We Came from Mars: Dedos exhibition brings the Golden Era [Interview]
Vancouver, BC – Nelson “Dedos” Garcia is a Vancouver contemporary-expressionist artist who adds a new twist on the old school hip-hop scene. Throughout his career Dedos has worked with numerous amounts of talent from all aspects of hip-hop. A few of his earlier projects included working amongst the Rascalz, as well working on multiple projects with k-os, one of which he won a Juno award for. His latest exhibition was at the Ayden Art Gallery, showcasing his latest work “We Came From Mars” a showcase inspired by the Golden Era of hip-hip. It tributes artists such as Public Enemy, Slick Rick, Grand Master Flash, Biggie and a huge range of iconic artists from that era. HipHopCanada had the chance to sit with Dedos while he dropped knowledge about the hip-hop community, what inspired him, and what’s up next for him. Check out Dedos’ Golden Era series HERE.
“The consciousness was on the rise, it was huge then it got shut down by the industry…they want people to be consuming.”
Written by Chloe Royce & Cole Commandeur for HipHopCanada
HipHopCanada: What inspired you for this particular exhibition?
Dedos: The 90’s. I had to do something that was considered the golden era of hip-hop. Actually before that is considered more of the golden era of hip-hop but to me it was more of my golden era because through the early 90’s that was what helped me and my friends come up and taught us a lot and how to live life.
HipHopCanada: In the 90’s there was a lot of graffiti and b-boying, which are both gateways to hip-hop. Do you think any of those artists inspired you to what you are doing now?
Dedos: The thing is, b-boying faded out in New York and then Europe started taking over it and they started incorporating some new style of dance which some people call freestyle dancing. Hip-hop dancing is B- Boying and B-Girling and synchronized dance moves is hip-hop. It’s almost like street jazz but everything came from something . The beginning of what this whole dance culture came from started with LA and NY and the 2 styles merged together, because in LA you have the popping styles and the funk styles and then NY you got the B-Boying. I came up with B-Boying on my own, and before I met any of my friends I was already doing it, and that was actually through watching Michael Jackson. I didn’t even know about true street culture until I moved to the city, at one point I was living in Langley then I moved to the city and that’s when I started meeting friends who were into hip-hop in fact my partner from the Rascalz introduced me to hip-hop he showed me Rakim, Run DMC, Slick Rick. When I heard them it completely changed my point of view on the whole culture. I mean I didn’t even know this culture existed and it was so big and I just started listening to music I just fell in love with it and I wanted to preserve that with my art. That’s what I’m doing preserving that essence and nostalgia that a lot of people that came up with me would feel and going back to the art show this is what this is about for me.
HipHopCanada: The Altered Jordan logo on the “We Came From Mars” piece you have – what does it symbolize?
Dedos: It’s more like black power, Black Panther power. Black Panther stood for humanity in a sense not just black people equality for all. I’m using that as a way to flip a logo or an icon, I kind of do that a lot, I thought it was appropriate for this to incorporate Spike Lee from Do the right thing hence the name “Came from Mars” from Mars Blackmon – the Jordan era.
HipHopCanada: I love my Jordans! [Laughing]
Dedos: I love my Jordans too that’s all we cared about as long as you got a pair of Jordan’s You’re dope. [Laughing]
HipHopCanada: I have a question about the nostalgia – these are new works to you so it’s kind of like a combination of the old and the new…do you see in the future moving onto newer or different subject matter, or will you always come back to your roots?
Dedos: Well I’m pretty open I’m not so closed minded, I mean my next piece may be something completely different. This is something that is a part of me and I thought I would expose that, a lot of people don’t know that I have this history. Especially a lot of new generations, this new generation doesn’t know a lot, when they do research they know I danced and did some graffiti. So it’s just the revival of me just to the public and also an educational experience for the younger generations because they don’t know the history of the industry for that matter and the culture. What I want to help to preserve as much as I can and educate without putting too much stress in my life. This is something I would like to keep doing.
HipHopCanada: Do you see yourself collaborating in any kind of animated TV shows?
Dedos: Yeah or like a movie, it’s really endless what you can do when it comes to paraphernalia (art) you can do so much. So I’m just trying to be careful in how I expose an idea like this. No one has really touched on to so doing an exhibit it helps to mark my stamp, my signature, and my style is unique, I like to think compared to people that are involved in this culture. I’m trying to take it on a new angle that no one has really been able to or even thought of doing. And I feel like I have a lot of right to because I grew up to this I guess for a while before I got into this I was thinking how can I get back into this market and try to think of a way to do that is really difficult to try to do something original, which is something that’s really hard , but I just started looking into my history. I know hop-hop culture pretty well and I grew up with it, I grew up in a band I got to tour I got to travel I have all these experience behind me but I’m not utilizing it with my art . So I thought why not incorporate what I know. And all the doors started opening for me. To me those are signs that say “go for it”. So I just went for it , I followed my instinct I follow my heart, it tells me what to do, usually I get a good feeling about stuff when my heart starts pounding. That’s it really cuz my mind starts telling me, ya don’t bother it’s a lot of work, maybe no one’s going to like it maybe it might get mis-represented or people are not gonna be feeling it – you know so many doubts go through your mind but just follow through with it cuz this is something I really like to do on my own. If I had no job or anything to do I would do this. Really what I’m getting the chance to do is what I always wanted to do. You know ever since I was young I was always drawing my friends or other groups that was like my practice but I feel like now I’m at a level where I could show and so at it’s been a good response we’ll see where it goes from here. I got a good feeling about it I know it came from the higher conscious to me and for some reason I was chosen to be in this position. I’m just grateful to the almighty to have put me in this position and at the same time teach, whatever I could give to the others I’m more than welcome to express that.
HipHopCanada: Do you feel like you’re here as a resource for a younger generation?
If anyone ever had a question about the past, the culture or whatever I mean I’d like to share as much I can – hopefully I’m saying the correct things or I could at least lead people to the right people to listen to. I mean you know a lot of the forefathers, Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grand Master Flash, ummm I don’t wanna name drop too much but a lot of people that need to learn or want to learn should go to these people and listen to what they’re saying you know cuz they’re out there teaching way more than me. My life is so filled with my family and my work but I don’t have a chance to get out there and speak so much. But go check out Mr. Wiggles off the bat that guy has so much knowledge it’s unbelievable and you can check him online just Google and YouTube and find Mr. Wiggles interview and stuff, he’s dropping mad knowledge to everybody about the hip-hop culture . The younger generation needs to hear this because they need to pass this on this is a unification of humanity that’s what it is , the creators brought this together for all of us to come one a peaceful group of people living in harmony you know what I mean? That’s what hip-hop is really about. The industry has changed a lot and it’s really the industry that’s at fault – they’re really corrupting the system and the artist for that matter and another reason why I consider it the golden era is because it wasn’t so tainted with the industry you know what I mean it was just the beginning the birth if hip-hop you know, the gangsta rap started coming in and you know that was all by design to infiltrate then it was glorified and now it’s glorified to the point where it’s like what is it now? It’s not even hip-hop, hip-hop is something of a higher consciousness and back then they were spitting more of a conscious lyrics, the consciousness was on the rise it was huge then it got shut down by the industry. They don’t want people to be conscious they don’t want their 3rd eye to be open at all. They want people to be consuming.
HipHopCanada: I know you also work with video games, and that you did some work with Def Jam, what did you do for them?
Ded0s: Well there was a videogame that came out called Def Jam Icon. That opportunity came up and I took it because you know it was a good thing a good job good time and I thought I could incorporate my 2 cents into a hip-hop game.It opened a lot of doors for me.
HipHopCanada: So how is the dance aspect of hip-hop portrayed through any of your artwork on this gallery, or perhaps just the music that happens in it?
Dedos: I’d say more of the music rather than the actual dancing. I mean I haven’t even gotten to the dancers yet cuz right now I’m doing all the hip-hop MCs, really more or less the conscious MCs to start off with and then I move on to other ones because you know, I might as well include everyone and I’m also including the DJs. Within the groups you know like Public Enemy they have Terminator X or like T-Nice he was an MC and DJ but it’s a long term goal and I’ll get through them all in time
Written by Chloe Royce & Cole Commandeur for HipHopCanada