I grew up in a family of artists and musicians. My mother was a singer, songwriter, and poet. My brothers were ballpoint pen artists and musicians. Being the youngest of six, naturally, I wanted to follow in their footsteps. I started off using ballpoint pens and later on gravitated to “Sharpies” when graffiti art started its ascent. I had to be different of course.
My mother always encouraged us to follow our dreams and passions. We had music, art, great food, and most of all “Love” keeping the tempo and painting the scenery in our home. I had a very good childhood which allowed me to flourish as a member of the planet.
I competed in many choral competitions in school and always won first place. My brother Darrell started creating “Papier-Mache" pieces. It blew my mind the way he used paper, water, glue, and pens to create this amazing art piece that was submitted to a corporate bank competition. He messed around and won! We were all so happy and proud of him. He is the best! My other brothers were also good artists. So I had family influences all around me.
As I grew, so did my music and not so much my art. I began performing and writing music for “Spread the Good News Productions”. My brothers and I started a group called “God’s Elect and stayed busy touring and performing for years.
It wasn't until I was hanging out on Venice Beach one day, walking around, and checking out the artists on the Boardwalk that I decided to start drawing again. This was around the new millennium (2000) A.D. I began designing t-shirts for a cannabis clothing company I started and named “California Green Tees”. This was at the height of the Cannabis Legalization Movement in California. I am a free-spirit bohemian and became involved with supporting the legalization movement. I started attending conventions and workshops while promoting my cannabis clothing line. I was still doing music production and some performing. I started thinking about how powerful words were and had an epiphany regarding the different artists that I had come to know, worked with, or admired at some capacity in my life. I started to draw their lyrics and added their song titles into designs.
I call this work, “Speak Your Truth Art”. Words have power. Every artist and/or personality speaks their truth either through their music or through their words of inspiration.
I often have customers tell me that when friends come over to their place and see my art on their walls, they look to see the words and what they’re saying. Then they start looking for their favorite song. It transports them back to a specific time in their lives, a place of nostalgia. I feel the same way and am happy to take folks to that place.
~ Kenny J