Silly is one of those cool, quiet types. If you don't know him, he might not say two words to you. Luckily for me, when I came across him I had mutual friends so I had no such problem. I've never really been a comic-book guy but if Silly were the artist, I would definitely be tuned in. His adoration for the "black woman" is rivaled by none that I have met through the internet or know personally. On any given day on social media, you might catch him posting tastefully beautiful pictures of women just for the sheer purpose of posting positive imagery. It was an HONOR to include this brother amongst the artists of #NaturalAffinityDC.
Where did the name come from?
Me trying to capture what I was about in a simple name. I'd like to think I'm a smart guy and I try to put deeper meaning in some of my art than what it appears to be at face value. But I'm also goofing off a lot. So, ya know. I'm goofy but smart. A silly genius.
How did you get your start?
Cartoons & rap videos. My earliest memories are of watching cartoons & videos and drawing what I saw.
What were some of your influences growing up?
All the music my uncles exposed me to. MTV. Hanna Barbera. Looney Tunes. Tons of anime & Kung Fu flicks. Comic books. Graffiti. Lot of stuff.
How would you best describe your aesthetic?
I really don't know. Whatever you would call the amalgamation of anime, comics & graf. Street Nerd? I don't know.
What’s your motivation? What do you want your impact/influence to be?
My motivation is mainly just the desire to create. Its insatiable. "What can I do next? What can I paint next? What can I make next?" My impact/influence? To inspire kids like myself. Show them that they can do it too. Representation. I was working anonymously for a while but decided to ditch the mask for that reason.
What is your creative process? What helps the creative juices flow? (Wine, Muse etc.)
Music mostly. Turn on some beat tapes, some mixes & zone out. A drink or two, maybe. But music is always present.
From what I've noticed, you seem to be a night owl, is that the time you come up with your best work?
Definitely. The witching hours are where its at.
Paintings, logowork, t-shirts and flyers, which is your favorite canvas?
Paintings & t-shirts. Paintings for the freedom they present. Its a blank slate to create whatever you want. T-shirts because the way we dress is an extension of ourselves. The things we believe in. They seem so trivial & disposable but can be really powerful when used right.
What do you listen to? Who are some of your favorites visual artists?
Lot of instrumental music. Dilla. Flying Lotus. Madlib. A LOT of Soundcloud. The usual Hip Hop. Branching out into other genres. Too much stuff to name. Favorite visuals? Ron Wimberly. LeSean Thomas. SOFLES. Nychos. ARYZ. Woes. ETAM Cru. ADNATE. RONE. MEGGS. RIME. POSE. Kehinde Wiley. Dabs Myla. Ink & Clog. Just to name a few.
I hear this isn't your only upcoming exhibition in DC and you've had a quite a few in RVA, tell us more about your upcoming shows.
Planning on doing another Sketchy Crowd show before the year is over. Hoping to make that an annual event. Monthly if all goes well. Working on a bigger show that I can't say too much about at the moment. Displaying as much work as I have the time & opportunity to do.
What is the Research Party and Study Group or are they the same thing? They sound like really cool, creative movements I would like to know more about? What role do you play in each? They all seem to be making pretty significant moves lately.
I created it. ResearchParty, officially known as StudyGroup, was an idea I had about 2 yrs ago. Basically the idea of steel sharpening steel. We're all creatives seeking to make a living from our crafts. Why not team up instead of going it alone? Strength in numbers. Learning from each other. Different disciplines bringing a fresh thought to the other. Bringing new fans to each other. There's a incredible community of creatives here. I was just trying to bring some unity & it all came together organically. They're all dope. The Link Up is gaining new listeners with every episode. Swellthy is one of my favorite producers. Broey is an incredible writer that will soon be an incredible director. PT is an amazing artist that not enough people are hip to. I'm blessed to even be amongst them. Those moves are so much easier to make with a supportive team around you.
What's this I hear about Afropunk ATL? You and some friends will be in attendance?
Yeah. The Link Up & I will be going to Atlanta for AfroPunk. I was at APNY last year. One of the best experiences of my life and I know AP Atlanta will be just as memorable. Really exciting just being around my people. Good times, good music, Black love & excellence.
What's a common misconception about you & your work you would like to set straight?
I'm really not aware of too many misconceptions about either. People were really confused ( and sometimes still are) about who I am until I started showing my face. They thought I was a woman. They thought I was a white guy. It's interesting the ideas people have about your identity when all they have is your tweets to go off. And my work has been pretty straightforward as of late. I was influenced by a lot of things that haven't always represented us. I'm trying to change that.
What does being a part of Natural Affinity mean to you?
Means people are noticing my work and that's awesome. Right back to representation. Using my talent to open the door for all that I can.