This interview is going to be with a very talented artist and a person with an exceptional life journey. Having spent years selling drugs on the streets of ghetto neighborhood where he saw the struggle and the Dark Side, he managed to get out of bad life and find his true self through spiritual studies and art.
Today Frederick (217) is known for eraser cities sculptures, spiritual charts carved on the wood and his music. He has been recognized by a famous artist Frank Frazier together with whom he travels all around the USA to show and sell his art.
When did you start making eraser cities?
I started making sculptures when I was 14. Kids in Spain were chasing me around cause I’m half black. So I had to get away from them. My mother let me skip a couple of semesters of school. I was doing sculptures all day long, and the city from eraser evolved on my table.
Why pencil eraser?
I’ve always liked the eraser. It is pliable, you can carve it very easily and like a plastic it will be around forever.
Have you seen anything like that
No it was my idea. I just wanted to have my own city. I was playing the video game Grand Theft Auto and it inspired me to make toys first. Another game Assassin’s Creed inspired to create cities.
I got involved in archeology with my step father in Spain when I was 12. All the archeological work that I had been studying all my life, all the books that I had been reading because there are a bunch of professors on my mom’s side just made me want to create my own stuff.
Then I went to Syracuse University and they taught me how to create the cities digitally, then out of metal, then how to use the wood and clay. They gave me the tools.
I was carving erasers and selling crack cocaine in a ghetto at the same time. So I carved some crack rocks into a perfect arch. I called it a crack house. I did it in eraser after doing it in crack first. Coming up with that idea helped me to get out of the streets and bad life.
Is art your main business now?
Yes, this is my only business.
How do customers find you?
I go to art shows, I travel around with a famous artist. He knows all the big stars and he has been taking me to all these big cities in the US – Miami, Oakland, San Francisco, St. Luis, Detroit, New York – you name it. But all this is thanks to my aunt who introduced me to him.
Did your artist career begin right after you graduated from college and moved to Austin?
Oh, not for about a year and a half. I had to sit here with no money. During this time, I studied really hard all this metaphysics, astrology, alchemy, spirits – ancient science of Ancestors. So I wanted to create a chart that would teach humanity this kind of things. This is the first one I carved out of wood. It took about three months to carve all by hand. And when it is printed it looks like a stamp.
Yin and Yang are sending out the waves to each other and the waves have to do with seven frequencies, seven planets, seven colors, seven days a week. There are prayers for a man and a woman to heal their relationship and to learn alchemy.
Then I came up with a second chart which is called “Know thy self”. It is designed for people to know yourself, to activate your inner God.
How can you activate your inner God?
There is a lot of things that you can do. Start eat different or drink different (no meat or alcohol). Fasting takes a lot of effort but if you are doing that, your spirituality is stronger. And artist capability only gets stronger.
What’s that other chart is about?
Another chart is about the evolution of YOU, and YOU are the Universe. The root word for the word Mama comes from ancient Egyptian word “Ma’at” and this is Ma’at here in the top of the chart. She is always sitting on the top of the moon, so this became “Ma’at ia” or Maria. This is where the word “Maria” comes from.
I studied a lot of languages. I wanted to study root words in all the kinds of religion. For example, why black is associated with death? Black is the earth, white is the spirit. But it’s just someone’s idea and we take it to the extreme with religion. So I wanted to look deeper.
What languages did you study?
Hindu, ancient alphabet from Nepal, Greek. Finally, I got to the language called the Medu-Neter language from Egypt. The word Egypt in ancient time was Kemet. This is where you get the word alchemy. It means the study of black. From out of black everything comes. The blackness of Space born the Sun.
So one of the prayers on this chart says: “live in truth love we people become Gods of divine souls”. Another prayer says is “I am 217 (that’s my name) love patience creativity vitality blossoming eternally into nature.” 217 is my name, but it also means spirit, trinity 21/7=3
Now I see what your name “217” stands for!
Actually my name comes from the neighborhood #21 where I was 7 days a week selling drugs. But it became a spiritual thing when I learned about it. There are always coincidences in everything. We all have a God and a Devil within us, this lower and upper nature. Demons test your low energies. Then angels test you higher energies.
When did you realize that you needed to stop selling drugs and how did you move on to the new stage in life?
My friend got murdered. And when he died I was in Spain and I had a dream. He was in that dream and he wanted to see Spain. I said: “how the hell did you get to Spain if you don’t even have a passport?” And he said: “I just thought of being here and I got here”. We walked around and had a great time. I told him: “When I go back to America we’ll make music”.
“I can’t go back and make music with you”, he replied.
“I got to go.”
“Will I see you again?”
“Yeah”, he said. But I knew he was lying to me. What I learned next morning is that he was shot in his head. While he was dying I was asleep (7 hours difference). So he came straight in my dream.
This dream happened when I was on the first year if my college. I was 19, he was 18. I came to America after that. I was almost killed in Spain several times because of the gangs and my mom told me that I had to go back to States. So I came here, I was selling drugs and I saw a couple of more people die. Back in the day in 2007 people would come up to me trying to rob me or pull guns out and I was thinking that if I die I will not be able to make art; I have a daughter, and I won’t be able to be there for her.
I am 27 now. I started selling drugs when I was 15 and did it until 22. When I was 21 I was blessed. I came out with my first CD, I got to get out from this neighborhood to Syracuse University. I came to NY city and it just changed my whole life. I was just by myself in an apartment reading all the time.
At the age of 22 I stopped eating meet and selling drugs. This helped me to find people. People who come into your life to take you to a next step.
About the author:
Oxana believes that every person’s life can make an intriguing story for a book which can teach a lot of wisdom. Life in Russia, England, France, Hungary, USA and lots of travelling around the continents introduced her to exceptional personalities. She loves to share stories about people and destinations which bring new ideas and help to find a way to your true self. This is why she started her blog “In search of the genuine”