Chicago Flex got a chance to catch up with Crave, the intriguing artist behind many art pieces around Chicago. While these pieces may pop up in random streets, walls and alleys, there is a deep message behind each one. Crave opens up and lets us in on who he is, how he got his name, and his view on life.
What part of town are you from?
Crave: I am from Haiti, originally. But at a very young age I moved here, via New York.
I grew up in an area some people called East Village, then Ukrainian Village, then West Town – it’s Chicago and Damen. Most of my friends and family just call it Wicker Park.
How would you describe yourself?
Crave: I would describe myself as extremely self centered and slightly arrogant. I gotta force myself to consider others actually. It’s not in my nature to be humble or modest. I’ve kinda gotten sick of it truthfully… I’m incredibly goal driven and usually in an intense demeanor. Although I’m forth coming and tactful; I can be direct and verbose. I’m often told I’m well cultured, have good manners, well read and have good breeding – but I have a super short temper once I’m out of patience.
Why the name Crave?
Crave: I chose the name CRAVE back in 96. I wanted a new tag and began recording and wanted a rap handle. At the same time I was becoming vegan, never smoked, abstaining from drinking alcohol, caffeine and sugar. I also gave up sex for a year and it was giving me CRAVINGS; I filled that emptiness with boxing, kung fu, music and art.
Take a walk around the city and people are bound to see some type of street art by you, describe that.
Crave: I’m bitter sweet about all the art out there in them streets on the real; it’s out there for three reasons actually:
1: No truck or storage, and it didn’t sell from show(s).
2. The idea was too good to keep in my studio, you’re welcome!
3. Smart people will grab that s*** asap and sell it for millions when I’m dead; if I can die… not sure yet. I’ll keep you posted.
What type of message are you trying to send through your art, if any.
Crave: I have several messages in my art and I appreciate you asking instead of assuming:
1. Think for yourself – religion, government, racism, sexism and classism are human constructs designed to destroy and divide from TRUTH!
2. Preserve our ecology; recycle, reuse, respect nature – we can go extinct, plants and animals are disappearing…we need to change asap. It’s urgent! Don’t litter! Build your own!
3. Power and dopeness, greatness, mythos freshest, an international treasure, a legendary style!
I never want to be forgotten; never!
I can tell you aren’t afraid of being yourself, judged, and whatever else comes with the territory. Why don’t you care about following the norms, masses, etc?
Normal life gave up on me in Haiti. I saw too much. Chicago is just as bad as Haiti. I was never going to be normal. Normal is a lie to me. Anyway I tried. It’s like holding your breath and smiling while people poke you with hot irons.
When people follow the masses you get Hitlers and Madonnas and Britney Spears and Trumps…
I strive for individuality. It’s the realist truth. Everyone has idiosyncratic traits
for a reason. We’re all supposed to be different pieces to a puzzle and everyone is tying to look like the same f***ing piece; we are never going to finish the f***ing puzzle this way.
I got the s*** beat outta me my whole life whether I was following or being myself until I learned how to fight; in fact I got so good at fighting that soon I realized I could say whatever the f*** I wanted. If it’s true…
I feel life is lived in a false timeline of social entropy. I try to live outside of time. In a thousand years people will question the sanity of the Germans for Hitler, Brits for Leopold and Americans for Trump the same way. Basquiat and I and others will be revered as prophets and the dumb s*** people say now about me will exonerate me and truth will reign supreme as it always does at the end. So I can say what ever the f*** I want to whom ever I f***ing please when ever the f*** I choose.