RePurposed: Dus T’, Major MF Doom Fan, Converts Hip-Hop Masterpieces Into Animated Dreamscapes
To celebrate our exhibition Re:Purpose, Ordinary Objects Made Extraordinary, presented by Mtn Dew Black Label, we’re paying homage to creatives riffing, transforming, and remixing the everyday.
To see more fearless reinvention of the ordinary, click here.
When Dus T’ quit his job at a San Francisco thrift store and embarked on a trip to Japan, he departed with the knowledge that that he had enough money for his sojourn, and that, upon his return, he’d have a job teaching art to unprivileged students in Berkeley. The serendipity of these events was perhaps muted when, after returning to California with no money, his first paycheck was $30. He’d unintentionally returned at the end of a pay period. Some hungry days and nights followed.
Dus T’ didn’t need to make his video for MF Doom’s “Gas Drawls”–he has a Bachelor’s in Animation & Illustration from Otis College and is already employed in the arts–but it was project borne from his love for the masked supervillain and the art of Jason Jagel, a frequent Doom collaborator. Beyond the satisfaction of a job well done, there was no immediate recompense for Dus T’’s work aside from Doom himself saying it was “cool.”
Hours of unpaid work would be a deterrent for most, but the Los Angeles-bred artist is more zen than most. We asked about his process.
PUNK ART AND ICONOGRAPHY INFLUENCED ME
Punk is definitely an influence in my creation of a visual style that’s very raw. Hip-hop and punk have similar roots–they’re both flowers that sprouted from the concrete. It’s just a spectrum of culture that responded in a different way. I was obsessed with ’80s hardcore in high school, bands like D.R.I., Black Flag, Minor Threat, Really Red, and the Dead Kennedys (but only with Jello Biafra). It unleashed [in me] the love for not caring and just doing what you can. I love the imperfected elements of punk art–I don’t like my stuff to look too clean, or too perfect, because I want my audience to connect with it. What they see is something they can connect to.
MY ART IS A FORM OF FIGHTING
My favorite artists are guys like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Ralph Steadman, and more contemporary artists like Robert Crumb and John Kricfalusi, who made Ren & Stimpy, which made me want to learn animation. Jason Jagel is one of my inspirations–his visuals along with Doom’s music was the thing that made me want to make the video. I think what all these artists have in common is: identity of self-expression without any compromise, being true to who they were with unconventional means of production, and putting their own DNA in the lines. They despise the voices of others. I think in a way my art is a form of fighting.
CREATING THIS VIDEO WAS LIKE SOLVING A PUZZLE
I feel like guys like Doom show the beauty of creating complexity from simplicity. Part of the reason why I loved making the video so much was that it was like solving a puzzle of his double and triple entendres with art. One of the things I really wanted to do was take myself into what guys like Terminator X did in the 1990s, where he would sit down, listen to six vinyl records at once, and he would find “the groove.” The first time I heard “Gas Drawls” I was like “Whoa!,” and before I knew it, I was listening to it like ten times every day. After looking at Jagel’s work, and listening to Doom’s music, I felt like I adopted the same sensibility of a DJ blending elements and ideas.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY
Whatever it is that you want to say, say it the way you want. There’s enough clones on this planet. Learning to love myself is the reason I got the video finished. I remember the first thing I said when I started making the video was “I want Doom to see it.” I had to support myself spiritually, physically, and emotionally to see that through. And when I did that, and was patient, and was focused, and didn’t let anything distract me from that path, that’s when I manifested what I desired.