Hip Hop is everywhere. It spills over into our everyday lives. Its influence cannot be denied. It isn’t just a Black culture thing, it is a culture thing, it is a thing…it just IS. It is embraced, created and emulated by many all over the world. We have the listening pleasure of the music, but we also have the visual pleasure of experiencing Hip Hop on various canvases. When we speak of canvases, what may quickly come to mind are pieces of paper or computer designing. Many of us might also think to graffiti which can also be a “street” canvas for Hip Hop. These are all ways that Hip Hop life can be captured and celebrated, but what about movable canvases? Yes they do exist. Let us introduce you to one of the front running designers of these movable canvases of art, Andy Cassidy.
Andy Cassidy is currently residing in Liverpool, England where he is an award winning tattoo artist. He goes by the name Mr. Cee and has been helping people become movable canvases for years. His ability to do portraits are stellar and something that not many can claim fame to. He has the ability to capture the essence of the Hip Hop creators he tattoos and his craft is one we can appreciate.
We first discovered him via twitter. A tweet came through showing his talent as an artist. His work has been recognized but some of the Hip Hop legends he replicates for his clients. His ability to give his works of art personality is something that many are not able to do. We could tell immediately that he was not just duplicating pictures. It is easily seen that he knows more about the works of art he creates on peoples skin, than what they look like.
When asked about his creative process Mr. Cee says “My studio isn't your typical tattoo Studio. No skulls, no dark imagery, no dead stuffed animals like many I have been in to. No death metal or rock n roll being played, it’s STRICTLY Hip Hop! The walls have album covers from some of the classics, a few bits and bobs signed by some of my Hip Hop heroes that I’ve been blessed with spending time with”. We were not surprised. When you view his tattoos you can tell that there is a process and that this process is working. His images are not ‘flat’. You can feel the personality of the artist in the tattoos.
Hip Hop is not something that Andy just picked up one day recent. His first introduction to Hip Hop was when he was about 8 years old. Rapper Delight hit the scene and took the country by storm. After that a friend he met who was in the Army gave him a mix tape from New York around 1982. This solidified the relationship between Andy and Hip Hop. After hearing ‘The Message” by Melle Mel he says “I was hooked. I couldn’t stop listening to it. Hip Hop became life”. This shows how powerful the Hip Hop platform is. It should also prompt us to use it for good.
The Hip Hop culture is so complex that a person doesn’t have to be a great MC or know how to produce a “hot” beat to create within its space. Andy, who loved the culture but found that he wasn’t great at dancing or creating music, began his Hip Hop expression with graffiti creations. He also displayed the fashion of the culture, something that many of us still do today. Something that sticks out greatly is when Andy explains the messages he picked up from Hip Hop then. He says “Hip Hop started teaching me stuff school wasn’t. Peace…Unity…Love…and having fun”. We must nod in nostalgic agreement.
Andy Cassidy and his creations of Hip Hop artistry on moving canvases is just another testament that Hip Hop is everywhere and that it is loved by many. We must agree full heartedly with Andy when he says “Hip Hop is universal! A culture that accepts all people, all races, all creeds, colors and religions…a culture that Grandmaster Caz says ‘reinvented everything’’. Please check out the links below to see more of Mr. Cee’s work. Also be looking for the publication of his interview with Hip Hop Humanism that tells us more about his love for the music and his craft as a tattoo artist.
Andy Cassidy would like to give a special shout out to Andrew J. Katz and Askem. Two other incredible visual artist. To learn more about them, you can find articles and images on www.hiphophumansim.com under the “News” tab.
Hip Hop Humanism
More on Mr Cee: