Monday, April 27, 2009


Spraygraphic Interview with Artist Tocayo

By Spraygraphic | November 17, 2008

Spraygraphic interview with Tocayo

SG: Please tell us about yourself?

T: My name is Tocayo, and I am a Cuban born skateboarder/surfer/graphic designer/artist/lover of life.

SG: Where do you currently live and work?

T: I live in Encinitas, CA and I am currently working from home.

SG: What mediums do you work with?

T: I am primarily an illustrator so the finished part of the process always involves a detailed drawing over whatever I have laid down. Usually with Posca pens, indian ink and a thin brush or sometimes even with charcoal pencils. Just depends on the surface being used. I love painting on wood or masonite but also work with paper and fiberglass (surfboards) and of course on canvas.

SG: Describe your working process when creating a new work.

T: The thought process behind each piece is by far the hardest part for me. Because I don’t want to be too literal. Once a theme has been chosen then I decide what I want to do on it. Sometimes I stencil backgrounds other times I collage with wheat paste or paint really simple thick shapes of something relevant to the piece. Then once all that is figured out then it is time to bring it to life with the detailed illustration, usually depicting something sarcastic.

SG: What kind of things do you do when you get blocked or find it hard to create something?

T: I try to start working on other things when I get blocked. Mostly brainless work like making buttons or just doodling in one of my sketchbooks. Maybe go for a surf or a skate.

SG: Where are you currently finding your inspiration?

T: I find inspiration in all my surroundings. From people to politics, music to architecture, photos are also really good. Also I have a pretty intensive library with a lot of reference.

SG: Can you please tell us a little about Tocayo Design.

T: It all started as an escape for me about 5 years ago. I was working at an Advertising Agency and I was not being artistic at all. I was already designing business cards and brochures for a lot of people and it was pretty consistent work. I was also billing my surfboard paintings through that business as well. At that point I had already painted over 100 surfboards so I had a bunch of business contacts in the action sports industry. So the name was already out there. Since then it has evolved into more of a freelance illustration agency for apparel and poster art. I enjoy both graphic design and fine art so I try to keep the company involved in both as well.

SG: Where has your work been seen?

T: I have had art shows at Halcyum Gallery, Migrate Home, Mesh and currently showing at Fowler’s in Solana Beach and at "The Reinventing the Wheel" show brought to you by Sanctuary 143. Also had a skateboard in this years "Sk8ology" event. As far as publications, I have had art shown or had articles written about me in FHM, 944, Beachbreak news, and in this month’s Encinitas Magazine. I also paint at many live events with Field Trip Entertainment, they are keeping art fun and alive in San Diego. Also I just completed a mural at a restaurant in South Park, San Diego called "El Camino".

SG: Where will it be seen next?

T: I have a few places I would like to showcase at. Been in conversations with a few galleries. But nothing set as of yet. First and foremost I need to figure out a theme.

SG: What is your dream art assignment?

T: I would love to go on tour performing live art at events. Seeing new places, meeting new people and spreading the message of art around.

SG: What is your favorite color? I love blues and greens.

T: I like to to mix pop colors with earthy tones.

SG: Who is your favorite artist? And Why?

T: I don’t really have a favorite but I do have a few that are inspirational to me. I really dig Thomas Campbell’s work, Andy Howell, Dave Kinsey, pretty much any of the illustrative based artists. But there are way too many that do stenciling and abstract that I get inspiration from as well, there are so many talented people out there and I have been blessed to meet a few of them.

SG: What book/magazine are you reading this week?

T: I have subscriptions to just about every design and art magazine so too many to name, but I go through those all the time. I also just read the Life of Pi and it was a great read. A bit slow at first, but then you can’t put it down.

SG: Ever do a self portrait? Where is it now?

T: Yeah, when I was going to school at Ai of San Diego that was one of the assignments. Did a detailed pen rendering of me with a lion biting my head. It’s in my room. It just actually appeared after being in hiding for a few years.

SG: Where is your favorite place to hang out?

T: I really love my house. When I travel I long to go back. Also, the is a few local dive bars that feel like "Cheers", everybody knows your name….

SG: Any final words of advice?

T: Follow your passion. Do what you love and just practice being the best person you can be. Peace!

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