ET: What was the spark that set you off to begin your journey as BATES?
BATES: I HAD A FEW NAMES BEFORE I STARTED TO WRITE BATES IN 1986. WHEN I FIRST TRAVELED TO SWEDEN THEN SPAIN IN 1987, SEEING OTHER STYLES AND SCENES, YOU WANTED TO BOMB, GET UP AND START MAKING A NAME FOR YOURSELF
ET: At what point in time did you decide that this was going to become something you would focus on and turn into a career?
BATES: WAY TOO LATE, I JUST LOVED TO TRAVEL AND WRITE MY NAME. MY PASSION IS I LIKE TO BE CREATIVE. PEOPLE SAID I SHOULD TRY TO MAKE IT MY CAREER. MY MOTHER WANTED ME TO MAKE MY STUFF ON CANVAS AND HAVE SUCCESS. I FEEL LIKE I OWE HER TO TRY AND THAT'S WHAT I DO NOW!
ET: Was there ever a moment where you realized that you were making the right moves and your art career started to become a reality?
BATES: YES, SOME OF THE FIRST SALES MADE ME REALIZE PEOPLE APPRECIATED AND LOVED WHAT I DID. ALSO SEEING MY FIRST SOLD CANVAS FROM 1987 REALLY MADE ME THINK THAT I NEEDED TO PUT MY ARTWORK ON CANVAS BUT I DO FEEL NEW IN THE ART WORLD. HAVING A NAME IN THE UNDERGROUND DOESN'T MEAN MUCH IN GALLERIES.
ET: I've noticed your fine arts are completely based and rooted in solid and classic graffiti. What can you tell us about your approach to fine arts?
BATES: I NEVER TOOK A DRAWING LESSON OR HAD ANY ART EDUCATION. I LEARNED FROM PAINTING WITH OTHER WRITERS AROUND THE WORLD. I BELIEVE IN MY ART FORM AND I WANT TO DO THE SAME THING I'VE KNOWN IN THE STREETS, ONLY THING THAT HAS CHANGED IS THE MEDIUM AND SURFACE.
ET: Lets talk "California Dreaming" and your first U.S. gallery exhibition. How did this come about and what can people expect?
BATES: I CAN THANK RISK WC MSK FOR BELIEVING IN ME AND GIVING ME THE OPPORTUNITIES TO SHOWCASE WHATEVER I WANTED. I BASICALLY HAVE FREE HANDS! RISK IS PART OWNER OF BUCKSHOT GALLERY, AND I'VE KNOWN HIM SINCE 1989, SO THAT'S HOW IT WENT ABOUT. PEOPLE CAN EXPECT SOME CLASSIC THINGS, EXPERIMENTS AND A NEW DIRECTION OF NEW 2016 ARTWORK ON DISPLAY IN SANTA MONICA, LOS ANGELES, AND BUCKSHOT GALLERY AT PICO BLVD.
ET: What's next for the Great Bates?
BATES: GET MORE INTO FINE LIMITED PRINTS, MORE SHOWS AND TRAVEL
ET: If there was a moment where the entire graffiti culture was listening… what would you say? I ask this question all the time. Do you have any wise words to a younger generation of writers?
BATES: KNOW YOUR CRAFT. LEARN THE HISTORY AND STUDY THE STYLE MASTERS FROM NYC, MAYBE GET AN OLDER MENTOR WHO CAN SCHOOL YOU.
ET: Thank you for your time and best of luck with California Dreaming. The show pops off tonight so if you're out in Santa Monica... you now officially have something to do tonight. Enjoy.