Deco being painted by Nolan Haan
It's impossible for me to paint like a normal graffiti artist. In addition to the graffiti, I also have to paint the wall. The first thing I do is delineate the cinder block shapes in very light gray. Then, in pencil, I draw the graffiti shapes, giving me the composition. This is the time to make radical changes to the design. Beyond this stage, I am locked in to the shapes.
In the picture above, I am filling in the black graffiti lines, without regard to the wall texture. This will be added in the next step. For now, I just want to know the overall design. Once committed to the design, I will do the labor-intensive process of creating the cinder block texture. The first several layers are very thin paint--almost a watercolor consistency. The paint gets thicker in final layers, texture you can feel when you touch the final painting. People always want to touch my paintings, only to be surprised that the "feel" is different from the "look." All the cinder block texture is a painted illusion.