Q&A: Meet street artist Chor Boogie
San Francisco based spray paint artist Chor Boogie is legendary for his captivating use of color and the precision in his swirling, hypnotizing patterns. We spoke with him the other day about his recent healing experience and recovery from drug addiction, along with his new exhibition “Rainbow Dreams of the Serpent Queen” at the Art Now NY gallery, which is showing until June 21st.
How were you introduced to your medium?
I grew up seeing art around the streets when I was a kid, and I’d think, “This is really pretty,” and I thought I wanted to do that someday … So at about the age of 13 is when it happened … and I’ve been working with it ever since. Like every amateur I just started off with drawing and sketching a lot and it graduated into spray paint.
What sparked your recent healing experience?
Recently, I went to Costa Rica to experience a medicine called iboga, because I recently went back into a drug addiction. I had a past, but for the past few years I was straight, but then I slipped up and started messing around again, and had to basically change my life. I did some studying and found that going to this iboga house had a 90% success rate, as opposed to rehab and such. So I went there to experience it and I was reborn again, it just rewired my whole brain.
Everything is just beautiful again. There’s no desire to do anything negative to disrespect my heart, mind, body or soul. I do have a choice, but my choice now is to live, create and change. I realized that love is the answer to everything, so I have to tap into that. Now I feel like I can share my expansive love and just be honest and real with myself. If I’m not doing that I’m not doing anything right.
I even stopped eating meat after I got back, just stopped harming my body. It’s time to take it to the next level. My wife, she went too, even though she was 100 percent clean. Now our relationship is detoxified and I’m even more in love with her … it’s awesome.
Could you talk about your show at Art Now NY?
These pieces are from [before my healing experience], honestly stuff that was coming from a dark corner inside of me. But there’s definitely a beauty to them because there’s a flow and a movement of colors. It’s called “Rainbow Dreams of the Serpent Queen,” and six of the largest pieces have a snakelike, serpent-like movement to them, like a dragon with eyes coming through them with a hint of “boogie bird,” a kind of piece I’m known for. I also put in some boogie bird pieces and some from an earlier series.
How did your healing experience impact your art?
You should see the series I’m now painting! Everything is coming out right now, and it’s all love, everything is love. I even write, “I love you” on all my canvases – that’s how I start off my pieces first, and I see where it goes from there … Before, my pieces had some darkness to them, just the lighting and everything, but now I’m brightening everything up. There’s a lot of feeling and emotion to these pieces.