Why ask ten questions when you can ask 11? I sat down with graffiti artist extraordinaire and INsider Juan Dimida at CES 2015 to talk tech, art and analog.
- What was your first piece of tech?
My mom was a high school teacher in Philadelphia, when I was growing up. This was in the early 80s, and at that time, the schools were equipped with Apple 2Es. During the summer, she got to bring one home with her and we got to play on it. The screen was dark and everything showed up green - that's what I remember most about it. My sister, who’s 5 years older, actually got into programming on it, but I used it mainly to play games. I was kind of dyslexic as a kid, too, so my mom would make me type on the computer instead of write on paper, which helped train me to write properly, because the letters showed up the right way on screen, unlike when I would write them by hand.
What's a piece of tech you'd like to see make a comeback and why?
Hmm.. …that’s a tough question, b/c I’m so much in the head space of what’s “brand new” and what I can do with it, I almost forget about the old stuff. In the past year I’ve been getting into more video stuff. Nowadays everything is digital; HDMI, strings of #s... Earlier, things came through analog signals. I’d like to go back and use a VCR to process signals and make them do weird things, different than what you can do now with digital signals. There’s a different feel or sound to analog vs digital. It’s like talking about acoustic vs. electric.
Who's your favorite musician?
It switches from day to day. Right now I really like Juan Atkins.He's from Detroit, and I think he's considered the originator of techno. He innovated a lot of weird music with these sci-fi-like sounds. Ask me tomorrow, though, and my answer might change!
What's the most interesting thing you've discovered at CES?
The 3D TV screen. I'm talking about 3D TV that has images coming out of it - with no special 3D glasses needed. It's pretty crazy. Nuts!
What's your favorite spot in Philadelphia?
I like South Philly - the Italian Market. Philadelphia has such different neighborhoods with different feels. I grew up in the northern end in a neighborhood called Olney. It was fun growing up there, because it was a diverse neighborhood, and there was a lot of graffiti. So a lot of the kids were naturally into graffiti. That was our culture. That's what we did to create.
Finish this sentence: I'd sleep well knowing that ____________.
I'd sleep well knowing I didn't have anything important to do first thing in the morning!
Any New Year's resolutions?
I've got a few. First is, I want to make one original music track every week. It’s easy - if you compose electronic music - to get a song halfway done and then get another idea that doesn’t work with it and move on to the next song, and then you’ve got a ton of half-baked tracks. First resolution is to complete a song each week. Second is, to make more art. The studio where I work, we do public art. It’s a space in South Philly with a big garage. When the weather's nice and the garage doors are open, people will just wander in off the street, to see what we're up to. I want to do a painting every week that I can hang up in the garage so I have art to show when we have people stop in. Third resolution is to start working out again. A few years ago I was doing really well with this, but I need to get back into it. Like, maybe I need to start doing Just Dance again! My wife got me that a few years ago.
What's your favorite website for inspiration?Youtube. All day long. If I get an idea and I don’t know how to do it, I go to Youtube. I get into weird electronic stuff from the 50s, 60s and 70s, and it's amazing what you can find on Youtube. Just pull up a playlist and go.
What's the best part of being a Lenovo INsider?
Learning about technology. I don’t know how computers work. By that I mean, I don’t know what’s going on “inside.” And that’s where this INsider community comes in handy. They know so much. If I have a question, like how you do something, or what part do I need to make this external music keyboard work, before I go out and buy the wrong cord or something, I ask an INsider. They always know. They’re like a tech board of advisors!
Finish the sentence: Without art I ___________________.
I'd be a high school gym teacher. I love doing stuff with kids!
Would you draw us something?
To see more of Juan's art, check out his Tumblr, here.