His passport stamped with travel destinations including Israel, London, San Francisco and Tulsa, Donald Ross â€“ also known as SCRIBE â€“ has transformed himself from inexperienced Boston street-tagger to Mid-West wall-guru and family man. Incorporating a variety of reoccurring characters and objects including rhinos, bees and toilet plungers, even, SCRIBE gives his humorous murals and characters depth through interpretation. â€œThe rhino has always been a self-portrait. Rhinos are solitary animals and many of their characteristics I identify with.â€ He relates the struggle of his aggressive and bug-eyed bees with the struggle many face with religion. â€œI grew up in a Christian home with parents who pastor a church around Boston. The bees are an illustration of peer pressure, a part of a mindless hive mentality [to do what youâ€™re] assigned to do until you die â€“ in the world and in church.â€ Plungers, on the other hand, simply appeal to the childish side of SCRIBEâ€™s sense of humor. â€œThe plungers are a weapon for the rhino. I grew up on Tom and Jerry frying pan humor. It seemed only fitting.â€
SCRIBEâ€™s work has changed with each city he has painted. â€œBoston is where I got my intro to graffiti. I was drawing what I saw around me â€“ straight forward city styles. Now, I live in Kansas City and my work has changed. Graffiti has spread through out the world, anyone can see that, but I don’t think it is right for people from more remote areas to try to be coastal and copy what they see. Their style and subject should reflect where they are.â€ With 15 years of wall-work under his belt, SCRIBE reminisces on his first piece in Boston, a simple character he called Bubble Boy, which his mentor EAST had him paint in high contrast colors to help him see definition in the dark. â€œThat was 15 years ago and it changed my life. Graffiti will always be the biggest part of what makes my style what it is today.â€
Without a college degree, SCRIBE works hard to turn his passion into a paycheck. â€œWithout formal school it was a very long journey. I worked in sign shops, digital printing and even a candle factory,â€ says SCRIBE, adding, â€œI worked my way into learning computers while spending my breaks painting and drawing. Remaining a servant where I could be used changed my job description into doing artwork all the time.â€ Today, SCRIBE walks the line between urban artist and professional parent of two. He holds down a day job with a local hospital, creating murals to promote wellness amongst the facilitiesâ€™ patients and juggles a variety of gallery shows. â€œI enjoy my work at Children’s Mercy Hospital on so many different levels.â€
Also the illustrator and co-author of the childrenâ€™s book, Thereâ€™s an Octopus Under my Bed, SCRIBEâ€™s recent work could be considered a step away from his urban roots. Still, many find his pieces to hold a deeper meaning aimed at adults. Religious and political undertones are present in his work, although SCRIBE is careful not to push his views on young audiences. â€œIf a kid comes to my show and asks me, then that is cool. In my book and at work, I don’t do it. I’m not here to push my views on them in [an artistic] setting.â€
SCRIBE is quick to list his mentors in the graffiti world. EMIT, EAST, SUB, DALEK and RAPES each had a great influence on SCRIBEâ€˜s technique. Still, SCRIBE reps the Mid-West, identifying his experiences in Middle America as â€œthe most tangible effect on my work,â€ and names Mid-Western artists such as Thomas Hart Benton, Frederic Remington and Walt Disney, even, as further inspiration. No wonder SCRIBEâ€™s diverse body of work takes on a cartoonish vibe, directing itself â€“ intentionally or not â€“ at a market of both children and adults.
More Info: http://www.scribeswalk.com/