@SwollenFinger's Never-Ending Grind


So it was an average day at Arsenic, diggin through our inboxes & we see one of the dopest art submissions by @SwollenFinger, aka Alex Suelto. This San Francisco based illustrator's creativity is driven by 90's comics, graffiti & hip hop, and combining mixed media. We know him most for his "Asselation" print, which he applies to numerous types of canvases, such as jackets, shoes, lamp shades, and even mo-fuckin rice cookers. Yeah. 

We just had to collab with him, and so he took a trip down from San Fransisco to come create some art wit his items with model @AubreyDestremps, and to kick it. Peep the magic we made with some Asselation print on some Chucks & the dopest M3 Reflection bomber, and keep reading to learn more about @SwollenFinger


Where am I from?

I'm from Stockton, California. I learned at a very young age how real a city like Stockton can be, at one point in time the Mudville mentality was 'to get the hell out or die trying.' I've seen some gnarly things happen out here and also some really inspiring things and awesome talented people that put the city on the map. When I was younger I grew up around kids that did crazy shit, got into a lot of trouble and wrote graffiti so naturally I did graffiti and crazy shit with them but it then led me to learning graphic design. A few years later, I studied traditional illustration and graduated from Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Everything I've experienced growing up in Stockton helped bring my vision and my goals to life. I am thankful for that.

When was the moment, I knew my creativity could take me somewhere?

Early in 2000 I was invited to be a part of a group show at the Arts Factory in Las Vegas. At that time I was already doing a few art shows with my friends in LA, but this was the first time I was invited to showcase art outside of my network of friends. So what was crazy, was the list of artist exhibiting were all nice, no doubt. But one of my favorite artists at that time was in the show too, named Mear One. The day before the show he painted a large mural just outside of the gallery, it was so dope watching the man in action. That night we hung our artwork and the curator decided to hang my work next to his painting. Now during that time my art was straight whack in my opinion especially hanging next to Mear, but it was one of the most humbling experiences I can remember. I felt like I didn't deserve the spot next an artist that has created so much great work. But he gave me the thumbs up and said I was on to something, to keep on grinding until I understood what my purpose was in art. That was amazing boost of confidence. Thinking about it now, I wish I could have came much harder on my painting next to Mear one. 


How did I come up with the "Asselation" print?

It all happened one morning right before I had to go to school. I did some morning warm up sketches and I drew a nice shaped booty, but I didn't want to create the rest of the body. So here, I continued to play with the concept of a continuous booty contour and before I knew it I had a pattern that I could really have some fun with! It's simplistic, contemporary, it speaks to the youth and the older generation, it's timeless. I truly feel people need art in their lives but it doesn't necessarily mean it has to be on a flat surface like a canvas. Some people want to wear art, maybe a house-wifey might not buy an original Assellation canvas but she might want to buy an Assellation shower curtain or beddings. Anything is possible at this point, but home decor is something I'm tapping into, watch out!

What's my ideal creative space?

I need plenty of elbow room and a large enough space to gig while dodging paint drips, I can be either in a room full of people thats creating with me in silence or be super comfortable by myself in the loudest situation possible. As far as music goes, I'm currently listening to BADBADNOTGOOD and Knxledge are great vibes to create to. I dig the tv flickering in the background, not to watch, but to get some weird lightening flashing on a painting. I'm usually in my studio but I do like being outdoors creating from observation. I usually draw random shit like a fire escape with a interesting cast shadow right below it, or an old fellow in a walker because he isn't getting anywhere too fast so might as well capture his soul. 

How do I want to expand my creativity?

Hmm, I do, but what that might be I have no clue. I tend to experiment on anything and everything. 

Some other goals and personal projects?

I still remain a student in this game, building my brand and contributing my work to a greater purpose is the long term vision. Other than that, I'm getting older I want to marry the woman of my dreams and build booty sandcastles with her on a beach and then have a few artsy kids with a few puppies. As far as personal projects, that's top secret let's leave the mystery seed right there... 

Artist & Interviewee: @SwollenFinger

Model: @AubreyDestremps

Photographer @Perllllz