Skip to main content

Interview: Cryptik — The Artist and The Movement


When you visit your website, the first thing you notice is the stories about other inspiring people who achieving great things — literally nothing about you personally. So, how would you introduce Cryptik, the person?

Well, I make a conscious effort to stay as low-key as possible. Because my art is 'spiritual' in nature, I always felt that the work should speak for itself and serve a greater purpose than self-promotion. It's more important that I get the message out there and I don't want to get in the way of that. Really, it's about creating something bigger than myself that anyone can be a part of - the Cryptik Movement.

Most people might not think of Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood, and “great awakening” together. How do you see facilitating a great awakening?

I think there's a lot more to Los Angeles than Hollywood, but you're right…this is Babylon, which is why we need it the most here. LA is where the Movement started, but the goal has always been to reach as many people around the world as possible. Realistically, there's only so much that I can do, especially as an artist, but I see so many people out there who are already doing incredible things to help others. I think collectively we can work together to help facilitate the continued evolution and betterment of our species. Ultimately, all I can do is work on myself and encourage others to do the same. I'm not a spiritual teacher, guru, or saint… I'm just here to share my personal journey and experience in hopes that it will inspire others to embark on their own spiritual path.

Who do you want to meet that you haven’t?

It's always been a dream of mine to visit and get ink by 94 year old Fang-Od, the batok tattoo maker in Kalinga, Philippines. She's one of the last in an ancient lineage and like many other dying traditions, a reminder of our connection to the sacred, our ancestors, the earth. Hopefully, one day...


What artist working today inspires you most?

Honestly, my mind is constantly blown by so many artists these days that it's hard to choose just one. I will say that I'm always inspired by artists who use their art to help others in any way. I was recently introduced to the art of Tashi Dhargyal, a traditional Tibetan thangka painter, who is currently working on a massive 2-story thangka (thanbochi) which will take 5 years to complete, here in California. After completion, his hope is to share it with as many people around the world as possible, bringing blessings and positive karma to all who view it and finally donating it to a monastery in Tibet. That's inspiring! Much Metta Tashi!

 2-story thangka mural

2-story thangka mural

Mantramandalas are a recurring theme in your work — what language are they in and how did you learn it?

The 'Mantradala' Series is something that I've been working on for the past year or so, using various mantras to create mandalas. The script is actually my own stylized version of English, inspired by many of the ancient scripts like, Sanskrit, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, etc…, with a twist of cholo lettering / gang graffiti - my first love.

What projects are you working on now?

Right now, I'm getting ready to start on a tribute mural to Muhammad Ali for the 'Special Olympics: World Games' here in Los Angeles. In June, I'll be painting in Long Beach for the inaugural Pow!Wow!LongBeach Festival, along with an indoor mural at the LBMA for 'Vitality & Verve' curated by Andrew Hosner of Thinkspace Gallery. In July, I'll be heading down to Cozumel, Mexico with the good folks at PangeaSeed for '2015 Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans Expedition,' which I'm excited about. 

 Muhammad Ali Mural

Muhammad Ali Mural

Do you prefer collaborations or working solo?

To tell you the truth, I haven't really had an opportunity to do too many collaborations, but I'm always down, as long as it makes sense. This past winter, I had the honor and privilege to paint with 'Daleast' during the annual Wynnwood Walls Festival in Miami, which was such a pleasure.

The Cryptik movement states: "Our main objective is to challenge people to think of other possibilities and to see a different reality; one that encompasses many ideologies, philosophies, and belief systems in order to help us better understand our place in the universe.” Do you have a practice that supports your own continued exploration of different philosophies?

Personally, I don't adhere to any one particular belief system, but have found meditation to be a very useful tool and completely free from ritual & dogma. Though, the most important practice comes from every day life in dealing with situations and people with as much compassion, toleration and understanding as possible. This is something that ALL religions can agree on. At the end of the day, it's about keeping an open-mind and finding truth & beauty in all teachings and accepting that no one religion, philosophy, or belief system has it all figured out.

Give Thanks Heidi!