The T-shirt Emporium and Skateshop in Westfield, New Jersey is where I-Path truly began. Bigfoot met co-founder and fellow Pisces, Matt Field, at the shop and around skate parks in the city.
Both moving to San Francisco in the summer of 1992, however, not knowing of their simultaneous relocation, the two ran into each other at a Jerry Garcia Band concert. â€œHe went pro for Real Skateboards in 1996 and I was lucky to do his first board graphic. Itâ€™s been eight years running,â€ says Bigfoot.
The two are like brothers. Matt, now with a wife and three kids, has made the smooth transition into adult life. While Bigfoot gives off the impression of the inability to socially adapt, â€œIâ€™m kind of a loner and a hermit. Iâ€™m withdrawn in my cave. Thatâ€™s the only thing that separates [Matt and I].â€
Recently, completing an art show, â€œSurvival in the Modern World,â€ at the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, California, after six months of preparation, Bigfoot has found success in new heights, â€œIt was definitely the best show I ever had on many levels, financially and publicity-wise. It was the first show my dad ever came out for.â€
Somewhat of a manic man mid-way through the interview, Bigfoot says, â€œIâ€™m leaving to go drink beer. Any more questions? I can answer in the morning, thanks!â€ Bigfoot continues the remainder of the interview next morning.
â€œI kind of do think I’m faultless other than the fact that I buy gas. I am, basically, pure animal trapped in the body of a human. I got a right to hate. People piss me off every day and I really am a nice person. People are a disease â€“ way too much over population.â€
Format: In 1998, I-Path was founded by pro-skater, Matt Field, and yourself. Please explain how your relationship with Field and I-Pathâ€™s creation materialized.
Bigfoot: Me and Matt Field have been friends since about 1988 or, even, `87 at the earliest. We both grew up in New Jersey [and] always saw each other at the skate shop in my town I grew up in, Westfield. He was always rolling around with Quim Cardona and Mike Cardona.
He met this financial entity guy in 1998 and thatâ€™s where we started I-Path. Me and Matt came up with the name. I said Sacred Path and he said I, as in I and I Rastafari, and we put it together to form I-Path. We decided the logo should be a capital I. I quickly drew pages of variations of Iâ€™s. We chose the one we use today. It’s been a long eight years, a lot of perseverance. We created this whole image and aesthetic dealing with the other politics and people â€“ isnâ€™t always fun. We have remained silent warriors.
Format: As an I-Path art director, how much creative do you produce and what was your inspiration for the I-Path logo?
Bigfoot: I’ve always been more of the behind the scenes art director, probably, because I’m not well versed in the Illustrator and Photoshop programs. Iâ€™m more of a pick up a pen and let my spirit come out on the paper kind of guy. What I do for I-Path is pretty multi-faceted: T-shirt illustrations, graffiti, some shoe design and product design â€“ I promote and represent in so many ways.
The logo’s inspiration I attribute to many things, mainly, my love of ornamentations from Japan, China, Native American decorations. At the time I drew that, I was looking at a lot of Chinese swords and things like that. I wanted something strong and ancient! I got I-Path shoes and T-shirts, with my name on them, coming out for at least another year from now. But right now, I’m working on a book, which I just met with some people today to talk about and a new line of vinyl figures with Strangeco.
Format: You have one figure out there already. What is the new line of figures you’re working on?
Bigfoot: The next figures I’m working on are going to be smaller than the first one I did, which were 12-inches tall. These will be around six or seven-inches and there will be four different Bigfoot characters emerging from the forest â€“ they are very pissed off at the humans and they’re ready to do some damage!
Format: Can you please tell us a little bit about this book?
Bigfoot: Yeah, I have different people that want to do a book, but I’ve chosen this one group. Itâ€™s not going to come out until like 2009 probably. Itâ€™s just going to be a bunch of everything: old sketches people havenâ€™t seen before, photos, paintings, and pictures of me as a little kid. All the usual stuff you see in books but this is the artist known as Bigfoot book.
Format: Recently, I-Path was purchased by Timberland. How will I-Path sustain its grassroots after Timberland, a multi-million dollar corporation, purchases it?
Bigfoot: This just happened at the end of April. It’s all pretty much up in the air, who knows â€“ this thing me and Matt created with our pure visions, and we created it in every angle â€“ except the financial and sales aspects â€“ itâ€™s our spiritual creation and now it’s going take on a life of its own. Me and Matt are bonded together no matter what the outcome is.
Format: You sound skeptical of Timberlandâ€™s post-purchase leadership.
Bigfoot: Well letâ€™s just say that I’m skeptical of the whole world of humans, in general. We believed it would take the brand to new heights and have our shoes made in a more eco-friendly manner than we already had. I think they got in touch with the financial guy, because they liked us.
Format: You dropped out of San Francisco Art Institute describing the experience as â€œa lesson in aesthetics, but, also, learning about the kind of art that [I] didnâ€™t want to make.â€ What kind of art did you not want to make?
Bigfoot: Yeah, I dropped out in my third year there, in 1995. Teachers didn’t really teach me and couldn’t teach me anything. I was, and still am, really in my own world! I was happy to get a broader learning of art history than what I got in high school and to be in an energetic atmosphere of artists. But through that, I learned to be annoyed by the people who made minimal conceptual art, something I’m not really into. The experience, basically, was a reaffirmation that I should go with my gut instinct and make the art I wanted to see: drawing, painting, primitive, graffiti, cartoon and nature madness!
Format: Recently, you completed a show, Survival in the Modern World, at the Corey Helford Gallery, in Culver City, California, where you displayed a seven-foot sculpture of Bigfoot, was this the first time you had attempted a woodcarving of this scale?
Bigfoot: I, actually, commissioned an expert redwood chainsaw carver to do it for me. This guy, located up in Humboldt County, California, has been doing chainsaw sculptures for 25-years. I was so swamped trying to create enough paintings to fill up the space and I needed a sculptural element really bad. This technique and material is what I ultimately wanted to have but there was no way I would be able to learn it in two weeks time. I’ve never even held a chainsaw in my hand. So, I got in touch with this guy and gave him the drawings I used for my first action figure for Strangeco and he did a pretty good job of interpreting my vision on this redwood tree that was already fallen, naturally, not by the hands of man.
Format: Previously, youâ€™ve spoken of formalities and your dislike for them. Would you say that a gallery space is on the formal side of art?
Bigfoot: Yeah, itâ€™s definitely the formal side of art. I mean, a gallery in form is square and white, and is taking an artistâ€™s spirit and soul, which is infinite, and trading it for money, which enslaves us all. But I’m bringing my organic primitive nature scrawling into these settings, which is good for people to see and maybe get something out of.
Format: What do you think people experience from your art?
Bigfoot: I think people get a sense of freedom and the magic of the natural world, among many other things such as a look into my psyche, inspirations and how I see the world.
Format: How do you still stay grassroots while being immersed in I-Path and gallery shows â€“ is there still time for throw-ups?
Bigfoot: Yeah I still do throw-ups, mostly when I’m traveling and am in a new city. I donâ€™t worry about staying grassroots. I mean, I paint Bigfoot characters, which, to me, is the opposite of the human empire that is taking over the planet. I have a lot of standards about the companies I would work with and I’m representing the power of Mother Nature by depicting her race of warriors that defends her hiding in the mountains and forests. Whatâ€™s more grassroots than that? I’m happy to get the word out there, because people are fed such garbage by the powers that be.
Format: How is your graffiti background incorporated into the work you do today, like your work from the Corey Helford Gallery?
Bigfoot: Graf, to me, is a certain level of abstraction of lines, colors and shapes to an exterior surface in retaliation to human authority. All of this is always what makes up my work.
Format: The Bigfoot is a repetitive image that has become very widely known as your signature. Have you or will you approach a different subject matter, ever?
Bigfoot: No, I donâ€™t really plan on switching it up to another central image. I’m not frustrated by the repetitive Bigfoot. I’m frustrated by people, which makes me identify with the Bigfoot more and more everyday.
Format: How do you continue to draw inspiration for projects working with a subject matter that is constant?
Bigfoot: Inspiration is all around me in everything I see and encounter on the surface of this planet. I listen to a lot of music, so when I listen to music that I love I take on their persona, all other times I see the world through the eyes of the Bigfootâ€™s. I know no other approach to art making.
Format: Who inspires you?
Bigfoot: All the primitive beings, out there, that could pick up some type of implement and rock the world with. Whether it is with a piece of charcoal from a fire on a cave wall or a rock scraped along one of the earliest masonry cement formed surfaces, all the people in medieval times in Europe that had artistic skills. These artists were forced to tell lies and false stories at the hand of their oppressors. I got to say whatâ€™s up to Picasso and Van Gogh, these are people that took super contrived technical art and took it back to the rawness!
All the ancient Indigenous people for doing their art before the crusades came and infected the world and continuing after! For me, in my lifetime, I got to give it up to everybody in New York in the late `60s, `70s and `80s for creating such beautiful forms on and in the subway cars. We were a long time overdue!
Cartoons! All of it before 1995 just like hip-hop. Hannah-Barbera is my favorite! Scooby Doo is so cool. That show taught me to be skeptical of people and not to trust the old people trying to get the treasure!
Format: Why are you so frustrated by people? I mean other than the capitalist bullshit, disrespect to nature, and hypocrisy in general, we all have pros and cons. We all have faults. Do you think that you are faultless?
Bigfoot: I kind of do think I’m faultless, other than the fact that I buy gas. I am, basically, pure animal trapped in the body of a human. I got the right to hate. People piss me off every day and I really am a nice person. People are a disease â€“ way too much over population. People have attitudes for no reason, and they are contributing to their destruction. When a person questions my existence, I lose my shit and get in their face. They usually have a blank robotic stare. I show no mercy! Face the real world! You will all turn to dust. Tonight, and on most nights, I have vowed to myself to die fighting for what I believe in. I am a warrior and like all others my time will come to die, but unlike most mortals, I will die for a real cause; the purity of mine and our Mother Nature will live forever and that all greedy and polluting robots will be crushed.
Format: At Juxtapoz.com, a comment read â€œtalentless hackâ€ in reference to your work. How do negative comments affect you and your art?
Bigfoot: People and all those humans, they think what they want. I donâ€™t think they have much of a voice out there in the spiritual world, let alone in the streets. They say what they want on the Internet. Come up to me and say it in my face. Iâ€™m not doing it for people, Iâ€™m doing it to represent the Bigfoot race, to show how cool the Bigfootâ€™s are and what nerds the people are. Iâ€™m just really happy if one person out there respects my art.
Format: Youâ€™ve caused Internet controversy by raising discussion of what is good art. In your opinion, what defines good art?
Bigfoot: I donâ€™t give any validation to any sort of academic entity, first of all. I like to see some sort of skill of rendering, a unique hand style, if some kind of issue that is relevant in my life or other worthy cultures is conveyed to me, or if an art is pointing out some sort of struggle against an injustice.
Format: As an artist, how do you feel your artwork is developing, over the course of the past 13 years since you began writing Bigfoot?
Bigfoot: I first began art, seriously, when I was very little, maybe when coloring books proved to not be enough for me. I felt like I mastered realism in high school, a bunch of shading for a month to say what I can say now in a minute. Itâ€™s really all had the same intent and opposition, just through new arenas, platforms and outlets. Whatâ€™s changed is the evolution of my characters, tags and approach. I’ve set many bars for myself as far as technique and cleanliness. For instance, I really like my lines in my art clean and that limits my work â€“ my standards for myself raise everyday. I feel like I’ve been saving all my prolific stuff for the future.
Format: Youâ€™ve named your imagery as â€œart-illeryâ€ against the opposition. Who are the opposition?
Bigfoot: It’s pretty much me against the world, which means all the humans out there! Except, maybe, for about a hundred people that are down for me â€“ all my friends and family. Thereâ€™s a lot of injustice out there in the world. Nature has been betrayed for too long. None of my friends invented all the industries that contributed to the worlds ruin. I feel that there’s a group of people out there that have planned to ruin the world for a long time
Format: What is up next for you?
Ultimately, I will be looking for a final battlefield to slay the modern day Paul Bunyan. And hopefully there will be some forest unaffected by the human plague. Besides that, some Bigfoot portraits along the way.