Skateboarding. Punk rock. Graffiti. They’re all pretty aggressive subcultures, outlets that allow angry kids to express themselves. And Distort Monsters has been here for all of them since he was little. Whether out in QC on his board during middle school, running around Metro with a can in high school, or penning angsty punk songs all along, it was a way for him to channel his mood into relatively positive ways. And it paid off too, considering that he’s opening his first solo art show this Sunday, courtesy of the good people at Secret Fresh. [Full disclosure: Distort is now part of the Honeycomb team.]
Although he’s moved onto street art and hardcore, Distort is very much the same guy, using art as a means of coping. “A big part of getting past anxiety is acceptance, and I accept that I’m an overthinker, so the next step is figuring out how to deal with that,” he explains. To do this, he expells the monsters in his head with a paintbrush, transferring anxieties onto canvas and walls. The 25 year old finds solace in the act of painting these colorful, cartoonish troublemakers, calmed by the repetitive motion of painting detailed linework. “They’re not angry monsters anymore. Just mischievous, sneaky little bastards.”
Distort’s first solo show comes ten years after he first picked up a spray can, experimenting around town. “We didn’t know shit, we were just some kids running all over,” he says. “We weren’t exposed to the international scene, we didn’t know caps. The older local kids we were looking up to were still figuring stuff out. We didn’t know whether to do things legally or not. But I was doing somewhat similar characters to what I paint now.”
Secret Fresh itself has always been a big influence on Distort. Every day after school he’d stop by to gawk at the toys and artwork, leaving pumped to create his own stuff: “I’d walk 30 minutes after class just to look around. It’s got a special place in my heart.” Seems things have pretty much come full circle for him now.