Photos by G (except where noted). Art by ¢ommon ¢ents.
“¢ommon ¢ents” is a Los Angeles based street artist who, equipt with a bucket of wheat-paste and an armful of posters, has been bringing his message to the streets since 2009. His artwork often encourages the viewer to think deeper into hidden and unseen messages, in his own work and others. “¢ommon ¢ents” art can be found throughout southern California and beyond. What is Common Sense to ¢ommon ¢ents? Read on…
According2g: You started doing street art in 2009. What got you into it?
¢ommon ¢ents: I’ve been slapping up stickers and small posters since I was in 8th grade, for bands that I was in or basically whatever I was into at the moment. But the real reason I started putting art in the street was because of screen printing. By late 2009, I had been printing for a few years and had a large collection of screen printed posters that were collecting dust. In my shyness, I didn’t like giving them away to people, especially ones that didn’t ask for them in the first place, so I started putting them around L.A. The thrill of being out late at night and climbing fences, fire escapes, and billboards just to express myself to the world made me feel more free and alive than I’ve ever felt. It made me feel like I actually had a voice in in a city that usually gives artists the cold shoulder. So I kept going! It wasn’t until around January 2011 that I started making pieces specifically for the street, and got way more serious about it as an art form. Since then I’ve been learning a lot and trying to better myself as an artist.
A2G: Who are your heroes/influences?
¢¢:On a professional level, I’d have to say Shepard Fairey is one of my main influences. I hate how I have to be embarrassed about saying that now, because since “Exit Through The Gift Shop” came out, every artist and their uncle says Shepard Fairey and Banksy are their main influences. But Shepard has always been one of my heroes, and I think it really shows in my work. On a personal level, I’d have to say Felix and Morley, two Los Angeles based street artists, have influenced me more than anyone else on the scene. Their art, and the way they share it, have influenced me to push myself as an artist to a level I’ve never seen. It’s artists like them that are keeping street art alive.
A2G: How did you get the name “¢ommon ¢ents?
¢¢: A lot of my early work consisted of short sayings or truths, such as “Follow Your Art” or “Peace Thru Art”, so after a while I stared writing “¢ommon ¢ents” at the bottom of them. I guess it was sort of signature, so people could connect one poster to the next. I eventually moved onto to more imagery and iconography, but I kept the name because I really connected with it. I guess it’s because self expression through art is just common sense!
A2G: Is street art a crime?
¢¢: Definitely not! Art itself isn’t a crime, and the public space belongs to everyone, so why can’t we decorate our city as we fit? Why should it be a crime to bring a little color to the grey, concrete walls of this city? With all of the advertisements, billboards, and sales pitches that the population is forced to look at on a daily basis, it’s nice to see something in the public space that isn’t trying to get you to spend your money or change the way you are. It’s just there to make you think, or laugh, or simply just to be beautiful. Something like that can change a person’s day… or the world, for that matter.
A2G: Any plans for expansion into other cities?
¢¢: Most definitely! I’ll be heading to San Francisco and New York sometime in the near future. Both of the art communities in those cities amaze me, and I’d love to be able to share what I have with them! The art community in L.A. has been quite receptive and welcoming. I just hope it’s like that in other parts of the country!
A2G: What’s the best thing that’s happened to your as a result of your art?
¢¢: Recently, a guy contacted me and told me that seeing my “FOLLOW YOUR heART” posters around town influenced him to quit his 9-5 job, and start perusing his true passion full time. I almost didn’t know what to say! Just knowing that my art influenced someone else to be creative and follow their dream blew me away! That’s all I could ever want as an artist: to open people’s minds, change the way they think, and influence them to be creative. That’s definitely the best thing that could have happened as a result of my vandalistic efforts!
A2G: Tell us about the Buffalo and what it means.
¢¢: Growing up, I had a really close-knit group of friends. We went everywhere together, did everything together, and always had each others backs. We thought of ourselves kind of like a heard of buffalo. I started putting the image around town as a sort of homage to them, and to remind people that we all have a home somewhere. So I guess the Buffalo is a symbol for comfortability, and belonging, and friendship. It’s nice knowing you’ll always have a home “Where the Buffalo Roam,” so I like to give people that experience too.
A2G: What advice would you give to aspiring street artists?
¢¢: Stay true to yourself and to your art! A lot of people will tell you how to make art, or that how you’re doing it isn’t the correct way. Don’t listen!!! Art is art, and it’s different for everyone everywhere. Follow your art, and your heart will follow.
A2G: Future plans?
¢¢: Just gonna keep climbing, keep pasting, and keep trying to make my mark on the world!
¢ommon ¢ents’ art can be seen on the streets of Los Angeles, at Lab Art, and very soon in a city near you! That makes perfect sense to me!