I am fortunate enough to work in a building with numerous types of brands and talented people that help fuel and motivate my passion to keep creating images. One person specifically is a dude by the name of Ryan Flaitz. You may have heard of his underwear company, PSD in which he co-founded with his brother Curt, and if you haven't, I suggest you head on over to their site to check them out. (www.PSDunderwear.com)
However, I am not here to talk about Ryan and his underwear company. I am here to talk about Ryan the artist known as, Flaitz Whatever. Ryan can be seen through the window of his office painting and creating almost everyday, and it's hard not to notice his artwork that he so proudly displays outside for everyone to see.
"I love when people stop by cause they noticed my art"
Being a vintage Mickey Mouse fan is what lead me to start talking to Ryan in the first place. He is currently working on a collection called Not Broken, which includes cartoon characters that we are all so familiar with (Mickey Mouse, Pink Panther, Rafiki, and Jack Skellington.) To help break up the the monotony and to give himself a mental break he also creates images from and for his love of 90's Hip Hop, which he is entitling his Cardboard Collection.
Since first talking to Ryan, we've both expressed an interest for me to shoot his artwork for him to have, and for me to get creative with. In the weeks following is when the idea to interview him came about. I've always wanted to start an interview series around people and their passions, and I couldn't have thought of a better person to kick that off with than Ryan.
Images by Mark Mendoza - Who is Flaitz Whatever?
Flaitz Whatever - Someone who likes to mix and match all genres of life. I come from a small town called Hornell, NY and somehow find myself living in Los Angeles, California.
IbMM - Who are your inspirations?
FW - Im inspired by many things and they all change daily. Mostly, music inspires me or I will be watching a movie and something will trigger an idea for a painting. I'm a big 90's hip hop fan and I am also into rock n roll. One minute I'm bumpin Snoop and the next it's Guns n Roses, and eventually you'll catch me at a Luke Bryan concert HaHa. If I had a list of people to name that I would be inspired by, it would be pretty random...Mike Tyson, Snoop, Walt Disney, Rob Zombie, Mark Wahlberg, and any ancient Egyptian...HaHa yeah see what I mean.
IbMM - What do you think art does for the world?
FW - I feel it's the only endless way for people to express themselves. Whether it's the artist creating it or the person taking a picture of it. Art speaks to people and allows people to find true feelings; Whether it is during the darkest moments of life or the brightest moments of life. Art has no limits.
"It was just something I did on the side when no one was looking."
IbMM - Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
FW - Man, 5 years from now I see myself as a family man raising my future kids. Hopefully being bothered to do art for people, but at my own pace HaHa.
IbMM - If you could tell 18 year old Ryan anything, what would it be?
FW - You've got many lessons to learn punk, better tighten that seatbelt on this roller coaster.
IbMM - Do you have a favorite art piece of another artist?
FW - I actually cant say I do, I know this is bad to say being an artist, but i don't study art. I enjoy most art, but my favorite pieces would be found in the street art world.
IbMM - If you weren't doing art, what would you be doing?
FW - Art has always been something I have done behind the scenes until recent. I enjoy many things and I'm an owner of the fashion brand PSD underwear which was my dream. So I will continue to chase achieving the goals I have set for that. The brand was born through my artwork and over the years brought me to L.A. and the crazy retail world.
IbMM - What got you into art?
FW - I started drawing at a very young age, It was just something i did. Since the first day I started doing art I haven't stopped. It was just something I did on the side when no one was looking.
IbMM - What do you want people to feel when they see your art?
FW - I want people to wanna take pictures of my art and be able to connect with it. A lot of my art is based off of my generation and the music and movies I remember growing up to over the years. I love when people see my art and go "is that from?" or " wow that reminds me of"...most of the time they are usually on the right path of what its meant to be. I also enjoy hearing people go "how do you come up with this stuff"...I don't know how to explain it, I just do.
IbMM - Do you have a favorite quote?
FW - I have one too many but probably "I'm the ghost with the most, babe" -Beetlejuice Or "don't call it a comeback I've been here for years" -LL Cool J