Interview with Graphic Artist / Ricci Steez | Edition VIII

How do you describe your Graphic Art to people?

Relevant. Theres a reason for my art. There are alot of other “designers” that give themselves that title but aren’t saying anything with their work. I look on myspace and other sites and young ones are just putting swirls around their bodies and calling themselves graphic designers. I’ve been there and as I made progress I learned there is so much more to it. That’s what makes my art work pretty different. I’m showing my progress and my skill while sending a message. My art can be a statement or it can be the image that anyone can relate to and get excited about in someway.

So what is the motivation behind your whole movement?

I feel like my graphic art is a blessing. Just having the ability to create the pieces I create is a gift. I want everyone to know that, and I want every young person or even the older cats to see something in my art they never saw before. I want people to say he’s got skills without me having to say it. I know what it feels like to be the kid that asks “How did he do that?”.I went from that stage to saying “He should do this.” There is alot of competition in this field, but even the competitors I’m running with motivate me to be better than them… on graphic terms. I would say as a movement the goal is to have a in
your face image, and that goes with having a direct and bold message.

Who are some people you would like to work with?

The artists that influenced me the most. I would really like to work with Kaws. His art is amazing, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never really seen a bad Kaws piece. When I saw the work he did on a Michael Jackson image in Interview Magazine, I bugged out, I was super hype. I feel like he would be a dope mentor. I love the work by Mr.Cartoon and his whole squad. A collaboration between the westside and the eastside is always a thrill to the
public. They’ve been in the game for a while, so working would them would be an honor and would give a whole new view in this business. I want to work with Pharrell and Kanye West as far as concepts for clothing and accessories. Just like any artist, it’s good to branch out into other forms of design. It opens your mind to a new way of thinking and understanding where other people with wild ideas are coming from.

How does music influence your work?

Music plays a big part in this world period. You see Hip Hop, R&B and Pop all in commercials and for artist to combine our art with the music world is genius.That’s why I would like to work with artists in the music industry. I want to do album covers and disc art because I always felt the cover of an album should be a movie poster. I never liked album covers with just the rapper or singer’s face, that’s corny to me. Major artists like Kanye, Coldplay, and N.E.R.D always had cover art that would make me want to buy their album…sometimes just for the graphics. When I hear a song, I can sometimes hear a phrase from an artist and make a piece based off of that, it’s crazy. Music brings a theme to my graphics. If I’m feeling down, I’ll throw on Kanye’s 808’s and Heartbreak and make a low key piece with a gritty effect. On the flipside there’s times where I’m hype and I’m rocking to an Outkast album and I bug out. I love music.I wrote songs as well so it definitely plays a part in my graphics.

Do you feel like what you are doing is important?

Graphic art will always be needed. Companies need graphics for signs and promotions. The fashion and clothing world need us graphic designers for design concepts and print ready art work. As long as there are parties, clubs, magazines, skateboards, t-shirts, billboards and cd releases, I’m going to always feel what I’m doing is important.

When you started out did you think it would be a serious business?

I think when everyone starts doing something they love, they get that ” I could blow up” mentality. At first I was actually learning design just to have some cool effects to show off. One day I get a message on myspace and a kid was sayin how dope he thought my pictures were and he wanted to know how much I charge for a photo. I didn’t respond because it was a shock. I didnt expect that at all, and I knew nothing about charging people and making money from something I just started out doing at that time. As time went on I was getting more and more friend request and messages that were complimenting and asking prices. I was stoked. I started doing myspace pages and helping cats with logo designs and concepts. It’s an amazing experience.

Must art have a relationship to the rest of the world?

Art is all over the world already. Think about the architecture of buildings and landscapes. The international graffers that see graffiti as their only way to express themselves. I used to graff and I know the rush you get throwing a piece on a wall and sending a message. Most of the world has a message to send and art always ties in.

Lastly, could you talk about any long-term goals you have in mind?

Imagine a dope rapper titled a designer with his own clothing line, design company and does album cover art for other artist in the rap game. That thought is like the bright light at the end of the tunnel for me. I want to be an influence for other upcoming designers just like me. Maybe even a legend.