Portrait 1: UnCasso

uncut1

  • Portrait: UnCasso
  • Art: Street Artist, Entrepreneur
  • Known for: Protect Your Heart, “PYH” (423)
  • Age: Stopped Counting
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY
  • Instagram: @protectyoheart, @uncuttart
  • Twitter: @protectyoheart, @uncuttart

“Un” or “Benjamin Button” to some (i.e. he doesn’t age), lives in Brooklyn and has had his work commissioned in NY, NJ, Miami and LA. If you live or have visited any of these cities or are familiar with the arts scene(s), you’ve invariably seen his work. His life, however, is not limited to what is seen.

According to Un, there have been several moments that defined him and laid the foundation for one of his biggest campaigns, Protect Your Heart (aka: PYH, see my own picture below from Culver City). As a kid in junior high and high school, he was prone to doodling. At the time, being an artist wasn’t the prevailing cool thing to do based on where he was brought up, i.e. in the streets. He liked doodling, specifically, because it “had no rules.” (Editor’s note: Un definitely isn’t one for modern convention, rules or keeping up with the Joneses.)

He always gravitated to the idea of “creating something out of nothing.” After college, Un got involved with the film industry as a casting director. He was also connected in with the music industry. His work as a casting director afforded him exposure to big names, big shows and blockbuster films. To executives, Un may have been construed as the “little guy coming up,” but he knew he wielded a lot of power in organizing talent, timing, and generally making things happen. People would often see him doodling (on set) and paid attention. They encouraged him to up his doodling game to t-shirts and sneakers. According to Un, this may have been more selfish than anything, i.e. they wanted to wear things that would make them look good. Regardless, he took their advice and thrived in the custom sneaker world, in particular, for a while.

But Un’s story isn’t without the battles faced by many in the (music, film, or talent-based) industry; he always had several things going on at once and, while he excelled at them, he admittedly didn’t always pay attention to the minutiae. He considered (and still does) himself a giving and loving (and trusting) person. In speaking about his sneaker deal, he was honest in sharing that he had been taken advantage of early on. The company who had signed him hadn’t been transparent in the full details regarding the deal, and Un, disillusioned by it all, decided to go away for a while. And “go away” in the most profound sense; he effectively went away from the world by becoming something of a recluse, locked inside his apartment, “smoking for weeks at a time.” The fog lifted momentarily when the same company came back for another attempted deal, but it wasn’t what Un was looking for – he declined the offer and decided to physically go away. He was in LA to try and negotiate his new

deal at the time and ended up staying there for almost a year, house-sitting for a friend (leaving his roommate, leaving his car, and leaving his life in NY) in order to reset. At the time, he felt like he was in “total darkness.” Disillusionment is a powerful thing.

Resetting was also powerful for Un. As someone still in his relative youth, he realized he had to hold himself responsible for his life, be more judicious in the deals he accepted, and apply those same principles to the people he kept around him. Two books helped focus Un, and he still shares their messages fondly: The Four Agreements and The 48 Laws of Power. In particular, he read The Four Agreements multiple times before really “getting it,” and realized, once he did, that he had something to share with the world. The take-aways from these books and “learning himself” became Un’s central focus and would go on to shape the future of his work and art. Protect Your Heart (“PYH”) was, in fact, born from this era of angst. Another important carryover from this time in Un’s life was the clarity he achieved as an individual. He knew himself, he knew his strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly, he had found his muse: himself.

Un thinks everyone should be most motivated by their own growth. His viewpoint, if Un and his intention via art can be captured in a simple definition, is this:

“There’s no time to be idle; there’s a lot to see, you have to keep going. Everything deals with understanding himself; the more he understands himself, the more he understands people. [He] utilizes art to communicate with people – (and) wants people to not worry; we worry about everything. We aren’t meant to worry.”

To Un, the structures in society have been set up so that we are constantly chasing some milestone set by someone else. Age is a critical example of this for Un: when you stop counting age, “you stop trying to catch up.” As for people, Un considers himself something of a loner. He admits to having “closees” (a word that should be used in everyday vocabulary) and “spiritual ancestors” in this life. People he looks to for guidance. He doesn’t like to be alone, however, so, when he finds good energy, he wants to be around it. He considers himself a mentor to many people as well, including a group of kids he works with on an annual basis via a nonprofit organization in South Florida. Outside of his direct connections, he also knows he has had an impact on people via social media; his art has “hit people lethally.” Confirmation of this is seen by the several tags he gets on social media on a daily basis due to fans finding “PYH” in various cities. (Editor’s note: I would be one of these fans having found his work in both Miami and LA, my two towns.)

If he has a culminating message (personally and through his art), it would be for people to shake themselves out of their preconceived notions of what life should be and deal with what is. For Un, a person’s “soul mate” is themselves. Our journey here (in this life) is to find ourselves, to destroy: to stop walking backwards, to build again. To fall in love with ourselves, so that we can share that love more purely with others. People need to understand their power and greatness. Importantly, they need to not fill their hearts with things that don’t benefit or devalue them or cause them pain; the heart, after all, “computes what the universe is conspiring,” for us all. We have to PYH until we are ready. We can have a moment for ourselves (when we find snippets of PYH scattered across walls and sidewalks, for example) and be reminded of this, even momentarily, on a daily basis.

And Un wants to carry this message, via PYH and his other campaigns (PYE, “Protect Your Earth” is another one), as far as he possibly can. He is largely self-funded but has at least three revenue streams going at all times so that he can continue to share and magnify his messages. Although he’s mainly known for his street art, Un is multi-talented and multi-faceted; he has designs about being doing a TED Talk, being in museums, and sharing his message via a comprehensive art show and annual PYH Festival in a yet-to-be determined city. Un is a special force and, via self-knowledge and self-love, he is “only getting better.”

Final note: Un is kind and given his honesty, humor and grit, I am excited to see what he creates in and for his next chapters. He’s tireless, and we need more restless Un-messages in the world.

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Portrait: Un

Art: Street Artist, Entrepreneur

Known for: Protect Your Heart, “PYH” (423)

Age: Stopped Counting

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Instagram: @protectyoheart, @uncuttart

Twitter: @protectyoheart, @uncuttart

 

“Un” or “Benjamin Button” to some (he doesn’t age), lives in Brooklyn and has had his work commissioned in NY, NJ, Miami and LA. If you live or have visited any of these cities or are familiar with the arts scene(s), you’ve invariably seen his work. His life, however, is not limited to what is seen.

According to Un, there have been several moments that defined him and laid the foundation for one of his biggest campaigns, Protect Your Heart (aka: PYH, see my own picture below from Culver City). As a kid in junior high and high school, he was prone to doodling. At the time, being “an artist” wasn’t the prevailing cool thing to do based on where he was brought up, i.e. in the streets. He liked doodling, specifically, because it “had no rules”. Note: Un definitely isn’t one for modern convention, rules or keeping up with the Joneses.

He always gravitated to the idea of “creating something out of nothing”. After college, Un got involved with the film industry as a casting director. He was also connected in with the music industry. His work as a casting director afforded him exposure to big names, big shows and blockbuster films. To executives, Un may have been construed as the “little guy coming up,” but he knew he wielded a lot of power in organizing talent, timing, and generally making things happen. People would often see him doodling (on set) and paid attention. They encouraged him to up his doodling game to t-shirts and sneakers. According to Un, this may have been more selfish than anything, i.e. they wanted to wear things that would make them look good. Regardless, he took their advice and thrived in the custom sneaker world (especially) for a while.

But Un’s story isn’t without the battles faced by many in the (music, film, or talent-based) industry; he always had several things going on at once and, while he excelled at them, he admittedly didn’t always pay attention to the minutiae. He considered (and still does) himself a giving and loving (and trusting) person. In speaking about his sneaker deal, he was very honest in sharing that he had been taken advantage of early on. The company who had signed him hadn’t been transparent in the full details regarding the deal, and Un, disillusioned by it all, decided to go away for a while. And “go away” in the most profound sense; he effectively went away from the world by becoming something of a recluse, locked inside his apartment, “smoking for weeks at a time”. The fog lifted momentarily when the same company came back for another attempted deal, but it wasn’t what Un was looking for – he declined the offer and decided to physically go away. He was in LA to try and negotiate that deal and stayed there for almost a year, house-sitting for a friend, leaving his roommate, leaving his car, and leaving his life in NY in order to reset. At the time, he felt like he was in “total darkness”. Disillusionment is a powerful thing.

Resetting was powerful for Un as well. As someone still in his relative youth (though, again, he stopped counting chronological age), he realized he had to hold himself responsible for his life, be more judicious in the deals he accepted, and apply the same principle to the people he kept around him. Two books helped focus Un, and he still shares their message fondly: The Four Agreements and The 48 Laws of Power. In particular, he read The Four Agreements multiple times before really “getting it”, and realized, once he did, that he had something to share with the world. The take-aways from these books and “learning” himself became Un’s central focus and would go on to shape the future of his work and art. Protect Your Heart (“PYH”) was, in fact, born from this era of angst. Another important carryover from this time in Un’s life was the clarity he achieved as an individual. He knew himself, he knew his strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly, he had found his muse: himself.

Un thinks everyone should be most motivated by their own growth. His viewpoint, if Un and his intention via art can be captured in a simple definition, is this:

“There’s no time to be idle; there’s a lot to see, you have to keep going. Everything deals with understanding himself; the more he understands himself, the more he understands people. [He] utilizes art to communicate with people – (and) wants people to not worry; we worry about everything. We aren’t meant to worry.”

To Un, the structures in society have been set up so that we are constantly chasing some milestone set by someone else. Age is a critical example of this for Un: when you stop counting age (which he has), “you stop trying to catch up”. As for people, Un considers himself something of a loner. He admits to having “closees” (a word I will now use in my everyday vocabulary) and “spiritual ancestors” in this life. People he looks to for guidance. He doesn’t like to be alone, however, so, when he finds good energy, he wants to be around it. He considers himself a mentor to many people as well, including a group of kids he works with on an annual basis via a nonprofit organization in South Florida. Outside of his direct connections, he also knows he has had an impact on people via social media. He wants his art to “hit people lethally”. Confirmation of this is seen by the several tags he gets on social media on a daily basis due to fans finding “PYH” in various cities (editor’s note: I would be one of these fans having found his work in both Miami and LA, my two towns).

If he has a culminating message (personally and through his art), it’s for people to shake themselves out of their preconceived notions of what life should be and deal with what is. For Un, a person’s “soulmate” is themselves. Our journey here (in this life) is to find ourselves, to destroy: to stop walking backwards, to build again. To fall in love with ourselves, so that we can share that love more purely with others. People need to understand their power and greatness. Importantly, they need to not fill their hearts with things that don’t benefit or devalue them or cause them pain; the heart, after all, “computes what the universe is conspiring,” for us all. We have to PYH until we are ready. We can have a moment for ourselves (when we find snippets of PYH scattered across walls and sidewalks, for example) and be reminded of this, even momentarily, on a daily basis.

And Un wants to carry this message, via PYH and his other campaigns (PYE, “Protect Your Earth” is another one), as far as he possibly can. He is largely self-funded but has at least three revenue streams going at all times so that he can continue to share and magnify his messages. Although he’s mainly known for his street art, Un is multi-talented and multi-faceted; he has designs about being doing a TED Talk, being in museums, and sharing his message via a comprehensive annual PYH festival in a yet-to-be determined city. Un is a special force and, via self-knowledge and self-love, he is “only getting better”.

Final note: Un is kind and given his honesty, humor and pure grit, I am excited to see what he creates in and for his next chapters. We need more Un-messages in the world.

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