The streets of Los Angeles are a buzz with street artist Bumblebee leaving his trademark bees and bee hives in places you would least suspect. This artist not only creates eye catching pieces, but he also takes a strong stance to bring social issues to the public’s attention through his work. His child-like spirit and his concern for youth homelessness have infused his pieces with originality and social consciousness. I was able to interview Bumblebee on his contributions to the art scene and on how he is transforming abandoned public telephone boxes into pieces of art. This is his story....

 

Q. Explain your name “Bumblebee” and how it impacts what you create.

A. Bumblebee is an old nickname someone once gave me at a party beecause I was wearing a yellow and black striped shirt. The name stuck throughout high school. I forgot about the name until 2006 when I started doing street art around my city (Downey, CA) and decided that I wanted to focus on an underlying theme that would collectively bring together my work. I remembered my old name and decided to stick with it.

Q. Many of your pieces advocate bringing awareness to youth homelessness. How is this topic important to you and why have you decided to convey this issue through your art?

A. I beelieve that art is most powerful when it actually has something to say and has a positive impact. What inspired the project to paint the images of children sleeping around Los Angeles was when I saw a couple outside of a supermarket begging for money. They looked to bee around my age and I personally have always felt like a kid at heart and I thought of what it would bee like if I were in their shoes. It was really devastating to think that were actual people out on the street that were much younger than that couple without a place to call home.  I decided to base a campaign to raise awareness about this subject beecause I don’t see anyone talking about it or any media coverage whatsoever. I can only hope that the least it can do would bee to get people to start talking about the subject and so far so good. 

Q. How important is it to separate yourself and your work from competing street artists?

A. I don’t really look at it as a competition. It’s definitely not a race. But it is very important to understand the history of street art and bee able to define what is actually ‘street art’. To me, street art is any form of artistic expression that collaborates with where it is placed in public. It’s important to know the other artists out there and it’s really important to keep an eye out for new ideas and concepts that other artists are creating beecause it can definitely inspire and make you become a better artist yourself. So I guess I would say that it is a priority to separate my work from others beecause in order to bee a successful artist, I beelieve that you have to bee an original one. Many artists have the same technique, but where it is different lies in the message or voice that you are delivering.

Q. Many street artists create their pieces at night. Have you ever created anything in broad daylight?

A. That really depends on the location. Sometimes it’s easier to make pieces during the day for obvious reasons like being able to see what you’re doing, but sometimes it’s just fun to do them at night under cover. I guess it just depends on my mood. Hmmm….

 

Q. Tell me about your telephone box bee hive creations and what sparked you to create them.

A. I’m from LA and in LA you tend drive everywhere. I would drive back and forth to work every day and start to notice that telephone companies have been abandoning their public telephone booths by taking out the phones and leaving the structures behind, probably due to the rise in cell phone users. I want to reuse these structures as a way of communication with the public once more by replacing that empty space with paper-mache beehives. To me, this symbolizes the irony beehind the question, 'where have so many of the bees gone' and the theory that cell phone signals have been misguiding their normal patterns of migration. The beehives are made by cutting strips out of the ‘B’ section of the phone book and gluing those strips together to a mold and then taking it off the mold once it dries and painting it.

 

Q. While art is up to interpretation by the observer, is there a common meaning across your art that you want to convey?

A. My work has to do with nostalgia and youth. People often say my paintings of children are haunting. I really beelieve it’s beecause they connect with the images. It’s hard to describe in words, but each image I paint represents a feeling that I remember when I was younger and I’m trying to translate that into something visual.

 

Q. Complete this sentence: What Art means to me is? 

A. What Art means to me is beeing yourself.

 

To check out more of Bumblebee's art  Click Here

 

Stay Connected with Bumblebee:

Photostream: Flikr

Twitter: @bumblebeelovesu

Facebook: BumblebeeLovesYou

Email: bumblebeelovesyou@yahoo.com

 

 -Adrianne

Tweet Me! @ADRI86


Editor's Note:

Artist wished to spell any words that began with the letters "B" and "E" with two E’s