Digital artist Technodrome1 discusses what it’s like presenting a live art show via Skype while fighting off the weed-stealing turtles of Brooklyn, NY.

Words: Angel Diaz
Images: Courtesy of Technodrome

Deep in the sewers of Brooklyn, NY there lives a man by the name of Technodrome1. His mission in life is to stop crime-fighting turtles at all costs. Mainly because they smoke all his weed and then eat all his pizza. He vows to banish them to Dimension X, so that the streets of New York and ultimately the world will be forever his. This is where our journey into the psyche of a mastermind begins. Enough with the theatrics, Tech is just a regular cat from South Jersey that has a habit of making dope shit. So pack a bowl (if you’re into that kinda thing) and float with us as we discuss his style, work ethic and his digital art show in Paris.

What happened with your Paris show [Zebra Square Hotel in January]? Why didn’t they fly you out there? They weren’t showing you love?

I had a passport issue last minute.

You couldn’t get your hands on one?

Nah, man. I had one for a minute, but it expires soon. They told me if I’m traveling to another country it has to be good for three months after the expiration date. I had two months left. I’m like, “How the fuck am I supposed to know that? My shit is good; it’s not expired or anything like that. The process was going to take 2-3 weeks and it was a couple days until the show. So, I suggested I do the show on Skype.

How did that decision turn out?

I saw the set up of the gallery and all the people that showed up. It was kinda weird [Laughs]. You don’t want that as an artist. People probably were like, “Where’s this dude at? What’s in the background?” I’m in my room and shit, just waking up [Laughs]. It was too personal. Folks looking in my house and stuff. Afterwards it was pretty cool like I just fucking did a show in Paris from my room, yo, in my pajamas, dog. The day before my people told me I had to be on Skype at 1:00 pm, your time because it’s going to be later in France. I’m like, fucking one, yo? You know when I be waking up son. I turn the computer on and folks are like, why aren’t you here, man? [Laughs]

But it’s dope, though. You’re a digital artist and you did a digital show.

That’s how we twisted it. Exactly.

How did the show do, other than that?

It went well. They extended it and I sold a couple pieces. Some of the pieces are on loan in other places in Paris like the Coca-Cola/Vitamin Water Headquarters until April. Then it’ll be transferred to the London HQ. There’s going to be artwork by Warhol and Walt Disney there too, which is pretty amazing.

You came a long way from where you were a couple years ago. From banging out art and posting on FB and your Tumblr page.

Yeah, but I had to start slowing that down [Laughs]. Muthafuckas started to bootleg my shit, sen. That’s why now there are watermarks on my new shit.

That’s the problem with the Internet. People can friend you on FB and take all of your work.

True, but I’m not sweating it. If I do another show, I’m going to do all new work anyway, so that early stuff was to just keep the shit going and create some hype. My manager is like; “You can’t just be putting stuff out at that rate.” But, I’m like, yo, that’s how I live. We’re going to have to do something with that. My management is like, “Just stop.” I was like; I can’t just stop, yo. I put all that work out there like that because I know people’s attention spans are short and they’ll forget quickly.

How did you come up with this style?

I don’t know, dude. Somebody showed me how Adobe works and I just sat there and played around with it. Not the CS versions, just the old Adobe Illustrator. It’s just the pencil tool and filling in the outlines with the colors. People try to call it tracing, but there’s nobody that can do it the way I’m doing it. I trace the picture I’m using, but everything else on top of it is all me.

Like a tattoo artist?

Word. I’ve been thinking about that lately because people have been trying to come at me and saying I’m tracing. So, am I copying people’s pictures? Well, I guess I am, but that’s not how I view it. It doesn’t weigh in like that. I’m freaking the pictures. I grew up with that way of thinking. You’re tracing? You’re not a real artist, b. But look at cats like Shepard Fairey. They sued him for that Obama picture. That picture was dope. Is that not art? People have to get past that. Tracing something, or copying someone, being inspired is a bigger part of being an artist. If I’m not moved by a photo, I don’t give it the Technodrome treatment. I’m going to be switching the style up, though. Really get on some different shit.

That’s why you do iconic pictures mostly?

Yeah and there’s a reason why the people are iconic. But it’s really because I like that picture or person. There’s no game plan. I might be watching Netflix or something and just start going in.

That Jordan piece is crazy.

I don’t like to say that certain pieces are my favorite, but that shit is crack, yo. I remember when I finished making it, I was like, “Yeah, I hit the Internet with this shit right here, cats might not know what to do with it [Laughs]. When this hits my tumblr, it might be a problem for cats.” I automatically knew it was one of the best pieces I’ve ever done. It’s definitely one of my most reblogged joints.

And you went to the School of Visual Arts right?

Yeah, but I hated that place. I almost failed out of art school, yo [Laughs]. When I transferred from Pratt in Brooklyn, I knew I made a mistake. SVA was mad wack, all subjective. I’ll do a piece and if the teacher didn’t like it, they’ll fail me. Like what the fuck? Pratt was smaller and way chiller. The teachers over there concentrated on the kids. You can’t pay someone to make you into an artist; you have to already have it in you. That’s the problem with schools like SVA.

So what’s next?

I’m working on an official site for selling my pieces. Should be coming real soon.

To see more of Technodrome1’s work, visit him on his Tumblr page HERE.

Follow Technodrome1 on Twitter, @Technodrome1

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