From painting to making music to designing clothing, artist Bee Eighteen brings his unique pieces to life through his own connections. Currently based out of New York City, Bee creates sublimes clothing pieces for TheArtDealers and remains his own inspirations for his designs – which even include custom sneakers.
XMPL got the chance to interview Bee Eighteen regarding his artwork, creative process and the story behind the name. Read the full interview and listen to his new song “Pick Up The Pace” below.
XMPL: You have been experimenting with music, paintings and clothing. Can you tell us how you would define “ART”?
Bee Eighteen: At this point I really could say art is really how you creatively express the journey you’re on. How you translate the information you’re receiving from society and the universe. Art comes from life. Show it how you truly see and feel it all.
Sneakers are some of the most crucial pieces to an outfit. Why did you start customizing your very own sneakers? What do your customs offer your customers?
I always made denim, freaked shirts, hats here and there, so I was always wearing my own stuff, expect for the shoes. So I was like ok I gotta start making my own kicks, and not even just drawing or dyeing them but I wanna to really reconstruct and make completely my own, just like wow myself. But that exact passion is what ensures I offer something unique down to every touch, every maneuver through the process.
What kind of expressions do you portray in your custom clothing?
In quick stitches and quickly ripped apart and re-applied pieces you’ll feel the spontaneous actions and thought process. Also a nomadic and grungy look in the flannels definitely represents my on the go/one way flight lifestyle.
What mind set do you have when you are in your creative process? Walk us through it.
Gotta be tapped into me completely, when I really don’t give any care about what’s good or bad or what they want or what’s trending. Just instinct. What feels good to me. Usually my favorite music playing, (anything from Mazzy Star to Young Thug, to Miles Davis) and I just let go and let bee.
What are your biggest inspirations that help you create your art work?
The chance to be able to create anything we want if you put your mind to it. I get so inspired when I think about moments I thought it wouldn’t work, but then it works. That really excited and drives me. Just growth and learning life is so exciting and motivating to me.
You have a painting that stood out of a fisherman trying to catch a sword fish, the piece looks more like a battle. What is the meaning of the painting?
So it’s actually a commission piece. Someone seen a previous post and requested the cover of an Ernest Hemingway book, “The man and the sea”. After researching and spending time with it though I grew an honest connection with the idea of the book/painting. Life’s sometimes a battle. Me the man and life being the fish and the sea. “No matter how tough, keep fighting, keep going”m I can relate to the this image often.
What motivated you to express yourself in songs like ‘Back Down’ & ‘Keep Going’?
Honestly just realizing it’s time to express this new vibe with new music. I always made music, but with this new Keep Going vibe I’ve been on; just been to hyped to express that musically now.
Between all of your talents of expression, from painting to music. What is your true passion?
I think it might have to be fashion. Looking back, it was fashion and style first. Feel like the art came for me to take to the fashion field honestly in a way. We wear clothes everyday, more than we look at “art” on walls etc.
What do you want your art to mean once everything is all said and done?
To never feel you should stop, never feel you need to confide, never feel your “supposed to”. Your world is yours, create as you please, proceed with love and purity.” “Bee told us nothing but to bee us and what our gut says, what my instinct says.” Just go!!! You’ll be good I promise.
Finally can you tell us where the name Bee Eighteen came from?
Bee derives from an old group name “whybe”. Eventually separations happened and I felt as if I was “being” more than ever and decided to drop the “why” drop the question myself and my being. Since then I’ve been completely me. Completely BEE! That happened in 2016. 17 came around and I felt I was a year ahead. So it was 18. I think it’ll forever be 18 now in relevance to what we always wanted and thought we’d be when we turned 18. Forever that 18 year old we wanted to and thought we’d be.
Listen to Pick Up The Pace by Bee Eighteen: