Crayone have been blessed to have found his calling in painting Spray-can Art (Street Art) at a young age. Fame had found him early in his art career. When Hip-Hop culture first hit the Bay Area with documentaries like “Style Wars” and a B-movie called “Wild Style”, Crayone was forever hooked and he started to Break Dance in the cold summer months of San Francisco. Crayone was a total sports jock before Hip-Hop influenced his life, but after a 2 to 3 year stint at B-boying(Breakdancing), he started spray painting. After his name got noticed, he started to venture out into the surrounding cities and towns to recruit for his new crew called TWS (Together With Style).
TWS was the first Bay Area Crew. They were the artistic kids who used fine art, graphics, illustrations and also incorporated European flavor with some San Francisco lettering style. Crayone and his crew were doing pieces that no one have ever seen before coming out from a spray paint can. Crayone shared his mantra and his vision with his members of the crew that they can create even the Mona Lisa with a spray can. Our influences were different. The collection of artist that he’s accumulated was only possible if they themselves have mastered the use of the spray can. They were considered trail blazers doing advance ideas and painting techniques while the scene were just getting around to 2-D flat characters and cartoons. We developed new color theories and patterns or at least bring it from the confines of the design studios and onto the streets where kids were exposed for the first time through a medium in which they can understand (even though those ideas have been around for years, it was Crayone and his crew who pre packaged it for the new art-form). They had a lot of admirers and people knew the differences in the artwork that Crayone were producing. They were ahead of the competition from what the rest of the scene was doing pre-internet days.
Murals done at a high quality will be noticed. In the end while others only knew how to do their names in graffiti letters, Crayone took the letter forms and took it to new heights in abstraction. He was able to put artistic flair and originality into the work and while most of the city street artists were following New York influences, Crayone followed his own dreams and aspirations because he knew that this was not a fad. The art form was here to stay and it was going to change his world. Crayone knew it and wanted to be fully invested. Crayone drank the whole container of this new graffiti kool-aid. He was going to dedicate to this art from the rest of his life. He kept painting and eventually local, national and international fame got around to who this young kid was painting in San Francisco.
In 1988, Crayone was featured in a book called “SprayCan Art” representing San Francisco and the greater Bay Area and his life was never going to the same. Crayone was fortunate enough to have accomplished so much at an early age and was represented by several agents before he turned 21. When he was 19/20 years old, he found opportunities to create murals through commissioned works and started slowly building his portfolio. Crayone was the first graffiti artist from the West Coast to do a one man gallery show in Palo Alto, Ca. His works was shown in such galleries and museums as the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Museum of Modern Art in Los Angeles and the Oakland Art Museum to name a few. Examples of his work have appeared on many published books like the History of American Graffiti, Freight Train Graffiti, Graffito, SprayCan Art and many others. His newspaper and local TV news exposure is second to none. His videos are more than 50 hours unedited. His dedication to the art-form goes back to more than 30 years and can bring the whole media package only a few can.
While Crayone never stopped painting, there were a few years where he did pursue other ventures. 1989-1991 Crayone went to school to learn graphic design (Al Collins in Tempe, Arizona) and fine arts (California of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, California). This opportunity helped Crayone tremendously in promoting ones work throughout the coming years and his investment was going to pay off. In 1992-1994 Crayone went to go work in the canaries in South East Alaska for salmon season. This was when at an age where Crayone just started to realize that there is a greater world out there. In 1995 to 2001, Crayone got into creating web site designs for several companies (including www.hip-hop.com). Also from 1999 to 2011, he was able to find stable income/design jobs all the while still painting on the side for supplemental income.
From 2011 to 2016 Crayone was working as a freelance muralist and graphic designer to make ends meet until he got hired on as a San Francisco Firefighter. His story with trying to get into the fire department goes back to 1989/1993when he first took his test to become a firefighter and did not pass. In 2006, he renewed his interest in becoming a firefighter again and went back to school to get necessary fire science course/credits, took the local community college fire academy, got involved in local charity organizations and to volunteer his hours in giving back to the community and also got his EMT Certification (Emergency Medical Technician) all the while still working and painting. One of his volunteering was working through Precita Eyes Mural Center to give a hand to young taggers a way to peer into a possible future in creating positive murals and to beautify the community with art.
For Crayone, life is still a struggle but in a different way. Being a professional and getting paid to paint is nice and can help pay the rent, but what ultimately makes him happy is that he can speak for the unfortunate and for the marginalized portion of our society. He is blessed that he can bring more color and meaning to the world through Crayone murals and can present a dialog with the general public to bring issues that are needed to be discussed. And even though he is living the dream as a professional muralist and street artist, he is proud to serve as a member of the local Fire Department and to ultimately help to save lives and property in the city of San Francisco where Crayone grew up in. Thank you!
Sunday, February 17th
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