The graffiti street artist known as CRAM sat down to talk about his collaboration with Tango Hotel on the “Cramcept” line. With its signature slogan “creativity takes courage,” it emphasizes the artist's powerful dedication to this contemporary art form.
“I was born and raised in New York City. Growing up in New York City during the late ’80s and throughout the 90’s I was heavily inspired by Graffiti, Skateboarding and Music,” he says as he talks about the line of t-shirts and sweats that feature his brightly hued, dramatic line art.
“I have always been drawing, but you can say I started to paint seriously in the Mid ’90s. My painting approach is that of a DJ or producer; I take inspiration from around me, sample and remix it and hopefully bring something new to the table.”
CRAM Graffiti Art
This you see right away with your first glimpse of the Cramcept line, in which there is a flawless merging of line and color. “My style can vary depending on my mood and the surface I am painting on. You can describe it as Abstract and Graphic, with a lot of colors and bold lines.”
He returns to the topic of the work used in the collaboration. “The artwork that was used for the collaboration was initially created as a mural in the Lower East Side of NYC. I came up with the design while I was creating it; a freestyle. I knew I wanted some blank space with color and for the other parts of the painting, I wanted the rest of the picture to be very busy.”
The idea of mural art is instantly recognizable in the garments for men and women. Cram’s mural art, recreated as a canvas and then photographed for conversion to print on the fabric is alive and dynamic.
Speaking of his color choices, Cram said, the “base of the painting was a vintage light blue Rustoleum Painters touch acrylic. The bold lines were painted in a Rustoleum oil-based paint, so there is a lot of contrast between the base and what I will call the outline; the black lines. I wanted the rest of the painting to have bright colors, so there is yellow and pink; creating a CYMK color story with the addition of some greens and blues. For those colors, I used various brands of European spray paint. Both the mural and final canvas were created using the same materials.”
Cramcept by CRAM
Clearly dedicated to his craft, and having a lot of technical skill to back up the creativity, he responds to the question of where he sees contemporary art, graffiti street art, and fashion going with this answer: “I will take a quote from Andy Warhol for this one – ‘art is what you can get away with’. This quote really holds true today. If you saw at Art Basel; you had as an ‘artwork’, a banana taped to a wall that was sold for 100K. The artist definitely got away with that one…”
Is he inspired by this? “No, I’m really inspired by life, traveling, music and NYC. I try to fill my brain with images, text, and color stories to use as I see fit. I have always been a fan of Keith Haring, Basquiat and Picasso; you can see it in my work. My friends and collaborators continue to inspire me and push me, and I am grateful for their presence in my life.”
CRAM Graffiti Art
The Cramcept line features full and blocks printed pieces that emphasize the beautiful murals that Cram created for the series. Emphasizing contrast, the garments are available in black, white, and that street-familiar blue and perfect when you want to depict your creativity with the same courage as Cram himself.