Whether he’s working on a wall, a canvas, or in the digital realm, Dekal’s pieces jump out at you. Sometimes they tell stories of betrayal or illustrate just how heavy the world can weigh on your mind, but when Dekal’s not busy telling stories, he’s showing you the world in a new light. A light that he’s meticulously crafted over the years and is uniquely his own.
As you’ll discover, Dekal is not one to hold his tongue, but why should he? His work is raising the bar for South Florida’s emerging art scene and in the end, we’re better off for it.
L: What music artists have you worked with in the past? What have you done for them?
D: I’ve worked with the DeadBeats Writer’s Lab, Intifada, 2am Movement, The Benchwarmer’s Clique, Maestro, and a band called Lights Out. I did everything from full album designs and illustrations to Mixtape Covers, to event flyers, and even just some promotional portraits and illustration. I really enjoy doing album work because more often than not the artists are coming to me because of prior work they’ve seen of mine and appreciate my style and usually give me a lot of freedom on the projects. Shout out to Wrekonize, what’s good with the EP bruh?
L: What mediums do you work in?
D: I do it all from pencil drawing, to spray painting, to digital illustration. I can oil paint and use acrylics as well. The only things I don’t do are airbrushing and tattooing, but I’d really like to try tattooing. I just don’t have any of the equipment.
L: How did you discover your talent? When did it become more than a hobby?
D: Hmm…I don’t think it was much of a discovery and if it was, I don’t really remember because I’ve been drawing since I was pretty young. I was always dumbfounded by comic book covers and video game character illustration. For a long time I just copied the art that I loved, but when I entered high school, I was introduced to graffiti and that’s really where my art took off. It gave me a reason to create my own art and not just copy things. The past few years though I’ve really been focusing on fine art and it means a lot more to me than any art form I’ve dealt with in the past.
L: I know you live up north, but what do you think about the art scene in Miami?
D: Yeah I live in Broward and I really haven’t encountered too much of the art that I appreciate here and to tell you the truth I don’t love a lot of the art in Miami either. There is so much “Modern Art” bullshit out there that it makes me sick to my fuckin’ stomach. I really don’t have much respect for those people who make that kind of garbage. It’s only been until recently that I met NF Romero, Alex Yanes, Luis Diaz, Reinier Gamboa, Krave and a bunch of other artists affiliated with AltSpace gallery and the Chrome Gallery that gave me hope for South Florida gallery art. Can’t mention Miami art without mentioning Crome. That dude is killin’ shit as well.
L: What do you mean by “modern art?” Are you referring to the people who throw their shit at a canvas and call it art?
D: Exactly. The development of modern art took so much away from true master art. In my opinion it was the door that opened to let “anyone” be an artist. It’s a disgrace really, and I tell people, “If you call that stuff art, then don’t call me an artist”. It totally discredits true drawing ability, visual storytelling, and the interpretation of life in general. There are exceptions to everything though. I could go on and on about this but I’ll save myself the stress.
“I was introduced to graffiti and that’s really where my art took off….the past few years though I’ve really been focusing on fine art and it means a lot more to me than any art form I’ve dealt with in the past.”
L: Who/what are the influences that drive your style?
D: Too many to name, but I will mention the most influential for the sake of the interview. I’m a huge fan of video game and movie concept art. That being the 2Dimensional illustrations that are conceived before the designs are taken to the 3D modelers and animators. Almost everything in movies and video games start as an idea on paper before they are taken into the computer. From the cloths a character wears to the look of the boss monster at the end of a level. Carlos Huante, Marko Djurdjevic, Andrew Jones, and Jason Chan are a tiny few of my favorites. I also love French Impressionism, Degas, Mary Cassat. Also a slew of Baroque Artists, Rubens, Rembrandt, Velasquez and so many more. And I can’t leave out a few of my favorite graffiti artists, Sever, Revok, and The Mac. But really, life in general and the appreciation for it is my biggest influence.
L: Are the people in your artwork models or are they completely imaginary?
D: Its both. It depends on what I’m trying to express. Sometimes the physical anatomy of a specific kind of woman will inspire me to closely follow a reference and other times a totally imaginary character out of my head will be the imagery required for what I’m trying to express. More often than not though, I will combine reference and imagination to get the best of both worlds.
L: What projects are you working on now, and what do you have in line for the future?
D: Hmm.. What am I doing now? Well I just finished the entire Intifada album which will be release very soon. Look out for that. I’m finishing up a cover for a local magazine in Hawaii called MauiTime. I’ve got a pretty big oil painting going that I’ll be entering in a competition up here in Broward with a pretty decent amount of prize money. I’m working on a fantasy illustration for a client of mine. Also a promotional image for an upcoming New York rapper called Big Chief. And I almost always have a portrait or two going for someone. The only thing I have lined up for the future is what fate deals me. I’d love to just continue what I’m doing but for bigger and more prestigious clients. I’d love to do a few book covers for companies like Dark Horse and my ultimate goal is to be doing some kind of work in the movie industry and teaching at a college level.
L: Dekal is to art, what ________ is to music. Fill in the blank and explain.
D: Oh man…I can’t fill that blank in. I have a few things in mind, but I think that’s something the people should entitle me with.
“More often than not though, I will combine reference and imagination to get the best of both worlds.”
L: You’ll be displaying your work at The White Room this weekend for State of the Art. What do you think about that event?
D: I think it will be an ill event and I’m glad to be a part of it. We need events like these to keep artist’s names in the mouths of the public. I give much respect to yourself and other curators of events like these because they provide outlets of expression from artists to the masses. I just wish the masses were a little more awake sometimes and provided artists with the attention and funds we need to keep doing what we do. Just as I enjoy providing artwork to people and their businesses to attract attention and further whatever they are trying to do with their lives.
D: Would you like to thank anyone or leave any last comments?
L: I need to thank you, Logics, first of all for the opportunity, and any other human being that has ever supported me by buying my work, commissioning me, or just choppin’ it up with me and showing appreciation for what I do at an event, on the internet, or anywhere else. I need to thank my mother and family for their support. A huge shout out to Legend. There are so many other people I’d like to mention but I would be pretty pissed at myself if I forgot anyone, but a shout out to everyone that has given me any kind of opportunity to show my art and everyone that has kept it real with me. A giant FUCK YOU to a gang of motherfuckers out there who keep a straight face when I’m around but run their mouth when I’m gone. If you think I’m talking about you, I probably am. I’ve never done wrong to anyone without provocation and I could care less about people talking shit because they’re not satisfied with where they’re at with their lives. Get up, get out and get something.
L: How can people contact you to commission work or buy your art work?
D: Call my cell phone, e-mail me, send me a myspace message. I could care less how, all that matters is that they do!