We don’t want to give too much away, but when Los Angeles-based artist JoeX2 hits EDC NY for his very special live painting project, the entire festival will be his canvas. JoeX2, along with his partner Trixter, are longtime Insomniac collaborators who have painted at our parties across the country. JoeX2 has been doing graffiti since the mid-’80s and got his start painting a surface where he could express himself without getting in trouble—the back of his bedroom door. “I didn’t choose graffiti; graffiti chose me,” he says.
We spoke with JoeX2 about his upcoming art project at EDC New York.
When did you start doing graffiti?
Philadelphia, in 1986. Graffiti was everywhere in Philly, and I started copying my first tags there. You couldn’t walk down the street without seeing buildings with broken windows and graffiti, and when I stood on the platform waiting for the train and saw some big, top-to-bottom style pieces with colors going by, I was like, “This is the best thing I’ve ever seen.”
What was your first paid gig?
My dad came up to me one day and said, “If you’re not going to go to college, you’ve got to figure something out. Here’s a couple hundred bucks. Make it happen.” It was Christmas time, and I told my friend that we were going to buy some paint and paint Christmas windows. We ended up making $4,000 that month. I paid my dad back his money.
When did you start working with Insomniac?
The first EDC I went to was last year in Orlando, and I participated in other events like Beyond Wonderland, Nocturnal and Escape. I painted the bass stage at Beyond Wonderland and put Insomniac graffiti onto a truck that we brought in.
What are your plans for EDC New York?
This is not as premeditated as a lot of the other projects I’ve done for Insomniac; it’s definitely guerilla style. We’re going to do some urban, New York-based traditional graffiti and just have fun, make it funky and get as many spots as possible.
Where can Headliners find your paintings?
I’m going to look for structures where I can get loose with some spray paint and get the EDC logo up
for people to see.
How many spots do you think you’ll hit?
I think we can do a couple dozen. We’re not going to spend a lot of time on each one. We’re going to treat it like we’re actually doing it on the street. We first find a spot, create the outline, fill it in, add a couple pops of color, do a border, a tag and we’re out and to the next spot.
What imagery are you going to incorporate?
I don’t know exactly what that’s going to be, but I know the vibe Pasquale has created and what he is after. There will be a traditional old school raver look to some of it, and some new school too. It’ll be a good mix that looks organic in the space. I want it look like it belongs there.