Background Noise, Volume 42: CB23


There’s not a whole lot of information out there on artist CB23. However, The Street Museum of Art seems to have a little tidbit:

In his youth, CB23 fluctuated between a life spent absorbing absorbing cartoons and the surrounding urban denigration of Atlanta’s abandoned complexes.  Although he may have left the south behind, the adventure and animations have absorbed into his psyche, leaving a deep yearning for self-expression within his newly found urban environment. Influences include: Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Rock-A-Doodle, Ren and Stimpy, and all those cartoons that, in retrospect, your parents’ probably shouldn’t have let you watch.

CB23 (known as “Classic” to some), left the southern states for the cold northeast, where he could immerse himself in Brooklyn’s bustling art world. It was there, alongside fellow artists/collaborators Foxxface, Edapt, Tony Depew, Clint Mario, and others that he started to make a name for himself. His stickers, wooden bolt-ups, and graffiti started appearing everywhere. All different shapes and sizes, and all using the same general image: a man with thick eyebrows, a wide nose, and often narrow, almost closed eyes. The biggest variation in his imagery is the mouth, which usually conveys a different mood for each character. Sometimes somber, sometimes surprised, and rarely smiling.

His prolificacy has worked wonders. It’s gotten his work into NYC’s Fountain Art Fair, and various group shows. It’s a classic (no pun intended) example of how you can use image familiarity to create brand awareness. Just keep putting an image (or variation of an image) out there, and if you’re persistent, people will start to take notice. Especially if it’s well done.

What was your first concert?
My first show was probably Raffi or some kid’s shit but I can’t really remember…

Last concert/show?
The last concert I went to was Ty Segall at The Bowery Ballroom.

First album you bought?
The first album that I ever owned was Weird Al Yankovic’s, “Greatest Hits.”
The second was Hermans Hermit’s self-titled record.

Last album you bought?
These days I usually get my music off Spotify and the last playlist I added was ‘Run The Jewels 2.’ But the last physical record I bought was an Oh Sees LP from a concert last year. I wish I had more money to spend on music.

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
The one record that really made an impression on me was Gorillaz, “Demon Days.” I only used to listen to punk music in high school (Ramones, Briefs, Johnny Thunders) and during my first year of college a girl persuaded me into smoking a joint with her and we to Demon Days. It had so many dense layers of sound, the complete opposite of punk music, I was sucked in. I went to my local record shop and bought the first two Gorillaz CDs and skipped class for a week.

Who is your musical hero?
Danger Mouse

How important is music to your creative process?
I always like to have some tunes playing while I create. Sometimes the mood of the music can dictate the mood of the faces that I draw.

1. Slow Country- Gorillaz
2. Porno Disaster- The Octopus Project
3. O Katrina- Black Lips
4. The Mall & Misery- The Broken Bells
5. Crushed Bones- WHY?
6. Trouble In Your Mind- Carolina Chocolate Drops
7. I Just Dont Know What To Do With Myself- The White Stripes
8. Skin- Ty Segall
9. Motorlicker- Tobacco
10. Sipping on Some Syrup- Three 6 Mafia
11. Havana Affair- The Ramones
12. Tender- Blur
13. Wet Paste- Two Blushing Pilgrims
14. Symphony 6: Fair Thee Well & the Requiem Mix- Emily Wells
15. The Downer Song- The Shortwave Set
16. Last Living Souls- Gorillaz
17. Modern Art- Black Lips
18. Poor and Weird- The Briefs
19. Find A New Way- Tune-Yards
20. Shake Appeal- Iggy Pop
21. Benzi Box- Danger Doom
22. Sun Lips- Black Moth Super Rainbow
23. Forgot About Dre- Dr. Dre

Check out CB23’s playlist below on Spotify. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes right here.

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