Alright so thanks for taking the time out to do this interview, can we get a brief run down of who you are and how long have you been in the game? What crew do you rep and how did you get the name Disem?
I Write Disem / Dism /Disem305 as a kid I had an Afro, I used to play basketball in the neighborhood court and one of the homies ” PC/ Problem child whos a local Miami Rapper started calling me Disco. So my first tag was Disco, after a couple of years and learning about other oldschool writers who wrote the same name I decided to change it to Disem, I liked the letters and i was a bit rowdier in my younger years so “DISS THEM/ DISEM” was appropriate at the time, Don’t really push any crews at the moment, I rep Miami to the fullest. and I started getting into blackbooks maybe at around 1996, writing and doing street shit maybe around 1999
First off, your work is dope! What I really love about what you do is that you are stretching yourself out of your comfort zone, and I feel like that’s when you see real creativity happening. You do characters as well as writings, how did you get started doing graffiti writing and when did you start to expand into doing characters?
Thanks really appreciate that. I’ve always been heavy into art, my parents met at an art university so I was born surrounded by it. When i was in 4th grade my older cousin “Gare” was writing. I’d kick it with him during the summers.I looked up to him as a kid and liked art, the whole more rebelious side to graffiti kind of sparked an interest in me. I ran with it ever since, The Character things i sort of always played around with, I always worked on backgrounds on crew walls when i was younger and then that started evolving into more realism type murals with time, just pushing my own boundries and like you said moving out of my comfort zone. I personally like challenging my self and I try to be as well rounded as possible/ from street shit to murals.
Speaking of expanding you recently posted some stuff you are doing with the 3d program Blender and some artists you are collaborating with! What’s the idea with branching these two different medium?
I enjoy working with different mediums I’m currently working on a project that plays with different “realities” so some of it digital, some virtual, some physical and just to see how some of these things contrast or interact with eachother. With the project you mentioned it’s a series of like character throwups that ive been painting in different places. Those walls im having 3d scanned so that even once they’re gone people can sort of be immerced in the space they were originally in. With pictures you just have an image. But to me the setting of the pieces are just as important as the pieces. So through this people can actually be at the place looking at the pieces with the day to day movement in the area. In this project i also have a series of the same throwups but done in like a 16 bit video game lay out, The whole concept and the end game is to sort of feel like you went through some sort of time machine art/ graff experience.
From the way you handle your social media game I assume you do this full time correct? What kind of advice do you give for people in graffiti or art in general when it comes to the social media aspect? I see you post a lot but I also see you creating a lot of other things around your work, like photography and that sort of thing.
Yeah this is what i do full time. As far as advice, just create don’t over think shit and stay consistant. I see a whole lot of people over preparing to not do shit. Just work, enjoy what you do and be real about it, drown out all the shit talkers. People who usually critisize have the time to do it, because they ain’t doint shit. We live in such an a.d.d. world that if youre not constantly in peoples faces you’re work & efforts are easily forgotten.
What is your favorite documentary or book that covers the history or major players of graffiti and why?
Damn i suck with like graffiti history type shit lol, and my memory sucks. I def think Style Wars had some sort of impact on me as a kid. More than that growing up in Miami I remember as a kid getting the 1st 3 issues of 12oz Prophet magazine, those def inspired me at the time, to see guys from my area burning the way they were back in those days was dope and alot of the work still holds heavy weight today.
For someone looking to get into graffiti as a full time hustle, how do you bridge the gap between doing this as a hobby to being a professional?
Just Work! out work those around you, everyone has excuses to not execute just do it and stay consistent and humble. I grew up broke as fuck ,but my parents instilled in me the importance of hard work, At around 24 I knew I wanted to paint for a living, but i knew this was’nt easy and i needed to be willing to invest in my self to have others invest in me. So instead of going out and partying ( which is extremely hard in Miami) I pretty much locked my self away and worked full time and started saving money. I’d come out maybe once a ,month or a few times here and there just to paint. Eventually I saved enough to open up my own business (not art related) a year later i opened up a tattoo shop next to it ( I was tattooing at the time) and a few months after that i quit that full time job that I hated but enabled me to make the money to materialize my vision.
Through those 2 businesses although not easy i was able to free up my schedule to do more of what i wanted to do which was painting more and traveling more. The more you paint the more people want it, its kind of like marketing and billboards every spot is a bill board some walls I’ve done i had homies tell me i was an idiot for putting that much time and effort into some shit i wasnt getting paid for, but from those pieces and that self investment other work came that ended up covering the previous expenses . Even with ugly shit the more you see it the more people want it. All respect to Yeezy’s but I think its a great example I thought those shoes were ugly as fuck when they came out, I now own a few because i saw them so many times and through propper marketing they grew on me lol.
I gotta give it to you man you got a real hustle, you even have leggings that you sell for the ladies! I admire the hustle! Where do you see the business going in the next few years for you, is there anything big on the horizon you can talk about now?
Ahahaha ,man i love the leggings. I always saw writers putting out shirts targeted mostly for other writers/ men, and thats cool I’ve done it as well but I just much rather see my work on women lol so I started designing with them in mind. I also organized the “Panama Mural Fest” out in Panama with my homie Dreps so I’m working on bringing that back.We had our 1st one the year prior to the pandemic and havent been able to follow up due to covid. Hopefully next year we canl bring it back. ( Shout out to Greg Gun! he works with you guys we flew him out to the 1st Panama Mural Fest to document and he killed it out there!) I’m also working on the art show I spoke about previously with the character throwups no set date for the show yet but hoping it will drop next year as well And a whole lot more painting .
As far as travel goes, where have you all been? Any crazy travel stories you can share?
I’ve been blessed to travel around a good ammount in America, I’ve been in Argentina, Colombia , Costa Rica ,Panama, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, All over the U.S. Canada, and making it out to Europe In October, real hyped for that. Crazy stories lol theres a bunch I’ve been chased by helicopters, shot at, all sorts of shit, but things that stand out at the moment…..In Panama painting in a pretty rough area we had some local O.G.’s who had given us the green light to paint in their hood, set up a bunch of kids armed to take care of us while we painted. which was kind of wild. To see them literally go from kids playing around while it was just them vibing, to them gettin on point when anything out the norm was going on. That was a crazy dynamic.
A couple of weeks after that I was organizing Panama Mural Fest, while one of the artist started painting a mural on a legal wall we had gotten permision to paint, some local wannabe thug started bugging asking us to shoot him money to help us. I mentioned we didnt have anything to give him as this was a project mostly funded by my self Dreps and a handfull of sponsors, the guy thought we were bullshitting him so he ran in the building called every neighbor and told them we didnt have permision to do it and that we were vandalizing their spot. so i had to deal with a mob of people screaming in Spanish / mediate with an artist who didnt speak spanish, and while i was moving the lift away from the wall i ended up crashing into one of the neighbors cars lmao. A truly stresful moment in my life, but i played it cool gave the guy whos car i crashed into $100 and we ended up just riding out to another wall. Once all the murals in the area were completed the same neighbors who were complaining were beguing us to paint there walls lol.
Thanks again for taking the time out to chat, Any shout outs you would like to give? Where can people follow you and purchase your work?
Thank you for taking interest in me and my work man, I really appreciate it. You can Follow me on tic-toc and IG @Disem305 my websites www.Disem305.com I usually post on there anything I’m doing and drops. Shout out to Miami,and anyone who supports what i do in one way or another. And to all the real homies Dreps, Eskae545, 3i7, DonRimx, Porno, Asik, Elite, Dame, Are, too many to list ya’ll know who you are 100% and what it is! Shout ot everyone who participated in the first Panama Mural Fest,we’re getting ready for the next one!