Throughout his evolution as a graffiti writer, MISK1 relies on his work to do the talking. â€œThe reason I really got into [graffiti] was kind of like a survival tactic, it kind of became a vehicle to introduce myself to people. Girls were like, â€˜Hey! Can you do my name?â€™ says MISK1.
Growing up in San Francisco, MISK1 transferred from a Catholic middle school into a public high school in the summer of â€™89, where his craft became a serious pursuit. â€œThere was just such a buzz around it, especially as a kid, and just the whole lifestyle around it was really interesting for me,â€ says MISK1.
â€œIâ€™ve been arrested about three times, just the usual stuff, it was kind of like weâ€™d be at a yard and there would be us and like, Lords crew and a bunch of other people, and weâ€™d be getting up,â€ says MISK 1, adding, â€œweâ€™d get there at like seven in the morning on a wall that we felt like was a semi-legit place and weâ€™d be there all day and then the cops would show up at seven [that night] and make an example out of one us.â€
But the work paid off: â€œI started getting asked to do liquor stores and stuff.â€ To combat random, more unsightly tagging, storeowners would hire him and his mentor to do murals, where he learned on the job, quickly earning him a reputation and padding his pockets. â€œIt was like Iâ€™m a senior in high school and I just got paid a grand!â€ says MISK1. Following a job, MISK1 and his crew would turn the profit around on trips to Reno to stock up on hundreds of dollars in cans of paint.
â€œIt was always interesting, thinking my hobby would develop into my career,â€ he says. Once again, his passion paid off. As a 19-year-old with a penchant for a beer, he would spend his time in the Italian coffee shops, where he could sip a cool one undisturbed early into the morning. During one of these late nights, a perplexed middle aged man inquired what he was doing hanging around at 4:00 a.m. sketching in the corner.
Serendipitously, the man was the senior creative director for an ad agency, whose main account was Leviâ€™s. He impressed him so much that although they passed him up on the first project, he was quickly shuttled through the community, building a reputation as a graphic designer that has landed him gigs with Leviâ€™s, Atomic snowboards, Snickers, and Tribal Gear among others.
â€œIâ€™ve always been driven to be an artist and to have a career as an artist. Whether itâ€™s something commercial or on the fine arts level,â€ says MISK1, who has traveled the world, thanking graffiti for the opportunity to visit locales such as Tokyo, British Columbia, Hong Kong, Spain, and Belgium to participate in exhibitions and shows such as the renowned Sneaker Pimps.
A lot has changed for MISK1 since the days of getting up on greyhound buses in and around San Francisco. â€œIâ€™m totally legit, Iâ€™m 31-years-old, Iâ€™ve got a wife and a kid and a lot of bills and responsibilities.â€ Today, heâ€™s focused on product design and building his body of work for exhibition, a statement to the staying power and accomplishment of urban art in contemporary culture.
More Info: http://www.misk1.com/