Bum, vagrant, drifter, derelict: all these terms usually carry a negative connotation. Haters look down on the nomadic types. Tha Bum, however, willingly chose this moniker for his tagging alias. "My homie and I used to do a radio show called Two Bums and a Mike," he recalls, "so my name came from there. I'm also all about the urban street style, so it kinda fits together."Repping the 562, Cali-based Tha Bum gets up all around the West coast. As a kid, his friends asked him to draw them pictures after class. "It was kind of like job training," he jokes. For the past five years, he's slapped his stickers in and around his home. To pay the bills, he dreams up graphics for a t-shirt and headwear company.
Tha Bum's drawings may be on tees, but his heart is in the streets. "Street art is all about getting up in the streets," he insists, "but it's much more than that. It's a style of art that is very distinctive and it's also a lifestyle." When it comes to getting up, Tha Bum is never scared. He only fears, he insists, "not pursuing my dreams."
Tagging can lead to some unfathomable adventures. "One time in Vegas," he explains, "a homeless man asked me for change. I said, 'For sure, if you hold up one of my stickers so I can take a flick.' He agreed, but then changed his mind and didn't want to give me my money back. We almost got into a fist fight, but I got my money back."
Street art is ephemeral, but Tha Bum hopes to leave his mark. "I'd like to work for myself eventually," he says. "I just want to make sure my work is around even after I die. Right now, I'm working on a few things for some clients and trying to finish up one of my own pieces." Don't be fooled, this Bum is no slacker. Be on the lookout for fresh pieces in your hood.
Thanks a bunch, man! For more photos or info, stop by his MySpace. Alright, it's the weekend. Time for some watermelon and sun on the porch.