Evolving. Whimsical. Personal.

If you’ve ever seen the elusive blue teddy bear amongst the streets of Austin, TX, you’ve seen the larger than life work of visual artist, BLVD. Hailing from San Diego, he now roams the streets of Austin in search of his next big wall. He’s truly one of Austin’s best.

What is your background in art?

I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. I’ve always felt most at home when painting. It keeps me balanced and satisfied. My interest in drawing led me to tattooing, which ultimately led me to quit construction and become a full time artist. Today, I’m on the grind making large scale murals, acrylic fine art, street art, and small wood cutout characters. I also co-own SprATX, an art collective and gallery in East Austin.

What is your definition of art?

Art for me is necessity. It’s far more than a passion, it’s what I thrive on. When I don’t paint I find myself feeling unsatisfied with all aspects of life. I like to explain it like an itch that I have to scratch. If I don’t, I might go crazy. Nobody needs another crazy ass artist in their lives.

What attracted you to street art?

Canvases weren’t big enough so I found larger spaces to paint. There aren’t size constraints on the streets and it’s all available for the taking. It’s a creative way of giving my art freely to people with nothing in return. I’ll always love seeing people’s reaction to my street art.

The question we all want to know… why the big blue teddy bear?

I didn’t intend for it to mean anything in the beginning. I started painting him in my canvas pieces to add a sense of lightheartedness to a dark or serious piece or urban landscape.

The teddy bear is meant to represent the playfulness of street art. He serves as a reminder that art on the streets can be fun and positive. I also just enjoy painting him. Art doesn’t always have to have a specific meaning. It’s fun to just put a random blue cartoon teddy bear up around town. I’ve been known to call him, “bad bear,” although he doesn’t have an official name. I remind people to not over-think art—sometimes it’s just for fun.

Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by different things every day. In the context of another artist inspiring my work, I admire the RONE from Melbourne. His large scale artwork and realistic style are awe-inspiring. I met him while he was visiting Austin and it was refreshing to meet a well-known artist who was so down to earth.

What art struggles have you faced?

Finding the balance between being an artist and living in the ‘real world.’ Art isn’t always lucrative. Some months I struggle to pay rent, but it’s all worth it. The gratification of being an artist will always outweigh the struggles.

Interview by @zuzubee. BLVD was featured in our double issue 03 & 04. You can find more of BLVD’s work on Instagram.

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