Written by: Mr. Mecc
In the world of art, design, fashion and technology the ability to stay current and cutting edge is a coveted one. The talent for adapting to shifting trends and styles is enough to make a man a king in the industry. But if staying on the cutting edge can put you on top, what about the ability to create the cutting edge? To predict the trends that others will follow, to truly be ahead of your time? Well the name for something before birth is fetus. The name of the artist that births new trends is Phetus.
A product of the 80’s the L.I. native came up during the era of Reganomics and raw Hip-Hop culture. With Graffiti, guns, drugs, bum-rushin and breaking as a backdrop the latch key kid developed his identity amongst the ruckus as a Graff head, opting for the Krylon can over the microphone, an unusual choice considering the legendary MC’s in his backyard. “Rakim, De La Soul, EPMD, Public Enemy were all just a town or 2 away,” he says reminiscing. “At the time Hip-Hop was a small circle of people which I was able to bounce in and out of because of my passion for the music and the artistic avenues that went along with the culture.”? Once his path was picked, it didn’t take long for the innovations to begin. In 1988 Phetus, noticing that every graff head would just tag their names, decided to create his now infamous “Phat Phace” logo. This icon was created to represent the artist and ultimately was embellished on walls and freight trains along the landscape of the Long Island railroad system.
Trends shift and change but instead of waiting for the next wave to hit, Phetus created his own investing in a screen printing press and using his talents and skill to grab an audience. It was at this stage that opening his own clothing boutique and gallery space Concrete Vibes where Phetus was able to showcase his own artwork, and merchandise and be the first graffiti-centric art gallery on Long Island. Eventually Concrete Vibes and the art that Phetus would produce would attract the attention of a few tastemakers in the New York area which lead Phetus down the path of creating custom clothing and art work for some of Hip Hop’s elite.
When Concrete Vibes wasn’t being used as a workspace for Phetus to paint and produce merchandise, It was a gallery space to showcase some of the pioneers of the graffiti movement. It would be showcases like these and a chance meeting with SEEN that would remind Phetus why his original love was the spray can. Phetus relocated to the Bronx where under a 2 year apprenticeship with SEEN, Phetus would take his art beyond national walls and clothes and into the international world of art galleries. Between tearing up his passport jet-setting to Japan, Amsterdam, Spain and London where he partied with the one and only Banksy. The world-renowned artist was so taken with him, he allowed him to paint his Phat Phace logo over a 100-year-old painting he had in his studio. “At the time I didn’t know who he was,” Phetus admits. “Years later the name he has become blows my mind, that one of the most famous artist of our time owns something I created.” The London adventures proved monumental in more ways than one as Phetus couldn’t resist the urge to throw the Phat Phace on Big Ben. But after being taken into custody for defacing a national monument, he was released after his status as an American came into play. “They didn’t want the press to see an American did it and not Banksy,” he says grinning. Rotating back to the states didn’t stop the show. With the overseas art scene catching on in America, SEEN started a company called “Planet 6” and immediately hired Phetus to develop a line of vinyl toys. I was involved in dozens custom art shows with Kid Robot and other designer toy labels,” says Phetus. “Ultimately being one of the artists in a collector series called Fat Caps.”
“I got heavy into painting canvas when a request for some office art lead to the president of Iconic Motors noticing my work.” By the time it was all said and done, Phetus’s art was being displayed along side the highest-level performance cars during the New York Auto Show in 2009, 2010 and again in 2011. The successes lead to various solo and group art shows across the country.? With the urban art world under his thumb and the fashion world at his beck-and-call, Phetus decided it was time to skip ahead to the digital world. And with credentials, reputation and resume, it didn’t take long for the opportunities to show up. “I was given the opportunity to design whatever type of mobile device app I wanted,” he said. “So naturally I come up with a graffiti related app called Grafitti Spraycan – 1 year later… 8 million downloads.” The success of the app lead to him being named the creative leader of the Elite Gudz company in charge of developing new apps for iPhones while expanding into video games.
So here we are 2013 with a pair of industry heavyweights holding the reigns as management (no need to name drop), it’s just a matter of time before the world can catch up to man who spends his time being ahead of the it… if he slows down enough to let it.