Interview by C. Walker

Bombing Science: Hey Poesia, how’s it going?

Poesia: Chilling

BS: Introduce yourself- what do you write? what crews do you rep?

Poesia: Poesia  I represent the Transcend Collective

BS: Where are you from and what’s your opinion on your local scene?  

Poesia: San Jose here in the bay area. Im an older cat so i dont get out much into the scene, but from what i see alot of  youngsters are putting in work. The problem with my city is the police actually know how to do there job and it makes it hard on the local writers. Most writers head to San Francisco to paint as it seems easier to put in alot of work without getting your door kicked in on some felony warrants. The east bay also has seen alot of action as of late.

BS: How long have you been painting and was there a single moment of inspiration when you realised it was something you wanted to do or was it a more gradual interest that grew over time?

Poesia: About 2 decades now counting my tagging days as a young kid. I think for me it was heading down to some of the Local walls here in San Jose, Walls of Fame and The old Taylor walls. Seeing the pieces that where coming out of those walls while they were active still inspires me to this day. East Bay legends like Dream, Vogue, Raevyn, TWS would come down and do some amazing work. But the Locals held there own Picasso, King 157, Dare, Alladin, Sphinx. That period of time was what inspired me to take things further from tagging to piecing.   

BS: A lot or your lettering veers towards abstraction in a lot of ways but still retains so much flow and bounce- what first piqued your interest in abstract art?  

Poesia: I think my first inpiration was the wildstyle pieces coming out of my area just amazing multi color wildstyles but they had foundation still the letters where there. So too me that was my foundation and i painted alot of that style in my initial years. I was living in Modesto at this time and still in my original crew Lords, this is where i started to really take things serious.  We had a solid group that we painted alot studied Art alot just immersed my self in all aspects of Art and Art History. We ventured out to San francisco and painted Pyscho City before they shut it down and i started to see some new work from Joker Raevyn that caught my eye. Joker was pushing this new electrical circuit looking style and Raevyn was also pushing some amazing pieces that were completely different than anything i had seen. Me and Raevyn ended up hooking up at some show, and stayed in contact. It was meeting raevyn that opened my mind to the endless possibilities that i could push with letters. He then introduced me to Joker and I eventually Joined Jokers crew Transcend. I think it was through talks and excercises with Raevyn and Joker i started to look into a different way of approaching letters. That coupled with my reading alot of Art books, i really started to gain momentum on creating some new ways of dealing with letters. Most were abstract in nature.

BS: Was it a conscious decision to take your work in this direction?  

Poesia: Yes it was, more of a need to progress and not worry what other writers would think. I was more painting my thoughts out on the walls, it was and still is a very personal thing to me when doing a piece that is not the Norm. I dont know what people really think about what i paint, i hope it just reaches those certain few that can do something that they would never have done because someone stepped out on the ledge first.

BS: Do you prefer to collaborate with others or do you prefer to rock it alone?

Poesia: I enjoy painting with others especially with others that can adapt to what im doing. I always try not to stray too far from those that i paint with. Collaboration is key when painting in groups, i think that is why i have such a wide range of pieces lately. I have been painting with completely different styles than my own. When i paint alone though i think i push myself the farthest and have done some of the more abstract work alone. I think due to the fact that painting alone allows me to please myself and my own ideas first and foremost, there is no compromise.

BS: In terms of collaborating on productions do you ever have difficulty expressing your ideas about steering clear of some more “traditional” graffiti elements in terms of backgrounds etc.? Or do you tend to work with people who think in a similar way?

Poesia: I dont know, i think i can fit in if need be in a traditional production, but if i had to choose i would do or think about doing something different. I think there are always ways to refresh old traditional ideas.  

BS: You also paint a lot of canvases- how did you get into this and what mediums do you use?

Poesia: I have been painting canvases as long as i have been painting pieces, due to the fact that we were consistantly drawing painting at my house. So if we couldnt be painting a wall we would paint on masonite, or canvases in my garage. I use all mediums, but i dont have the time i did when i was younger so its hard to get a consistant body of work without painting daily. I promise myself i will make time soon to do a show.

BS: Approaching a wall versus approaching a canvas- Is there a difference in terms of aspiration or aims? Do you try to cross pollinate the two or do you prefer to keep them separate?

Poesia: Depends who im painting with, My canvases are more abstract than i can get sometimes on a wall unless im painting alone. I would like all my pieces to be works of art to an extent, i approach both the same but there is nothing to compromise on a canvas.  

BS: Judging from your Flickr you sketch a lot- How important is sketching to you? Do you generally paint from a sketch?

Poesia: I sketch alot to keep myself fluid and fresh. I rarely paint off a sketch. I tell myself i should do this more, but all bets are off when you get to a wall and you have to make do with the area the surface the size. I would use a sketch more for the general guide or shape, maybe a connection here and there but i use sketches more as an excercise. I wont pick up a pen and paper for months and then i try to paint i can feel it. I just quickly sketch about 30 or so pieces then i get to the wall i feel more crisp with my lines and there intent.

BS: Who are some of your favourite artists?

Poesia: Anselm Kiefer, Marcel Duchamp, Zaha Hadid, Barnett Newman, Francis Bacon too many others to mention.

BS: Do you try to convey a particular meaning or emotion in your work and is there a particular direction you’d like to see your work go or is it just a natural evolution?

Poesia: I think when i first started doing the abstract in my graffiti, that is exactly what i was going for. I was trying to create some emotion in an artform that is more visual than anything else. I think i even took it overboard at times, but i think now being older and having done alot of different styles. I now just try to evolve, create something for the next generation to think about.

BS: You used to rep Lords- why no longer?

Poesia: This was probably one of the hardest things for me to do in my graff career. I was raised on this crew through family members, the first writers that introduced me to graffiti as a kid. So it was natural to take the torch and help build one the bigger crews in Cali. But somewhere along the line, where i wanted to head with the crew, didnt match what the other leaders wanted to do. I never repped any other crew other than Lords so it took me a long time to make the decision to leave. It was either Mutiny or leave. I chose to leave, for the better of the Whole Crew. I still got Love for alot of Members in that Crew that was my Family. My understanding of what a crew is meant to be is different than alot of whats going on in today’s scene. The reason i even bring this up is cause having been in the game for a minute i see so many kids that just pick up and get down with crews like its a flavor of the month, no understanding for history or respect for what came before them. I also see crews that use new young talent to push there own agenda, to keep themselves relevant. Its a catch 22 i guess. Thats why Transcend is so backwards were a crew that never really wanted to be called a crew. Just Artists with similiar ideas on Art and Graffiti.

BS: Do you have any goals for your graf? Is there anything in particular that you would like to achieve through your painting?

Poesia: Just to continue to paint as much as i can, and contribute something of relevance after its all said and done.

BS: Do you have a favorite piece or one particular experience that you’re most proud of in your graffiti career?

Poesia: I think i was most proud of this one piece i did in the early nineties Raevyn did the angel character above it. To me i never was a naturally talented artist and finishing that piece made me feel like i accomplished something that i didnt think i could. I still remember that feeling till this day.

BS: What do you think about the current state of graffiti?

Poesia: I think its great for the artists that are lucky enough to be involved with the sponsors and getting paid to travel and paint. But i see the negative side of that as well, when money gets involved with anything in life it sucks some of the soul out of it. Some Artists aren’t effected as much as others, but in all its a great step forward. As far as style and the such, i see a couple or rare talents and i hope the scene continues to evolve.

BS: Any last words?

Poesia: Believe in yourself whatever skill level you are born with, hardwork beats talent all day in my book…

BS: Shout-outs?

Poesia: Joker, Natrl, DJAE, Transcend, San Jose Lords Crew, Raevyn, Picasso, TWS Crew, Saber, Fate, and any other people i missed.

Check out more of Poesia’s work here: