s art is simply breath taking. Here is a man who has worked hard to get to where he is now. The fusion of styles in his work is both seamless and original.
What name do you go under, and what are it's origins?
I go under the name Niles, It came about pretty simply, i wanted to pick a name that was a recognizable normal name, but wasnt completely common. Alot of the time when you make the move from graffiti into the traditional art world you get asked what your name is ...at which point i would tell them what i write, seeing as i had became used to answering with my graffiti name since that is the world i came from. and they would say "no your real name" That question bothered me....i dont like sharing my real name if its avoidable...it comes with the territory, and i would have to either explain it to them and look like an asshole, or just fork over my real name the first time meeting a person... That was a really big issue for me, so i adopted a new name, the current name, so that they would hear it, and assume i told them my real name, In the same way i added a last name to it, to use in situations like that if it ever arose...The last name "Rockwell" is pretty obvious where it came from...first and formost an homage to one of my all time favorite artists...but as well a little bit of hip hop slang to let everyone know what i do...i do well...and thats how i ended up as Niles Rockwell
What form of street art do you make?
How would you describe you particular style of graffiti?
My work is something i have always refered to as 2.5d...it is a 3d style, that is treated like a traditional panel piece. I found that when i was picking up 3-d styles i wanted to stay away from the really...obvious 3d style...anyone familiar with graffiti can imagine the pieces i mean, no outline just shaded usually displaying alot of depth of field and realistic shading. That style is great i really enjoy looking at it, but i wanted to hold a bit more true to the stuff i enjoyed coming from the time and place i was from, this involved using black outlines, swooping tails, harsh edges and skinny script style bar forms. so what i ended up with was a bastardized version of both that is 3-d without any concern for vanishing points or perspective because i was more focused with the impact of my structures then with the perfection of the rules.
What medium do you use?
any medium i can get my hands on, but mostly ink spray paint or digital
How did you get into street art?
It was a combination of things, back when i was in 5th grade we were required to take a class called DARE which was pretty much a police officer teaching you about all the things you shouldnt do...one of the chapters was on graffiti...it talked about the best artist in the class getting pear pressured into doing graffiti...i was one of those kids who was very prideful of my art at that time, so i thought....hmmmmm this could be fun, and i started to draw on stuff that day on my way home from school with a stolen magic marker... then the following year i entered middle school and found a few other people who were doing graffiti at the time in my area, thats when i got exposed to letter forms, chosing a name etc etc, i actually started to buy lessons at that time from my 3rd period teachers assistant, trading my lunch money for new alphabets, and stuff like that...that was the time when i really got hooked
Are you a member of a crew, and what would you consider to the plus and down sides of being in one?
I am in a crew, KOF, or Knowledge Over Fame. crews are a touchy subject for me, as mine is far more like a family then it is about graffiti. This is the obvious plus side to crews, these people are really the only people i am really close too outside of my actual family. They are my oldest friends and they are probally the only people who really know what i am thinking or why i am how i am. Over the years we have all pushed each other, forced each other to improve, or just gotten better because we are so open with our ideas. And the walls we do are the way they are because i do them with these people. Painting with the crew is the same feeling as a family BBQ and something that just can't be reproduced painting with people outside the circle. The downside of crews...has to be that most are not like my own XD. graffiti crews tend to take things too serious and ends up being a liability more than anything. I always hear about people joining crews and getting stuff like...crew leaders telling them who they can or cant paint with, or telling them they have to do X amount of walls in order to stay down...and a bunch of other things i'd rather not share...it just feels like more and more people are running there crews like a business and not a friendship, Atleast that is my perspective on it, and the reason why i dont like to push other crews
Where do you stand on the art/vandalism divide?
a loaded question to be sure...i believe vandalism is a core element for anyone who wants to be a graffiti artist, and in many respects i see the stuff that most people call ugly scrawls as one of the highest forms of the art. not to say that legal work should be dismissed (being someone who does do alot of legal work myself that would just be silly) but if you havn't put in the time catching tags, running in train yards, hoping fences, or running across freeways at 3 am, you can hardly say you have ever actually done graffiti.
Have you ever been in trouble with the law yourself over your street art?
Not really, i've had some close calls, and some shoplifting offenses back when i couldnt afford paint...but nothing much, honestly i got lucky
In order of importance how would you rate the following? Skill, Tools, Location, Size, Guts.
It actually depends on what im looking at, legal vs illegal production vs vandalism etc etc...but a good rule of thumb i'd saaaaaaaay
Skill-obviously most important to me...i like people who dont suck
Size- this falls into a skill subcatagory for me...all graffiti may be large but there is a difference when you are scaling work to fit on a 30 ft tall wall thats a city block long, vs just a normal tall as you can reach piece
Location- A good spot is half the art
Guts- if you are too timid you will never be seen and never be known...and thats a lethal combination for an aspiring graffiti writer
Tools- sure good paint helps but a good artist makes the tool work for him/her no matter what it is...i still use dollar cans for certain effects that the nicer paints are to thick to do. and now that graffiti supplies are so common i think it holds true your otr pens and krink dont make you good, cause i can still make the same ink in kitchen and dump it into a bingo dobber and catch the same look...i honestly miss the days when you had to make your own stuff...or take caps from kitchen cleaners and spray glue to get a ny or rusto fatcap
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the scene today?graffiti is alot of fun if you are willing to take the risks, but dont take it too seriously...far too much of the scene is controled by assholes...if you dont know how to laugh it off it might eat you alive
Be sure to go and check out the rest of his gallery for even more amazing art work.
A big thanks to
for taking part.