Words from Dolla

Tell us about yourself.  Where you’re from and how you got into the graff/fine art game?

I’m originally from Newark, New Jersey. As far back as I can remember I was always into drawing. I liked to draw cartoon characters, I would copy them from books and especially the TV guide. Graffiti caught my eye when I was in 6th or 7th grade around ’84. I started catching tags and toying up the neighborhood. That’s also around the time I started drawing a lot of B-Boy characters and punk rock/skater stuff. I was all over the place with my style. In High school I started writing more, doing throwups and tags. I was more on some vandal mission. I would just as soon write an expletive on a wall, instead of my tag.  Honestly,  I never looked at what I did on the street as art. I was just out seeking a thrill having fun. I ran track and cross country in high school, So a lot of it was the thrill of the chase. I was never worried about getting caught. I wanted someone to try and catch me.

I was a big time gore hound and was really into horror movies, So after high school I ended up going to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for special effects makeup. I started writing MORBID, I ran with that for a couple of years and after I left art school in 93 I quit doing graff for a good 6 years or so. I tried my hand at fine art for some time with no luck. I could never focus on just one thing for too long. I knew a little about a lot and never really found my artistic voice. Around 1999-2000 I got into making stickers under the name DOLLA. Before long I started doing poster bombs on the street and moved on to large scale poster installations. This is also when my street work and my studio work started to become connected. Recently in the past 3 years I started getting back into spray painting.

It looks like you have 3 main characters you use in many of your pieces, Dali Lama, the skull head, and the Creep.  Can you tell us about those?

When I was big on making stickers I started the DOLLA LAMA sticker campaign. I drew an image of the Dali Lama and I put his quotes on his forehead. It’s the first thing I did that kind of got me noticed. The Lama head instantly became my logo and what people associated me with. I am a character artist, so this was something I figured I should try to break away from. I still use the lama head at times, but not nearly as much.

The skull or skullie as I like to call him was one of my earlier images. It’s just a cooky skull with one eyeball. Its punk rock! It’s what every kid draws. It’s as cliche as it is necessary, It is my icon.

Now for the CREEP! He is my alter ego so to speak. He comes in many shapes and sizes. He is what I’m feeling at the time I create him. He changes constantly, He’s always evolving.

What went down in the last nightmare that you remember?

Monster snakes were biting the hell out of me like a dog shaking a toy.

Where do find inspiration for new pieces, both street and canvas?

It just comes out. I don’t put much forethought into my characters. I’m more in the moment. If I like a sketch, I’ll move forward with it.

Where do you think the graffiti movement is headed?

Graffiti has grown so much in the past 15 years. I hope it continues to grow and the younger cats will keep it alive. We have to encourage the kids to paint & teach the ones who want to learn. Only time will tell what will happen, but I think graff is here to stay.

Where is your favorite place to feed your face?

I go to local Cuban restaurant here in Orlando called Tinos. Best food in town! I recommend the fried ribs.

What artists are inspiring you right now?

I am so much in my own head these days. I admire different artists for different reasons, but my inspiration is always there. I never make a conscious effort to create like any one else or to have my finished product resemble another artists work. My creative process is simply a pencil and a sheet of paper. I sit down and tune out and draw. 95% of what I do goes in the trash. Kind of like when you are talking on the phone and drawing at the same time. You are thinking and talking about one thing and your eyes and hand are doing another. I just let my hand and eyes do the work.

Do you have any upcoming shows or projects you’d like to tell us about?

I am gearing up for my second solo show. It will be at Bold Hype Gallery in NYC in mid December. I am creating a lot of three dimensional work for this show. I am excited about it.

If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?

I’d wish for a billion dollars, I’d wish for perfect health ’till I reach 110, & I’d wish I could get good and drunk without ever getting a hangover.

Sandwich or Burrito?

Ham Sammich

Click on the skull to see more…..

interview by Mario of Koerce Media