Eventually, Axelrod says, "I started doing art for Coachella, just met the right person, that led to other things. ... It's like dominoes. Art isn't different from music or accounting, or whatever it is. One thing leads to another leads to another."
But it was in high school when Axelrod really found himself. Since his mom worked as a teacher in Beverly Hills, Axelrod mainly attended the public schools there instead of near his home in Sherman Oaks. But he never made it past his junior year at Beverly Hills High, as he was kicked out for those class-clown tendencies, an event he says changed his life for the better.
"I probably drew on one too many desks," he says, chuckling. "I didn't really like anybody. I didn't have that many friends. So when I got kicked out of Beverly, I went to my home school, which was Grant. In the Valley."
Axelrod described it as a gang school. Yet exposed to a new world, he blossomed. "I thank God I went to Beverly Hills schools because that's where I got my education. Then I went to LAUSD, the real stuff," he says. "No one in my class knew how to read. But the thing is, I loved it there, socially. I had so many friends. They were all just real people. They weren't just into the newest Mercedes, or whatever the biggest pager was back then.
"I was always into art, even as a kid. But I wasn't passionate, passionate, passionate about it until I went to Grant."
Ditching class and hanging out with gangsters and crack dealers gave him a new entryway into his own creativity, Axelrod says. He wanted to incorporate an Everyman sensibility into his art.
"I have different types of series and work. That's why I like to experiment with so many different types of materials," he says. "I try to go against style."