Art comes in all forms. For pop artist Rob Dugan, that form is graffiti. Before the artist started his canvas art business, Seek One, he could be found creating graffiti street art throughout Philadelphia — tagging walls and almost anything else he could find. However, the street art needed to be transferred to something more tangible. “I got in a lot of trouble so I had to find a different outlet to do my art,” he said.
Dugan said he realized he could take the art that he created throughout the city indoors by designing canvases. A little over eight months ago was when Seek One had its spontaneous start. The way the business has quickly taken off is something that has taken Dugan by surprise. The artist said he’d come home from work unable to sleep and would just start painting. He’d put his canvases up on his Seek One Instagram account and people quickly began commenting about how they wanted to get a piece of his art. Dugan said while he’s in the process of getting involved in art shows, he’s primary place to sell his work and talk to customers is Instagram. “Social media is a huge contributor to my exposure,” he said. Dugan’s canvases are not the typical oil painting landscape, but instead, a combination of media and graffiti.
In the beginning, Dugan said he started using stencils made in Photoshop mixed with the graffiti. Now he has expanded to various artistic methods. Dugan likes using bright colors to make things pop he also likes adding a few extra surprises keeps his art unique. The canvases include a variation of paints, prints and other materials such as newspaper. His work includes a Bob Marley canvas with bright shades of orange, teal and yellow surrounding a black and white print of Marley. Another is Biggie Smalls surrounded by splattered paint in various colors. The black and white print of Smalls has him wearing a crown and chain. For Dugan, he said his inspiration came from the world around him.
The artist looks to the music he’s listening to, the events he’s attending or his favorite Philadelphia sports teams for inspiration. He said he’s been a skateboarder since he was a kid and his love for the culture and atmosphere of the sport helps with his painting.
Right now, Dugan does most of his work on his own, but, he’s not against working with others. He said he’s done a few collaborations with friends and would work with more artists if the timing was right. “I like to try new things and expanding my style because I’m still adapting every day,” Dugan said. “I come up with different designs, or different methods for putting my pieces together. It’s always changing.” The artist is also expanding on where you can find his art. Dugan also has paints on Vans sneakers and draws on skateboards. While most of his creations are made and then sold as is, he will do custom orders. Customers can ask for a specific pop culture icon or design along with the color palette. Although the item would be customized, Dugan warns that customers should expect his flair with the final product.
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Liked this article? Learn more about other Philadelphia creatives, like designer duo Senpai + Kohai, or a graphic design firm doing things differently.
Written By Meg Ryan