So first off thanks for agreeing to do this interview, for those of us who don’t know your work where do you come from and what crew do you rep? How long have you been doing graffiti and how did you come up with the name Tasteburns?
I’m born and raised in Denver Colorado. I rep the one and only untouchable MDR Crew!! I’ve been doing graffiti for 18 years now but really taking it serious for about the last 7 years. I came up with taste about halfway through my career and burns because that’s what my goal was to do!.
When you were first starting out who were the people who inspired you to do graffiti? How would you define the influences on your style?
I was inspired by so many writers in the late 90s. Dudes I would see in magazines like Bates. Dare. Ces. Sew. Really good letter guys. And some others that were so arrogant when I actually got to meet them that I can’t even boost there names. I was influenced by good letters because that’s the root of quality, knowing how to make a good letter.
I see you sell original paintings as well. Do you use these as practices for your bigger pieces? How much does selling original pieces to fans equal into your business?
The canvas work is great because basically if you don’t draw all the time you really can’t paint well so they keep me working my style constantly aswell as keeping me astute with my color theory. The canvas sales are quite lucrative. I’m quite fortunate to be able to sell out of my work quicker than I can make it.
Do you do wall murals as a full time job or is this only a hobby for you? If so what did you do before this?
I am a career artist but I do less murals because I have a hard time doing low quality murals that most clients want. I’d rather just sell my own work. A good portion of my business comes from custom commissions and design work which I enjoy. I like working at my desk when I’m not painting graffiti.
What does an average day look like to you? What was your favorite piece you’ve done recently and why?
My days are always different but I usually wake up and make my kids breakfast then tackle whatever commission or piece of work I’m interested in that day. I spend a lot of time with my 2 daughter’s which is nice because I’m able to work a lot from home and be with my family which is really all I care about. Never pissed my life away at bars or anything. Family and graffiti are my focus. My favorite piece I painted recently was with my friend SYER MDR owner of ROUTINE clothing. It was over all a great wall with super good colors and background and so much movement on both pieces it pumped me up big time.
Is there any business tips you can give to artists first starting out trying to get their business going? Should they offer their skills for free to build a name?
I’m still growing my business and name as an artist but what I can say is you sell a hell of a lot more products if you have a trusted name. People want my work I feel because I’ve worked so hard to put out quality. And I’m still very active. So much run of the mill street art and graffiti because the game is so watered down now. People should know that they’re spending there hard earned money on someone who cares about delivering quality and effort.
Where all have you traveled? Do you have any crazy travel stories you can share?
I’ve been all over Europe and Mexico and painted in Sweden and Denmark. I once was chased by a cop and a hooker at the same time for tagging outside her room in Amsterdam. Got stopped at a check point in Mexico while walking a route with an ounce of weed taped to my balls then bribed the cop with $12 to let us go. That was nerve racking. I have a knack for reasoning however. Lol.
What kind of art or music is inspiring you these days? Is there anything in particular you like to listen to when you paint?
I’m almost completely over rap and hip-hop music honestly. Big time 80s fan. Every time I paint a wall I have to listen to Laura Branigans “self control” it pumps me up so hard. I enjoy classic and 90s rock and old country. Im a train writer at heart so i enjoy that realm of existance.
Has graffiti turned out to be everything you thought it would be as far as a career goes or has it just become another job to you?
Graffiti is the shit. I love it. I WILL ALWAYS DO IT. Some things are bad about it. People in it for all the wrong reasons who are just looking for quick fame and watered down street art. But real writers who have sacrificed decades of effort to really learn and progress are still around and thats where you find the best quality work. And that’s what I’m most invested in. Finding those people and learning and building with them. I’m forever a student of graffiti and art. And although confident in my efforts up until this point, I’m still growing and seeking out inspiration from people who push the limits of traditional graffiti structure, while still concerned about not sacrificing it’s quality or integrity
Who are your favorite writers and artists today? Is there anything new you are trying to teach yourself these days?
I’m mostly inspired by artists like BOOGIE. KAISY. GESER. BACON. KWEST. PHAT1. Chris Konecki. SYER. CHAS. OMSK. GRAB to name a few. I get real pumped on super high pedigree graffiti artists. I mostly just always look for new creative applications for burners and vibrant color choices. Always trying to push the scale of a graffiti piece and get better at manipulating the medium of Spray paint to benefit the look I’m trying to obtain.
Any shout outs? Where can people follow you and what can people expect from you next?
Shout outs to MOLOTOW and the whole family involved for showing great support. my crew MDR!! ROUTINE CLOTHING (if your not grabbing gear from them your slipping it’s the best quality street wear in the industry hands down). And my wife and daughters. They’re my fuel. Just tune in to my Instagram @tasteburns for all updates! It’s a hot feed!!.
You can follow Taste Burns on Instagram.
Interview by Wesley Edwards