OverUnder in LA and Vegas ; Faith, Family, and Gambling

OverUnder recently traveled to Las Vegas and LA to do some mural commissions for a large brand and he tells us he was having a bit of guilt for selling his soul to the devil to pay the bills. That was eased by the coolness of the employees he worked with, he says.

But regardless of what he is doing, OverUnder says he always brings extra art work with him to put up in a city – usually on the sketchy side of town – so he feels like he has covered his bets by doing  “the sanctioned and the uncontrollable.” He attributes this unique yin/yang philosophy of balancing his artist output to the fact that he grew up in Nevada which gave him a gambling nature, always straddling the line between sanctioned and unsanctioned art.


Overunder (photo © Overunder)

And speaking of gambling, not only did he hit the neglected, run-down, ignored parts of town – standard fare for Street Artists – but he also waded into the LA River (currently not a river), a verboten area of some profile that raises the hackles of many a politician and taxpayer as it became a showplace for record-setting graffiti tags that were enormously expensive and difficult to remove. Yeah, this is a small wheat-paste that will melt in the rain over a short period of time, but still.


Overunder (photo © Overunder and Cass)

We asked OverUnder about these new images and an ever-evolving street work practice that at the moment seems to be influenced by home-life and possibly spirituality.

Brooklyn Street Art: The LA river is a famed and contested location for graffiti writers traditionally and not known too much for street artists. Can you talk about your experience – what significance it is to you as a visitor?
OverUnder: Since I was in LA with only a limited amount of pieces I knew one piece had to be reserved for the LA River. As a toy writer in the 90’s I deeply looked up to kings like Saber who influenced graffiti with his massive LA River piece. I was able to see it once in it’s glory but the LA River today is an endless sea of grey buff marks. I definitely see what you mean about the LA River traditionally being a famed graffiti spot and not known too much for street artists but I think as places change their roles also change. Or better yet, maybe Street Artists need to explore their roles in cities further.


Overunder (photo © Overunder)

I made my way down to the River mid-day to a mix of car photo-shoots, bums cleaning their makeshift houses, and bored BMX kids cruising the banks. I staked my claim and prepared my wheat paste from the river itself – I love to make the paste from the place I’m working. Against common sense and the opinions of passersby, I took off my socks and shoes, walked into the questionably clear water and traversed to the target. A few of the BMX kids came over to ask questions and one of the guys named Cass snapped the shot of me working. The interaction was really pure and as their jaws were dropping a bit it reminded me of how I was so enamored of early writers like Saber for putting in work. After all, the action is the whole point of it.


Overunder (photo © Overunder)

Brooklyn Street Art: These new figurative blue pieces look as if they are inspired by people. How did you arrive at these images?
OverUnder: The pieces as of late are not necessarily a blue period. I source 200-yard long rolls of paper at a time so that creates around 80 pieces. As I work my way through various colors I’ve come across a few favorites. Something about blue just seems right so I’ve probably hit the 1000th yard mark with it now. It doesn’t necessarily have a deeper meaning I just wanted to get away from colors associated with other figurative artists and the blue always seems to pop on your typical background of grey, cream, or beige.


Overunder (photo © Overunder)

Brooklyn Street Art: How did you find a dilapidated facade for the mother and child image?
OverUnder: I found the building for the “mother and child” piece while cruising around Oakland. I was down there meeting with Athen B Gallery to plan a solo show for this November. That particular building jumped out to me for its proximity to public transit and its dilapidated nature. I also really like how the upper window was tilted in the same manner as the interaction between the mother and child. I like subtle things like that so maybe when the piece gets waxed there is still a hint of it left behind.


Overunder. Oakland, CA (photo © Overunder)

Brooklyn Street Art: A praying, kneeling figure… mother and child… is this the faith and family tour?
OverUnder: Ha, I see what you mean about the overtly Christian themes. While I do like the idea of a faith and family tour I wouldn’t say it is that explicit. With the addition of my daughter to my family I have definitely been delving into some new territory. Don’t be surprised if everything I make from now on has a puppydog face on it.

But seriously, I think it’s amazing being a dad and I want to put my life into my work as much as possible. It seems especially important to me when a lot of the places I find myself putting these pieces up in are comprised of fatherless children. I lost my father 6 years ago. I can’t imagine growing up without a father, or having them locked up, or even dead. I want to remind the kids I run into that there is an outlet. It may not be pasting pictures on walls but hey, that might be a good start.


Overunder. Oakland, CA (photo © Overunder)


Overunder. Oakland, CA (photo © Overunder)


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