Jun 08, 2010 | Comments 7
Like an apparition or a vague memory, the pale ghostly face hovers over the city watching us without judgment ,reason or motive. The face breeds a familiarity but leaves one with more questions than answers. It finds it’s home on the rooftops of buildings, on billboards, or mutating on the varied forms of our urban landscapes, There is nothing to preach, pitch or plug. This is face of anonymity. The face that has nothing to sell but rather something to give. A friend who has come to return something to you. This is the face of Seizer.
For over a decade Seizer has been a staple in the street art movement in Los Angeles Area. With some variations in color and medium his work has primarily consisted of his trademark moniker. An effective choice in breeding familiarity and identity with the public in a city inundated with a flood corporate imagery.
But where you find constancy in the imagery, the work is balanced with it’ is the masterful placements. It is the placements that redefine the image illustrating the power of environment. The work in one context becomes deity on the tops of buildings, celebrity under the lights of a billboard, criminal on the decaying wall. The work of Seizer engages the user to define our own stories of who and what Seizer is, essentially defining who and what we are.
Where did the name Seizer come from?
The moniker Seizer is a noun meaning one who takes forcibly.
When and why did you first start doing street art?
I started doing some tags and painting illegal stuff in 1994. There was a short time when I was in high school when I would take random stuff from my step dad’s garage and glue it to street signs and utility boxes. That is real street art right there, car stereo’s fixed to stop signs with high grade epoxy. Old spray paint cans fixed to the side of a water shed. I should have documented it, I would have been huge! I think the biggest attraction to street art or graffiti was that it got me out of the house and exploring. My brother and I used to go downtown and climb buildings just to see if we could do it. That desire stayed with me when I moved to LA in 2002 and started putting up posters.
Tell me about the origins of your signature “face” motif. What was your intent when you first created it and has it’s meaning changed over the years?
I wanted to create an icon that had no identity. I wanted to know what happens if you present an ambiguous image of a face and saturate an environment, what will people make of it? I’d seen people do it with well known icons or celebrities but what if it’s just an unknown face? My intention has not changed, I have still just begun the process. One discovery is that simple persistence and repetition gives some sort of street credit. I have got more work that is completely unrelated to my posters just because the client realized that I was the person behind them. Maybe its just an example of commitment and dedication, I think people generally like that in creative work environments.
What is something that you would never do as an artist and what is something that you want to do?
I can’t think of anything I would never do. I want to embrace being an artist. I have had an idea of what being an artist means for a long time, and now I am realizing that I am wrong. I am in the process of rediscovering what it means to me.
What scares you?
Recently I was on a flight out of Burbank and it just felt wrong. The plane took off what seemed to be faster than normal, once in the air we were climbing super hard and fast pressing us back into our seats. It felt like we were climbing forever which also seemed odd. Then suddenly everything just shut down, engines died, the sound of the air coming through the vents stopped, and the lights went out. The plane completely stalled, flattened out, and then the nose began to drop. The nose of the plane dropped more towards the ground and we fell, faster and faster. My wife was squeezing my hand and I was thinking to myself, wow this is really happening, this is what it feels like when you are about to die. About that point everything came back on and as the pilot accelerated the plane leveled out and you could hear everyone start to breath again. I am not scared of much but that scared the shit out of me.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I will be painting full time. My son will be nine and a half and we will be skating together, riding bikes, and playing soccer. I will be traveling quite a bit for art shows and lectures. My wife and I will have built a beautiful home together with a garden, a two car garage full of motorcycles, and a mini ramp. I will be the most content I will have ever been in my life.
Who would you regard as being influential to as an artist?
My dad is number one, he is an amazing illustrator and cartoonist. Not to mention he has designed and built some of the most dynamic and beautiful homes. He deserves far more praise than he receives or gives himself. Barry McGee came in around 1995 and showed me that free form self expression was ok, even if it included destroying some property. Shepard Fairey for his aesthetic and work ethic. Shepard continues to be an inspiration on multiple levels. Buff Monster has had the biggest influence and impact on my life not only as an artist but as a person. He showed me that anything is possible. He taught me about integrity. He taught me about the process, the craft, and the presentation. For that I am forever grateful.
What do you think people biggest misconception about you?
I have no concept of what people think about me really. I think the biggest misconception of my posters is that they are of Chris Martin’s face. However flattering it’s just not true.
Were you surprised to see your work in “Exit at the Gift Shop”?
Yes. At first I saw the trailer and after watching it a few times I realized that I was in it. It was only a single frame but I was there. I started asking around if people had seen me in it at Sundance but they all said that they didn’t think so. Then the second extended trailer came out and it was re-confirmed that I was in it. I didn’t actually see the Film until just a few weeks ago. I was really blown away when I saw the part of the film when Thierry is standing in a room of footage. Literally thousands of hours of footage of hundreds of different artists from around the world. Why me? I guess I just got lucky. As far as the film goes I was really happy that it came out because it told a story that I had thought about for some time.
What’s your most memorable street art experience story?
Being caught by police helicopters in LA is an amazing experience, I felt like I was in Die Hard. I think it’s laughable that we spend so much money on security and so little on education. I hope one day that someone in charge realizes that they have it all backwards, but for now i’ll just keep running.
For more Seizer go to his website at http://www.seizerone.com
And a special thanks to Lord Jim for lending his great photography talents to the Dirt Floor