It has only been five months since the gaming community was struck with tragedy. After a long battle with mental illness, Youtuber and streamer Desmond Daniel "Etika" Amofah took his own life in June 2019. In tribute, CEO of BlockHead Gaming Abe Hunter and Youtuber DoubleA commissioned a mural of Etika in Brooklyn, with DoubleA serving as Project Director.
NYC-based artist BKFoxx — with some help from fellow artists KESTA and JMZ Walls — immortalized Etika in Brooklyn. The mural was finished in its entirety last week, and shortly after, BKFoxx spoke with Inven Global about her origins in creating art, interaction with gaming, and crafting an homage to Etika.
Since this is your first interview with Inven Global, can you please introduce yourself to our readers and tell them what you do?
My name is BKFoxx; I’m a street artist based out of NY. I paint realistic looking murals in spray paint.
How did you get into creating these massive murals? Was there a different type of art you started doing that was similar or on a smaller scale first?
I started painting in abandoned buildings and practicing in there. I did some drawing and stuff like that as a kid, but it wasn’t my focus.
Can you explain the process of how you create your art to us from a technical standpoint?
I usually start with a wall, and work on a concept from there. Then when I have an idea of the image I want to create, I arrange it/ask someone to pose for it, and take a photo, and that is my reference for the wall.
What motivates you artistically? Is there a singular goal you feel your art works towards?
I like to do things that are useful, helpful in some way. I love painting outside because everyone will see it, it’s part of the world. It’s so much more than a painting hanging on a wall in a gallery that only a few people will see.
How do you decide your art's subjects?
It depends on the project - sometimes it’s something predetermined. Other times I have a blank wall to work with and I come up with an idea, and then set up a scene to photograph, or ask someone I know to model for me.
Specifically for this amazing mural of Etika, how did this come about? Was this an idea you were inspired by or did someone come to you with it?
Etika’s friends Double A and Abe asked me if we could do a tribute mural for Etika and something to support mental illness awareness after his passing, and I was able to put this together for them thanks to JMZ Walls who provided the wall & my friend Kesta (#KestaAdm) who did the lettering & background design.
What about Etika do you feel fits into what you mentioned above about your art's motivation and the choice of subjects?
This is the kind of thing that’s a passion project for me - his friend reached out to me, asking for something for his memory. Etika had so many friends and fans and people who cared for him and were so heartbroken from the loss, and nothing adequate enough to remember him by.
Is this your first introduction into Smash/FGC/Esports?
I used to play some as a kid. And I know that my brother is super into SuperSmashBros.
Fighting games pride themselves on closely-knit communities. What has your reaction been to the overwhelming response to the mural?
Slightly shocked, to be honest. I wasn’t expecting that level of reaction.. It’s so much more than I thought it would be.
Is there anything you'd like to say to appreciators of your work, fans of Etika, or anyone else?
Thanks so much to anyone who takes the time to pay attention. I am really happy I was able to do this piece for Etika’s family, friends, fans - to be able to help the people who loved him feel a little bit better makes it more than worth my energy.