I have given the artist SEK the title of the "Street Art Poet". The walls are the pages of his book and the city of
Photo Credit: Photojenic
Your name is pretty unique and I’ve always wondered about the meaning. What does “SEK” mean?
The name came from previously writing “SEC” which was short for “Second” (as in Second chances) and “Seconds” (the measure of time). I ended up not liking how obvious and formal it was to shorten it that way so I decided to change the “C” to a “K”. I have a huge fascination with misspelling things so it was perfect and it just felt right. The name has gained some new meaning through time as I’ve been using it. I never have cared too much for selling my art for monetary success and I’m not fond of money, but it turns out that “SEK” is a Swedish currency and it’s a very old form of currency. I found that really funny and ironic.
I’ve often described you to people as the “street art poet”. Are you into reading poetry? If so, who are your favorite authors?
I actually love poetry. Thank you for the title! I am currently reading Geoffrey Chaucer’s work right now. He is actually one of my favorite poets because his work was all written with huge misspellings and grammatical errors. He also made up his own words, which we all use today. People to this day are still trying to cypher some of his work. Aside from him, I like Shakespeare, Bukowski, John Milton and some others that don’t come to mind right now.
What has been your favorite piece that you’ve put on the streets? When and why did you start putting your work out?
Oh, that’s a hard one. I don’t think I have a favorite. I guess the one that I am really content about right now is “E Pluribus Unum” which translates to “Out of many, one”. It reminds me of making sure to keep going and it keeps me ambitious. I started doing graffiti at first, just sneaking out in the middle of the night and climbing random things to challenge my huge fear of heights. But I use to walk around with these thoughts in my head and I would stop and write in on walls because I had no notebook or journal to write it in at the time. Then I had stopped for a long time after I did buy a notebook because I really got into poetry and writing and of course I was going through a party/clubbing stage ha-ha. Then I caught myself a couple of times just sitting at benches drinking coffee and with a marker in my pocket so I decided that I would start writing these thoughts on the walls again. It started off small then I picked up a can of paint again and it just continued from there.
What can you share about “Heights Life”?
Heights Life is clothing brand that me and a friend of mine, Micheal Apodaca started just recently. We are hoping to expand the company to other things besides clothing as well. Most people directly link it to the town we grew up in,
“Artist by day Vandal By night” - SEK
What do you think the difference is between being an artist and being a vandal? What separates the two for you?
This I wrote as an outburst I guess to what was going on around me. I found it so funny seeing graffiti being coined as “street art” and then noticing that if you paint a wall during the day it was art but if you went off and snuck around in the middle of the night to paint a wall it was considered vandalism. Also, seeing gallery owners pick up on the form of art and then turn what we love to do into a bigger market and revenue kind of irked me. Soon graffiti writers went from vandals to artist from night to day. Again I was drunk when I thought this and it was more of an outburst, it doesn’t bug me much anymore because it really isn’t something I dwell on too much and I’m happy to see my friends and other artists grow and evolve in this time and era. Now I just see it more of an alter ego thing. I’m an artist in galleries by day but at night I throw on my hoodie and backpack and go out and vandalize the streets. It’s the kid in me I guess ha-ha
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