July 16, 2013.
This is the first in a series of artist interviews. I'M IN MIAMI BITCH! wants to educate the world on street art from the artists themselves. It will be a chance to gain some insight into what makes these artists tick. So stay tuned!
I looked up and there he was. I'm not quite sure who introduced us? Marmer was in Miami working on a few pieces for Art Basel. He was hanging with the guys from the FDC crew. This unassuming young man from Detroit impressed me. We keep bumping into each other on the streets and soon were trading info and stories about what we were seeing. One day he wore a t-shirt Longboard is the Wrong Board he got from a friend. He had a skateboard in one hand, spray paint in the other and a camera over his shoulder. Noah's resume is impressive, at the moment he is currently a designer at House of Marley and formerly an artist rep at 1xRun.
I'M IN MIAMI BITCH! and AK FOTO want to give Marmer a big pat on the back as he was instrumental in helping to create the design for the IIMB! website. So sit back and enjoy!
AK: What do you write?
MA: Marm, Marmalade, Metal Arm, Marms, Clint Marmwood.
AK: How did you come about your name?
MA: I was involved in a bad accident when I was 18 that left my right arm completely shattered. I had to get reconstructive surgery. There are 2, 6 inch plates and 12 screws in my arm. My friends started calling me "metal arm" and I eventually shortened it to Marm.
AK: In what city did you start painting in the streets? Do you feel your work has influenced the community in return? If so, how? Is there a relationship between the street artist and the community in which they work?
MA: I started painting in Detroit. I was about 15 years old. My friend Mozik and I would take his car to the city after school. I don't believe either of us were old enough to drive. He knew of a place called "The Graveyard," it was a few miles of abandoned rail road track below street level. It was filled with bums, drug addicts, and your typical jail birds. Not the place a 15 year old should be hanging out. In addition, almost every square inch of wall space that lined the tracks was covered with graffiti. We were amazed by the pieces and immediately bought some paint to start practicing our new obsession.
AK: Did you go to school or are you self taught?
MA: Graffiti was self-taught. I took art classes in high school and all of my friends told me I should go to art college. I eventually enrolled and quickly learned the curriculum was not for me. During my short stay at art school, my friends and I would explore the vacant buildings of the city. We were not 21 yet which meant there was not much else to do on the weekends. We were weirdos too, never wanting to hang out with other kids from school. The practice of exploring abandoned buildings reignited the passion to do graffiti. It was suddenly fun again.
AK: How did you get started in the street and why?
MA: Painting where no one could see was not enough. My friends and I wanted to be recognized. We started painting freeway spots and other highly visible areas.
AK: How long have you been working in the streets?
MA: 8 years.
AK: Who or What inspires you the most?
MA: Other writers. Guys who are painting more visible, high-profile spots. Also, the guys who are artists, the ones who are truly inspired.
AK: What should the general public know about street art?
MA: It's not for everybody.
AK: Are you a full time artist? Do you have a day job? Is it best to be full time artist or not worry about it and make your $$$ elsewhere, that way you can paint what and how you want, which one offers a more creative outlook?
MA: I am a full-time appreciator of well-crafted things and maker of stuff. I like making stuff and seeing others make stuff. I respect the guys who can make money at graffiti and who are multi-dimensional artists. I also respect the guys who live to paint graffiti. That's it, the guys who just like to write their names over and over again. There is something poetic about it.
AK: What are you working on now?
MA: I am working on a few different photography projects that I will self-publish as zines. They are a mixture of illustrations, photography, and mementos that I have been collecting over the past few months. One is loosely inspired by Southern California beach cities. A lot of these places haven't changed in years and others are the complete opposite. These parallels interest me and I plan on showing how in the zine.
AK: What do you hope to achieve or accomplish by putting your work in the street?
MA: Nothing, I don't paint in the streets for the same reasons I did when I was 18. The outside arena is just a place to have fun. When I go paint the streets with friends, I am just looking to have fun.
AK: Thanks for your time!