I’ve known Will since 2008-2009 he’s the low-key entity mastermind sketch artist behind the iconic LexScope logo. Even before the art we'd linked up musically on a couple different occasions, one day I sent him this shitty drawing I made, he digitized (and also redrew it, these are his prototype sketches) it and its been uphill ever since. (Before we even get started William Conrad Erwin II is one of my favorite graphic designers / animators / cartoonist / sketch artist the list goes on but either way hire him he’s dope and he’ll really elevate your image of yourself or at the very least you’ll see yourself in a cool new light).
++ Fun fact: That photo above is the original lexscope logo created in 2013 & updated in 2015.
The past few times I’ve traveled back to NC I’m always fortunate enough to link up with my guy (even if its for a spilt second, he's sorta hard to get in touch with). He was the first dude I ever saw wearing The Hundreds in real life (aka not on tumblr), a person that's genuinely inspired by art, and overall probably works harder than you do. He's one of those artists that really is an artist. I really wish I would have gotten a chance to really interview with all the cameras and whatever whatever but it didn’t work out like that. So this segment of #60SecWithScope is brought to you by the good ol fashion pen and pad, which for this interview works out perfectly.
001. Favorite film directors? Top 3 favorite movies? (Mandatory Scope Question)
- Tony Scott, Guy Richie, & Denis Villeneuve. Can't really say I think about this often but I do watch a ton of things when I'm creating and when I'm not, nonetheless these may not necessarily be my favorites but who came to mind. Recently, maybe 2016, I did search movies by director, so I at least know enough of them not to be cliche with a Tarantino response, even though he is undeniable. I'm a fan of the action, shooter, and thriller genres but my being an artist makes me nitpick about lighting, aesthetic, story, angles, momentum, etc, yet usually anything 'suits and handguns' I'm almost automatically into. Imma go off the top with 3 good ones vs absolute favorites to give an idea of my taste and say: Drive, No Country For Old Men, and John Wick
002. For years the “paperboy” / “earn some height” brand/brands were faceless. I mean the internet just figured out you weren’t a catfish relatively recently. What made you wanna stay anonymous? What made u wanna go public?
- Growth. I also like the idea of putting weight on my family name. I don't think it was a conscious decision or business move at the time, it was just part of my discovery of self. I thought it would be cool to be like Banksy later down the road or be thought of as a machine in the beginning. Some of the greatest artists are elusive but being personable and tangible is more in part with who I aim to be. I don't have a problem standing with my work but I did want it at the forefront. Using my name is just me becoming more comfortable being me in my 20s.
003. Who / what you been listening to lately?
- Lately I've just been listening to music and by that I mean sounds with little to no lyrics. Amon Tobin, Hans Zimmer, Tycho, Controller 7 for example. Especially while I'm working. I may wake up and bump hip-hop for 2-3 hours to liven up in the morning and set my mood and the tone of the workspace but then it has to level out. That's when the volume might go down and audio goes to either sounds of rain, Classical, Jazz jam sessions, video game scores/ soundtracks, or these experimental, electronica works by the guys mentioned above.
004. Dream Collabs?? (Local & large-scale)
- I would love to redesign the City of High Point, Oscar's fine foods, and Sanibel's logos while rebranding for any of them. Or maybe do something like Ignasi Monreal's recent Gucci campaign for WeSC, HVRMINN or 10Deep. Even a traditional illustration campaign for a lookbook could be pretty tight. I have yet to really collaborate with another visual artist professionally. I've been paired with musical artists plenty but between the two fields it would be art sessions with Adam Hughes, Phil Hale, Jacob Rochester, Calum Alexander Watt, Tonci Zonjic, or Scott Waters. Mostly just to pick their brains and watch them work. If I could and when I can work with a musician on my own terms it would most likely be for an animated project. For which I'd love to go with Earth Gang, 2 Chainz, or Joey Bada$$ title tracks and some NC beat makers for the atmospheric, situational tunes.
005. Can you break down the difference between “Bonafide Dopeness / Earn Some Height / The Paperboy”??? (I’ve been wanting to know the answer to this for a couple years now) +where did these names originate?? I need answers.
- Okay. First came The Paperboy. I gave myself this name and I think it was nothing but a gamer tag that translated onto social media back when people where skeptical of posting too much info on the internet(Funny now that its where we live). Bonafide was given to me around the same time, originally a jab at my physique in middle school. Dopeness got added to that since "dope" was and continues to be the most common response to my work. And Earn Some Height came to me during a church service a year or two before college. Eventually I made the translation for Bonafide dopeness: 'genuinely breathtaking' vs 'genuinely dope' to have less of a drug association for those concerned. So BXD is just me branding a nickname while ESH is the actual company and studio I market myself and provide services through.
006. Without revealing any of your confidential info… can you talk a little about your process? Style? A lot of things I see from you are almost playful but in the most professional way if that makes sense… care to elaborate ?
- From an early age I would directly recreate other artist's works. I later found that this process was called emulation and helps you find outcomes the artist found and even simplify their processes. This isnt tracing by any means btw. Being influenced by countless artists and cartoons and being impressionable in front of certain content could have resulted in a reflection of what I absorbed over time or the subject matter I revolve around, giving the playfulness to my works. Not to mention since the emergence of all of the great social platforms, I'm constantly influenced without the need for complete emulation like way back. My process now is definitely credited to all of these influences. James Harren, a popular comic book artist said something about the eraser on Pencils making him too indecisive so I started incorporating Ballpoint penned work into my process and I just flow without turning back. I have to make lines with greater intent and put them in the right places now. This effects my style because it's a different level of expertise and shows my experience and confidence. And with that I have to then touch subject matter that will attract work
007. What / who inspires your sketches / sketch series?? Obviously it won’t be one thing, so I guess a better question... what inspires you as an artist?
- Today's William is inspired by growth, mastery, and professionalism. At this point in my pursuit, being an artist is about getting work while not being in it for the money. So lots of doing and lots of developing when clients can't afford to give me cool shit to work on. I give myself subject matter to revolve around for everyday of the week and for each month just for versatility and keeping busy throughout the month. What ever inspires me may get dedicated to a month for 30-45 illustrations on the subject. Then the every day themes from my Thousands collection are just to keep me sharp. I'm often inspired by my brother, clients, my girlfriend, vehicles, games, books and movies, research, or objects sitting a certain way in a room. Or the room or building's architecture itself
008. My favorite serious you’ve done so far is the “gun control” joint (or anything with anime boobs...lol) what’s your favorite collection / Work you’ve created?
- Like I said, my girlfriend is a big influence. As we all know, art and the female form have gone hand in hand since the beginning of time. Since everyone loves breasts I think that's something that will stick with me for a long time. And my favorite works are probably the unreleased digital paintings of her. Digital painting is where Ive always wanted to shine as an artist so that area may be where most of my favorites are and will be. But shes also featured in my collections too and I like working in collections because it helps organize my portfolio online and at home. I can easily say Thousands is the most fun and easiest to jump into but I can't discredit Champions And Legends. By far my most influential body of work is the Portraiture. I have to thank God for it because He helped develop a recipe that made a style traceable back to me. One that touched a ton of people and is still growing.
009. You remember “Top Notch”? Lol did you ever think we’d be in the position we’re in today?
- Top Notch was one of those things that fuel positions like this. It was a great start that spawned connections and thoughts together. It's so weird what eventually became of it and the perspective it gave me. I was to myself as a kid and the group gave me confidence. Everyone around and associated with that circle had vision and drive I didn't see anywhere else. Having people accept you but also to bring you out of your comfort zone and pushing you to be great brought us to where we are and brought me to branching out and obtaining the great connections I have now
010. Speaking of the past, when did you decided to make the switch from MC to “the fine arts”? We both kinda started with music and branched from there, do u ever think about making music again?
- I actually think about writing music a lot but I also knew the whole time, opening up in that manner wasn't for me. It wasn't even much of a switch. I was always a fine artist, but I like to think I outgrew that period of time and even some peers when I picked a lane to become a specialist in. I never really over-invested in that scene or making compilations and shit. I was just having fun. I wanted to follow my vision and get paid for my passion. It was always about my art, never my face or an image
011. Thought on moving to LA? You ever think about leaving NC as a whole?
- I don't know about LA but I am moving around more. I'm pretty much homeless as is for the time being but what ever direction my work and my connections continue to point me in, or book me, I will be. High Point is home. Planting myself here like a tree, with deep roots and growing into the biggest and the tallest here is still the plan.
012. Number one appetizer choice?
- I'm so indecisive when it comes to favorites. Its between mozzarella sticks or fried calamari. Until I can find decent shrimp tacos