An Interview with Cryptik

by BirdmanPosted on

After seeing his art all over Los Angeles and San Francisco I couldn’t help but go pasting with the street artist known as Cryptik. After an intense night of climbing buildings and pasting up an 18 foot piece, I just had to pick the brain of this artist. The pictures shown here reflect the madness of that night and are also a representation of some of the artist’s older shows “Sniffing Glue”, “Street Brewed”, “Fountain”, and “Beyond Eden”. – Birdman

Your art is in a lot of different mediums, when did you transition into street art? Was there anything specific thatdrew you to sharing your art to the city?

Growing up, I was obsessed with everything graffiti and knew it was something Iwanted to do. Unfortunately, I didn’t know anyone else who shared the sameinterest, so I kept it in the books for years. It wasn’t until I actually picked up acan that I realized it wasn’t my gift, so I’ve stuck to a paintbrush ever since. Ithink moving into “street art” was a natural progression…or the next best thingfor me. It was also a more efficient way to share my ideas with the public atlarge. For me, the focus has always been on staying active in the streets.Galleries have their place, but I think it’s more important to reach folks that don’tnecessarily visit “art galleries.” I want the art to be unavoidable and in-your-faceas you drive into work the next morning. It’s like a glitch in the matrix…affectingpeoples’ reality in a way, even if it’s only for a moment. It’s also my way of givingback to the community.

How did it feel the first time you drove down the 10 Freeway and sawyour art work standing 18 feet tall on a building close by?

Well, you know firsthand how much work went into getting that up. I came soclose to throwing in the towel, but you kept me pushing. Thanks for holding itdown BIRD!!

Hieroglyphic text are everywhere in your art, what are you writing in your ‘cryptik’ calligraphy?

Well, it’s actually just my own stylized version of English. It’s sort of acombination of several Ancient scripts such as Sanskrit, Hebrew, Arabic, andHindi with a twist of gang graffiti/cholo writing. I feel that many Ancient scriptsshare similarities and might have all come from an even earlier source. In thosetimes, words held magical powers and were considered Sacred because it wasthe written word of “God.” I think subconsciously, that’s what I’m trying to tapinto. It’s always been a vibration thing for me, if that makes any sense. I don’treally know where it comes from; I’m just trying to channel it the best I can.Maybe it’s in my DNA… Typically, I like to write out Buddhist/Hindu Mantras,quotes, or poems depending on the piece.

Who are the artists you are most influenced by?

Hmm…too many. One of my all time favorite artists is Andy Goldsworthy. Doodis the truth! Another person who’s been a huge influence on me as an artist isVCJ. He’s the one who did all of the Powell Peralta Graphics during the BonesBrigade Era back in the 80’s. To me, those were the hardest skateboardgraphics, ever! Hands down. And, I definitely can’t forget my fellow Scribesmenout there…The Godfather: Chaz Bojorquez, RETNA, and Usugrow, to name afew. They’ve always kept me humble. RESPECT.

Please elaborate on the “Cryptik Movement”

The “CRYPTIK MOVEMENT” is really just a way of giving people a broaderperspective; a different way to see their reality. I think it’s safe to say that no oneperson or institution has it all figured out. It’s about finding truth and beauty in allphilosophies, religions, cultures, belief systems, etc. That’s essentially what it’sall about, so if the art/message resonates with you, join the MOVEMENT!

What do you want to achieve with your life as an artist?

Man…honestly, I just want to try to do something good for humanity during theshort time I’m on this planet. I think life is too short to just sit around. I don’t everwant to say, “I wish I could’ve done something with my life.” I just want to do mypart to help balance out all the evil and ignorance that exists in the world the bestway I know how, which is through art. In the end, I’m just happy doing what I do,and just as importantly, trying to enjoy the ride.

I think William Saroyan sums itup best…”In the time of your life, live – so that in that good time there shall be no uglinessor death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere,and when it is found, bring it out of it’s hiding place and let it be free andunashamed.Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are the things thathold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and isbeyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driveninto secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore theobvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart.Be the inferior of no man, or of any men be superior. Remember that every manis a variation of yourself. No man’s guilt is not yours, nor is any man’s innocencea thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil.These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle but if the timecomes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret.In the time of your life, live – so that in that wondrous time you shall not add tothe misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight andmystery of it.“- Wiliam Saroyan, The time of your life

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