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ThaWilsonBlock Magazine Issue58 (December 2017)

Graphic Street Artist survives cancer after having his stomach removed

Mistah Wilson: Yo, Rafa, what's good wit you, fam? We are pleased to have you here with us for this exclusive interview with ThaWilsonBlock Magazine. How's everything?
Rafa Wizroks: Everything is good with me. Just chilling out trying too stay healthy and positive. Constantly working and developing new works of art.

Mistah Wilson: For our audience reading this, could you give us a quick background on yourself?
Rafa Wizroks: Well I’m a visual artist, illustrator, and painter. I grew up in Pasadena and went to Pasadena High School. Graduated in 2007. Did a couple years at PCC studying to be a graphic artist and illustrator.

Mistah Wilson: We know you to be a great visual artist! What led you to find your passion for art?
Rafa Wizroks: My passion for art came to be while I was a kid in the sixth and seventh grade. I started reading a lot of comic books and also reading anime which is Japanese style animation. And really getting into and exploring hip-hop culture from B-boying, turntablism, and rapping. But, I really found my passion
in the visual part of the culture which is 'Writing" or graffiti art. I started to pay attention to the names on the walls around me the color the style the characters and backgrounds it spoke to me in a way no comic book or anime can ever quite do.


Mistah Wilson: What's your technique to finding new inspiration when creating new pieces?
Rafa Wizroks: My technique for finding inspiration for my art pieces comes from multiple sources. I like to watch a lot of old school cartoons from the 90s such as Ren and Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, the Maxx,  and Spawn, the animated series which was on HBO back in the day.

Mistah Wilson: Tell us a little about some of your personal favorite art pieces? 
Rafa Wizroks: My personal favorite art piece I've ever created was a self portrait I did using acrylic paint which shows me in a traditional Mayan/Aztec headdress with a Mayan pyramid at the bottom which was done for a show I was invited to be in 2014.
Mistah Wilson:  You've definitely had your share of life struggles. What have been some milestones or proud achievements you've had along the journey?
Rafa Wizroks: Yeah I've definitely have had my fair share of life struggles. Back in late March of 2015 I got one of the most horrible news any one could get I was diagnosed with stage 3 stomach cancer with a large tumor growth in the top part of my stomach. I went through two rounds of chemotherapy and in July of last year I had my whole stomach removed from my body. Two days after I had my surgery my doctor comes into my room too notify me that I was cancer free. I don't care what anyone says that's the best news anyone can ever receive. God has definitely blessed me with a new life and a second chance to be a better person. It's not been easy I suffer from PTSD from my experience but every single day is a blessing for me. 


Mistah Wilson: In the world of art, who are some of your biggest influences?

Rafa Wizroks: I have multiple influences when it comes to my artwork. I take inspiration from soo many different things. From social political issues to my heritage and of course different styles of art. Ranging from graffiti art and murals to traditional art and artists and animation and comic books. I've also have been blessed too be taught by some of Los Angeles legendary graffiti artist such as OG Zender one. King Cre8 who helped shaped me into the artist I am today. And also was heavily influenced by classic graffiti art from the 80s and 90s from Los Angeles to New York and Europe. And also a big fan of low rider Chicano art and of comic books by Todd McFarland who's the creator of the spawn franchise and Sam Keith who created the comic book the Maxx which was also on MTV back in the 90s and cartoons that I loved as a kid. Like Ren and Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, Earthworm Jim , Sonic the Hedgehog, and too many more to name. 
Mistah Wilson: From your perspective, what's street art like in Los Angeles?
Rafa Wizroks: From my perspective there are is a great amount of street art in Los Angeles from the surf too the valley there's awesome visuals every where to enjoy. just take a cruise through parts of downtown Los Angeles and parts of Hollywood and you will see incredible works from local artist to world renown artist. It's a blessing too live in a city where you can be inspired and motivated by the artwork that decorated our city walls for free.

Mistah Wilson: What do you plan to accomplish through your art?
Rafa Wizroks: My plan with my art is too make my living off of it. But also having the capability to share my story with the rest of the public and to help inspire and motivate people to see the light during what ever struggle they maybe going through.

Mistah Wilson: How important is giving back to the community for you?
Rafa Wizroks: Man giving back to the community is a big deal for me. I love helping people in any capacity I can. If it's donating my time to a charity or if I can speak to a group of people and inspiring them through my story of what I've overcome in my life and how being a positive and uplifting person can really help change your surroundings and most importantly your self and since I'm a visual artist I like sharing my art via social media to share my philosophy of art as not only as a means of personal expression but also how art can help heal. That's how I want to give back to the community.

Mistah Wilson: What positive, encouraging words do you have for aspiring artists? 
Rafa Wizroks: To quote on of my personal heroes of mine Stewart Scott. He would always
say never ever give up. If your dream and goal is to be a visual artist. Never stop drawing and never stop learning because with dedication and sacrifice you will be the artist that you are meant to be. And I'm a big big advocate of education. Study the great masters of the past and learn about them and the art that they created.  And always learn your tools and how to use them if you had a pencil in your hand and a paper on the table and you want too draw a graff letter as an example would you know where to start or how to control the pencil so you can execute and accomplish your piece that's where studying and learning come into play.

Mistah Wilson: Where can people check out your work? 
Rafa Wizroks: You can check out my art page on Facebook it's called THE ART OF WIZROKS ONE or on my Instagram a cushion has a mix of personal pictures and motivational posts and of course my artwork .

Mistah Wilson: Yo, Rafa thanks so much for coming through for this exclusive interview with ThaWilsonBlock Magazine. It‘s been awesome. If you have any shout outs, go ahead and drop em... 
Rafa Wizroks: First I'll like to give a big shout out to everyone who supported me.
Especially last year when I was fighting my cancer battle especially my family and friends the crews I'm apart of . And big respect to ThaWilsonBlock for blessing me with this dope opportunity to share with you all my story.

Peace and many blessings 
RAFAEL WIZROKS ONE 

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