By Jed Sanders.
I have to admit, Iâ€™ve never been a big fan of street art. I think itâ€™s mainly because I donâ€™t quite understand it all. On one side of the spectrum, I see the free spirited artist projecting their views, social statements, and political messages onto the world. On the other side, I see millions and millions of taxpayersâ€™ dollars invested in the removal of it; taxpayersâ€™ dollars that could go towards building communities in a much more positive light, or for social services where it is greatly needed.
Call me old fashioned, but, typically, when I hear of street art these days, it seems to consist of rebellious youth that lack a sense of positive direction or outlook with their work.
In the earlier years, a lot of the art on the street reflected social injustices and demanded change. Today, those messages are swallowed up with artist brand names and washed up in a sea of hypocrisy, with artists fighting one another over â€œrespect on the street.â€
This month, I am very excited to interview an artist who completely throws me off. William Bucher does not hide behind an alter ego name because he is running from the law on past vandalism charges. He has a different outlook on it all. When it comes to his work, he explains that he is trying to prove that street art can be just as beautiful and timeless as contemporary art…I like that.
Where are you from and how did you get started in art?
I was born and raised in San Marcos, California. I came from an artistic family with two brothers and a sister. We all, in some form or another, have a creative streak. My parents always encouraged me to pursue my art, even at a very young age. My mother, in general, was very supportive of my art…I guess I have always been doing art in some form or another.
Who are your heroes and influences?
My heroes come from all over; from traditional political figures, like Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, etc., to comic books. But my real hero would have to be my father. He designs custom million dollar property homes and does it all by hand. He works hard and gives everything to his family and always stays positive.
How would you explain yourself to others, using only 5 words?
Genuine, honest, hopefully optimistic, and confident â€“ or cocky, depending on who you ask.
What is the coolest thing that has happened to you as a result of your art?
Getting this interview has to be a big one; but also the simple feeling of accomplishment, especially after completing a piece and pulling back the stencil and seeing how it came out.
Should â€œStreet Artâ€ be a crime?
The concept of street art as a crimeâ€¦Iâ€™m torn on. On one hand, all art is a form of expression, like the freedom of speech, and it should never be stifled. At the same time, that does not give someone the right to deface someone elseâ€™s property. I think I would take it at a case by case basis. As long as it doesnâ€™t hurt anybody, thenâ€¦I canâ€™t see the crime.
What do you feel defines street art? What defines graffiti?
The difference between street art and graffiti, I think, is easy to see. Street art is the expression of somebodyâ€™s feelings and beliefs and is not intended to hurt anybody, but simply to get their message out there. Graffiti is just a thoughtless act to instill fear in people and purposely deface other peopleâ€™s property.
How would you describe your style of art?
I always have trouble describing my style of art because itâ€™s not quite street art, and itâ€™s not traditional. I hope my work can show that street art is more than just spray paint on the side of a building; that it can be just as beautiful as anything else you can find in any museum, so I tend to let the work speak for itself.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me is like anyone else. I go to work, spend time with my girlfriend, work out, and try to get the time in to do my painting. Above all, I just try to enjoy life and take things as they come at me.
Besides making art, what is your favorite thing to do in San Diego?
I love to walk on the beach with my girl; go up to Julian to see the seasons change, and hang out in Old Town. One of the funniest things about San Diego is just interacting with the people and hearing their stories. San Diego is great. Itâ€™s like everybody from around the world comes here to create this melting pot of different cultures.
Have you had any embarrassing or funny experiences with your art? Â
I canâ€™t really think of any embarrassing moments that have happened to me because of art. Although, I would have to admit that no matter how good the piece of art is, or how much I or others like it, itâ€™s always a little embarrassing to put something as personal as art in public view.
How do you feel about stencil artists using a cutter/plotter or a laser cutter to cut their stencils, instead of by hand? Do you feel it takes away from the art or adds to it?
As for other artists using cutters/plotters or lasers (which is kind of Flash Gordon cool), I think art can come from any form of tool without taking away from the work. Myself, I work by hand, because at a momentâ€™s notice, I might change my image. I fly by the seat of my pants. With my art, itâ€™s never done â€˜til itâ€™s on a wall.
Where can one see more of your art?
I have a blog at LonelyBirdCreations.blogspot.com and a brand new website at www.LonelyBirdCreations.com, where you can see more of my work. â€˜Lonely Bird Creationsâ€™ is a business Iâ€™ve started to umbrella my art and the t-shirts I do. One can also follow me on Facebook and get all the updates on all of my showings and events.
Why the name Lonely Bird Creations? Where did that come from?
Lonely Bird is used in a bluegrass song that refers to an owl. My logo is an owl, so that is where the name came from. I wish there was some cool or interesting story behind it, but I just like owls and I thought it was a cool sounding name.
You mentioned t-shirtsâ€¦Are you silkscreen printing them or will they be stenciled prints?
The t-shirts are a new endeavor. I printed a run for an art show at Bar Basic called â€˜Fighters, Philosophers and Film Stars,â€™ a group art show commemorating influential Asians presented by the Thumbprint Gallery.
Where would you like to see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I would love to have a successful career in art and have my own line of t-shirts and apparel in stores, just like OBEY, only less political and preachy. I would like to fill the world with paintings that leave you with a good feeling and have you walk away being blown away.
Very cool. We look forward to seeing more of your art around. Thanks for taking the time to answer all of our questions.
To check out more of William Bucherâ€™s artwork, visit