For those of you unfamiliar with GIVE UP, he is a wheatpaste artist from the great state of Texas.  His work can been seen all over Texas, United States, zines, album covers, and his own line of GIVE UP brand clothing. Make sure to check out his blog for updates on his awesome work along with his webstore! Last week, CVLT NATION had the pleasure of talking to the man one on one about life, chase stories, Oprah, and more. Read the rad interview with GIVE UP after the jump!

What’s a typical day in the life of GIVE UP?

Wake up when my body tells me to, try to find a place to check email, look for spots, claim spots, go to the post office.  Shoot photos and/or go to the copy place to work on art stuff.  Almost everything I do relates back in one way or another to art stuff, but other than getting up, not a lot of it is super exciting.

Is there a story behind your name?

I never really thought of it as a name.  When I came up with the original image of the razor with the “give up” under it it was just something kind of tongue in cheek that my friends might think was funny but would be a fuck you to everyone else.  As the art evolved it became more and more of a stamp or identifier within each piece, and kind of became considered a name from there.

What came first, the can or wheatpaste?

I wrote graffiti for a few years before realizing I just didn’t have it, and probably had gone as far as I was going to with it. Took a while off and worked on more art things that didn’t really lend themselves to a can, but I still wanted to get up in a way and as I was pushing the limits of my ability or experience with screen printing, doing wheatpaste stuff seemed to make the most sense. Plus, it was new and exciting the way graffiti had been for me in the beginning.

How would you describe your style?

All of my stuff comes from photos I shoot and then manipulate and arrange at a photocopier with scissors and glue in the manner of old punk and hardcore fliers, so I guess I’d say my style is cut ‘n paste.

Where do your ideas/inspiration come from?

I don’t like to force anything. If I don’t have any ideas, I just don’t produce, but then sometimes my mind just feels flooded and I have to get it all out as fast as possible. Working on this stuff is almost therapeutic in the way that making things and going out to smash spots is somehow a more constructive outlet for whatever anger or conflict or short comings I’m wrestling with at a particular time. In the last few years, I’ve been really drawn to and inspired by more organic themes.  There’s a lot of beauty in nature, but the natural world is also a really brutal place.

How do you think the Houston graffiti scene has changed in the past decade?

It seems like graffiti kind of flows like the tide in Houston. Sometimes people are getting up real hard and other times it’s a little thin, but it’s always there and you can always count on it coming back up. When I started doing wheatpaste there wasn’t a lot of that happening in Houston.  There still aren’t a lot of wheatpaste guys in Houston, but the ones that are there are really active, and now with the hype around the Stick ‘Em Up movie it seems like people are just coming out of the woodwork.

You seem to have grown a cult following. I recently saw a picture on your blog with a girl that tattooed your name on her arm. Did you ever think it would get as big as it did?

I never had any intentions or aspirations other than making stuff I wanted to make and getting up, and anyone that didn’t like it could take a shit. That some people have been able to get behind it or appreciate it on some level really means a lot to me. I feel really fortunate to be in a position that anyone would actually even want to look at my stuff. That anyone would want to purchase my work or get something related to it tattooed on them is just incredible.

You’ve done work with plenty of bands everything from album art to fliers. Do you ever see yourself working with any mainstream media? Clothing lines, blogs, etc.?

I’m not opposed to any of that. For so long, I wanted to separate myself from anything graphic design related and wanted to really self identify as an artist, even though I can acknowledge a lot of my work has a real design feel. I’ve been learning stuff lately about using computers and using templates and stuff so I can be more involved in the actual assembly of album covers and such, as opposed to just sending the labels finished art.

Current albums in rotation?

Lately been jamming the new Rot In Hell full length, new Trap Them, Gray Ghost, KING DUDE, and then stuff like Nadja, Wolvserpent.

Any cool chase stories or do you plead the fifth?

Basically, I’ve found that if you act like you own something then you do.  The last time I ran was the first time in years, and it’s probably been almost two years since. I was with a friend and this dude tried to run us down. We took off through this boarded up apartment complex, and as I’m going over the fence I remember thinking, “why am I running? We should just stomp this dude out and be done with it.”  But that really wouldn’t have benefited anyone, and running is just part of it sometimes. Ended up ducking behind the dumpster at an adult book store until I knew the coast was clear, but we lost the guy pretty easy, so no harm. Running from cops hasn’t been an issue since I quit writing real graffiti.

Marry one, fuck one, kill one: Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah.

Man, I watch Oprah every day. It’s her last season you know.

What do you think about CVLT NATION?

Great stuff.  Thanks for doing this interview.  I’m really stoked to have any kind of association.

Final thought?

I’ve been trying not to think too hard lately.

A few weeks back, I posted about the latest release from Houston artist GIVE UP, titled “Lonely Days And Wasted Nights Vol 2”. Since then, GIVE UP has been very busy! GIVE UP has a few shows this month, so if you’re in the Houston area and want something rad to do or have been meaning to pick up some one of a kind GIVE UP artwork, here’s your chance! You can do so on Saturday 21st at Hardy & Nance Studios, 902 Hardy St. Houston, TX, 77002. Later that night, head over to the Calico Grounds table at Zine Fest Houston which will be taking place at Khon’s, 2808 Milam St. Houston, TX, 77006, from 4pm-10pm. Can’t make it? No worries. GIVE UP has one more show at the end of the month (May 27th) for the OFF THE WALL group show at Mega Host Gallery, 901 Richmond Ave. Houston, TX, 77006.

CVLT Nation would like to thank GIVE UP for the rad interview!

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  • Danisthebastard

    He had a huge Give Up on the billboard by the Wendy’s and highway I-35 in Austin,a few years back. so rad.