Your name, age, where you’re from, where you’re based and what you do.
Estevon Garcia (stév CAMO). I was born in Jamaica, Queens and raised in Staten Island, New York. I’m a creator on every scale.
At what age did you realize you art was something you wanted to pursue?
I️ was around 5 when when I️ picked up the curiosity for art, but started to really appreciate it during my high school art class.
Would you say growing up on Staten Island had an influence on your work or the way you work?
I’d say yes, 100%. Being from Staten Island where there aren’t as many creative spaces to grow in – making art became the space where I really found myself. I️ remember a series of nights where my friend didn’t see me for days cause I️ was locked in my room still trying to figure out myself and my art.
How do you feel about Staten Island and do you think you’d be in the same spot you are now had you grown up in Brooklyn or Queens?
I️ feel I’d still be as creative, but definitely not the same person. I’d either be better or worse as a human being, who knows?
How do your surroundings affect your perception of the world around you?
I’m forced to realize every borough has their own demons. I️ think my surroundings allowed me to see what suffering in silence is like. Staten Island being “the forgotten borough” and all.
Tell me the story behind some of your tattoos.
I️ drew all of my tattoos. The majority of them are codes to live by, and images that help me hold on to a version of myself that is open minded and self aware.
Do you have a specific routine or schedule with painting and making music? (If not, discuss your thoughts on the process of creation.)
No process, just release. I️ allow my spirit to take whatever time, or go however fast, it needs. Some paintings feel like an attack, others feel like a conversation. Depends on the method of expression.
Are you self-taught? Do you have a formal education in the arts?
I started making art on my own and then high school came around. Mrs. Goldstein, my first art teacher, saw who I️ could be and lectured it out of me. And I’m so grateful she did, because she saw something I️ didn’t even see in myself.
How do you feel about art school/higher education in the arts?
I️ think technique is necessary, but forced technique is never appreciated. I️ believe you should guide, not force or lead. People are going to want to explore places in art that felt off limits when I️ was in school.
What mediums do you work with? Why? What’s your go-to right now?
I️ use house paint because it’s cheaper in terms of how much you get and quality wise. I’d choose Home Depot or Lowes over blick any day.
Every time I check your instagram you almost always have a live painting gig going on. How did you discover live painting and what made you stick to it?
I️ realized the only way for me to really make my name, or so I️ thought, was to get out there and show everyone why I️ had been locking myself away and what kind of energy I️ had to offer. I️ really work hard for this and I️ try to prove it every time I’m on stage. After a few sessions, gigs started requesting me personally.
What led you to begin experimenting with a medium that wasn’t painting?
I️ think I️ was receiving inspiration from everywhere so I️ was bound to want to do anything and try everything.
You’ve even got a clothing line (Strange Wave) right now. What’s been going on with that?
Strange wave has been left on the other side of the velvet rope. I️ keep it exclusive because I️ want it to have the reputation of brands like BBC, SUPREME, and BAPE.
When did you start making music and what led you down that path?
I️ started making music 2 years ago while still doing art. I began with making beats and then the vocals came in.
Tell me about your alter ego Stév Camo and how he came to be.
stév Camo came to be after a series of nicknames my college professor started giving me- all of them relating to being a rebel. I️ couldn’t understand why were were doing certain things. Why was I paying more for less questions to be answered? So after I️ finally left school, Stev CAMO really became a feeling I️ could identify with.
What equipment do you use and how/where do you make your music?
I️ use a mini akai mini. Best $100 I️’ve ever spent.
Any other mediums you’d like to work with at some point?
I’d love to work with tattoo, but only if I️ can ink what I️ like. I️ lowkey hate taking requests.
Are you affiliated with any galleries?
Brooklyn Arts Fellowship (at 210 24th street) for about 2 years now.
Long term goal(s) or aspirations?
To have a multi-medium studio for art, music, dance, and fashion photography.
Top three favorite artists.
Five people you look up to.
Tyler the creator
Words to live by
“It is what it is.”
Q&A and photos by Kassandra Piñero. You can find her on instagram here.