Photo © Jason Vasquez, Hump Day Hot Seat Alum
1. Who are you?
I’m Anthony “weird*eye*one” and I currently live at the beach in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey. I’m originally from Newark & Roselle Park.
2. What do you do?
I’m an artist, muralist, illustrator.. and A street ninja (aka, street artist). For years, I painted my characters & art everywhere I could, and I made small panels with my art on them, then glued them up everywhere, high up on buildings, signs, trees, vans, trucks, wherever. I’m semi-retired from that now, but I still paint my art on walls at abandoned buildings, and I still put up panels every once in awhile too. It’s cool to know that people will put the effort in to collecting those little street panels.
These days, well, the last four years actually, I’ve been putting more focus on my studio work and painting murals, showing my work in galleries and doing commissions for my collectors/fans. Recently my art work has made it to galleries in Australia and Japan for a few upcoming group shows.
3. When/Where/How did you get your start?
Oops, I covered some of that in the last answer.. Well anyway, I was always drawing when I was a kid and making stuff. I went to Seton Hall for college, learned some stuff there, managed to keep my own style & vision through it all. Also, for years I filled up tons of sketchbooks, most of which I gave away, either the whole book or just individual pages. I stuck to this one character, which was kinda box shaped, sometimes he would look fun and friendly, and other times he looked downright evil. This character is what I started painting everywhere, on walls, trucks, abandoned buildings, freight trains. Eventually, the characters were joined by abstract patterns and this carried over to my studio work that I showed in galleries.
Now, over the last two years in my murals, I’ve been slowly dropping my famous characters and keeping the abstract patterns, and arranging them in some sort of shape and motion. My studio work has evolved into something different, but I still keep the style & patterns that I’ve always used over the years. It’s just more detailed now and I’m using the negative space more around the main images in my paintings. Another thing most people will notice and have noticed with my work in the galleries is there are the illustrated works that I do and larger abstract “mash-up” paintings, which are smaller versions of my giant murals that I do outside.
4. How long have you been at it?
Since 1999, doing stuff pretty much “under the radar” by staying anonymous whenever I would paint my characters on walls. The little wood panels I was putting up all over the place, I would write my name on them and they were pretty consistent with the art I was putting on walls, so people were starting to make the connection. So, when I started showing my work in group shows and eventually solo shows, I already had a pretty good following that came from my street art. I have taken breaks here and there from my work, and last year I took about 9 months off after Hurricane Sandy because I needed to get my house back in order. It was a good break for me though, probably one I needed at the time.
5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?
Besides being an artist & a muralist, I’m also a commercial artist too. I paint and design for the home fashion textiles industry, it’s something I do on the side throughout the week. It’s actually pretty fun and it allows me to change things up during the week so I’m not only working on my own art.
6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?
Too many to mention… Well, I’ll start with the artists whose art work I’m lucky to own.. Alex Pardee (who I’ve actually become friends with. He’s one crazy talented guy, but super down to earth). I also admire Jeff Soto, Sylvia Ji, Nychos The Weird, ROID, Dan Witz, AMUSE, Meres, RIME (aka, Jersey Joe), ASKEW.. and The list goes on.. Oh yea, Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo.
7. What other types of work are you into?
I like everything from graffiti, low brow, surreal to the classics and some sculpture type work. I also like comic book art and some anime.
8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?
Well, hobbies, I guess photography and no that doesn’t only cover me taking pictures of my murals, haha.. I do on occasion go out and just take pictures of stuff.
Unique talents.. I’m an expert at roasting vegetables, all kinds and somehow they remain firm and crunchy! I make some amazing hummus and falafel from scratch, and probably the hottest salsa on the planet. I use ghost peppers and habaneros!! So yea, it’s pretty hot.
9. What’s your favorite vice?
I would have to say art is my vice and painting my art on walls. That’s why I’m glad I got some abandoned buildings that are my “secret” spots where I go paint whenever and whatever I feel like painting, plus experimenting with some different ideas and techniques. I like having my secret spots to use when I’m in between the “legal” mural projects I get.. Or else I’m pretty sure I would be doing plenty of illegal painting elsewhere!
I’m also addicted to collecting vinyl toys from Kid Robot and I like all things dark chocolate!!
10. How do you make it over the creative hump?
When I hit a “block”, I just relax, maybe do a little sketching. I’ll go do some gallery hopping, look around the internet at other artists, blogs and sometimes wander around Queens or Brooklyn looking at graffiti and street art.
I’m sad that 5 Pointz is gone, that place was so inspiring to me!
Luckily, I’ve been on a roll and full of ideas now for the past 14 months.
11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?
Yes, I eat food, haha!! I’m a vegan.. When I’m painting at a wall for an entire day or an entire weekend, I usually have bananas, a container of peanut butter and some granola. Just some easy snacking food to eat when I take short breaks from painting. I do like to cook food, but I suck at baking! My diet is plant based, healthy, yada yada, but I like my junk vegan food like the awesome vegan donuts I get most Sundays from Cinnamon Snail in Red Bank. They’re so good!! I even like to make tofu scrambles with chipotle peppers and seitan.
12. Tell me about the last time a project blew up in your face?
Every single time I’ve tried to bake a cake, haha! For real, I’ve had a few paintings that I was simply not happy with and this happened when I’m about 90% done with them. The re-do ends up being significantly better, way better! However, I can count on just one hand how many times this has happened, so it’s a rare occurrence.
13. What is your most prized possession?
My parents, my sister, her new husband and my niece, so basically my family.
My camera. My two external hard drives that hold photos of every single piece of art and mural I’ve ever created. My Windsor & Newton paint brushes that I’ve had forever.