BRANDON SINES aka FRANK APE, inclusivity, New York City and the arts

by Andrea Juanillo

"I feel like Frank has connected with so many people around the world through the themes of positivity and inclusivity...It's my responsibility to keep creating Frank art to continue to inspire and comfort the people that need it."

Brandon Sines is the creator behind the happy, lovable yeti-like character Frank Ape. From his place in New York, he has become a prolific artist painting Frank in fun surreal iterations designed to promote inclusivity, positivity and spread good vibes.

What’s your inspiration for creating Frank Ape?

In the beginning, I think I was searching for a vessel for messages I thought were clever, funny, and maybe a little meta. It slowly evolved into messages more centred around positivity and inclusivity. Now, I feel like Frank has connected with so many people around the world through these themes. It's my responsibility to keep creating Frank art to continue to inspire and comfort the people that need it.

Frank Ape from Brandon Sines on Vimeo.

You have recently finished a huge installation at the World Trade Centre in New York, how does it feel to finally see your artworks on a bigger scale?

The feeling as an artist of having my work in any public space is gratifying because I want to have as many eyes as possible be able to see it. But having a piece of that scale in that location is extremely humbling, thrilling and just makes me feel so thankful that so many people from all over the world will be able to see this message of togetherness everyday. Every once in a while I’ll find myself down at the World Trade Centre and will casually spy on people taking selfies in front of the wall. I always get a kick out of that.

Frank Ape in Times Square

Street art has gotten bigger and bigger in the last decade, where do you think it'll head next?

Years ago I started to read a book of published Keith Haring journal entries…even back then Keith had the foresight to write that it is the responsibility of the artist to embrace and use technology in their work. So I imagine some artists will be heavily influenced and use technology in their art practice as we’re already seeing, others will probably hold onto the analog techniques of the past and others will fall somewhere in between. I think a mix of both worlds is the best.

With the current political situation happening in the US with the Black Lives Matters movement, Trump etc, how do you think it affects the street art scene or art in this age in general?

Street Art has always been about speaking up about social issues and with the current social and political climate the street artist has no shortage of causes to get behind and amplify. So in a way, there’s a lot of inspiration to draw from.

When did you first develop an interest in arts?

When you’re a kid you usually are trying out a lot of different things to see what you like and what you’re good at. I don’t really remember the exact moment I first connected with art and creating it but it was definitely during that early “trial” period and it was the one thing that stuck with me throughout all these years.

Frank Ape featured in one of our recent Stickerbomb "Stick It To The Man' books on Laurence King Publishing

Do you remember the very first paid job you had?

Haha yes, it was as a baker’s assistant in a supermarket in Toronto. Putting frozen bagels and muffin batter into giant tray/racks and rolling them into this walk-in oven. I hated it. If you mean my first paid job as an artist, it was when I first sold a piece of my art at the Living Gallery in 2012.

What is your favourite piece of work you’ve done and why?

I really like these little clay vignettes I made in like the 2nd or 3rd grade. My mom has them. They are about outer space and mystical beings. I just loved the lack of learned technique but somehow they just came out so awesome.

Do you have a specific workflow and in your current workflow what equipment do you prefer to use?

My workflow right now is very constant. Pretty much from the moment I wake up to about an hour before bed I’m crossing things off the to-do list. I’m a multimedia artist so on any given day I’ll be using a laptop, pencil, spray paint, alcohol and oil-based markers and will definitely break out the brushes and watercolor /acrylics when I get a chance.

What kinds of commission works do you currently offer to you clients?

At this time I accept commissions for original drawings, paintings and site-specific installs and murals, but I’m always open and excited to hear new proposals and ideas!

What is the most difficult part of being an independent street artist?

It all depends what one’s goal is as an artist and each of those goals comes with their own challenges - but to generalize, it is hard to do it all on your own. So I would say the most difficult part of being an independent artist is all the “hats” you have to wear - independent artists have to be their own manufacturer, PR team, street team, social media team, art shipper and handler, website designer and many more roles. It’s a lot for one person or even a small team.

What do you do to overcome a creative block?

I usually have several projects on the go at any given time so if I hit a wall creatively with one I’ll just hop on to the next and back and forth. That way I stay productive.

And how do you keep the work coming in?

In my experience as an artist, constantly putting yourself out there is the key to selling work, getting commissions and making contacts. Whether it’s on the streets or social media you just need to keep creating and keeping it out there. Your audience will find you.

Frank Ape featured in one of our recent Stickerbomb "Stick It To The Man' books on Laurence King Publishing

What challenges do you face today that are different then when you started?

When I started the challenge was just making a name for myself and getting “up” as they say. Now the challenges are more about staying consistent and running a business as an artist. The time management and daily goals lists are things that weren’t as big a part of my life in the beginning.

Is there anything that you want to share with other independent street artists across the globe?

Be original and follow your heart!

For more of his works, Check out Brandon Sines / Frank Ape's website and instagram. If you need to commission him or you need something from our creative studio: motion graphics / animation / shooting / editing please email us here or schedule a conversation with us.