Archives for posts with tag: urban

I discovered underground (or alternative) hip hop far too late in life, when I was about 26 years old. The incredible diversity of styles, sounds and personalities blew me away, and made me swear off mainstream rap radio for good. Maybe the most surprising thing about this new scene was where these artists came from. An L.A. duo…with a Peruvian MC? Tight beats out of Minneapolis? A super clean black/white team from Kentucky? Not exactly your traditional hip hop hotbeds. But it was all real, and none of these guys were getting filthy rich.

United States of Hip Hop

The title “The United States of Hip Hop” on this piece is used very literally. There is hip hop talent in every single state (I’m sure there is in AK and HI, too – maybe they’ll be in the next version).  While I didn’t know all of these groups before I started working on the project, and some are pretty raw, they all have something to contribute to the rap scene because of where they come from.

United States of Hip Hop

To create this piece, I drew the map outline and hand-lettered each artist into the general shape of their home state. Then I enlarged it to the size I wanted for the stencil and carefully cut each name. The painting itself was created with one big, intricate stencil.

United States of Hip Hop

I really feel this piece represents the spread of a powerful music and style that cuts through popular American culture. You can purchase The United States of Hip Hop here. Also considering doing individual states, which would allow me to add more artists to big rap states like CA and NY. Let me know what you think.

United States of Hip Hop


Being a city boy, I was pretty much raised to assume that whatever’s between Denver and Chicago is tractor and trailer park country. While a recent train trip through that part of the country did feature its share rough spots, I found a lot of beauty in that vast section of the country as well. Iowa was especially charming, with its rolling green hills and postcard-pretty small towns. But I was struck by the vibrancy and youth in cities like Des Moines and Iowa City as well.

That’s where this contemporary ode to the state came from. Made with a hand-cut stencil, it gives a nod to Iowa’s agricultural foundation with a vibrant green color, and patterns reminiscent of neat rows of corn. But the geometric layout of the lettering suggests a progressive new crop of young Iowans who are ready to lead the state to increased relevance.

See some of my other map-inspired work, or purchase this piece, here.

I’ve done a lot of bikes over the past few years, partly because it feels like we’re immersed in bike culture in Colorado, and partly because bikes are great to look at. But I had yet to create a women’s version, relying primarily on images of my classic English-made Raleigh.

Last week I received a request to create a custom stencil featuring a ladies cruiser. It was fun, what with all the elegant ladylike curves. Wish I had done it sooner.

Take a look at some of my other bike work here.