Just Draw with John Macchione

John Macchione

IG: @hellawise_designs
” And in time, this too shall pass”
Glen Cove, NY

What is Art to you?

Art is subjective, but to me i feel that art is my personal way of opening up to people. It’s always been hard for me to connect, I didn’t grow up being a very social person, I’ve always struggled with social anxiety/depression But ever since I was a child I would always connect with people through my art… I typically will not be the one to strike up conversation with a random person, but since I started doing graffiti murals, and posting my artwork on Instagram, I’ve met and connected with so many wonderful people. It’s always been that way, as long as I was drawing or painting I could connect with people around me. Art is also my way of expressing an idea I have, or expressing  something in particular that I’m going through in life. I think as artists we feel things on a really deep level… the highs and the lows. Being able to draw out and express how I’m feeling or what I’m going through is essential to my growth process. So I would say art to me is my own personal way of expressing myself and connecting with the world.

How did you get started with graffiti?
I actually remember the exact moment that I became interested in graffiti. I was around 6 years old and my older sister had received a love letter from some boy. She was showing me the letter and he drew out her name in graffiti letters. I completely disregarded what she was trying to show me bc I was so captivated by the way he drew her name. I instantly grabbed a pencil and paper and tried to make my own graffiti letters. As I got older, I got really into exploring different nature preserves, state parks, etc. And then one day I stumbled across Welwyn Preserve which happened to be in my home town of glen cove. They have a trail that leads to an abandoned green house, and inside there are 3 rooms that have the walls covered in graffiti. The second I stepped foot in there, i knew i had struck gold. The location was perfect because it was in a trail so no cops would ever bother me. And it was in my hometown so I could go there as much as I wanted. Welwyn has been like my second home, I started practicing graffiti there years ago and to this day visit and put up new murals regularly.

Are they any other mediums that you explore?
My main mediums are just pencil/ black marker and spray paint. But I also create with acrylic and oil paint.

What inspires you?
Music has definitely played a big part in my artwork. Behind every piece I’ve made there’s a playlist that heavily influenced the flow of things. I have a lot of friends who are heavily involved in the NYC underground bass music scene, I also come from a family of musicians, my sister is a singer, my brother plays drums in a band and my father was a DJ. And I guess the cliche answer which is life. But I guess it’s cliche for a reason. Everything  I go through or experience or see inspires me. It can be anything as deep and complex as my childhood traumas or something as simple as going to see a good movie or a concert. If I see something or experience something inspirational, my brain takes a mental picture and captures the moment and I carry that later on once I reach a canvas.

What was the last thing that you saw that ignited that creative spark in you?
A few hours ago before it started down pouring the clouds got really dar, I was on my bike riding home from work, and I was essentially racing against what looked like Armageddon… so my brain captured the moment I looked up and saw the clouds. I’m gonna try and create some type of image that incorporates crazy clouds / a storm on its way to devour something/ someone

Describe your creative process, like from inception of the idea to the end.
I have 2 methods:
1. I’ll have an idea and will sketch it out countless times. They’ll start off loose and non detailed just so I can get a base going. When I’m at that stage I’ll literally just keep cranking out loose sketches and work out any of the major problems until I find  a solid base for the idea. And once I find that I’ll start taking more time to focus on the details of the idea. I’ll sketch a detailed version maybe 2-3 times to play around with certain things, and then once I have the final sketch I’ll take a  black micron pen and trace it with black ink to make everything stand out. Usually the sketches that get inked will make it on to the walls of Welwyn as a mural. Or they’ll get scanned into my computer and put into a project or put on a hoodie/ shirt
And then there’s the other method
2.  Just draw . Don’t even think about what you wanna make, don’t think about anything.  Just keep a loose hand and get something on the paper and go back and make harder lines gradually and figure it out as you go along

If you had to name it, what would you name your art style and why?
Man that’s tough… but I guess if I had to I would call it new school psychedelic. New school kind of describes my style since most of my lines and proportions are stretched out and aren’t traditional. And I like to incorporate a lot of psychedelic patterns and symbols.
Can you talk about your use of animals, and why those specific ones like the gorilla and elephant ?

The elephant and octopus are reoccurring images that I create. Since I was a kid I’ve been obsessed with elephants and octopi. The elephant, the octopus, and the gorilla are all very powerful and intelligent creatures. So when I use them in my artwork I’m representing strength, power, wisdom, etc.

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