Where are you originally from?
Chattanooga. I was born in Chattanooga. Even though I was only there for a few days, my mom wanted me to be born there. She loves the city and the doctor that delivered me, delivered my sister so yeah… Chattanooga is home.
It’s my home base. I kinda jump around, do an exhibition here and there in different cities. But I always make is back to Chattanooga. I’m never leaving.
When I knew you, you were working with Glass Street, what was going on with all of that?
There was a part of my life that where, i was living in some pretty chaotic environments and places. And so, as I got older and started to create a way of life I wanted to return to some of those neighborhoods that I saw that were still dilapidated and kinda rough around the edges and pour back some positive energy and love.
To be an example to some of the people in the community. Glass House is the nonprofit that was out there and they contacted me to cover my time to go out there. I would go there every week, once a week.
I did that for about 3 years, whenever I was in town, and back then I would be in town 7-8 months out of the year. So for half of the year I was on Glass Street and the other half I would usually be in New York or LA trying to grow my career.
Who are some of your favorite artists in Chattanooga?
There’s this young artist, Marley Foxx, I think he will be the next big thing out of Chattanooga. He’s dope. I like Tutt a lot, those might be the biggest rappers in Chattanooga, right now.
At least on my radar. For visual artists, I really like Tucson. He still lives around Glass Street actually. He’s one of the young brothers, I met when I was out there. He’s a young black kid. He skateboards, he paints, he raps. He’s a talented artist and graffiti artist. He works on canvas too. He had an exhibition on Glass Street maybe 2 years ago.
What do you think inspires your art?
People and places. I would say that inspires most of it.
Is there a message that your art has?
It’s just typically whatever I’m going through. A lot of the art I just create for myself. So typically it’s anything I’m going through or experiencing at the time. I pour it out onto the canvas and whatever comes out, comes out kinda thing.
‘We’re in this together’ 60 x 48 inches sold £40,000 ($53,360) Butterflyball Gala in London, England
So can your art kind of be a scrapbook to tell your life story?
If I kinda take a birds eye view of it yeah, maybe. It’s one of those things where a lot of time Is just try to get out of the way and let my hands do the work. And sometimes I know where I am going and sometimes I don’t. As long as I can stay honest through the process it usually takes me to where I want to be.
What would you say your favorite media to use is?
That’s a difficult question…I use so many different mediums. I think I don’t have a favorite. Sometimes I like doing oils, sometimes acrylics, sometimes words, sometimes lately, NFTs in this digital oculus space. It’s whatever I’m feeling at the time.
(Chattanooga Times Free Press)
How did you find out about the NFTs?
A friend of mine was telling me, I thought he was crazy, he was telling me in like 2016-2017. He was trying to make the art into a crypto token. He was like ‘Bro, you can make your brand be digital, like it’s own currency.’ It wasn’t quite what NFT is now, but he was definitely early in his thinking of cryptocurrency and how digital art can be tied to it.
I’m kinda late. I’m still trying to understand it, but it’s a lot of fun creating. I have a team that I share ideas and paint and sketches and as a unit we crafted this digital word and minted it. We are just trying to differ out the way that make the most sense.
We want to stay genuine with it. There’s a lot of stuff that is just out right now, and we don’t want to put a bunch of stuff out just to have stuff out. We want to be really careful about how we put it out. We are taking our time. We’ve been working on it for a year, a year and a half. We’re not in a rush.
‘Computer Love’ SOLD £63,000 ($87,000) Phillips Auction House London 72 x 60 in.
‘No bad news today’ 40 x 30 inches SOLD
‘Question your answers’ 36 x 36 in.
How was your art introduced to these overseas markets and auction houses?
God.. man. God is great. I pray a lot. I am a very spiritual person. A lot of times I would just put myself in rooms. I think we are kind losing that serendipity with Covid and restrictions. But before Covid, I was able to go smoke cigars with some clients that were interested in my work.
Two of them happened to to be from Europe. So when you have 2 new patrons that are from Europe excited to collect your work and one of them speaks to someone who is very influential and they like your work and you’re able to hang, vibe and chill, have some wine, they get to buy into you as a human being first.
A lot of times it’s a lot easier for you to build. I still don’t really know anybody overseas, but it’s a blessing that they really like my work. It wasn’t by design. It was a big collector that was in town that lived in London for a year and a good friend of his that lived in London and so you have 3 guys from Chattanooga, 2 from Georgia and 2 from London and we are all hanging out, drinking wine and they all came to my gallery.
We hung out for a couple of hours and they ended up buying some art, putting it on a place to take back with them and I think that happened 2 years before I sold anything in London. The relationships I build I let them develop over time, so it’s never a pushy thing.
I didn’t get a call back until a year, a year and a half later. A dear friend out there was like ‘Everyone is asking about your work. I think it would make a lot of sense for you to create something and I’ll share it with some people out here.’ And that’s what we did. And 2 years later, it has taken off from there.
‘A lamp in the dark’ 72 x 60 inches
If you had a choice in it, what would your legacy be?
That’s heavy question. I think I would want people to look back and just say he was a cool dude. He reflected God’s love in everything he did. I pray that I can continue to do art at a high level and that people rock with it when I’m gone.
But at the end of the day, I think if they can look at my work and get closer to the divine or whatever that is. If that’s an Atheist maybe they become a better Atheist.
I think the truth makes us a better version of whatever we are, so it doesn’t really matter what ideology, one believes, it’s just the idea of being a better human being. That’s great for the planet. I think it’s cool to be loving and kind.
Find Genesis The Greykid’s works at ThroughTheGrey.com
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IMAGE: Genesis The Greykid