Bearing a t-shirt with the words “Mental Advisory Explicit Lesson” plastered across his chest and a sideways cap, artist Tony B. Conscious can be found on the corner of Telegraph and Durant avenues amidst his gallery of vivid and colorful artwork. He is fondly known by much of the student body as the friendly and energetic artist who greets them with a “Namaste! How are you doing?” on their way to and from class. He is also sometimes seen as the poet who is able to freestyle verses with ease.
Conscious first began his art career at a young age as a graffiti artist in Seattle, Washington. The city played a formative role in the development of his talents throughout his childhood and young adulthood. As Conscious developed his skills, he expanded his work to canvas and wood supports while still heavily making use of spray paint as a medium. The influence of his years as a graffiti artist is still strongly visible in his artwork — through the bold colors, use of spray paint and references to pop culture. A majority of the pieces Conscious produces feature a portrait of a prominent musician, actor or artist and are plastered with thought-provoking quotations or sayings.
“The first law of nature is simplicity,” he says. “The universe and the creator is in everyone and everything.”
Conscious uses his artwork as a medium for his political expression and activism, and both reflect a strong sense of interconnectedness. Through his artwork, he hopes to educate those around him about unity, consciousness and spirituality.
“We are all energy, and if energy cannot be created or destroyed, then that means all energy is one,” he said.
Conscious showcases his artwork in the Oakland Art Walk every first Friday of the month.