Bi-coastal and multi-hyphenate, artist Dave Persue (PERSUE to his global street art and skate or die following) is a fearsome graffiti writer, muralist, author, designer, curator, and wryly subversive anti-anti-tagging activist. When as a young man his irresistible urge to make graffiti merged into an innovative vision in the skateboarding design world, a love of bold graphics, kaleidoscopic color palette, original characters and hyped-up city energy was born. Soon he also discovered the joy of architectural scale and a worldwide mural practice ensued. More recently, he became the creator and patriarch of the BunnyKitty universe — a world of friends and creatures whose dazzling adventures over the urban rainbow caught the imaginations of children of all ages and their collectibles-obsessed adults. The feisty kitten dressed in a magical bunny suit’s long-awaited second book (and probably some epic new merch) drops this fall, but their cheeky NFTs are, obviously, available now.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
PERSUE: I first heard the word artist to describe me at the age of 5 (circa 1977). The artist gift has run in my family through the generations so I was fortunate that my grandmother and mom nurtured that. I didn’t claim the title artist until my 30s. I think I was too hard on myself at this time in my life.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
Whether I am creating art for BunnyKitty or my abstracts. I feel it’s important that the work feels genuine. Not only to myself but also to the public. My art has always imitated my life. I invite the audience to watch the journey. Sometimes I’ll let them participate.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I would like to be a musician, a talented chef, maybe a Physical Therapist.
Did you go to art school? Why/Why not?
I did not attend art school. I was discovered and entered the skateboard industry as an artist at the age of 19 (circa 1992). I learned my crafts through mentors at the job and in the streets.
When is/was your current/most recent/next show or project?
We will be releasing book #2 in the BunnyKitty series this fall. Looking like DesignerCon’22. I have some excited BunnyKitty fans that want to know what happens next since I released the first book, The Origins of BunnyKitty, in 2016. We will also produce another “Wet Paint” show before the end of the year. We have been exploring Web3 and NFTs as well. I found it’s a great way for collectors to be patrons to the artists. I have lots of fun personal projects in the pipeline as well. I can’t speak on the details but it is exciting times for my camp.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
All the time. I’ll take breaks from work and jam original songs on my bass to release some steam. I really like all genres of music. Kenny Rogers, Dionne Warwick, Gorillaz, Little Dragon, The Cure and 90s Boom Bap have a special place in my heart. Freestyle RnB. I could go on and on.