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I'm an only child, so I've always been fiercely independent. I would spend a lot of time by myself as a kid and I felt right at home doing that. I gravitated towards very independent things. Like I was never into team sports. I skateboarded - because it's something you can do by yourself.

I was really into skateboarding. Through skateboarding, I got introduced to graffiti. And I was very involved in graffiti for pretty much my entire youth, from the ages of 12 to 25. I started taking art classes to get better at graffiti. And then at some point, I was like, “Hey, I'm kind of good with art.” I got some encouragement from one of my teachers (shout out to Ms. Hammer). The more I did it, the more I liked it.

I sat my parents down, I was like, “Guys, I'm going to be an artist. I'm gonna go to this school. I heard I can get a scholarship. I'm gonna sell paintings for a living one day.” And they were cool with that. [They told me] “You can do whatever you want, as long as you're successful at it. Work hard.”

When I was an undergrad, I started making work about my identity and being called a cultural hybrid. I started making work about that my junior year in college. I had a lot of success with that, and that's how I got into grad school. But I was so young that I didn't realize that I was making really authentic work that only I could make. And that's why it was successful.

I got a Jacob Javits Fellowship at UCLA, which had an all star faculty. But because there were all these celebrity teachers, that really fucked with my head, and I lost direction. Somebody would say, “Add text to your work.” And I would think, “Well, I don't know anything. You’re a living legend. I'll listen to you.” I just kept doing all this stuff to my work. And I stopped trusting myself. So by the time I graduated, I was making art about nothing.

It took seven or eight years, purging all of that out of my system. And now I'm making a more mature version of what I was making in undergrad, exploring identity.