The Vv Magazine team had an opportunity to catch up with pop artist Mister E who unveiled an exclusive collaboration with Toronto nightclub, the Everleigh. The evening featured a public unveiling followed by a cocktail hour with Mister E, where we got a chance to interview the artist himself.
How did you get your first big break?
It’s hard to give any one moment credit for where I am at right now. It has been a combination of relentless hard work and good people supporting what I do. In 2013 I was contacted by The Insiders of Las Vegas to install two 8ft paintings in Floyd “Money” Mayweather’s gym before his fight. The artwork was seen on Showtime’s All Access and got instant international coverage.
Influences in art come from a lot of places, what or who has been the biggest influence on your work?
My influence has always come from my surroundings and my state of mind. I feel like my subject usually corresponds to my life at that particular moment. It might not be evident in the moment, but looking back it’s definitely is true. When I was painting portraits of celebrities I was in college and painting was just a passion and hobby of mine. I picked people I felt were “cool” and “iconic” like Frank Sinatra, JFK, and Muhammad Ali. There are so many amazing photographs of them that are just simply so cool.
I started painting US currency in 2012 when I quit my job and decided that I was going to make a life out of art. I have always looked at art in an unconventional way, and developed my own path on how to “become an artist.”
I have always felt that money and art are essentially the same thing; a form of trade, with a perceived value. I trade my art for a country’s currency with my buyers, and then I use that currency to support my lifestyle. It is the continued perception of “value” that drives me.
Many artists never reach the level where they can have their own creative space to work and showcase their projects. What does the development of the FactorE mean to you?
I think the environment in which you work is one of the most important components in the outcome of your work, no matter what your “job” is. I have always had a vision of my dream workspace, and I have worked very hard in order to bring that to life. When I created the FactorE I wanted to be able to create any work of art from start to finish without leaving the studio. With that being said, you should never make excuses for not having a state-of-the-art facility to create artwork. Some of the greatest creations I have made were done in the garage of my parents home with a few cans of spray paint, some tape, and a few ropes.
Do you think you will ever move away from incorporating money into our work? If so what other material representation do you think you’d consider using?
People always ask me this question, and the funny part is, I have painted in so many different styles and genres, but it was when I started painting US Currency that everything just came together. This is why I haven’t stopped yet. I have many other subjects that I have created works with, but I only release the money related artwork to the public (for now). I would never limit myself to one subject, the money will continue to evolve. Picasso had a blue period, an African period, why can’t Mister E have a money period?
Do you have any advice for creatives in Toronto?
Be persistent, confident, and believe in yourself. If you don’t believe you are the best, no one else will
What do you think about Mister E’s work? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.