Dear James thank you for giving us the opportunity to have this interview with you, and we are so happy to have you with us.
Shall we start?
What’s behind #Sexer?
SEXER was my original “official” graffiti tag. I really didn’t have an official tag even though I experimented with a few. But in high school, a good friend always joked about how popular I was with the ladies and of course eat that age, the hormones were out of control so he gave me that name and it stuck. So the history followed and I had to keep it. No regrets by the way.
Can you tell us where you are originally from? And based in?
I was born in Puerto Rico but was raised in the South Bronx from the age of 3. I currently reside in the North Bronx.
When did it all begin? And how did you first become interested in Graffiti?
It all began when I was 12. In 1979, graffiti captured my undivided attention. Most of older guys around me were writers and I just took to it immediately. After that I got into doing trains and street walls.
How old are you now?
About to have my 47th birthday.
Which artist/s influenced you?
When I started graf, many of my school mates influenced me. Artists like Erni Paze Vales, Doze Green, Seen TC5, and John Crash Matos. Then Picasso and Rembrandt inspired me to paint fine art.
What style your work focus on?
I can’t say I base my style on any style. Basically I paint based on my skills, my experiences and try always to be original. Every piece to be a conversation piece and memorable. I’m known mostly for realistic aerosol renditions. I’m proud of my blending and rendering techniques combined with conceptualization.
Are there any particular cultures that have influence your artwork?
Well growing up poor and in the ghettos of the Bronx, always had an inspiration and influence on my art.
What is the source of your inspiration these days?
Nowadays and for past decade, most of my inspirations come from life experiences, past relationships, females, social issues and that hunger to leave my fans with a smile, tears or eyes wide opened with the results.
What is the riskiest thing you have ever done?
Definitely trains were always a risk. But one particular adventure was doing the top of a U.S. Post Office. That was a federal offense and we knew it. But that was part of the challenge, getting to that prime, restricted spot to showcase my work.
Are you generally satisfied with your finished pieces from murals and paintings?
I am always pleased. If not it does not make its way to the public, including street art, I will sooner buff a wall then allow my work to be shown in a bad manner. I’m too anal about the results. I’m a firm believer what you put out is forever.
Where your work is usually located?
I’ve painted in the U.S. and overseas, but most of my work is with The Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn and with TAG in The Bronx.
Do you find it difficult to do your work in the streets?
No. I only do legal walls now so I take my time, I’m picky about where I paint and I go all out to showcase my work.
Have you ever had any problems with authority cause of your work?
Only back in the days when I did illegal works on the subways and public walls. I was detained as a youth offender but times were easier back then.
Do you have a formal art education?
Yes, I went to High School of Art & Design, F.I.T. and did some schooling in Parsons. All in New York.
Would you rather paint alone? Or do you prefer collaborate with others?
I rather paint alone. I have collaborated but I like doing my own thing.
Have you every collaborated with other artists?
I have collaborated very few times on a same piece. But of course when I was doing graf, we always collaborated on same trains or walls.
What do you see as the future of graffiti?
Graf is here to stay. NY pioneered graf and street art. Now the movement is worldwide and become mainstream. It will continue to exist as long as the earth exists.
How do you feel about photographers / bloggers in the scene?
I respect photographers to an extreme. Photography is also an art. But the contributions of photographers to street art is priceless. Without the documentation, we would be in the ice ages. I have problems with artists using images without permission. Photographers need to be respected more. At the same time I frown heavily on photos who take advantage and use their images to profit directly. I don’t agree with someone selling photo prints of my walls or art without my permission. Bloggers have become artist’s best friends and enemies. I have no problems, I love bloggers, and they give us an important outlet and media for promoting our work. I say if you do good work as an artist then you have nothing to worry about. Every artist should have the upmost pride and dedication in what they paint. If not, don’t paint, we don’t have enough walls for mediocracy.
Thank you so much and was pleasure having you Sexer!