Buff Monster is a Dunny making, pink loving, out of the box kinda guy. He sports an ever morphing mo hawk while perusing the streets of Hollywood; yet he has never smoked a cigarette. He is thoroughly consumed by heavy metal music, but he has never tried drugs. He is done dating porn stars but is still dedicated to painting ambiguously boob-like characters and designs, so you can see that B. Monster isn’t your typical painter. His roots are in the streets but his future is in fine art, as he is coming up on his third solo show at Corey Helford Gallery.
Heavy Metal Ice Cream Smile opens this Friday, September 5th, and we were lucky to snatch a few works with Buff before the big show. Read on for Buff Monster’s favorite pink food, how Japanese culture entered his repertoire, and the upside of getting arrested in NYC.
M.I.S.S.: So you were born in Hawaii- how did your parents end up living there?
My Dad had been to Hawaii when he was in the Air Force or Navy, and then when he met my Mom in Tucson he convinced her to move to Hawaii with him. That was like 5 years before I was born.
M.I.S.S.: What was a typical day growing up in Hawaii?
I have fond memories of riding bikes around with the neighbor kid and my brother. We would catch fish and frogs, hang out at the mall, and screw around on the golf course that was nearby.
M.I.S.S.: Is it safe to say that living in Hawaii gave you the initial interest in Japanese art?
Japanese culture is such a big part of local Hawaiian culture that you don’t even notice that things are Japanese. I grew up on Hello Kitty, eating sushi and hanging out with tons of Asian kids. It’s just how it is there.
M.I.S.S.: What’s so “weird” about Hawaii?
The pervasive racism.
M.I.S.S.: As a student, how did you balance such a technical major as business administration with such a creative one as art?
I guess you could say I’m conflicted. I really enjoy both ways of thinking. And on a daily basis I get to be both a business guy and an art guy.
M.I.S.S.: Give me 10 adjectives that describe “your” shade of pink:
Awesome, pretty, Heavy Metal, perfect, the best, empowering, unique, appropriate, calming, exciting.
M.I.S.S.: Have you traveled to Japan? Was it everything you hoped and dreamed for?
Yes, I went to Japan in 2003. It was really great to see everything first hand. I was really stoked to have Japanese Japanese food. Whenever I travel, I always try to eat as much local food as I can.
M.I.S.S.: What is your main source of income?
M.I.S.S.: Does your girlfriend like heavy metal?
I don’t have a girlfriend. Very few of my Ex’s like Heavy Metal.
M.I.S.S.: How does the chaotic energy of heavy metal translate into your clean, calculated paintings?
I really like the approach of Heavy Metal. It’s passionate: it’s raw and pure. It doesn’t ask for permission and it doesn’t make apologies. And separate from that, it really calms me down and inspires me to keep working for long periods of time when I’m beat.
M.I.S.S.: What was your worst experience doing street art?
Getting arrested sucks, but it never ruined my day. Except when I spent the night in Central Booking in NYC. That wasn’t so cool. I like having life experiences. It gives me good stories to tell.
M.I.S.S.: Best late night munchies in Hollywood?
The latest I stay out is when I’m putting up posters. Benito’s is always good because they’re open late. We did Astro Burger last time.
M.I.S.S.: Who is your favorite actor/actress?
I really don’t pay much attention to all that bullshit, but I do like Christian Bale for some reason.
M.I.S.S.: Is it true that you don’t smoke or drink? How do you unwind, let loose, go out with friends?
I’ve never done drugs. I’ve never even smoked a cigarette, but I drink a bit. I love Guiness. But now that I’m just getting ready for my show, it’s been several weeks since I’ve had a drink.
M.I.S.S.: Do you have any pink little pets? (I’m imagining a pink mini poodle…)
My last pets were Sea Monkeys and I couldn’t even keep them from dying.
M.I.S.S.: Favorite pink foods?
M.I.S.S.: What do you have to say to haters?
I don’t think there is much you can say. To quote Andy Warhol, “They’re right.”
M.I.S.S.: Most fetish-inducing vinyl toy you’ve seen this month?
I freaked out about a new toy from Blobpus, which is my favorite kaiju company.
M.I.S.S.: What are you most proud of in your new book, Life is Sweet?
I’m most proud of the book itself. I took nearly all the photos, did all the work presented in there, and laid out the whole thing. I basically did the whole book by myself. It was a lot of work, but I’m really happy with how it came out.
M.I.S.S.: What’s your real name?
M.I.S.S.: If people could walk away from your upcoming show with one emotion, what would you want that to be?
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