it. I really didn’t think anything would come of it but everything just snow balled…and then I won…I still can’t believe it!
Simmo:  What did you take away from your time on “Street Art Throwdown”? With so many great artists that you were competing against there had to be something.
Camer1: I think the biggest thing was not be scared to try new mediums. On episode 7 I competed against 3 very talented brush artists and won. I still think that was a God thing because they could destroy me when it comes to a paint brush. But that episode really motivated me and pushed me to try new things. I think often times as artists we paint the same thing over and over again because of our fear to fail, but it’s in failure that we learn the most. 

Simmo: What’s going on in your studio right now? Anything big coming up?
Camer1: Well my studio is the back of my van! Haha! I literally paint canvases on the side of the road outside my apartment! I am working on my brush skills a bit. I put out a series of ten canvases and that series did well. I mostly focus on outside walls though. The streets are my gallery space and that’s my first love when it comes to art. Don’t get me wrong, brushes and canvases interest me but more so because I feel like I can’t do it well and it’s winning at the moment. It’s more something I feel I have to conquer. But there is nothing compared to using a spray can. Your entire body goes into the art. Every outline causes you to do lunges. It’s very physical  it almost feels like tai chi. That’s a big reason I do it, the process just feels good. 
Simmo: You’re very active with the youth in the 6th Street Corridor of SF. It’s always nice to see someone giving back to the community, a true inspiration. How have the children accepted guidance from someone who does what most people view as “illegal” or “vandalism”? How have you bridged that gap?
Camer1: I’ve been down there since I was 15. I painted the very walls where I have taught numerous kids to paint. Most of the kids have seen or dealt with way worse stuff than dealing with graffiti or vandalism. If anything, teaching kids to paint can be a saving grace. Especially now that they have taken art out of schools and kids don’t have an outlet. But I also encourage kids to just paint at our spot legally. We have enough wall space for them. I would hate to see a kid locked up because I taught them. The courts don’t mess around. And if any writer hates on me for encouraging these kids to do it legally so I could keep them out of jail, I think their priorities aren’t straight. I’m here to help kids believe in themselves and get out the hood, not to get them locked up. 
Simmo: What graf style do you prefer? Is there one that you tend to lean towards or do you like to challenge yourself?
Camer1: I like to challenge myself. I have taken many jobs where someone asked me to paint something and I gave them a confident yes, while in my mind I was like “how the heck am I going to do that?!” Never having art lessons and being old school enough where I’m not down with projectors, this can get tough. But it always pushes me to get better. 
Simmo: What’s next for Camer1 in the art world? Keep “getting up” or gallery shows?
Camer1: Murals murals murals! I’ll do shows but I will always come back to the walls!

Camer1 website: