Two Four Flinching is a “cool mining” operation meant to inspire fellow creatives and foster a community that will inspire others.
I’m surprised at how often I hear, “What the hell is a Two Four Flinching?”. Well, it is the intentionally misspelled name (two for flinching) of a traumatizing game that I learned growing up in Philadelphia. The premise was simple. If you flinched when somebody pretended to punch you in the face, then they earned the right to punch you twice without provocation. Fun right?
This game put me on alert always. There was never a moment that I wasn’t aware of who was around me and who was a potential threat. With practice and preparation, someone could sneak up on me, fire their fist in my face and I would stand stone faced. That rarely happened but when it did, it was beautiful.
This game also heightened my awareness to all that I was missing. There is so much that we see on a daily basis that slips right passed us if we aren’t paying attention. Two for flinching, as unhealthy a game is it may have been, put my senses on red alert and they have stayed that way. NOW DON’T GET CAUGHT SLEEPING!
Short Bio ::
I was born in Detroit, grew up in Philly, and matured in New York City. My style is a hybrid of a heavy graffiti influence and traditional character based illustration. Family, friendship, and artwork are the pillars that keep my foundation secure. I am always looking to expand and explore all forms of artistic expression.
Extended Bio ::
I was born in Detroit in 1977. My Mother was 19 and managed to hide her pregnancy from my Grandparents up until the moment that she went into labor. Crazy. Technically I am the product of a really dope party so the man that contributed the chromosome wasn’t really interested in being there. So I grew up for much of my young years in East Detroit with my Mother and my Aunt. We really didn’t have much during that time but from the point of view of a child….you don’t really know the deal. I enjoyed my childhood very much during that period.
My mother was a pre-school teacher and worked as a community activist/organizer part time. I still have clear memories of being at rallies and meetings with the mayor. Imagine watching the evening news and seeing a story about an organization demanding more funding for their neighborhood with the mayor of Detroit and seeing a wiry white kid drawing off in the corner. That was me. During a community organizing conference in Chicago my Mother met the man who would be my Father, Steve. They carried on a long distance relationship until they decided that me and my Mother should move out to Philly.
I got to Philly when I was ten and it was a whole different scene. Kids in Philly were much more ready to fight at the drop of a hat. I had to adapt a bit which happened gradually. By the time I was in high school I was a full blown Philly cat ready to take on whatever. All through this time art and drawing were my main interests. By the time I was 17 I got into the graf scene pretty hard with a crew out of West Philly, ANC.
For years I refined my graf skills and improved my can control. I was mainly doing characters while my writing partner Devine hooked up the pieces. This transitioned into doing more and more illustrations on paper. I began to plant the seeds that would ultimately become my style as a professional illustrator. I had lots to inspire me during this time because my sister and brother were born two years apart from each other. Up until this point I was an only child and their presence has always been a glowing light in my life. Now by the time I was a senior at Masterman High in Philly I hadn’t had any formal art training since the school I went to didn’t even offer it until senior year as an elective.
After applying to many different art schools I decided to attend Syracuse U and major in illustration. I only lasted two years until the gloom and snow ran me out of there. My stay was made partially tolerable by a fairly tight local graf scene. I ended up transferring to School of Visual Arts (SVA) in Manhattan which was the best decision that I could have possibly made.
New York City welcomed me with open arms and I gave the love back in turn. There truly is no place like it anywhere. It grows on you and you begin to develop a personal relationship with it…like a friend you spend way too much time with. SVA took my skills and style and really pushed me in my own unique direction. Instead of force feeding me specific technique, they encouraged me to be me. This fit me just about perfect.
It was during this time that I linked up with the crew HGS and began painting in New York. There’s nothing quite like painting in the holy land of graffiti. I went from being a truly unique personality in Syracuse to one of the many who do what I do in New York. The hustle there is massive.
Upon graduation I developed my design skills and taught myself web design and layout in order to keep the lights on. Being an illustrator is a lot like being an actor or a musician. You can make a living at it but it is a seriously challenging grind and in order to make a lot of money you gotta be crazy good and a bit lucky. And even with those two things it isn’t a guarantee.
I met the woman who would be my wife at a party in Brooklyn. Ann Marie has always been there for me and has supported me and my quest to make this happen. Most recently I have become a Dad which is the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. It’s so natural and easy for me to be a good Dad. It’s truly a blessing. I continue to push through and figure out how to make myself and my family as happy as possible while keeping the cash flowing. I still paint but the time is hard to come by nowadays with Nina Simone and Makayla in the ranks. Its a fair trade I think.
For those who have stuck through to the end of this bio, I hope I didn’t bore you terribly. It is my story….and I am still me…. I think.