Mike Bam: How did you come about your name Poesia? Does it mean anything?
Poesia: It was way back when I was more of a tagger and going through multiple names. I had started to sketch pieces and my name at that time, Emerge, wasn’t flowing well with my style. Then, I ran across this record and it had “Poesia Mix” on it. At the time, I had never heard that word and it seemed like something to mess with. So I started piecing it and later learned its meaning. It means Poetry or Poem in Spanish.
MB: Can you elaborate on how your style has evolved to what it is today? It is quite powerful with sharp lines and angles. I’ve been told that it’s quite masculine. How did it come about?
P: I think coming back to graffiti recently in 2007, after taking a couple years off of being a serious painter, I tried to get back in the saddle with some older styles that I had always relied upon. I had started with a west coast wild style influences by local writers like Picasso TWS and Rayge VOB, and then after meeting Raeyvn TWS, I started to experiment a lot more. It was about this time that I started to talk to Joker and I was put down with Transcend in the mid nineties. My style really went off the deep end as I had deconstructed and reconstructed it. I was attempting to paint on walls like I would a canvas and I think a lot of graffiti writers didn’t know what to make of it. I had taken color out of the equation and also worked in muted palettes to create some emotional context that colors weren’t giving me. It was fun times but I think it got old explaining myself. I teamed up with Poem TDK and established a more traditional style again, west coast wild style with some Oakland funk if you looked close enough. This brings us to the current style. I had created this signature style in the 90’s of transparent outlines on the background and things like that. When I came back, I painted some of these same style pieces when I was in Spain with some of the MSK crew. I found out right away how advanced the art form had evolved stylistically and technique wise. I was way behind, so I went back to the drawing board and tried to establish something new. I really have yet to get fully back after almost 4 years but it’s getting there. This new style is only half of an experiment that will fuse all my styles together soon. The angular geometric style is about breaking down letterform and movement into straight lines, being able to create flow and form without any curves. These pieces are exercises in finding new patterns for my style. These new patterns will emerge in the next series of pieces.
MB: I know you have a blog called Graffuturism.com and it is representing a movement. Can you hit me with an explanation on what “Graffuturism” is all about?
P: This is a tough question because it really isn’t about anything yet. It’s a start to the possibility of something and a direction for some of graffiti artists who attempt to transition into fine art. It is also about the evolution and progression of our art form. I feel we are at the pinnacle of change in our culture and without communication and proper documentation it will get lost in all the noise that is reported on out there. This is one of the reasons why most of the issues featured on the blog, I ask the writers to explain, in their own words, their opinion. What the evolution of our culture means to them personally is more important than what any one person tries to define.
Without proper discourse we will be swept into the pile with the rest of contemporary art. Or worse be written off as just graffiti vandals. We are so much more than that and people need to pay attention. This new Graffiti Avante-Garde that is forming will become a powerful force in the art world for decades to come.
MB: Why do you think the Fast Forward show was important?
P: I think it’s important for San Francisco to be a starting point for future projects. This city has amazing graffiti history and has established world renowned graffiti artists that have made the transition successfully. What it also has is a very strong style of art. However, I don’t think a lot of people want to admit or see this but it has become predictable at times. I love this city but it is hard to see so many of the same styles grace the galleries for the last decade. There is tremendous talent locally and internationally and the scene is changing in our culture. Important graffiti work is taking place throughout the world and we are at a high level of activity right now. I’m not dissing any of what San Francisco has accomplished, this has been a mecca of art and creativity for decades. I just personally feel like some of galleries are missing the importance of the current movement of graffiti. Graffiti has grown up. 1AM was able to see this vision with you (Mike Bam) as the curator and take a chance on the artists in the Fast Forward show. Fast Forward is an important show that I feel will be the first step of many towards bringing some relevant graffiti exhibits to San Francisco.
MB: Explain a little on your new “masters” series of work . What’s it all about?
P: The series of “old masters” paintings that I have been working came about when getting ready for a two-man show in Oakland this year. I wanted to comment on some things and also engage the viewer in a new way. Everything I paint is about graffiti or the letterform. I don’t want to give away too much as these works are still an experiment in progress, but they are part of an on going commentary on the relevance of what we do. I don’t like to spell things out, I would much rather have the viewer have their say on the pieces. This is one of the reasons why I have not titled any of the artwork. When we paint murals and pieces all we do is sign our name rarely do we title a painting in the street environment. These works are far from the street, but created with the same identity and thus align themselves with similar processes.
Check out Poesia’s art at 1AM’s Fast Forward show, up now through October 30th.