CLOW / STRAY EVIL DESIGNS / @uniquemcmxciv
This article is about the endlessly talented graffiti artist, who, to my great fortune, is a dear friend and brother from another mother, ‘CLOW’ from the ‘Steady Droppin’ Bombz’ Crew. Based in London, Ontario, Canada, Clow not only gets his graffiti up all over his city, and the world, but he also creates hand-drawn sticker designs inspired by graffiti writing and character work, and every piece he makes is wildly different from the last. He is able to draw inspiration from anything and everything, and is incredibly prolific. In addition to the wide variety of imagery he incorporates, he always has a different theme and colour scheme for each of his pieces. This man never fails to run out of dope ideas.
Clow has stood out to me not only due to his work, but also, he is a remarkable friend with amazing character. He has always been an infinite source of undying creativity, support, passion and kindness. We have bonded over the understanding that when materialism, superficiality, status and fame are stripped away from someone, all that remains is their character, and the impact that they leave in other peoples’ lives. Clow has been a deeply caring, supportive and loyal friend, as well as a gentleman, since we both started out in the graffiti scene and it is truly a blessing and inspiration to know him, and share a crew with him. He never fails to remind myself, as well as anyone else who surrounds him, that we are capable of doing anything we desire, and that no goal is out of our reach when coupled with hard work. Everytime we speak, he is attending a different networking event, or doing something brand new, to not only advance his own passion and career, but to also meet others, and inevitably leave a positive impact in their lives. Seeing how hard he works for the craft that he loves not only motivates me deeply, but it also keeps me accountable, and to our luck, he shares encouragement with our crew without fail every single day. Clow has and continues to leave an amazing impact in the world, and he has changed the lives of those around him, for the better.
I have decided to pick his brain and ask him some questions, to form a deeper understanding of what inspires him, and why he does what he does. Be sure to check out his work and show him the love and support that he deserves.
- How does it feel for you to make/put out art?
“Art has always been a part of my life in weird ways. I've always dabbled in and out of the art scene. I find it’s much more than just an expression of emotion and open ended thoughts, it’s also the chance to express your freedom and creative ideas. To me, putting out art and having it be appreciated by even the smallest of crowds is enough to make me smile, but when it comes down to it, even just the simple fact of loving my own creations is more than enough to draw a true love for what I do.”
- What drives you to continue?
“The thrill and adrenaline, the rush of getting up and being active in the graffiti scene.
Seeing my work all over the city and making a name for myself regardless of who knows me. I do this for me and the ones who can appreciate my style of art.”
- What is the objective or meaning behind your creativity?
“My objective with my graffiti is to make people stop and think to themselves even for a second, how that got there, when it got there and who did it. I also want to make people think outside the box of what the general definition of art truly is. I want to give people the chance to connect with my work in their own unique way and see it from a different point of view.”
- What is the meaning behind your name?
“The name originated from ‘Cloudy’. I used to have a thing for watching storm clouds roll overhead as a kid, I can still remember watching the rain clouds with my grandmother every time we had a storm. We used to sit on her veranda and listen to the thunder and rain as it hit the metal awning.
Eventually, I decided to change ‘Cloudy’ to find my own unique way of writing cloud, so I tried writing out ‘C.L.O.W.D’ and it stuck for a while, but after some years I finally knocked off the “D” from ‘Clowd’ and it became ‘CLOW’ which is an abbreviation of the term ‘get low’, so it now has the meaning of ‘clowd get low’ but it’s pronounced C-Low and now it has stuck with me every since my early 20’s.”
- What is art to you?
“It is an escape, a way to let loose and explore the creative side of life; art is more than a depiction of who the artist is as a person, but also a series of short stories told through images. It is like reading a book with a never ending story, the ability to create more than one narrative without any context.
Art is a true freedom of expression in every way shape and form, pun intended. I do not know if it is the same for others, but for me, when I look at a canvas or a piece of art on a wall, they often tend to tell more than one story, sometimes you feel pain or pleasure. It is always a joy being able to share experiences and emotions as well as a broken reality with people who share the same enjoyment. So to me, art is an important part of life and being able to enjoy it at any time is something we need to cherish because art is all around us and if you take life too seriously, you might miss the small things.”
- How, when and why did you start making art?
“I started doing art in high school, when I was in grade 9, I took my first art class to learn about the basics but I did not truly get into doing art until I was almost out of high school. I used to doodle in class on my binders all the time and on scrap note paper doing bubble style letters, and a few of my friends liked the style of it and requested me to draw their names for them so they could hang it up in their lockers. I would say during that time when I was doing it, I did not expect it to turn out the way it did, I started to grow a passion for the way the colours would turn out and how the words would pop off the page. So I started to study the alphabet and the background of graffiti which eventually turned into much more than just a passion for colour and composition. I remember the first graffiti movie I ever watched called “Style Wars” and it had a huge impact on my style. I never knew graffiti could be more than paper. Doing graffiti is illegal and I completely understand that, but that is the rush of it all. Creating art in the heat of the moment, always having to look over your shoulder and watch your back while still creating a masterpiece in your own way is the most satisfying part of being a graffiti artist.
But the real reason I started doing art was to escape my own harsh reality. Everyone goes through things in life and some more than others but that is not my story to tell here. You asked me why and I will tell you it is my freedom and my way of letting loose from all the bull crap that has taken part in my childhood. Now as a young adult I decided to choose my own escape and graffiti is it. So to all the people out there going through life, just remember you can escape it too, find something that makes you smile and is your true safe place and never settle for anything less than your own happiness.”
- How can we support you?
“You can find me on Instagram @uniquemcmxciv
All my art is sold through there for now until I can establish a fully functioning website to sell my projects on, I currently am selling Canvas art, sticker packs and will be open to commission based projects in the near future.