Arrex aka Rx Skulls is the anonymous pseudonym that I go by as a street artist. The acronym “Rx” as related to the shorthand sign for Pharmacy. My and my families sketchy medical history fraught with cancers and tumors requires many many terrible medications that began my interest in morbid artwork such as the motif I chose- the human skull. The name RX or Arrex came from this dependency on so many different types of medications for such a long time.
My medical past as mentioned above and a trip to Europe in 2009 really lit the fire that began my passion with street art. I have been an exterior decorator since 2010.
All kids like stickers. Hand a child a sticker and they get excited and instantly stick it on something, this innate interest in stickers just never wore off on me.
When I began playing with screen printing as a hobby outside of school, and when street art became a fascination- stickers seemed like the natural first step into that community. It’s been my favorite medium of street art ever since. You can literally have hundreds of them in your pocket ready to give out to a new friend, leave in a pile at a local coffee shop, or get up as you walk around- no other materials required.
When you are spray painting you have to carry around clunky tins of paint and worry about getting it all over your hands- it takes a lot of time and will get you instantly booked. Pasting is great but it requires a bucket, a brush, and it’s messy and heavy- also taking more time to apply. Stickers and small, quick, and easy- and I can make them from scratch by the hundreds in a matter of an hours time.
This is usually the part of the interview where they want you to talk about running from cops or vigilante citizens- it’s happened but I’d rather not go into details, it’s never fun.
I think like anything stickers have a community of their very own- just like baseball, like fishing, like basketweaving. Unless you make yourself aware of it you can go your whole life not knowing about these communities. Most people will never realize that there is a subculture of people of all ages that spend all their free time making and putting up stickers. In Portland we have a very tight knit community of sticker nerds that get together and trade, collaborate, get up together, help each other. It’s a very friendly and warm scene here.
I think people could argue that all day. Is it art, is it advertising, is it graphic design? I tend to think of my work more as design than art. I studied graphic design and understand the power of consistent branding. I take my imagery and create fine art for shows and such, but in the street I tend to think of it as marketing for a company that doesn’t exist- which is interesting to me.
I’m very interested in the artistic theme of Memento Mori- meaning “remember you will die” in Latin. My little skulls littered around the city are little reminders of your mortality. The fun I have with them reflects though that while life is serious business, it should be enjoyed as well.
I’m working on growing my series of Tombstones and Poison Labels right now, and beginning a new series of skeleton keys. I’m hoping to have actual metal keys cast of my designs soon. Working on a new patch and a new enamel pin for fun as well. Looking forward to illustrating a coffin design and a Poison apple in the near future.
Thailand and western Europe are the furthers places I’ve been to sticker and paste. I love to travel and I love to get up so combining the two is heaven. It also adds serious validity to your project if you show people you are willing to spend the money and time to get up outside your own neighborhood. I don’t just want Portland to know my skull, I want the whole world to see it. Every graffiti writer and street artist has an ego, and I guess that’s just part of it- wanting to see your stuff up everywhere.
Persistence, you have to be willing to commit serious time to this to be noticed- but don’t let that be the main reason you are doing it or you’ll fizzle out before anyone really appreciates you. You have to love it to make a name for yourself. You have to also realize that if you play with fire you are going to get burned- that’s just the nature of the game- you are doing something that’s frowned upon by those who make and enforce the laws. Lastly- EARN your stripes. Don’t expect people who are established to give you a helping hand- be that in the way of instagram shout outs or recipes for screen printing. These people, mostly, have gotten there because they’ve worked for it for a long time- don’t be entitled to thinking you deserve it, EARN IT.
A lot of people inspire me. One of my first inspirations in the scene was Shep because his project and mine are a lot alike. We both repeat the same image in a number of different ways, over and over, without it being abrasive or annoying. The branding remains consistent but the way in which it’s presented is constantly evolving. Ramona Sketch and Joao Augusto are two favorite illustrators of mine, Danny Martin and Mr Heggie as well.
I’m calling Voxx Romana. He’s a good friend of mine here in Portland who I’ve been traveling a lot with lately. He has a very unique style and works his ass off. Crazy nice guy, great artist, and going places.
MEMENTO MORI! NO RISK NO REWARD! Thanks mom! Thanks Dad! Thanks Mrs. Skulls! Thanks Winston! Thanks Glass! Thanks Doc! Thanks PKVD! Thanks Nick!