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Tats, 40s and Art, The Fresh Prince of Carlisle, Will Fucking Prince

ELEVATOR’s BZ sits down with artist Will Prince to talk about his Kenny Powers like journey to the US, neck tatoos and his creative process.

Will Prince ELEVATOR 1

At times i felt like Kenny Powers on his mexican adventure. Will Fucking Prince.

BZ: Eh the infamous Will Prince! We’ve finally connected!

Will Prince: Haha, took us some time!

BZ: Only a few months. We must not be very busy haha. I like your Skype tag line “Tatted on my neck and throat and them girls lick me up!”

Will Prince: Old school Wiz Khalifa! I didn’t even realize I still had that.

BZ: I was gonna say, I didn’t notice you had any neck tattoos.

Will Prince: Not yet! For some reason I do like neck tattoos but it’s a big move, maybe one day. Although Artists are allowed to get away with a lot.

BZ: The “Job Stopper” if you will. So you’re a fan of tattoos then, obviously you’re an artistic guy, do you have any?

Will Prince: The “Job Stopper” Exactly! I’ve always loved the art of tattooing, it’s a great skill. I don’t know if I could do it, making a mistake would always be on my mind haha. I do have some. One of my best friends is an amazing tattoo artist based in London, Jessica Simpson. Not the singer actress, but to me she’s THE Jessica Simpson.  I got my first tat a year or so ago from her, on my forearm. It’s a music note sheet, 2 roses and a tattoo gun machine, it was really random she had this awesome design and was like “do you want a tat…?” I’ve always wanted one so I just went with the flow and got it! I really love the design so it wasn’t a big risk and now I just want more!

BZ: That’s what I have always hear, once you get your first one you always want more.

Will Prince: Definitely! I want a lot more now, just waiting until I know exactly what. After all it is on your body for life.

BZ: haha thats the trick, I would be down to get one, but I’m currently a blank canvas, and I haven’t yet come across something where I’m like “I gotta get that tatted!” I guess you just have to make the leap one day.

Will Prince: That’s why I got this one I have now. I thought fuck it. Took the leap!

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BZ: Speaking of leaps, you recently made your first trek to the states?

Will Prince: I like what you did there!

BZ: haha SEGWAY. Props to Jerry Ferrara for that one, I’ve been listening to his new podcast “Bad 4 Business” he was preaching about SEGWAYs.

Will Prince: haha, well actually it was my 3rd trip to the states but the previous two were spent solely in austin for sxsw. This was my first time seeing other cities. I’ve seen a lot of Segways on my trip to the states too!

BZ: Did you know the creator of those things killed himself by riding one off a cliff? I’m not really sure that even counts as irony?

Will Prince: I was just about to say that! The irony.

BZ: Let’s get back to your US tour. So you mentioned hitting some new cities. I know we ran into each other in Austin and we set this interview up in Chicago. Where else did you visit?

Will Prince: Austin, Houston, Chicago, New York, a few days in South Dallas on a farm with my friend Kombucha Mane. And a day in San Antonio celebrating fiesta. At times I felt like Kenny Powers on his mexican adventure. Will Fucking Prince. Not to be big headed but then again thats why we all love Kenny. Oh shit yeah I went to Denver for Cannabis cup too.

Man I’m really an amateur. I felt like I went straight into the deep end.

BZ: How was the cannabis cup? High for days?

Will Prince: Man I’m really an amateur. I felt like I went straight into the deep end. It was an experience for sure! A lot of dabs and weed candy. I was amazed at the range of people there. Old women, young kids, every demographic. Well not kids but they looked young obviously.

BZ: Gotta start them young. Smoke your nugs kids. So you can grow up super artistic like Will Prince here.

Will Prince: I’v never really drawn or created high, strangely.

BZ: Actually probably shouldn’t promote drug use but we have no sponsors so fuck it right? I’ll do what I want. Bryan Fucking Zawlocki!

Will Prince: YES!!!

BZ: Haha interesting to learn your a sober creator. We’ll get to talking about your process in just a second. You’ve been to Austin a few times now, any reason for that?

Will Prince: The first year I went was my first ever exhibition. We threw it with NiceKicks. 2012 SXSW. Me and my big bro Rob loved it so much we’ve been back each year since. We’re definitely trying to hit it again in 2015 too! Something about that first year has always stuck with me. The vibe was amazing. Probably because it was all new to me.

BZ: It’s a really nomadic and communal environment.

Will Prince: Yeah, we left it so last minute we had no where to stay 2 days before we flew. Turned out my brother’s friend had two irish friends living out there, so we crashed on their sofa.

BZ: Have you noticed any changes in SXSW from 2012 to 2014?

Will Prince: Yeah I mean it definitely didn’t feel as much about the fans this year. Did you see schoolboy’s tweets? He said something along the lines of, “its more about the industry people than the fans now”. I still enjoy it because I’m an Englishman in Texas at one of the world’s biggest music festivals. But I did meet a few people who said the same, people who have been going since it started. Schoolboy Q’s exact words ““SXSW is stupid, corporate and I may not come back”.

BZ: We noticed it was a lot bigger from 2012. More, longer lines waiting to get into industry events.

Will Prince: True maybe thats why I didn’t see it as big, but It definitely felt different. Me and my bro always found it more enjoyable at low-key random places that we never planned on hitting. You’ve just got to kind of go with the flow. I was so pissed I didn’t get to see Young Thug though.

BZ: I think I caught him briefly at the Illmore but I can’t even remember now to tell you the truth haha.

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Will Prince: Haha that’s how it is! I didn’t even make the last night, my biggest regret. I went to town too much the previous nights. I ended up passing out and sleeping the whole night.

BZ: That was probably after the night we shared that 4am cab.

Will Prince: YES! I think it was haha! SXSW is wild.

BZ: You also hit NYC?

Will Prince: Yeah but like I said, it was more of a business trip and I was only there for 4 days or so. I didn’t get to take as much as I would have liked. I did get to smoke up and drink a 40oz on a rooftop, that was one goal.

BZ: Mission accomplished. What were you doing out there?

Will Prince: Literally just to link with a few magazine and people. I went to the Complex offices and did a little feature video. An interview with Artsy Magazine. Linked with Fredo Santana at his show. I have some artwork up in The Fancy office, so I went and kicked it with them got to see the artwork in the flesh. They have my Rick Ross at the front as soon as you walk in which is really cool. Oh and a little feature with Frank151, shouts to Phil!

BZ: I heard Ross is a bit of a fan of yours.

Will Prince: I mean I have a couple. I’d love to do some real work with him one day. I really don’t want to do anymore mixtape covers. I feel like I’ve earned my right to an album cover now. REAL work!

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BZ: I feel you. I think the last thing I noticed you do was Lucki Eck$ latest mix tape cover… Body High?

Will Prince: Yeah Lucki’s my bro! Love him man, super talented too.

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Music is my life so I’d love to have a shot at djing or some beat making. See what I’d be like.

BZ: I actually did the cover for Alternative Trap, so you had a lot to live up too.

Will Prince: haha no way! That’s pretty cool we’re chopping it up and have that in common.

BZ: I try to do a little bit of everything, student of everything.

Will Prince: Yeah man I want to do something else too.

BZ: Let’s work on a video sometime!

Will Prince: For sure! Music is my life so I’d love to have a shot at djing or some beat making. See what It’d be like. I’m always having ideas for videos. And not animation or anything drawn. Actual ideas. I’ll definitely have a shot of it soon.

BZ: So how did you end up linking with Lucki?

Will Prince: Man, just being a fan I think I reached out on twitter when Alternative Trap was released. He fucked with my art too and we linked from there. I feel like half my followers are from Chicago, so a lot of the Chicago artists I reach out to probably see that and think “who’s this guy?”.

BZ: Most of your art, from what I have seen, is of public figures. Athletes, Musicians, what kind of directs you to the subjects of your pieces?

Will Prince: Just people I’m actually a fan of, people whos work I actually admire. I love Hip Hop so that goes hand in hand. Sometimes I look at Hip Hop like a cartoon or wrestling. You know, you got all of these different characters, your Young Yhug’s, Drakes, Waynes, all different in their own way. That’s why I zone in on hip hop a lot. Like I caught Travi$ Scott in London. His live performance in my head reminded me of the space jam monsters. I have all sorts of weird visions going on in my head.

BZ: That sounds a lot like how I direct videos. I like to shoot videos for songs that create a vision in my head.

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Will Prince: I think thats the best way you can go about it. (Create) off actual feeling and truth. I sound real artsy right now.

BZ: Your art does seem to convey a lot of feeling. There are usually always some sort of movement or facial expression being conveyed, is that something you look for when creating a piece?

Will Prince: Definitely! I was thinking the other day, you see I have to use a lot of reference images. I want to start taking my own photos and draw more from life. I was kicking myself thinking does this make me less (of an artist). But then I looked at it almost like sampling. I really need to find the perfect image or emotion to know it’s going to come out great. So I can spend days trying to find the right images. It is like sampling. I’m flipping something and making it my own.

BZ: Do you just look for an interesting image or is it a little bit more to it than that?

Will Prince: Mood and just character. With the Ross piece I looked at it and knew everything about it screamed BOSS, you know? The best emotion that shows them to their fullest. You got the Wiz piece where he’s mid laugh. That’s Wiz right there, always fun always joking always having a good time. And yeah the lines I put in definitely reflect my mood. So you could say theres me in these pieces too.

BZ: From finding the right image then you recreate a drawing of that?

Will Prince: Yeah but I wouldn’t hold that to me. I do have a lot of shit off the top of my head. I mean I might reference a couple photos, if I’m creating a character style or more cartoon piece. You’ll see with the Young Thug cartoon or the sea cartoon on my tumblr. But I do a lot more of the strong portraits.

This might be my favorite interview. because you haven’t asked me when did I start drawing? I hate that!

BZ: What’s the next step?Will Prince: Paint! Painted pieces. I’m going to step me game up 100%. 110%. Digital lacks value, I’m ready to evolve.

BZ: RESPECT! Up until now you’ve been doing digital pieces?

Will Prince: Yeah my most famous pieces are hand drawn, normally straight on the paper with a sharpie. Then scanned and colored, but I’m not going to give all of it away. We’ll just have a bunch of Will Princes.

BZ: FUCK THAT, one Will Prince is plenty.

Will Prince: Haha my man! EXACTLY! I think my strength is my line work. That’s where I stand out. I’m getting more and more confident with the marks and lines I can create. This might be my favorite interview. because you haven’t asked me when did I start drawing? I hate that! How would I know? We all used crayons.

BZ: How did Will Prince The Artist come to be? Minus the obvious interaction of your parents.

Will Prince: I’ve definitely always drawn. You know you gets kids addicted to sports. They play it every second of the day. That was me with paper and pens.

BZ: So you grew up in Carlisle, England playing with paper and pens all day while the other kids were out playing football?

Will Prince: Yeah! Drawing my favorite cartoons and shit. I made a comic about my dog as a superhero. I made a story about these little alien guys who roamed houses and used everyday objects but they were huge. Kinda like the borrowers but green and alien. It was a monthly comic. I got a bunch printed at my dads work that never went anywhere. I just kept them all. No idea where they are now.

BZ: What’s it like over there in Carlisle growing up with Castle’s down the street. A lot of people thinking your Scottish?

Will Prince: We definitely have a strong accent. A mix of everything, newcastle, scottish. It’s just northern! you’ve heard it! Carlisle is cool its just small. Not much goes on. Maybe that why I locked myself away and created all of these characters. I’m probably the worst person to asking what its like growing up in Carlisle. I was very to myself. Carlisle is more of a workers kinda of town. Proper jobs, you know? It’s getting more work now, with the way the world is going. More cooler shit.

BZ: Were your parents very supportive or were they more the “go get a job you bum” type parents?

Will Prince: My Dad was brought up that way, “get a real job”. My mom has always made me do art classes and extra work on my art to build. They’ve both supported me, in different ways. It’s like when you want to do something different. You have to break the mold.

BZ: They must enjoy seeing you get your work out there.

Will Prince: They have no clue about all of these rappers I connect with. It’s funny when they talk about it all. My mom calls Asap Rocky, “AY, ES, AY, PEE Rocky”. I think its hard still because I’m a different generation. It’s hard to prove to them this internet shit is real. The more exhibitions and traveling I’m doing makes it more clear. In a strange way I’ve always knew, even when I was 17 doing Diggy’s mixtape cover and numerous portraits of Kanye, I’ve know theres a bigger picture. I still don’t know where I want to take this. I just gotta keep working and it will all pan out.

BZ: You seem to be doing pretty well currently. You’ve been doing some shows, and getting some interviews. We linked up at the Fat Tiger Workshop here in Chicago. So your names been getting out there. How’s the business side of things? Do show’s and press like that translate into more paying gigs or sales?

Will Prince: Yeah the reception is really picking up. I’ve been doing this since 16-17. So It’s been time building it all up and it seems to be all coming together. It’s hard for me because my target audience are hip hop heads, not art heads with money. Thats why I plan to reinvent myself with original painting and more pop art. Hip Hop will always be a part of me. I haven’t made real money yet, but its bigger than money for me I know something will come.

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BZ: I think that’s great. I would have to say I think some of these guys will be interested in purchasing your works of them if they haven’t already.

Will Prince: I enjoy most meeting fans and people I’m a fan of, building relationships. When its more original work the value will shoot up. Like I say its bigger than the money, but I definitely want my pay check.

BZ: It will come my friend! I have no doubt. What’s in store for the future for Will Prince, currently your just working on putting more detail into your craft, transitioning to paint etc?

Will Prince: Yes that’s the next biggest step. More exhibitions. I’ve done a few this year. I want to hit more cities, it’s the best way to connect. I’ll be in NY for a special exhibition at the end of November. My exhibition in London last week with Boxpark went amazing. That was the first time I have done one in the Uk. So that was overdue and the reception incredible.

BZ: That’s great, really excited to see where your at in the next couple months. It’s been great chatting with you my friend we will have to do it again sometime!

Will Prince: Always great talking with you bro!

Follow @willprinceartwillprinceart.com

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