Interview by Aban Sonia
Art simply cannot be confined to any one medium, expression, act, or material and the same “no-rules” approach applies whenever Miami-based mastermind Typoe is involved. Partner in the creative powerhouse, Primary Projects, Typoe has crafted his reality to reflect his wildest dreams and reveals his point of view through the use and abuse of the unexpected. Whatever the unexpected may be… I recently had a moment to catch up with Typoe while in Miami to find out what makes this young genius tick.
LF: At what age did you start getting all weird and creative?
TYPOE: I have been doing weird shit since I could move. I feel like I was made to do what I’m doing. I just see the world and react to it. I remember being a little tot, crawling around my parents house writing my name under tables and secret places just to put myself out there. It was always a natural urge for me to respond to spaces and try to understand everything around me. In elementary school I made a drawing of me at the top of the stairs holding someone’s head and their body was falling down the stairs. Needless to say, there was a parent teacher conference that followed directly after. When the teacher held up my work for my parents to see my mom said “Wow, that is great perspective in that drawing.” Luckily, I was brought up to go after my dream and had great support from my family.
LF: Who in your life do you feel inspired you the most?
TYPOE: I have a lot of inspirations in my life, mentors if you will. People I learn from and gain experience with. My biggest inspiration is my pops. He pretty much came to this country with nothing and couldn’t speak english when he was 13. Now, you couldn’t even tell he speaks another language and has far surpassed every dream I’m sure he has imagined. And provides for our family in every way imaginable. My other inspiration are my friends who have left this life early and never got a chance to grow old with the rest of us that they left behind. I wake up every day and work as hard as I can for them. I keep them fresh in my mind as a reminder that this life is very precious and can be ended with the quickness. Rest in peace TOOK and NES. Crunk wake up soon, I love you and we all miss you.
LF: Vice of choice? Then or Now?
TYPOE: I’ve been sober for almost a decade now. I pretty much did every bad deed a person can do. I am thankful that I had enough sense in my peanut-sized brain to stop killing myself and change my life. Now I just work out, do graffiti, run a gallery, have a full-time art career and work as hard as I can. I’m glad I went through what I did because I feel like I learned a lot of serious lessons that most people will never get to experience.
LF: You use various mediums and methods in your work, what triggers you to do so?
TYPOE: A lot of the things I use are supplies that are readily available to me. I try to be very natural with my work and use what makes sense. I don’t use pencils and paint brushes. I don’t even know what to do with those things. I use a lot of found (plastic) spray can-tops, gun powder, brass knuckles, baseball bats, spray paint, gummy bears… whatever I can find in my room really.
LF: Which piece have you found to be the most challenging during its creation and process?
TYPOE: I don’t think I have a most challenging piece. Sometimes things just fit right together and it was meant to be. A lot of the time things don’t work or I make mistakes that lead to even better pieces. That happens a lot. I just really like to fuck around with [different] things.
LF: I love that you’ve utilized everyday materials from a graffiti writer or street artist’s toolbox and present them in a widely relatable and engaging way, what helped or inspired you to develop and present your ideas like this?
TYPOE: Well, I just grew up reading about and looking at old master paintings like Van Eyck and so many others. I was so obsessed with how dope they were. But I feel like they kind of already did the painting thing and pretty much kinged it. It also made so much sense for them, since important people were always commissioning master pieces from them. I guess I just want my work to reflect myself as much as possible so that means I have to use tools and mediums that relate directly to me.
LF: We know you’re born, raised, and based in Miami – but where do you look forward to visit for future work and play?
TYPOE: I love Miami, ride or die. But I love leaving and seeing what else is out there. If I stay here [Miami] for too long at a time I tend to go a little crazy. I want to go explore some sick rain forests around the world and explore places that are unlike what I am used to here.
LF: How did you get involved with the Primary Projects crew and what role do you play in all of the fun?
TYPOE: After the first year of Primary Flight I decided to just start helping Books with all the murals. I just knew what to do and I wanted to see it get done, so I did. After that, I was partnered into the company and the rest is history. Fast forward 5 years and now we have hundreds of murals throughout Wynwood and the Design District. We’re doing amazing projects with some of my favorite artists in different cities and countries now, and we have the gallery which is our play room. I am the director of exhibitions here. I work very closely with our artists and plan our year out for the most part. What I have now is far beyond what I ever dreamed I would have. I’m beyond happy with what we are doing and I get to work with my friends every day.
LF: Which galleries can we check you out at?
TYPOE: If you want to see me working on my dance moves then you can come to Primary Projects. If you want to see my art you can go peep Spinello Projects.
LF: Any upcoming shows?
TYPOE: A group show in Chicago next week for a kids foundation… then I’m not sure. Just making work. If you build it, they will come..
LF: How fast do you live?
TYPOE: Live fast die fresh.
… one last question:
LF: Jelly doughnut or sprinkle?
TYPOE: Shit girl…you know how I roll. All sprinkles everything!