Street Scenes #2: The Time Is Now 2:12

In the second of our series on Houston's street artists, Art Attack features 2:12, whose singularly colorful, fiendishly-cleverly placed works abound in the older, more run-down fringes of the Houston Heights.

While recent trends in his work -- an altar to the Virgin Mary and "Lupe," a demure yet sexy Latina classic era leading lady -- would suggest that he, like so many of Houston's top street creators, was from a Hispanic background, he writes in via email to tell us that's not the case.

"Sorry to disappoint but I'm not. I work with a very international group at my job and I'm exposed to all of these different cultures on a daily basis. I think that's where I get a lot of my inspiration from. The Virgin Mary/Lupe thing is just a coincidence."

And he answered seven more of Art Attack's questions...

Art Attack: Where does your name come from?

2:12: The thought of coming up with a "street name" seemed a bit ridiculous to me at first, I knew I couldn't use my real name because of the whole legal thing and I was leaning towards the anonymous route, no name, no signature but in the end I figured I was putting a lot of time, money and effort into creating the pieces and that it wouldn't be a bad thing to get credit for my work. I came up with 2:12 because I like the fact that the meaning isn't obvious, it's a bit cryptic. Is it a time? I get this question often and while I have never given away the true meaning, I will say the same thing I say to everyone. 2:12 is a very important time in my life. :-/

AA: What is it you love about grime and urban decay?

2:12: Ok, here is the question where I get all weird and artsy on you. I will do my best to describe this feeling to you but this will be hard to explain.

It's kind of like that scene in American Beauty where the kid is filming the plastic bag, talking about finding beauty in everyday things (or something like that) and I think that is part of the appeal to me... finding beauty in something that thousands of people pass by everyday and never notice. I see these spots as abstract paintings, accidentally created by a collaboration of man and nature. Man builds and paints a wall. The sun ages the paint, the paint flakes and fades. The rain causes the metal to rust, the rust drips adding another layer to the painting, etc, etc. It's something that is accidentally beautiful and I love that.

AA: You use color much more than other street artists? Why? Is it more expensive? Are there any special difficulties involved with that?

2:12: Well, I think it comes down to time and technique more than costs (although paint is pretty damn expensive). The path I'm taking is a bit of a hybrid between stencil art like Coolidge is doing and wheat pastes like Give Up and Dual. By working on paper I'm able to take my time creating each piece in my studio. This allows me to be more detailed with my works. Some paintings could have 20-plus layers and take several hours to paint. When working on the streets illegally you need to be fast so spending several hours working on a piece on the street wouldn't be a smart move. My goal has never been to blanket the city with my paintings; I like to take a quality over quantity approach and part of that is to use detailed stencils, vivid colors and patterns.

AA: You seem very attracted to the female form. Do you think Houston's grime needs more pretty women?

2:12: Haha, yeah, well it started out as wanting to do a series of women from different cultures but as of lately I'm loving the whole vintage Hollywood thing. Also, I think women are beautiful and I enjoy painting them. Definitely not something that I'm limiting myself to forever but for now it's fun.

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Excellent interview!  Thanks.

Gary Packwood
Gary Packwood

2:12 likes finding beauty in something that thousands of people pass by everyday and never notice.

So did John Updike - The Prize Winning Writer - only he spoke in and worked with... words.

Perhaps 2:12 can help us see more of what Updike was writing about.

Especially in his early writings 1953-1975.


Yes, he's my favorite as well.  Nice interview.


Agree with Brittanie - also my favorite!

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

Absolutely my favorite Houston street artist. Love it.


What's the problem, not enough unlimited texting? Real original.


Your first comment was so inspiring that I decided to click your name to see what else you have written. It took me to your facebook page where I discovered that you like many things that can be considered "wack."Kids these days, making me feel old.

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