Meet Clockwork Cros, an NY based surrealist artist. We tour his studio to discuss the essence of his curated art pieces, cannabis use and NFTs.

How did you end up incorporating hip-hop into your art?   


Hip hop is my favorite genre and I have rapped since I was 13. I still make music a little, but I've created music throughout different timeless things, so sometimes it might sound like Tim Burton at times, or I might just go straight hard rap you know, boom-bap style. With the clocks, creating people that I look up to or that I'm influenced by, and I'm born and raised lower east side, so I have that bohemian torch to bear, but it has always been right over my shoulder; I worked with Swiss beats for a long time, from making music I had to do mixtape covers, people's myspace pages, flyers for events or whatever it might be it progressed from there into clocks, it doesn't necessarily have to be Jay Z or Cam'ron, it can be Whitney Houston or Mike Tyson. Still, people that I'm surrounded by making their requests, and it evolves from there.  


Do you have a favorite clock you have made?  


Yeah! I did Biggie with the crown with Barron Claiborne who took that iconic picture which is crazy and then I've worked with Trina, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Cormega, all these different people that I listened to growing up, which is crazy. Working with people you look up to is a blessing, so it's changed over time, and now I'm looked at as somebody notable in some aspects, so I'm blessed for that.  


What kind of events do you guys' host in the gallery? 

We do art openings, including group shows, solo shows, anything from listening parties to poetry events and comedy shows. Really, we just open the space for young creatives to come in and utilize the space. Even when I had my gallery last year, it was just my work, and when I opened it up, I had more of an open-door policy. We were taking care of the community too, so I was offering up free fentanyl tester kits for people through the ASAP Foundation, different things that I think help give back in a certain way that is unique to us and our perspective, that is important for changing the course of how people perceive what we are doing.  


How does it feel to be a part of your community? 


It's critical; you lead by example. Sometimes you have to D.I.Y. yourself through life and try to figure out where your opportunities are and how to create whatever you are trying to do, that's why I'm big on going out and doing what it is you have to do. No big hand is going to come out of the sky and save you, and you must go and bootstrap it up and thug it out yourself. You will find the like-minded individuals, and you can create that community because it's there. You just must search out the right people, and once you have done that, you are off to the races. It's a different thing in New York. It was like the south in hip-hop a couple of years ago, and you see how they came up now, but at one point, they all came together and started popping off, so it changed that dynamic. I feel like there's a reassurance now in New York that's doing that on the art side too.  


How would you describe your relationship with cannabis?  


With bud! Oh wow, I smoked bud since I first tried smoking when I was nine; I really am lower east side, so I started rolling up blunts at thirteen and smoking every day whether it was on a rooftop, smoking six blunts a day or whatever it might be. Now weed is legal in New York, so it's an entirely different thing, so this summer has been excellent, we had outdoor dining everywhere, the pandemic was crazy, but once people came back out and weed was legal, that changed everything; people aren't getting harassed anymore for smoking a joint on the street. It's a big deal for New York to have that, you know what I mean. When you see certain states being able to legalise, which brings in money that helps those cities and states, it's a different dynamic now. I'm also from an old era where we had haze, piff, sour, and nowadays there's guerrilla glue, this name and that name, and I'm like I don't know what half this shit is, and I'm like what going on? I think it's interesting that even though Corona, they say that weed helps, and I'm like, hello yeah, we knew that. Come on!  

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Have you ever tried European weed? If not, what's the gossip?  


I've travelled through France, England and Italy but sometimes it's hard to find bud; you can find hash, but in somewhere like France, you must figure out who has bud, and it's a different type of bud. I've never been to a place like Amsterdam where you can literally walk into a cafe but still, I've always sniffed out the weed in every foreign city I've been in, even Tokyo, which is crazy!  


What's a popular strain to smoke in New York?  


Right now, I don't know, honestly; I think it's interesting that everyone has these little colourful bags now. The way weed is even presented is so different. They also have vendor events now, which I've been doing too; people come in and set up tables, everybody has different strains and different packaging. It's not like you are going uptown to cop something out of a purple bag. People aren't even copping regular dime bags anymore; people are copping eighths. It's an entirely new dynamic in 2022; it's good because people don't have the stress of feeling like it's a criminal activity. No one should have to think like that.  


Do you smoke weed while creating your art?  


Yeah, sometimes, at this point now, I slowed down when I was around 28/29, and now I might just eat an edible or chill late at night. I try to keep it cool with the events I got because I can get very introverted, too; if I smoke too much, I will just sit down and start thinking, and everyone will be asking me questions, but my mind is thinking of ten different ideas. Everyone's like, 'Crosby, what are you doing?' And I just say I'm zoned out. You can see my mind spinning quick, so it depends on the time and place. I remember when I was younger, I had to smoke to rap and then I had to learn how to freestyle on bud and then learn to do it without it; I had to relearn my brain, and then I took a break for six months at one point and my friend passed me some weed tea from a car one time and yooo I got so stoned from that!  


How would you imagine a custom Rounders Clock?  


Honestly, I'm over 8000 clocks sold, and this is why I say everything is super specific to each person, so it depends on what the vibe is because you want it to be something that you're going to have in your home. People don't buy the clocks necessarily because it me, its the person that they want in their house because they are looking at that every day; they wouldn't get up in the morning and be like, oh yeah, Crosby, they would want to see whoever they aspire to. For example, if they see Muhammed Ali, they could be hitting the gym and training hard or looking at Jimmy Andrews and playing the guitar a little bit. I've got some collaborations that I'm working on now, and I'm big on letting the ideas just come to me, like even titles to pieces eventually, it will hit me, and I'll say yes, that's it! I don't ever push too hard on something, but that's just how I process things. I like getting the ideas out, but I don't force them. It's just kind of like a method to the madness.  

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Can you give us some background on NFTs, your NFTs and how they can be of value?  


Honestly, the first time, I didn't think about it. Then I heard NFT three times in one day around a week later and then I stopped everything I was doing and watched all these YouTube videos trying to figure out what it is. Then the next day, I came in on my interns and said 'everything had stopped we are learning NFT's, and then I sold my first NFT two days later. I did some crypto clocks and the John the Baptist ring. If you get the ring, you get the NFT. If you buy the NFT, you get the ring, so it's the same with the crypto clocks. I'm tying the digital and the tangible together. Now I'm on every platform from Rarible, Mintable, SuperRare foundation, and I release different things on each platform because I feel that there are different people on other networks checking stuff out. Still, overall, an NFT is a digital collectable. The second part of that is that it's a piece of history, so someone wanting to buy an NFT isn't necessarily getting it just to collect it like my clocks. They are calling it because it will be a time capsule, so, in the metaverse, everyone is talking about how you can have a room full of relics and all the transits on my wall; these are things that represent something that says something about me as well. With board apes and all these other platforms, they are membership things and part of a club; my thing was always, fuck the bourgeoisie and being too cool for school type shit, but there's so much money in it, you are paying half a million dollars for this thing. You are like, 'woah,' but some of these people never had access to some of these other things, so there's a little bit of a dichotomy between being involved and then keeping that gatekeeper attitude, so I mean just in general NFTs are an excellent way for artists to get their creativity out especially for people who are doing more visual and digital work weather its motion graphics or actual film clips. When you have platforms like the N.B.A. top shop, those are literal moments and highlights, so I see people being able to do that with music, performances, and concerts. Tory Lanez dropped one that was his album and sold it for a dollar. Then they were all going for like 60K, so people are creating severe amounts of wealth in it as well, but anybody can get into the NFT stuff you can mint on some of these platforms for free and then you are just reaching out to different groups of people. I'm not big on sitting on Discord or Clubhouse because I'm too busy, but the fact that people can go out and reach out and change their lives, I'm seeing people buy houses and cars from just having a new fan base, and they might be from Misery. They have never been to a big city, or they have only just had this small group of people know about their stuff, so I know it's opening doors for people. Like anything else, if you are interested in something, you can access it. YouTube can teach anybody anything, so I think it's a beautiful thing that we have access to learn anything we want like language, art, anything! 

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