Miami artist PO$HDOG is an important member of the prolific and internationally recognized art and music group Metro Zu. He's also one of 14 artists showing at WAT-AAH!'s "Taking Back the Streets" -- a project created in tandem with First Lady Michelle Obama's Drink Up initiative. It opens to the public Thursday, February 20, at New York's New Museum.
The pieces in the campaign advertise H2O in ways youth cannot ignore in hopes of converting soda fiends to water lovers. In addition to PO$H, Kenny Scharf, Shepard Fairey, Shanell Martin, Swoon, and more have created original pieces that will pop up in street murals around the Big Apple and on limited edition WAT-AAH! bottles.
The NYC exhibit will stay open through March 1 and travel to Miami sometime this year. We spoke to PO$HDOG on this monumental experience, his style, and how he went from drawing on backpacks to having one of his pieces on a billboard in SoHo.
Cultist: Who is PO$HDOG?
PO$HDOG: Man, I'm just energetic and hella artsy and hella awake and enlightened. I draw, I paint, I make digital work, I take pictures. I just create, you know. I do everything.
How did you get involved with Taking Back the Streets?
My name got tossed up in their meeting, Metro Zu, and the whole youth thing we have going on. They really like our art, so...they're like "It's gonna be so amazing. This whole project, its bigger than me and it's bigger than all the artists. It's an art show in collaboration with the Drink Up foundation, and they're linking it to mad soft drinks and mad stuff they sell to kids in schools. They're about pushing good health. They're behind hydrating America. It's cool.
Your style is very distinctive. How did it develop?
By being myself. I could never want to copy somebody else and try to get away with it. I think that's really lame. I gotta just be myself and save the world. I can't be somebody else, because I want to know it came from me at the end of the day.
Is your work very different now than when you first started?
Yeah, my art has def changed a lot. I would say it's gotten cleaner. My style got better, cleaner. Everything I make now, it has a purpose; art with purpose. It's more conceptual now, just because I'm not a kid anymore making art and wanting to make something look cool. I'm making art now because I want to translate an image or a message and make it look good. It's definitely been a change in the past three or four years of my life.
How would you describe your art to a blind man?
I would describe it as fun, and futuristic, and scientific and very patterned out; raw and wet. Gooey, very cool. Just dope shit. I would just tell the blind man, "Man you know that feeling when you're about to go into heaven, the good heaven, the fun heaven," I would be like, "That's what my art looks like."
Who or what inspires you?
My friends inspire me the most to go harder, because I like to chill around people who make shit. And girls. Girls are really inspiring. I think girls are the shit, all types of girls. Y'all give so much energy. Like goddess energy.
What's your process?
I never think. I have an idea but things change. I never sketch it out first. My whole process is weird, just hella markers and hella fun. I don't really think about it too much.
What's your ideal work space?
The ideal would be a nice lavish studio space with high windows, high walls, and mad girls around me so I could concentrate ton the painting and make it cool. That wouid be the ideal.
What are your favorite tools to work with?
I love markers. Markers are like oh my god, I love all types of markers. Like paints and markers, black markers, I love the black color-like creation, everything has a black outline,.It's cool. Ever since I've been traveling, I've been learning about new brands and markers and shit. Japanese black markers, and French black markers.
Did you ever go to art school?
I started drawing when I was a jit. I didn't even know how to do it, I just started. At art class in school, I was always drawing whatever I wanted to. But, no, I never went to art school or none of that. I just wanted to develop and not go to art school or listen to what people have to say.
People have tattooed your work on their bodies, they wear it on their clothes, and hang it on their walls. What has been your biggest artistic accomplishment thus far?
It was the Lambo that me and my homie Lofty painted at Art Basel 2012, but this year, I just got this billboard in Soho, and it's pretty cool. It's pretty fashion right now. I definitely crossed something off my list doing this.
You also sell clothes and shoes featuring your artwork. How did that start?
That started for me in high school. I was just making cool shit for myself and people noticed that my swag was awesome and they wanted to purchase it. That was how I figured out how to sell art because I figured out that if I draw on shit, people will buy it. I started selling book bags, hats, shoes, and T-shirts, and then it became canvases. Anything I could draw on it got sold.
What's coming up next from PO$HDOG?
I have a lot of music projects I'm working on right now. I'm releasing an album later this year with my homies Sporting Life from Ratking called "donkx" and putting out another tape with my homie King Krule and BlackMack on City Rhythms Records out in the UK.
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Updated: The views expressed by the artist are his own and do not represent the views of the initiative.
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