Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Jimmy. I grew up in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, lived in Philly for a few years, but currently reside in Jersey. I’ve sketched, drawn, painted, etc for as long as I can remember. I am not formally trained in any type of art or design. When I started writing graffiti near the end of 2006, it was a real challenge. It pushed me to study a wide range of typeface, typography, calligraphy, sign painting, along with the various techniques/tricks-of-the-trade it takes to work with spray paint as a medium. In 2008, my good friend Daiji and I formed Gloss Black. Our original intention was to use Gloss Black as a platform for selling hand-drawn typefaces. Around the same time I had started painting murals and as it continued to snowball I kept up with their demand. That pretty much brings us up to present day.
^Vintage postcard promo design by Gloss Black.
How did you decide on “Gloss Black”?
Daiji and I were having a hard time deciding on a name for ‘us’. One night we were geeking out over the difference between flat black and gloss black paints. We decided that we both favored gloss black and decided then Gloss Black sounded good!
What are your domestic and imported paint brands of choice to use?
I’ll use anything, and I’m not too picky. Don’t get me wrong, some paints are horrible. Rust-Oleum has been a tried and true favorite since day one. Lowest price for a good quality. I try to use Rust-Oleum and Valspar for nearly all projects, but sometimes characters or scenes require colors that these two brands don’t provide. In that case, I’ll usually end up overpaying for Montana Gold from a local art store. I few times I have used Belton or Ironlak, I was not impressed.
So are you a can collector?
I never thought I would but I’ve got a small collection, and it’s growing haha.
^’All in All’ – Cap canvas by Gloss Black.
^’Stops Rust’ – Custom skateboard deck by Gloss Black.
What brands or colors that have been discontinued that you miss?
When I started painting, the cans weren’t much different than what’s available today. I’m fairly new to collecting and experimenting with vintage brands. But I will say the quality of old Krylon (90s era) is superb, same with Rust-Oleum. I’m not familiar with the older Krylon lineup, but it did have a great selection of color. More recently, the Rust-Oleum brand colors I miss are Peacock, Tomato Red, Orchid, Coral, Watermelon, Magenta, and Satin Amber to name a few.
Worst paint you ever used?
Quick Color, America’s Finest, and Colorplace all tie. Current day Krylon is also a joke.
Worst Gloss Black you ever used? ; )
Haha clever. Probably America’s Finest (change your name!)
Do you use any vintage paint in your projects?
Yes I do. I use very old Rust-Oleum whites as filler for a lot of projects. I painted a large ruler using all Rust-Oleum Rust Inhibitor Primer, which worked great and the color was spot on (mustardy brown). Most recently I painted Rex from Toy Story, I used vintage Rust-Oleum White and Grey Primer.
^’A Brief Introduction To Spray Enamel’ – Canvas in process by Gloss Black.
^’A Brief Introduction To Spray Enamel’ – Canvas collage using original vintage paper labels. Artwork by Gloss Black.
Tell us about your collage work. ‘Brief Intro to Spray Enamel’?
I’m very excited about this series because, as an artist, I feel as if I’m closer to finding my niche. Hanging these canvases along side the Cap Canvas series I can see my tendency towards a clustered/layered/detail-oriented body of work. Something you can look at from a distance or up-close and still enjoy. With the the Label Series, I enjoy using naturally dirty, torn, stained, smudged, rusted labels. Each area of the canvas has a different mood, whether its bright and new, or old and forgotten. I plan on making many more of these.
Did you get to use any of the cans that featured the labels you selected?
Bumper Chrome, Tru-Test Hi-Q Oriental Yellow, and Orr-Lac Plum. All worked well…
Any of your work for sale? If so, is there more available, pricing, info, etc?
I welcome commissioned work, but most canvas work on display is for personal use. I plan on keeping the label canvases but Gloss Black is in the works of getting them printed as posters to sell for a reasonable price.
Do you find that your design influences your graff and vice versa?
Most definitely. It’s hard to avoid it when working with spray paint, because the technique is the same but the subject matter is different. The hard part is switching gears when painting a mural, sometimes you forget there are mediums, brushes, pens, and techniques that make perfect sense to use, rather than tick tacking around with purely spray paint.
Any color/can that you would like to have?
Paper label Rust-Oleum. For my small personal collection and future projects.
^’Untitled’ – Canvas by Gloss Black.
^’Stock’ – Cap canvas by Gloss Black.
Any current/future projects?
We are currently discussing a community revitalization project with officials from a city in Northern New Jersey. This could consist of 4 or more large walls. There is still a great deal of planning, talks with business owners, and pricing to do, so it’s all up in the air. Fingers crossed.
Your thoughts on CMC documenting paint history?
It’s a great idea! And I’m glad someone is doing the work to document such a thing, and get the facts straight for such a variety of vintage brands, cans, and misfits. I wish you guys all the best, anything I can do to help!
Any other comments/shouts?
Big thanks to Daiji, for being a great colleague, all of his hard work, and contributions to the face of Gloss Black.
My buddy Sam, who introduced me to his collection, method of collecting, and who really got the wheels turning for me.
Thank you, CMC, for your interest and support of my work, looking forward to seeing your collection soon!
^’A Brief Introduction To Spray Enamel V.2′ – Canvas collage using original vintage paper labels. Artwork by Gloss Black.