If you are familiar with the artist Dirt Cobain then you definitely know that his Sade pieces are a challenge to come by. I learned this first hand as I was walking by “Pinks Hot Dogs” and looked up to see a beautiful Sade piece hanging high above. I thought to myself, “How did he put it there?” and then I thought, “How can I get it down for myself”. The only thing better than the hunt for street art is to actually find a great piece of work from an artist you enjoy. Dirt Cobain is someone who I have had the opportunity to get to know and I was absolutely astounded at his work space. Many unique pieces line his walls and, for me, it was nice to take a peak inside the creative mind and thought process that goes into many of his paintings. This is the story of Dirt Cobain…
When people hear your name “Dirt Cobain” I’m sure many associate the name with the famous Nirvana front man. Was the creation of your name coincidence or intentional?
Everybody always asks me how I came up with that name... so here it is. When I was younger, everybody would call me “D” and then my close friends started calling me “Dirty-D”. Eventually that name just kind of stuck so I embraced it and eventually I came up with Dirt Cobain for fun and just decided that I would use that as my art name.
I recently had a chance to check out your work space. I noticed a lot of your pieces were female paintings. Do you prefer to draw women or is there more of an interest in the female form for you?
Yeah, I definitely enjoy painting women and I've noticed that those are usually the paintings of mine that people are attracted to the most.
How did the Sade pieces first start? Why do you only paint half of her face?
I had painted the Sade piece a long time ago, maybe 4-5 years ago. When I started putting pieces on the street, I needed something small. One of the first pieces I put up was an Amy Winehouse piece on La Cienega. I thought it was "ok" but I wasn't sure that I wanted to use that as my "main" street image. I then tried the half Sade and I liked it, so did other people, so I just rolled with it.
You took part in a fundraiser that helped to raise funds for a family in need. One of the paintings you donated to the event was one you were very attached to. Why did you decide to donate that specific piece and how did it feel to know that your art was being used to help a great cause?
It felt great to donate my work to a good cause. That is one thing I feel that art should be about and I decided to donate that piece because I wanted people to see that I could do more than what they have seen on the street. I wanted people to see that I wasn't a "one trick pony". The piece was one of my favorites but I was glad to see that the person it went to was very happy to receive it, and that made me feel good.
I’ve seen a few of your pieces high up in many places which is an art in itself. Are you often impressed with fans who figure out how to bring the pieces down?
Sometimes yes because there are definitely a few spots that were difficult and dangerous for me to get to. If someone takes the risk of getting it and is successful, to me, that means they must REALLY have wanted it.
When you are known for a specific body of work, such as the Sade pieces, is it difficult to break out of the box when you have other dimensions in your art?
I don't think so. I might be best known for the Sade piece but people that have seen my other work know that I have a lot more to offer.
Photo: Collaboration with Jennifer Korsen
Finish this sentence:
The best tools for an artist to have/use are confidence and creativity.
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