With Codak nothing is clear about the writing on the wall. “It’s stretched and constricted, subtle and bold, structured and loose, organic and graphic, and open to interpretation,” says the 19-year street art vet of his work.

In an art form that relies on destruction for creation, contradictions are a given. Codak is no exception. He refuses to fit nicely into one category.

“Simply put, I am an artist,” says the man who’s left his mark on urban landscapes from Portland OR to Memphis, TN. “When people call me a graffiti artist I think, yes I am, but there is so much more that I do.”


A product of artistic parents and a formal education in graphic design, Codak has his hand in many mediums. “My whole life I’ve been around art, from modern art, design, illustration and finally to graffiti,” he explains. He categorizes his works into street, canvas, illustration, and design. The latter “puts the most food in [his] stomach” but they each carry their own appeal.

For Codak it’s all interrelated anyway. “I totally think design is extendible to street art. We can already see it happening. Graffiti plays greatly upon the notion of color, composition and placement which are some of the key factors in good design. I went from thinking how to compose my letterforms on a wall to how to compose text on a page.”

As for his wall compositions, the writing may be angular and structured but the process is dynamic. “Almost all of my art determines itself in the process; the structure side comes to me as I go.” While some of it comes from past sketches he’s done, much of it flows from the environment he’s in. “If it’s laid back my stuff ends up more flowing and colorful. If it’s tense and time sensitive it ends up more dark and sharp.”


Codak comes up with titles for his work in the same way he defines himself as an artist. He doesn’t. “I find every time I try to predetermine a title the work never ends up filling its shoes. It will give me a title when I’m done with it.”

Integrity and intensity are how he qualifies his art and himself as an artist. But Codak’s art also has to pay the bills. With the growing demand for graffiti in the commercial world, he has learned to tread cautiously.

“It’s always going to be a conflicted question with most artists. To a degree I want to keep myself open to the idea of working on projects for major companies. However there has to be a balance, you have to find a way to make the money and reinvest it into yourself/your work and be able to maintain your artistic integrity.”


Codak is trying find that balance in his upcoming project L*E*A*P*F*R*A*W*G, a clothing line starring his trademark Dart frog. “I’m just seeing what I can do to help promote my work and make clothes that people would want to wear,” he says, bridging the gap between consumerism and art.

The Dart frog is fitting. The amphibian’s contradictory characteristics are what appeal to Codak. “I was struck by the simple delicate nature of this little frog,” he says of the image he came across while researching another project several years ago “Although brightly colored and beautiful, the Dart frog’s skin secrets one the most venomous toxins in the world.”

Leyla Emory

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  1. B-boy LoOner says:

    CODAK, SON! WHAT! get YOU some of that! Yo, CO, your paintingz look like candy to me! I want to peel it off the wall like SNAZZ-BERRY FRUIT ROLL UPS and chew on it for a WEEK! but than the other kids wouldnt get to see it tho, so I wont, I promise. I prominse.

  2. Yo on the real man the skills you have aquired are frankly astounding. Talken from the T.DOT. I aint seen shit that tight in along time.Stay up and always on your grind.

  3. Yo great work homie! you should put your work on canvas and sell it globaly! because your work quality is sick. I usally dont give comments, but for this I had to say something! Keep it up!

  4. memphis sure does miss you bro!!! keep on killin em man!your work here round town has got some staying power…seriously dude!!! they cant buff that legal stuff and what they cant find! ya know.thanx for givin us somethin cool to look at in memphis!

  5. Come up to Chicago with Amber and you can do my walls!! I can feed you and treat you well…And
    even Pay you!!!!!
    Amber’s Mom

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