Whats your name and where do you currently live?
My name is AJ McCallister, Im currently living in the hood of East Vancouver
What was the original spark that got you inspired to start making art?
It all started with skateboarding for sure! I feel like they go hand in hand. Graphics and the aesthetics of a brand really attract you into what board you want to buy. What really got me into painting was my griptape though. I started to making custom stencils of shit I thought was cool and so many people wanted it so I started to sell them to homies. Then from there I got into riding motorcycles, building them and painting them. The rest fell into place.
How long have you been into painting?
Its been about 6 years since making custom grip, painting signs and bikes
Do you have any training / schooling or are you completely self taught?
My buddy got me a job painting/fabricating at a sign shop. I learned how to HVLP spray, then started to paint my own bike. I was waiting my friends bikes for super cheap and they told me I was good at it. Started to do hand lettering/pin stripping without any school or help for a bout a year, then I found a 5 day hand lettering sign writers workshop in Portland, OR. That was a great experience and learned a lot from Mike Myers @betterletters
Are there any similarities you’ve noticed in being an artist compared to a skateboarder?
The only really similarities I have noticed is the creative freedom to make whatever you want. Skating there is no set trick list you want to master, you just skate. Its the same with painting. Just paint what you want. The hard part is to choose what to paint..
Whats the biggest hurdle you’ve had to overcome with your painting?
The biggest hurdle for me is time! And what to charge people for paint. There is a lot more work/money involved in painting a custom motorcycle. Most people want a paint job for 500 bucks and are outraged when I can’t do it for them that cheap. There is an old saying in the kustom kulture scene, ” Good work aint cheap, cheap work aint good”
Has skateboarding inspired your art in any ways?
I am a skateboarder for life so I feel like it inspires me to just go out and get it!!
Where else do you draw most of your inspiration from?
I mostly get inspired by shit from the 50s-70s, the most stylish shit came out of those eras. Plus any artist in the current scene.
What are some ways you over come those pesky creative blocks?
My clients give me a lot of direction so when working on their stuff I rarely have creative blocks. Some clients give me total freedom and are not sure what they want, I try to work backwards from what they don’t want. When working on my own stuff I run into more blocks for sure. To overcome it I usually take a step back and just hunt for inspiration.
Any advice for people wanting to start making art or wanting to be an artist?
I don’t actually consider myself an ‘artist’ yet because I still have a day job. So for anyone starting out, just pick up a brush or spray can, a pencil, whatever it is and go for it! Do it like skating, commit , land, or slam. If it sucks get back up and try again. Everyone has to suck at something at the beginning to get better. Keep on pushing!
Any goals for the future?
Quit my day job and do @noicepaint full time! And actually become an artist. Plus stack some clips for my boy Liams VX video! haha
Where can people find more of your work?