With a good 2+ million followers on @love.watts and @watts.on combined, you’ve managed to keep a seemingly nonexistent profile—was this your intention from the start? Do you have a personal account that your art followers know nothing about?
I'm super private, but from the start I used Instagram like everybody else at the time (2011): to post pictures of myself, travels, music concerts, basic bro shots. Those types of posts didn't last too long. I soon realized I was more interested in revisiting the more obscure images I would occasionally post like half-popped bubblewrap or a rusty drainage pipe on the side of the building. I was also heavy on Tumblr then and started posting random images I would find there. I wanted my followers to see the images that inspired me and not pics of me. I'd post a picture of myself one every couple hundred or thousand pictures or so and people would be like, "Who is that?" I do not have a personal account. Real friends/family talk to me on the phone, or I see them in real life. I do have other accounts some of my followers may not know though: @green.couch, @rollthis.passthat, @0.0.la, @gifcworldwide.
What was the turning point from being an average art page, to gaining so much traction? Does your family know about your online/art popularity?
I think the turning point for me was when Rihanna (pre-getting kicked off of Instagram) started following. That was back in the day when a major celebrity like that would follow you or repost something and you would get a ton of new fans. After that many more celebrities, models and influencers worldwide starting to take notice. And of course before that I had a massive art world following that I consider my core. My family knows about my online/art popularity, and they are all excited and happy for me.
How much time do you spend on Instagram?
In regards to Instagram, I'm a professional. I put the time in, as I think any pro does.
Do your hands get fatigued? Injuries?
Yes. Fatigue daily, injuries not as often. I work off of a iPhone 7 and iPad Pro. I switch back and forth. I have had to rest my hands for a couple days before.
Do you make money off of your Instagram?
Yes, through different brand collaborations that come my way, private art sales and content creation gigs.
As a Black man in the art world, have you gotten pushback from your contemporaries because of race?
Nah, I don't think anyone really knows what I look like or that I'm black or a man. Let's see what happens when I do more of these types of interviews.
When/why did you cut your locks?
Cut them like a year ago. I grew them for 8 years. The locks were getting heavy, so I just woke up one day, chopped them, and trashed them.
Do you produce original content?
Yes, a ton of collaborations. I'm currently working on a project for Cashmere Cat's new album 9. Producing original content for me typically consists of meshing a brand with a visual artist from my network. I marry the two together and outline what things look like visually.
How did you get involved with the 0 0 LA gallery in Los Angeles?
0 0 LA (zero zero) stemmed from "got it for cheap" (GIFC), a traveling art show run by myself, Charlie Roberts and Christopher Rexroad. GIFC consists of rotating about 1000 artists globally who submit original artwork any medium, all sized roughly 8" x 11" and all priced at the local equivalent of 30 US dollars. Past contributors have been Nina Chanel Abney, Austin Lee, Ann Cathrin November Høibo and Carly Mark to name a few. We needed a space to house all the artwork so we figured why not open a gallery to showcase some of our favorite GIFC artists on a more personal scale.
Where do you see your platform in 5 years from now?
Bigger. Better. Faster.
What’s the worst thing that could happen to the art game? What would you like to see happen in the world art that hasn’t happened yet?
I am in no position to dictate what the worst thing that could happen in the art world is. For all I know, I could be the worst thing that happened. I would love to see way more in depth.
After being exposed to so much content, have you become jaded? Is your passion as strong as when you started?
I see a ton of images daily. It gets intense, but I still love it.
3 things you’d like your audience to know about you that they don’t know…
I'm watching CNN right now. I've started a creative agency, it's launching this summer. I maintain a beautiful rose garden.
...Now you know.