Jan. 26 2011 12:19 PM

The guy behind the 3D art on the cover of this week's CityBeat

Eyemax has covered all four walls and the ceiling of a back room inside Queen Bee's Art & Cultural Center in North Park with his signature style (a close-up of that piece, "The Aquarium," is on the cover this week). Across the street, his mural covers the bricks on the back of a building. And in few minutes, he has to run off to get started on a new mural that's going up at Filter, a coffeehouse nearby.

“It's black-light, 3D, psychedelic graffiti—remember that,” Eyemax says with a sly smile. “I'm the first, too. I'm the first to do it with the spray paint and the graffiti.”

As Eyemax walks up a narrow staircase to his tiny studio on the top floor of Queen Bee's, he mentions that his middle name is Art but decides not to share his full name. He laughs a little at the idea of “doing that whole artist thing,” but he runs with it anyway, just to maintain a little mystery.

The 20-something kid's been painting his whole life. He left school at a young age and got into construction work to help pay the bills, but art's always been his obsession. Back in Florida, where he grew up, he used to research other graffiti artists online. Nowadays, he finds himself painting alongside some of the guys he used to study.

“This would have never happened in Florida,” he says. “Me making money off art? Never in a million years. Especially off spray-paint art.”

When Eyemax figured out the trick to three-dimensional graffiti art, people started taking an interest. And when the folks at Queen Bee's came across his work and offered him studio space, he says they damn near saved his life.

“How'd I figure that all out?” he asks, picking up his sketchbook. “Trial and error, for sure. I was doing just normal stuff, and I had, like, a bucket or something, and it got paint on it and left a ring on a piece of cardboard, so I cut it out and I painted these grapes, and it just looked so good with the 3D glasses. It just had this pop that nothing I'd ever painted before had.”

Eyemax went with it and eventually perfected his style, which, he says with a little disappointment, does require using stencils.

“I don't like using stencils,” he says. “I'm a freestyle artist…. I don't like to, but I have to—it has to be really clean or it doesn't work as well.”

Eyemax picks up a can of Montana Colors spray paint and eyes a few stencils in the corner of his studio.

“I always use the same six florescent colors,” he says. “I don't use any other colors—just those and black. I try to keep it my style—my format—you know. I don't want to bite, per se, anybody else's style. I want to be original, you know, keep it original.”


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