Uptown Graf Kween Indie 184 on Fame, Fashion & Family

Indie has been active in the mediums of spray and style for some time now. She’s humble, and she works with her head down has she holds her head high. Many have known her infamous partner-in-life Cope 2; his dedication to hardcore bombing is unparalleled, and now he’s doing his damn thing in galleries around the world. And guess what? Indie is now doing her own damn thing, getting her shine on as an individual with artistic gifts that we can all enjoy. Open your eyes. Wake up and smell her aerosol.

Mass Appeal: You’ve been doing your thing in the galleries as of late. What has that experience been like?

For the past seven years, I have been curating group art shows in New York City and other cities. I started to learn more about how galleries function and the art world; that experience got me open to finally breakaway and transition to do my own thing and to take my work more seriously as an artist outside of graffiti. I’m relatively new as a solo artist, which is an entirely different game. The experience has been challenging but amazing so far. Since having my first solo show “Go Hard” in Los Angeles not even one year ago, it catapulted me in a sense that it motivated me to create a large body of work and evolve from just doing graffiti on paintings but taking it further into mixed media paintings.  My second and current show “Wild at Heart” in Paris was a success with selling half the show. Collectors seem to really appreciative New York Latino artists.
The experience in galleries definitely puts things in perspective. You have to get out there and hustle, contact galleries, book shows and be organized with your work because no one is going to do it for you. Being an artist is a fulltime job, besides creating work there has to be self initiated promotion, projects to keep your name out there so you can stay consistent in the game.  Basically, the same approach as a [graffiti] writer but just way more professional in presentation.

How would you describe the difference between painting a wall and painting a canvas?

Painting a wall in the streets involves a lot of physical work and logistics. Getting the proper wall, permits, paint supply, babysitting, weather and making sure police don’t roll up looking for a good excuse to lock you up—even with permission. Dealing with neighborhood people who have love and or hate comments. So there is a lot to orchestrate while painting publicly.  Usually the night before, I create the new outline sketch to have it ready for the wall.  The concept is all planned out–colors, design and style. With a painting, I’m in a private setting. No horns honking, people chatting, ambulance sirens–just music, ideas and good energy. Painting is therapeutic; it’s a great outlet for all the emotions and passion I have going on. I get to fantasize about concepts, words, imagery, texture, color and design. I get to play and be myself.  Pretty liberating.

What’s good with your line? What should we expect from Kweenz Destroy this summer?

Kweenz Destroy is my baby, even if I am painting more in the studio I still make time to maintain the brand. Having my own business is a full time job by itself but a real labor of love.  Fashion is always in my heart, even if I’m just creating a t-shirt collection–I take pride in what I do. Right now, I’m working on the next lookbook for Summer ’13, collaborating with one of my favorite people, author and filmmaker- Raquel Cepeda. The t-shirt graphic is inspired by the new book she is releasing on March 5 “Bird of Paradise: How I became a Latina”.  I’m also collaborating with Japanese fashion designer and artist Shojono Tomo, who’s punk haute-couture creations can be found on the likes of Nicki Minaj.  I will also be releasing my rainbow Indie patterned leggings–a new item for the brand.  The last lookbook we did “Koncrete Jungle” with Maluca, so I want to bring back that raw energy with some new styles.

You juggle so much in civilian life–what is your key to success? How do you pull it off?

Being a mother of three, an artist, entrepreneur and working with my partner Cope 2 keeps me super busy and on my toes daily. It’s all about taking control and time management. Running a tight ship because time is of the essence–there’s no time to waste.  I’m loading the washing machine an getting the kids ready for school while I paint Paris subway maps for, answering emails and things of that nature simultaneously. Its hectic but I love it. It’s all a challenge but as long as there is progress I’m good. Balancing family life and work go hand in hand, everything in moderation even work because you have to make time to have fun too. Sometimes I get too ambitious and want to create another project but I have to be realistic. I have learned to cut out a lot of unnecessary noise in life and just focus on what really matters.


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