blackbird SESSIONS: Dead Eyes

Entering the undisclosed studio location, you can sense the wariness present in the dimly lit communal artists’ space. Forced to operate within a system and ideology that drives the culture of such raw and risky expressions underground, it’s natural that the space held caution in the air. Rolling in to talk candidly about street art and cannabis surely adds to the degree of vigilance, but it isn’t hard to draw the artist’s smile.

Best known by his moniker, Dead Eyes, the Bay Area local rolls up a serious joint of Strawberry Banana with ease, telling us about his very first time smoking weed. He describes sitting in the back seat with friends. On a “typical Hayward overlook,” he experienced that wonted leg-numbing. Embracing the moment, he decided he would “stick this out.”

Now, cannabis is coolly incorporated into his life and artistry. To enhance his creative process, Dead Eyes prefers sativa strains, using cannabis to stimulate forethought and evoke focus in the execution. Working in a variety of mediums, today he drew with a marker in his signature style on a painted canvas and showcased some of his water color and oil-based paintings.

Embodying Oakland’s spirit of creative resistance, street art is free public art. At the heart of the matter, a local citizen enhances the landscape of the city with intention and grace.

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