photo by Nicole Fallek

Gutter editor Nicole Fallek caught up with the Bmore street artist Tefcon, known for his profuse use of tag stickers peppered throughout the city and the world. Here’s what went down:

Gutter: How old you?

Tefcon: 26

G: Where are you based?

T: Baltimore, MD

G: How did you get into art and what made you start painting?

T: Earlier than I can remember. It came really naturally to me. In elementary school I had an alter ego named “Mas” (Sam backwards) that would paint and carve his name into everything in the house. Drove my moms crazy.

G: In the beginning was it more about the graffiti or the art?

T: I don’t really differentiate between the two. That being said… shitty graff is shitty art. I hate shitty art whether it’s on the street or in a gallery. If I’m putting something out there for everyone to see I want to be proud of it. I’m not sure that answered the question…

G: But it was graffiti that was the first medium you got into as an art form?

T: I always drew. I guess graffiti gave me a goal and a reason to make art. Until money gets involved – art’s about fun. Street shit was fun and instantly gratifying. I still like that about it.

G:  When did you first consider yourself to be a fine artist?

T: When I realized that I hate critique. I guess I’m not supposed to say that – artists are supposed to take other’s opinions into consideration. 90% of the client work I do, I hate. The clients are happy and I get paid but there’s always that edit or two that I’m forced to make that I completely disagree with. When I paint for me, it’s always under my own pretenses. Like it or not – in the end – it’s mine.

G: What do you like most about being a Baltimore-based artist?

T: I started out in New York when I was really young. It kinda fucked me up. I left Brooklyn in 2006 feeling really down – like I was failing. I came home (to Baltimore) and it reinvigorated me. Baltimore’s art world is accessible and down to earth without being all wack and hobbyist. There’s so much young talent. We’re slept on.

G: What’s the hardest thing about being an artist?

T: Being broke.

G: Which piece are you most proud of?

T: Hmmmm… man I don’t know. I really fucks with the all of my new studio work. My “Daddy Issues” series was pretty successful. I fall in and out of love with certain pieces over time.

G: Do you have any current projects or plans for the future?

T: Quit art. Buy some dress shoes. Get a job at Wachovia. Kidding. I’m working a lot with really intricate vinyl applications. I’m also really feeling my new character series. I have no idea where it’s going yet… but I’m enjoying getting back to my rapidomatic (graphite pencil) roots. A couple of nice shows and no destruction of property arrests in 2011 would be a win. H.I.T.S.

(from Daddy Issues series. Copyright Tefcon 2010)

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