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GET TO KNOW MURALIST & GRAFFITI ARTIST, MUCK ROCK

Today we would like to introduce you to the mural artist Jules Muck also known as, Muck Rock. Jules is an incredibly talented and passionate woman, whose art and story have inspired us immensely.

Continue reading our journal to learn about how she started painting, her experience being a female artist in the graffiti scene and some of her deepest most meaningful experiences. We are excited to share her story with you as well as images of the mural we made. A colorful piece celebrating all kinds of love in honor of Pride month.
Let’s dive in!

Today we would like to introduce you to the mural artist Jules Muck also known as, Muck Rock. Jules is an incredibly talented and passionate woman, whose art and story have inspired us immensely.

Continue reading our journal to learn about how she started painting, her experience being a female artist in the graffiti scene and some of her deepest most meaningful experiences. We are excited to share her story with you as well as images of the mural we made. A colorful piece celebrating all kinds of love in honor of Pride month.
Let’s dive in!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you become a muralist & graffiti artist?

When I was a kid I moved around a lot. I was born in England, then came to America (NY), and went back and forth a lot because of my parents. They were both immigrants; my mum was British and my dad was Greek, and for financial reasons, we were moving back and forth the Atlantic a lot.

 I started painting when I was 12. I was doing it partially because I was bored, and partially because I felt that I was always such a foreigner since my parents moved me around so much. Putting my name out there was the only way I could feel at home. I would write my graffiti tag the whole way to school, and then I would see it on my way to school and I would feel more like I belonged there.

 I worked for different artists and had art shows in cities like New York, but I really didn’t know anybody. So, I decided to move out to California in 2007/2008. I had been here before but never to live. At one point I ended up with no money, no home, and I ran out of gas at Electric Ave, so I started painting there. Everybody would help me out and I started an art show! I met so many people from working at the boardwalk and they wanted to help me, so I ended up making enough money to get an apartment. Venice really embraced me as an artist. 

Grafitti is an industry/art that is overwhelmingly dominated by men. How was your experience being a female graffiti artist?

When you are different than others, you always have positive and negative aspects. The positive aspects are that I got a lot more attention right away because I was a girl, especially at the time, I started in the 90s. People started writing articles about me and I participated in lots of female art shows, so that was cool!

But there is always a downside; I did receive a lot of people going after my work and destroying it. In graffiti a lot of times there is this kind of argument when someone destroys your work. With guys, it’s easy because when you have a confrontation you meet up and they fight. The problem with me being a female was that they were not willing to meet up and fight with me, and I had to get males to represent me in order to talk to people. My pieces crossed a lot of borders since they were images instead of only my name. That got me lot of attention and I made my way very fast in many places that I wasn’t from, which caused me some issues with men.

But you know, sometimes I wish that I never let people know that I was a female, but I felt that I needed to because whenever I would read articles about my work, they would say “that guy Muck Rock” and I didn’t think that was cool. I started showing my face and taking pictures next to my work.

Once I started showing who I was, young girls would come up to me crying so happy and inspired, and that means a lot to me and it’s worth the downside. Women are able to take up space, put their name on the wall, being loud, and not even asking permission, just taking it.

Tell us about your best experience in the graffiti scene

One of my favorite experiences to date was when I was able to paint with everyone in Venice after what happened with George Floyd. I did portraits all over the place. I kinda had lost hope almost in Venice, since I thought “oh these stores I don’t know, all are so new and high-end,” but then when everybody was outside boarding up their shops, and I started talking to the few stores that I still knew, they told me that they did not want to board them up and turn a blind eye to what was going on.

They wanted to be a part of the Black Lives Matter movement. They boarded up the stores so that they could go to the protests, but not block them out. That’s when I decided to paint the portraits of some of the victims of police brutality on store fronts. I painted portraits there of Trayvon Martin and George Floyd. After that I had so many people sending me images of these black victims of police violence, all of them innocent people killed. Some of them were from a long time ago, and some of them were recent.

Then I started painting on every store in Venice, meeting other people around the block, not only the owners of the shops but also the designers, the carpenters running around helping to get the wood in front of the stores with their own hands... Everybody in Venice was coming together for a good cause. I painted like 20 portraits that day, running up and down from morning to late into the night. When we had protests in Venice they were peaceful; everybody was embraced and most of Venice participated, and I loved that I was able to be a part of that. It felt like it made me part of the glue of Venice and it was a huge honor. 

Tell us about your best experience in the graffiti scene!

What inspired your design for the E&R mural? Did you plan it in advance, or did you get inspired once you began painting?

One of my favorite experiences to date was when I was able to paint with everyone in Venice after what happened with George Floyd. I did portraits all over the place. I kinda had lost hope almost in Venice, since I thought “oh these stores I don’t know, all are so new and high-end,” but then when everybody was outside boarding up their shops, and I started talking to the few stores that I still knew, they told me that they did not want to board them up and turn a blind eye to what was going on.

They wanted to be a part of the Black Lives Matter movement. They boarded up the stores so that they could go to the protests, but not block them out. That’s when I decided to paint the portraits of some of the victims of police brutality on store fronts. I painted portraits there of Trayvon Martin and George Floyd. After that I had so many people sending me images of these black victims of police violence, all of them innocent people killed. Some of them were from a long time ago, and some of them were recent.

Then I started painting on every store in Venice, meeting other people around the block, not only the owners of the shops but also the designers, the carpenters running around helping to get the wood in front of the stores with their own hands...

Everybody in Venice was coming together for a good cause. I painted like 20 portraits that day, running up and down from morning to late into the night. When we had protests in Venice they were peaceful; everybody was embraced and most of Venice participated, and I loved that I was able to be a part of that. It felt like it made me part of the glue of Venice and it was a huge honor.

We talked about Electric & Rose aesthetic, about love, colors, waves, and embracing the vibe in Venice. You liked my style and wanted me to stay true to it, while incorporating the Love Is Love t-shirt design.

Also, when you do a mural you have to deal with the surface. This surface was a rippled surface, it had some texture to it so it wasn’t flat. When you work with something like that I tend to try to find very big powerful images so that they can overshadow the fact that there’s going to be indentations and shadows from the texture. That’s why I painted the big heart with the big eye and the huge waves so that they could eat up the texture of the wall. Some of my murals are very technical, and for that, I look for smooth surfaces.

Any man-made surface can be used – I say that because I don’t like to paint on nature. You find the right image from the surface. That’s why my work is different than someone in a studio painting on a canvas because I have to work in a collaboration with my environment and with the surface, I am given.

If you could give a piece of advice to anyone who's trying to become a professional artist, what would it be?

I spent a long time poor, so I hope you enjoy it, you just do it cause you love it, and then one day it’ll take care of you. At first, I had so many side jobs, like every job you could think of! But in the end, it all worked out and I am able to have a good life living off of art and murals.

I would also say that you just keep going and keep sharing everything you do, and not listen to people that tell you “keep your price high” or “don’t sell your stuff”. The most important thing I’ve done is share my gift with people, which doesn’t mean that I’m not valued since people still want to pay me for what I do. The cool part is that I can go anywhere! We travel America, and even Europe, and getting paid.

But even if I wish that my job was only painting, it is much more than that. It is talking to people and navigating stuff like payment. I learned how to talk to people in a very frank manner about the money part of it, which is one of the most difficult things as an artist, ‘cause everybody has something to say. You have to find out what they can do, and what you can do for them and meet in the middle.

How can people check out your work and support you?

Look out for my pieces whenever you’re traveling and share them with me!

Also, contact me if you have a mural project in the works or if you would like a private piece done!

Graffiti is an industry/art that is overwhelmingly dominated by men. How was your experience being a female graffiti artist?

When you are different than others, you always have positive and negative aspects. The positive aspects are that I got a lot more attention right away because I was a girl, especially at the time, I started in the 90s. People started writing articles about me and I participated in lots of female art shows, so that was cool!

But there is always a downside; I did receive a lot of people going after my work and destroying it. In graffiti a lot of times there is this kind of argument when someone destroys your work. With guys, it’s easy because when you have a confrontation you meet up and they fight. The problem with me being a female was that they were not willing to meet up and fight with me, and I had to get males to represent me in order to talk to people.

 My pieces crossed a lot of borders since they were images instead of only my name. That got me lot of attention and I made my way very fast in many places that I wasn’t from, which caused me some issues with men.

But you know, sometimes I wish that I never let people know that I was a female, but I felt that I needed to because whenever I would read articles about my work, they would say “that guy Muck Rock” and I didn’t think that was cool. I started showing my face and taking pictures next to my work. Once I started showing who I was, young girls would come up to me crying so happy and inspired, and that means a lot to me and it’s worth the downside. Women are able to take up space, put their name on the wall, being loud, and not even asking permission, just taking it.

What inspired your design for the E&R mural? Did you plan it in advance, or did you get inspired once you began painting?

We talked about Electric & Rose aesthetic, about love, colors, waves, and embracing the vibe in Venice. You liked my style and wanted me to stay true to it, while incorporating the Love Is Love t-shirt design.

But also, when you do a mural you have to deal with the surface. This surface was a rippled surface, it had some texture to it so it wasn’t flat. When you work with something like that I tend to try to find very big powerful images so that they can overshadow the fact that there’s going to be indentations and shadows from the texture.

That’s why I painted the big heart with the big eye and the huge waves so that they could eat up the texture of the wall. Some of my murals are very technical, and for that, I look for smooth surfaces.

Any man-made surface can be used – I say that because I don’t like to paint on nature. You find the right image from the surface. That’s why my work is different than someone in a studio painting on a canvas because I have to work in a collaboration with my environment and with the surface, I am given.

Yoga is sacred to me. I’m always trying to make enough space for my own daily yoga practice which I don’t show on social media, so that I can fully be present and surrender my ego. I feel like in this time and age we often forget the true principles of yoga and only see these mesmerizing poses, and the ego keeps feeding off of that. So right now, what I’m trying to do is coming back to reason why I started yoga in the first place, because it made me feel good and helped me to relax, and not to get into any advanced poses at all. 

How can people check out your work and support you?

Look out for my pieces whenever you’re traveling and share them with me! Also, contact me if you have a mural project in the works or if you would like a private piece done!

We are super grateful for the collaboration we got to do with Jules in Venice Beach for Pride month.

The mural is on Rose Ave and it is so full of love and such a beautiful message that it makes us smile every time we walk by. We hope it spreads love, sparks happiness, and celebrates individuality in community.

Check out Jules's website (http://julesmuck.com) and social media (@muckrock), and stay tuned to see a video of our LOVE IS LOVE mural tomorrow!  

We love you,
Jules!!

We are super grateful for the collaboration we got to do with Jules in Venice Beach for Pride month. The mural is on Rose Ave and it is so full of love and such a beautiful message that it makes us smile every time we walk by.

We hope it spreads love, sparks happiness, and celebrates individuality in community.

Check out Jules's website (http://julesmuck.com) and social media (@muckrock), and stay tuned to see a video of our LOVE IS LOVE mural tomorrow! 

We love you, Jules!!

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