Interview Series: Buff Monster

L.A.-based (but soon to be an NYC transplant) artist Buff Monster was – and still is – also a collector, and his newest trading card series “The Legend of the Pink Cherry” opens tomorrow at the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City, right in time for his birthday. The cards still incorporate his signature pink, manga-esque style and quirky sense of humor, just in a bit of a smaller format than his street art work. Have a look, and enjoy this exclusive interview:

LF: Your work is obviously Japanese/manga inspired. Where does this come from? Have you spent time in Japan?
BM: I grew up in Hawaii, and the local culture there is heavily influenced by Japan. But in recent years, except for being involved in a couple awesome Hello Kitty / Sanrio shows, I haven’t looked to Japan for inspiration very much.

LF: You said in a recent Juxtapoz interview that Hawaii is a weird place. How so?
BM: It’s like that old saying, it’s a great place to visit… It might be “paradise” when you visit, but it’s definitely not “paradise” when you live there.

LF: How did you come up with the name Buff Monster?
BM: I came up with that name a long time ago. The reasons for coming up with it then, aren’t relevant today.

LF: Are there specific artists that have really influenced your style?
BM: There are artists like Andy Warhol, Takashi Murakami and Shepard Fairey that have inspired me, generally. As far as my style goes, it comes from all sorts of places.

LF: Were you a card collector as a kid?
BM: There were no Cabbage Patch cards, but there were Garbage Pail Kids cards, and yes, I collected them as a kid. The collection I’ve accumulated as an adult blows away my childhood one.

LF: What are your thoughts on a trading card size vs. – say – like a large-scale canvas?
BM: I like painting them both.

LF: How has the transition from street to studio been for you? Do you find that you are “more in your head” when in a studio than on the street?
BM: I like being able to sit at home or in my studio and work intently on a painting. I like the long hours to perfect the physical manifestation of an idea. I can’t do that on the street. Painting outside is fun too, though.

LF: West vs. East… Top two reasons you are leaving California and moving to New York...
BM: 1. I think it would be rad to live in NYC. 2. I’m over LA. 15 years here is plenty.

LF: Are we going to see lots of pink all over the streets of NYC?
BM: That would be radical!

LF: What’s your key to success?
BM: I work A LOT.

LF: How fast do you live?
BM: I don’t know what unit of measure I’m supposed to quantify my life speed with, but I guess it’s pretty fast. Or maybe it isn’t. I don’t know.

Visit Buff Monster’s Art of Super Happy Pink here!


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