Shock Mansion: G’day mate, thanks for your time!
Og Abel: It’s my pleasure.
Shock Mansion: Let’s get stuck straight into it, what’s a typical day in the life like for you?
Og Abel: Well during the week, I get up turn on the TV and catch up on the business news see whats going on in our markets, and check emails really quick like but respond to a few then get ready for the crazy day at the office.
When I get there I overlook all pending orders with Eric and make sure we are on track with deliveries. I then sit behind my Mac and check the rest of my emails and respond to a few more then turn the music on and get to drawing.
Shock Mansion: Can you give us a quick run down on how you actually started? What inspired you as a child to become an artist?
Og Abel: I think it all started the day I visited my older sister’s kinder garden class. I was about 3 or 4yrs old but I clearly remember trying to participate with her class. So they gave me a piece of lined paper and had me draw small circles. Once I filled the whole sheet with “O’s” they then she showed me how to draw an “X” and had me do the same thing…after I filled that paper with “X’s” the gave me a new sheet but this time they had me combine the “X” and the “O” and make lil fishy’s out of them and I was like whoa! And after that I would draw as much as I could.
I loved drawing so much that when we shoplifted as kids I was the only one that would steal pencils, markers and blank paper while all the other kids went after the toys.
Soon after, I was painting on walls with spray paint. We were the original graffiti artists from South Central Los Angeles and we’d ride the bus across the city to meet at the happening graffiti yards to paint without being harassed by the police. Graffiti art and those yards were our world.
Shock Mansion: How did you put food on the table before you where paid to design?
Og Abel: Well, I had 4 brothers and 2 sisters and we lived in a one bedroom apartment in South Central L.A. . Both, of our parents worked and still had barely enough to cover food, rent and bills. So new clothes and shoes were a luxury. We had to settle for used clothing from second hand stores as well as cheap knock-off brands. I remember my mother placing stuff on lay-away just so we can have a new pair of Dickie’s pants. She went as far as cutting the tips of my shoes so that my toes would hang out of them after they had become tight on me.
So I started working for a man that sold sweet bread and tortillas at a young age when I was around 11 yrs old. Then I worked at a gas station and then a busboy.. through out Jr high and high school I would look for art contests for extra money, I would always place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. I would hustle airbrushed tees and airbrushing on cars and other art until I got involved with other “street” hustles but gave that up when my youngest brother was murdered.
Shock Mansion: We recently watched an amazing video of you spraying up 3 graffiti pieces for your Skull Candy collaboration. Can you tell us a bit about the headphones? How did they come about?
Og Abel: I have traveled a lot so I started seeing Skullcandy headsets every time I’d walk into the airports electronics store. They were by far the coolest of all the headsets. So a friend of mine suggested we meet with them to discuss a possible collabo or license deal and we did. So they went forward and launched a few “OG ABEL’ sets and they are are the Sh*t! =) haha
Shock Mansion: We all wear your incredible collaborations with Osiris shoes. What can we expect to come next from you and Osiris?
Og Abel: Thanks, We appreciate the love! We are constantly going back and forth with ideas and sending stuff to get sampled. We have some new shoes coming Spring 2010.
We are working on Electronic accessories and more headphones with Skullcandy. We are also looking into a book release and and hopefully writing and directing a movie sometime in the future. As well as a solo show at one of the top galleries in Los Angeles.
Shock Mansion: Can you tell us a little bit about your clothing line?
Og Abel: Our collection is unique and has made an impact in this scene because of it. One of my instructors once told me that “An artist paints the sky red because he knows its blue. Those who are not artists paint the sky blue for fear of being criticized!”
When we launched it, we were told to stay away from guns because they don’t sell. All companies we know would avoid them. Our thought was the opposite. I love guns therefore we had designs with guns and had good success with them. Pretty soon, you saw these same already established companies jump on the gun bandwagon. It’s a trip and some-what surprising but feels good when the art directors of these huge companies look at us for direction.
We are not looking at our creations from a sales man’s point of view. I do what I do because of what has gone on in my life and I have the freedom to create whatever we want. I personally design, sketch, create, and Illustrate every single design from concept to completion so every design has a special touch, as opposed to other companies designs where they hire a team of designers or Illustrators to copy what everyone else is doing.
The OG ABEL Collection truly comes from the heart and unlike certain “Huge” companies, I make an extra effort not to look at other companies catalogues or artwork for inspiration. Life is my inspiration.
I think of our collection as the “Bright thorned Rose” in a huge field of daisies.
Shock Mansion: Who are some other artists you look up to?
Og Abel: I look up to the artists that inspired me when I was young. I’m not exactly sure who they were but their paintings were hanging from the walls of the Church my mother used to take us to. I would sit there and wander into them and imagine what life was like back then and how these artist capture the emotion and realness. I Don’t remember the lectures from the priest but I definitely remember the paintings. I love the works of Caravaggio, Michelangelo, Jesus Helguera, Norman Rockwell and Davinci just to name a few.
Shock Mansion: What would you be doing if drawing & design wasn’t able to financially support you?
Og Abel: I’d be hustling something else on the side, or who knows maybe an actor movie star but I don’t think I would stop painting, creating or drawing.
Shock Mansion: What is parked in your garage right now?
Og Abel: Well right now I have my friends yellow Volkswagen bug in one of them while he’s in Italy on vacation. I also have a 1960 Impala convertible, a 1963 Impala convertible, a Sequioa and my Benz.
Shock Mansion: What is the strangest canvas someone has asked you to paint/draw on?
Og Abel: The strangest canvas hmmm…I don’t know, skin? Lol
Shock Mansion: Who is blasting on your ipod at the moment?
Og Abel: I have the Ipod on shuffle mode so it’s a different artist or band but lately I’ve been hearing some old Michael stuff his eighties and seventies stuff was cool.
Shock Mansion: If you were homeless, what would your cardboard sign have written/designed on it?
Og Abel: It would say “Ninjas are broke theez dayz!” and a happy face
Shock Mansion: Any homies/companies you want to shout out?
Shock Mansion: Where can fans follow you on the internet?
Shock Mansion: Thanks for your time dude, we really appreciate it. All the best for the future!
Og Abel: Thank you for for being patient with me in waiting for this interview I appreciate it!
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