by Robert Ciprian, D.C.
Growing up as a teen in Queens, NY I went though many rough times. I was involved in Graffiti, gangs, and everything you can imagine that was associated with it.
When it comes to graffiti, I started out “tagging” on streets, highways, buildings, trucks, and trains. Then I started to get into “piecing” which is more of a graffiti art. I wanted to create letters with style and color. I mimicked the graffiti art that I saw around me and that stimulated my own creativity. It got to the point where I would go out by myself to do these works of art because friends my neighborhood “crew” just weren’t into it as much as I was.
Through the few connections that I had in the neighborhood, I eventually met a young graffiti artist, Cortes, that was going to the High School of Art and Design in New York City. I started to learn more about style and color him. I was also introduced to a seasoned graffiti artist in Brooklyn who went by the tag “Roler One”. He took me under his wing and showed me more about style and painting. Between Cortes and Roler I started to become very inspired. Through the years I became a known graffiti artist and my work became published in domestic and international graffiti art publications, as well at the infamous “Video Graff” series.
Then I was feeling the call to do something greater with my life. I finally decided to go to medical school in Los Angeles in 1996. I did some painting while I was out there but realized that I needed to stop so that I could keep my police record clean and focus on my education.
I stopped painting for about fifteen years and focused on becoming a holistic doctor and teacher. Then in 2011 I was approached to do several commissioned art pieces by a night club owner. This was the first time that I painted with spray paint since I started school and it went very well. By then social media was happening so I shared my work. Artists that knew me form back in the 1990s said that it looked like I never stopped painting. At his point I started to meet up with some of my old partners in crime around the country as well as with younger artists that I met.
Now I realize that graffiti art is part of who I am. I do it legally now so that I can stay in good standing with my medical board of course. But that is ok, I don’t need the thrill of the chase. I enjoy the thrill of the art, the colors, large scale, letter style, and how it makes other people stop and look.