(Optimist photos supplied by Tim)
Endless Canvas: How many years have you been doing the Graff thing?
Optimist: I guess it all started in the 7th grade in Oakland California. Thats when it caught my eye, and I started taggin, but didn’t really start writing and painting and getting involved till around 98′ so around 11 years.?
EC: Did you come up with your name or was it given?
Optimist: At first it was just TIM, cus my friends said i look like A TIM.. and some other secret reasons that cant be discussed here, so I just started writing TIM. Then one night I was all pissed about something, and I was bitching and moaning to AIDER and he said, in a sarcastic manor: “There you go again. OPTIMISTIC TIM”, and was like ooh that has a nice ring to it. And wrote out the word OPTIMISTIC, then OPTIMIST and was feelin it. And it was a sign for me to really try to be a more positive person on this earth. So I figured that if I wrote a positive word all the time on everything and focused my life on something really positive I would Subconsciously be a better person. Sounds cheesy, but at that point in life I was all fucked up.
EC: What graffiti artists influences your work? Could you go into some detail how.
Optimist: I would have to say LEWSE (TFL), JAPAN (DE), BEATS (SB, TNS), ELSE (HA), DRAMA (DE), pretty much every body in TDK, RIP DREAM, A lot of these people besides the DE’s were painting a lot when I was younger and I would see their pieces up in the yards in Oakland and be amazed, and I think their styles stuck with me. But there have been other people who have influenced me in other ways when it comes to Graffiti, not just the style of it, but the state of mind and bombing and racking. Good friends of mine like PLANTREES, UDON, DESTN, AIDER, YEOL, and DRAMA. There is a lot more to Graffiti then just the painting, the state of mind surrounding graffiti is what influences the painting. And thats what’s important. your intentions behind graffiti is important, i feel like a lot of people do it for the wrong reasons.
EC: Was there anyone or more tag that influence you own hand-style?
Optimist: LEWSE (LORDS)
EC: What influences your work other than graffiti?
Optimist: My surroundings
EC: Is beer good or bad?
EC: Rate your love for the police on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest?
Optimist: -100.. Fuck the police, straight up an down. Muther fuckers have never helped me out ever.. There are not here to serve and protect. they are here to control and oppress
EC: Would you call yourself a tagger, bomber, artist or what? And could you give a reason why?
Optimist: I would like to call myself a real writer, I try to do it all. I suck at throwups though. But I’m working on that. yeah I’m artist. But I keep my graffiti and my Fine art in two different worlds. I guess you could say I’m a creative person, and graffiti keeps me loose and young
EC: On average how many times do you go out and paint in a month?
Optimist:I tag every day, but I go out and paint trains at least 3 times a month, maybe more. And paint a piece a few times a month. Depends on my mood and who’s in town.
EC: What era/ region of graffiti do you hold up as the greatest (NYC 80 Subway, 90′s LA, etc……)?
Optimist: NYC 80′s for sure.. it was the birth.. the beginning. It must have been amazing and mind-blowing to see whole car burners smashing through the city on the elevated rail in NYC in the 80s. Wish I coulda been around then. and OAKLAND and San Francisco in the early 90s. That was the golden age for the west coast as far as I’m concerned. So many dope people writing and not really getting in that much trouble.
EC: What situation would you actually kill for a beer?
Optimist: No situation. Its not that big of a deal.
EC: What got you started making art or keeps you making art?
Optimist: My dad was the biggest influence in my lIfe. and I miss him a lot. RIP. If I didn’t make art I would be a boring ass muther fucker loser. So I guess I keep myself making art because if I didn’t I wouldn’t know what else to do . Real talk
EC: What is your favorite beer?
Optimist: Serria Nevada pain ale.
EC:On avg. how much beer do you drink in a week? If you could put that in oz. that would be great?
Optimist: Now-days, none, I’m sober then a mug. but i will start drinking on October 20th. I went on a 6 month detox program.
EC: So 0oz
EC: You told me you make a living doing fine art, I don’t know if you want to share this info, if not tell me i’ll take it out. For a person that hasn’t seen your fine art does it look like anything like your street work?
Optimist: It looks nothing like my graffiti, except its clean, I try to make it all clean.
EC: Do you see you fine art and graffiti as different things or the same?
Optimist: Completely different, I plan out my fine art to the T. measuring and preparing till i know exactly how its going to work then do it. I use tools and a lot of different paint products and brushes and shit. With Graffiti, I don’t plan shit. I just do it.. Thats why I love it so much, cus graff is the only form of art I can do without planing or sketching. It just comes out of me the way it does and then I can forget about it. Its not permanent and its expendable. There is a lot of pressure on me when it come to fine art. everything has to be perfect.
EC: What size?
Optimist: I really don’t care about beer that much. Alcohol has ruined peoples lives who I was really really close with, I don’t know what the big deal is about drinking.. Shit is stupid as fuck. I’m over that.
EC: Have you done stencils or wheat paste? (if not) Have you ever thought of doing such things??
Optimist: NO, only for a joke. i don’t think that stencils or wheat paste are graffiti at all, it takes too much planing, Its not spontaneous and there is no expression at the moment you do it. its weak.
EC: Do you see a different between what some call “street art” from what some call “ego graff/ tagging”?
Optimist: EGO!!???? who calls it EGO Graff taggin?????Graffiti can be about the Ego and a lot of the time it is, and it can destroy you, but yeah there is a difference. Street art is shit that fools take there time on and think about it and might even get paid to do. I tag cus I love doing it, its like an addiction. And its about the placement too, a lot, its like installation art. Some people tag in order to boost their ego, some tag cus they just cant stop and some people tag cus they like it and you can get real creative depending on where you tag.
EC: What is your feelings on the buff?
Optimist: FUCK THE BUFF, the city would save so much fucking money if they just buffed every six months or something. Graffiti ain’t gonna stop. You cant stop it, so why keep wasting tax money on it and getting all mad about it and trying to devise new ways of fucking people over for it. Just let it run its course. shit.. Real talk fuck the buff
EC: You can only pick one to save from total destruction.?
a. your mom
b. your girlfriend
c. your beer
Optimist: Fuck this question
EC: Any crazy ass story, that happen while you were painting (like seeing some naked dude skipping down street singing don’t go for chasing waterfalls)?
Optimist: Yeah a lot of crazy shit has happened. To much to mention. A lot of weird shit with homeless people and stray dogs. Also doing graffiti in other countries is wild, thats where the really weird shit happens. Keep that IRON strong .
EC: Could you give a brief history of your graffiti career?
Optimist: As a kid, was amazed by graffiti and wanted to do it. Started doing it, got caught, went to jail. moms bailed me out. Told me to stop. Tried to stop. Couldn’t. kept doing it.. This time did it bigger and better. Got my house raided, went to jail again, this time for a month. Got out, paid my fines, was told to really stop this time. Tried to stop, met AIDER, turned into TIM, kept doing it, bigger and better this time. Met PLANTREES, started painting freights, then got really addicted, decided I couldn’t stop. Got into DE, did it even bigger, CHEK told me to move to Taiwan. So I moved there and exploded, went crazy with Graffiti, convinced people to move there. We did it real big for two years, moved back to the bay and here I am now, still doing it.?
EC: Anybody you would like to shout out or give thanks to?
Optimist: Shout outs to the whole DE crew. but more specifically : AIDER, JAPAN, DRAMA, YEOL, GRIZLEY, PLANTREES. AND THE HOMMIE UDON, DERSK, NOE, CHEK, DESTN, TUNKS, SAFETY FIRST, SAYME, LEWSE, NESTA, YMIG, CENCE(BYI), 10 FOLD, LIL, NAKA, ZEN TEN, MOCK,(even though he never calls me), BABY NICOLE, IDEL, and anybody i forgot. my bad.
EC: Any project or show you want to mention?
Optimist: Yeah, the truck show is coming, peep my flickr. jackhammers and butterflies for more info and images..
TIM the OPTIMIST