SPK Lu & SPK Jay: The both of us have always been drawing since we were children. We'd draw our favorite cartoon characters for hours on any given day. However, it wasn't until we were hired by Miskeen Originals that we started to take art seriously. Miskeen Originals was a company that had artist hand paint original works of art on multiple articles of clothing to be sold in stores across the country. We were about 15 and 16 years old when we got hired so we were able to soak everything in like a sponge. We were working alongside older, more mature artist who had been painting and creating for several years. We learned so much from all of the artist that we worked with, when the company closed down we had enough experience to go out into the world and create on our own. <br><br> Desuana: I know you tend to do socially conscious pieces, things that make a statement or shed light on things happening in your community. What are some of the things that’ve influence your work as artist? <br><br> SPK Lu: A ton of things influence me personally as an artist. The one that sticks out the most to me is probably fashion. A lot of the art that we create is on actual clothing pieces, I enjoy when fashion designers step outside the box because it encourages me to look at art and clothing differently. I'm also a huge fan of children books illustration, I'm a sucker for a cartoony illustration style. Obviously other artist are always an inspiration as well. On Instagram we follow a ton of artist that also help us push ourselves harder to continue to grow as creators. <br><br> SPK Jay: To piggyback off my brother, I also get influenced by fashion. Loved it since I was a child. When I told my mother as a youngster to buy me a pink polo button down, that’s when I knew I fell in love with fashion. Just the thought of being different and customizing your own clothes makes me happy. I get influenced by a lot of other things as well. Just walking down a street, I might see things that make my creative juices flow. Being around people on a day to day basis, and seeing how different people react to certain things influence me. Women influence me a lot as well. The female body is art. Women are beautiful, emotional, passionate, strong, and I can keep going on and on. I tend to paint a lot of nude women with flower heads, symbolizing growth, strength, beauty, and emotion. Other things that get my juices flowing are scenic places, shapes, and colors. I can go on and on about what influences me so I’m going to shut up now. Ok Bye. <br><br> Desuana: No no, I l love hearing about that. You guys are so passionate about the work you do. <br><br> Now can you tell me about this VMP x Super Poor Kids collaboration you’ve decided to do. What’s the background on this, were you fans of Biggie at all growing up? <br><br> SPK Lu: When the opportunity was brought to the table to work with Vinyl Me, Please we were super excited. Then we found out that we'd be working on a Biggie vinyl and that was the cherry on top. As kids we would hear our older cousins blast Biggie all the time, of course we were too young to understand what the music was about but we would bop along to the music just to look as cool as our cousins. It wasn't until we got older that we could see the impact Biggie left on the world of hip hop and music in general. <br><br> SPK Jay: I was excited to hear that Vinyl Me Please wanted us to hand paint exclusive Biggie records. We love to paint on different things instead of painting on canvas all the time. Just having a unique project such as this one is a breath of fresh air. I feel like me and my brother grew up similar to Biggie, but just going in two different paths. All of this is just so nostalgic to me simply because I remember as a youngster hearing my older cousins play Biggie. Working on this project just brought back some memories.
<br> Desuana: Can you tell us a little about how your creative process works? Where’s your point A in starting and how are ending up at these grand intricate finished pieces?
SPK Lu: When creating art, we usually tend to freestyle most of the work. We'll generally have an idea of what we want to do or how we want the piece to look but there isn't much planning when creating. We sort of just dive into the art and let everything fall in place. We've worked like this for so long that it's kind of how we operate when creating anything. There isn't much sketching or pre-planning we just get to work and await the finished product.
SPK Jay: Like Lu said we just freestyle a lot of times. Most of the time when we working on something together we will have a little creative meeting. We shoot out ideas and when the right ideas come to play that’s when we execute! We argue a lot and I might curse him out, but that's just how we operate (laughs), I wouldn't trade it for the world. The final product always turns out to be impeccable. When I’m working alone, sometimes I just stare at my canvas for a long time before i start painting. Then I just go in! Most of the time I don’t sketch anything, I just paint whatever I'm feeling.
Desuana: Final question, I’m curious about the music you guys listen to. What did you grow up listening to? And is that any different from what you’ve been listening to today? <br><br> SPK Lu: Jay and I have similar and different taste in music, as weird as that sounds. I grew up listening to rap music because of our older cousins, however when during my preteen/early teenage years I started to branch out of listening to just rap. I'd listen to everything from N'Sync to Fall Out Boy, from Usher to Dipset, but hands down my favorite artist during that era of music was Eminem. Although I don't listen to much Eminem now I found myself drawn to Tyler, The Creator. Maybe due to the fact that he was another artist who was "anti-establishment", and spoke whatever came to mind but I couldn't get enough of it. I listen to Tyler, Frank Ocean, Kid Cudi, Toro Y Moi, Lana Del Rey, A$AP Rocky, and Bruno Mars just to name a few. <br><br> SPK Jay: Besides my mother blasting Marc Anthony throughout the house on a Saturday morning, my older cousins AJ and Jason definitely had an influence on our music selections. Growing up they would listen to a lot of Bad Boy. Diddy and Biggie was definitely on rotation. JayZ started to become a part of my rotation as well. Hard knock life was my SH*T! I also had the soft side where I would listen to Usher haha. As the 2000's approached I started to like Fabolous, Dipset, Kanye, and Lil Wayne just to name a few. I still listen to them until this day. Now I can listen to almost anything that sounds appealing to me. From Lil Uzi and Young Thug to Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, and the Weeknd. I've gotten into Soulection and Kaytranada lately. I listen to their mixes all the time now. I like to say my ears has matured in the last couple of years. <br><br> Check out Desuana's YouTube channel here