In the past two years SCOM RK has been placing his characters in high traffic areas for the people of Los Angeles to view. With a specific style that blends his unique characters into graffiti productions, billboard & bench ads, SCOM has found a niche that melds graffiti and street art. L.A. TACO’s own Erwin Recinos was able to interview SCOM and get some insight into his art.
What crews do you rep?
What’s the story behind the name SCOM?
It stands for Society Creates Only Monsters. I came up with that because I used to write odd / obnoxious phrases on walls. For instance I would write on an elementary school, "here at ___ school, we like to brain wash your kids and make them feel like idiots". Or, "Jesus is not the only person who loves you, Lucifer does too..," on a church. So I found myself writing "Society Creates Monsters" more and more often on things, but it wasn't until my friend told me that I should shorten it into an acronym and write an actual name - "because you're confusing people out there." [laughs] So I added the Only and that's the story behind Scom. Why I started painting... that's a whole different story.
You can’t tease the L.A. TACO readers like that. Why did you start painting?
Had a freak accident when I was a kid. Went to the hospital, minutes later I was kicked out. As I exited, I wrote with the blood on my hand on a window. Been letting out my frustration on walls ever since. That was in 2001.
Who and what are your influences in art?
When I was a little kid my aunt bought me this book called "How to Draw Marvel Comics," by Stan Lee. As of now, I get influenced by the people I've painted with; BREGA, YAVES, AGOD, MIEZ and MASEN. AKA the Larry's... hail !
How have your characters changed in the last three years?
I started using F.W. Ink to do the smaller details on the characters' facial expressions.
I began adding shadows to my characters, which I didn't really like doing before, I liked them looking one dimensional and cartoony, but I'm starting to like the shadows... it gives it more depth.
Also, using less buff paint for fills and blending more with cans.
Are your letters as fun as your characters?
No. I get bored doing letters if they're just simple, but when I make them look like characters that's when I get my kicks off. But I take longer doing that, so it's kind of aggravating.
Is there a story behind your characters? Where do they come from? What do they represent?
I started doing characters after I got arrested the first time. I hadn't painted in a couple months, and my girlfriend at that time was pushing me to be a normal civilian... I realized she was a waste of time and I just snapped one day, got on the 170 freeway bridge and hit the the overpass with a character. Because I was still on probation, there were certain materials I couldn't legally have on me (markers, scribes, etch bath and cans, to name a few). But it didn't say anything about rollers, brushes or bucket paint - so I started using that.
They just flow out of me it's an unconscious act.
Most of the characters represent unwanted people, and the ones that I draw with masks are more symbolic in the sense that they represent how most of us don't show our true selves and are usually just putting up a front. When I put bar-codes on the little characters it's about how people are easily persuaded to drop their morals for money.
Are your characters a projection of who you are?
These characters aren't me, they're just documentations of momentary thoughts nothing's set in stone.
You use a very earth toned color palette is that by choice?
It depends where I'm at geographically and mentally.
Any future plans or projects in the works for you?
I usually don't plan because things don't tend to work out, I just prepare, that's all I can really do.
If you could paint with anyone alive or dead, who would it be?
Dead = Ayer Alive = Oiler
Do you believe there is an advantage or disadvantage to painting characters?
The good thing about characters comes when doing walk ups. Especially when you're with people doing a piece next to you. The average person isn't gonna think that it's illegal and in their eyes they think, "well it's early and look it's a cartoon" followed by, "thank you for going over all that chicken scratch, I was really tired of seeing that." It helps if the other people with you adopt the way you paint and use rollers for fills, because it's not threatening and, in case you get rolled on while doing so, you can always say "I was just buffing out the wall."
Bad thing about painting characters is the endless amount of shit talking you will receive. I feel this stems from all the "street artists" that used graffiti as a way to exploit themselves and this scene. It's mainly people that have never gone out and did shit but have high-end gallery's selling their work. You know the type, the ones that put wheat paste over your tag, throw up, piece etc. Go over you even when your stuff wasn't dissed, just because they feel their shit is aesthetically better and fail to realize you were there first. Since most people in this scene don't know you personally, they tend to judge you and group you in the same category as those types. In the end, when anyone gets caught up we all end up in county.
Where do you see your art taking you in the next three years?
Hopefully Japan to see / meet some unicorns (Asian women with big asses) if not, anywhere farther from home would be nice.
In your opinion, how is the LA graffiti scene? What are you enjoying or not enjoying about it?
It has everything from writers, tag bangers to crazy vigilantes who buff you out. It is what you make it, but what I noticed where we differ in and have evolved the most is burners on nutty spots. I feel that there's no other place on earth where people do really aggressive/gritty letters with multi colors that flow. I'm a big fan of this. Like seeing progression and longevity of people here. What I dislike is that there's not many yards where the younger kids coming up can go to and practice. All these places are getting heavier surveillance so I hate passing by a spot and seeing youngsters in handcuffs because a place is burned out. Laws are getting harsher so I hate hows it's institutionalizing some. Dislike that I have to go to the next county over because most the layups here are a bust because people leave their cans all over the tracks. Price you pay for living in a big city.
I wanna thank you for your time and doing this interview with L.A. TACO and our readers. Any last words?
There's no point in telling the youth who's reading this to not do this. So with that being said, be smart and take care of yourselves. Save your money in case you want to bail out or get a lawyer. Jail / this lifestyle isn't for everyone. Peace to everyone who's still pushing. Thank you LATACO for having me and to those reading this.
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