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We all were kids once. We had larger than life imaginations, stayed outside once the sun came up and only ran back inside to shower or the street lights came on. It’s 2016 and the world is changing…things becoming more dire in certain parts of the world and in our own backyards. In these trying times, we need a little brightness, color, and positive energy and today I’m talking to Xaniel Xan who has all of those in spades.

Thanks for sitting down with me Xaniel. Now, to the average, everyday person…who exactly is Xaniel Xan? – Xaniel Xan is My Artistic Persona, and how I see myself rather than how others may view me. I guess you can call it an Alter ego, but I just call it me being “me.” I love being Xaniel cause I make myself happy with the work I produce. It’s so tight to me because I don’t see myself as Wallace when I make what I create, I see myself as “Xaniel” that talented, witty, art dude after I’m done with a baller ass “40 x 30” inch painting, then I stand there and look at it in amazement, that’s who I feel like when I paint.

What’s the origin story of transitioning to Wallace to Xaniel? What got you started in painting and all things related to it? – Well, “Wallace” Is the animator that I still want to be, the one who still wants his own Cartoon show on any network that’ll fuck with me. Then “Xaniel” is the Painter/Designer/Everything else. Cause initially I wanted to go to school for animation, but the way art schools are setup, the shits so expensive. so I said “fuck it, I can do this by myself.” Xaniel Is the more creative one though. I don’t really like being called “Wallace” by those who only know me on the Internet and shit, you have to call me “Xaniel” cause you don’t know me well enough to call me otherwise, Unless we went to the same high school, or you’re family/friends.

But what got me started into painting was really just going though life, meeting people really just seeing life for what it is. and being around my friends. I love them, they all inspire me to some degree. If you you don’t have a good group of friends or at least one friend, you aren’t gonna go far. You need them, and they need you. Shout out to a few of my friends, Dev, Manny I love you guys.

I can relate to having a different name represent something meaningful to you man. What does it mean to spread your brand of creativity into this expansive social media world of ours? – 
To me, it means realizing you aren’t a piece of shit, and that what you are doing has a purpose, Confidence is key! It starts with you! You should see the new stuff I’m Working on. In my opinion it’s better than Warhol.
If you don’t believe in the effort you’re putting towards what you love to do aren’t gonna pop off then trust me they won’t. So you have to be personally cocky within yourself, and believe you’re the Man! At least that’s how I see it. Going around being cocky is never good though, unless that’s your intention and you achieve it. But that’s not my MO

Spreading around my brand TTAC (The Anxiety Awe Club) Or just how I like to call it ‘AWE’ doesn’t really mean anything to me I just do it, but I do have a reason for “why” I spread it, to develop more free thinkers. One question I always get asked the most is “what does AWE Mean?” Like, I don’t know? Go look up the word on Google and see for yourself Haha. I just thought those letters looked cool together so I ran with it. No it’s not an acronym, Although the actual meaning of the word kinda ties into what my idea was initially for the brand, But I never planned it to work out that way I swear, it just did haha. It really can mean whatever YOU want it to mean, as long as it’s positive I’m all up for anything. What does it means to me? An Art Team I soon hope to have, that fucks shit up.

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You operate near Atlanta right? Recently it’s a groundswell of talent coming out of cities like Atlanta and Dallas as of late in the form of the youth. Have you seen the rise of youthful creatives where you live? – I’m from Vinings, that’s like on the outskirts of Fulton Co. & Cobb Co. I guess you can call that Atlanta, OTP like fuck tho. But yeah! I’ve see people’s come-up, I’ve seen people get put on by others, and I know people who aren’t recognized for the work they create. The scene in Atlanta is weird, it’s either you’re talented and trying to be in the scene and aren’t recognized, in the scene because you were put on by someone else. Or in the scene because you’re truly talented and you’ve created your own following through years of hard work. You can tell what category people fall in when you look at their work ethic. But most of the creatives are already on their shit so it’s cool. It’s definitely some underdogs tho, I’ll give you a few of my favorite artists out of Atlanta that have been doing their thing for a while now: freakorico // artguillory // blobsart // nomadicmanny // artjunt // slumpiera 

Yeah, Atlanta really is its own entity. How has 2015 treated you as far as creative ventures go? – 
2015 was really good! I gotta lot done last year as far as a foundation of what I’m tryna do for this year, as well as for 2017, But this year is just a focus of me implementing my plan for the brand. Last year was a personal approval of to what I wanna do this year, and I feel like I have the “green light” to produce that. Honestly, I’m just super stoked on just making new things! I’m getting more Awe collectibles done, Still gonna be designing clothes/accessories, and my first solo Art Show is in a month, me and the homie @jvizzle cooking up something wicked for you guys in March, So yeah man! 2015 was great, but 2016 is gonna be slightly better. Then 2017 is gonna be FUCKING NUTS, that’s really when shits gonna get gnar, I’m finally gonna get out the country with this art shit.

This is all great news to hear Xan! You seem like the man with the plan. Now, with your AWE Collectibles…what exactly is going through your mind when you plot out what you want to create? Whether it be clothes, accessories, or stickers? – 
I really just like wearing/making things that I’ve never seen done before, like I made a fanny pack last year and was gonna sell them but I decided not to. But it’s sick cause me, along with some of my idols Mikey Alfred, & Tyler, The Creator are all kinda into styles that no one really wears/produce anymore. Not that we intentionally do it to make trends or whatever, but we just like what we like.
For instance, when Tyler first came out he was wearing tie dye Tees with cats on them, then months later everybody wants to start making tie dye Tees with cats, Haha so it’s funny to see how people respond to your ideas initially, and how later on down the road you see they get inspired. It’s  the same with me too! I really look up to Mikey Alfred and IC as a whole (Got them Ink on my left bicep.)
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and I like ringer tees, but the whole reason why I started making them was because I saw Mikey do it! and was like, “wow, a ringer tee with my logo on it would be fire.” So I’d usually go to thrift stores and paint on clothing that I thought were cool, and then make them into pieces that people could actually start to buy.
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l was going to ask about your idol Tyler actually. If anyone casually scrolls your Instagram it’s really bright, loud, and Tyler inspired. The inspiration is there to say the least – Yeah, that dude shaped the fuck outta me, I love him. Been a fan since 2011 my  freshman year, That’s like god to me. It makes me feel better as far as being a fan because he has an idol as well, Pharrell Williams, All the little Stan things I do to Tyler, Tyler use to do to Pharrell, So I feel less weird about being a fan. Pharrells tight too though, I don’t listen to his music much, he has some songs that I really like, but I respect him as a person, it’s like what Ian Connor said about A$AP Bari & Virgil in that Highsnobiety Interview back in January. ” But the n*gga I actually did look up to was this guy A$AP Bari, who is Rocky’s best friend. I saw that he looked up to Virgil, so it’s like a chain. Just like the kids who look up to me who don’t know who Bari is, but they know I look up to Bari, they’re gonna look up to him just because that’s your idol’s idols, you know what I’m saying? Like it’s your father’s father, so you automatically gotta fuck with your grandfather.” So that’s how I automatically fuck with Pharrell. I respect the fuck outta Tyler though, I actually got most of my following from an attribute of his, his clothes.
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There was a time I use to make YouTube video under the name “mv77vc3” and I’d just review Odd Future  and Golf Wang clothing, and I got a big following from that, but as of now I don’t even do YouTube videos anymore let alone buy GOLF. I don’t dislike Tyler, or anything he’s been putting out, I’m just focusing more on myself. It’s like that line in ‘Buffalo’ on his latest Album “Cherry Bomb” where he says, “Sick of making niggas cabbage so I took the ‘preme off.” That’s exactly how I feel about GOLF, although I don’t have beef with his brand, as how he has beef with Supreme. But it’s just at a point where you have to focus on your craft rather than putting all of your money into someone else’s. And that line really stayed with me. But yeah I sent Tyler some fan art last time he came to Atlanta, and I ran it by Taco to give to him, he fucks with my work! so it’s chill.
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How does having music idols in the back of your head shape the direction you go when making moves? Do you ever envision yourself on the level that Tyler and Pharrell are on once they reached stardom? – Yes, all the time. They shape my direction in a positive way cause I like to treat those two things the same, Music & Art. In my realm as an artist, I feel like we should be talked about the same way if not more than the way musical artist in the industry are. They should talk to painters, sculptors, designers and animators too, not just musicians. There’s not many interviews of upcoming “art” artists, but yet company’s like Fader, Noisey/Vice and Complex have Interviews of people like Father & Awful Records, Raury, 21 Savage, ILoveMakonnen & Madeintyo and they get those opportunities??? (and I’m just speaking for artists outta Atlanta.) but I feel like us as art Artists aren’t appreciated, cause we can do those types of things too! And with me I feel like I can implement that and make that a “new thing” that’s normal for artist in the near future, I’m just waiting for the opportunity to do so.

If someone came up to you this very second with a blank check to work with whoever you wanted…who would be your top 5 people to create with? – 
Ones dead..Keith Haring R.I.P, but Tyler, Mikey Alfred, Chaz Bundick, & Blobsart
How’s the local reception been to your creative ventures? Have people started to notice and switched gears on how they approach you? And has anybody started pushing your work? – Double Negative, nobody fucks with Xan Haha!
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Xaniel and Jvizzle throwing a jam together. An Art Showcase for the Atlanta scene! Be there March 19th
What would you say lends to that idea of the general population that makes up the local youth not trying to signal boost someone’s ventures until they otherwise make it? It’s a common thing to see when we hear about celebrities rising out of their mediocre level surroundings – What lends to that is just being a sheep, and being a very close minded person. Being open to view from both the inside out and the outside in is a beautiful characteristic to have as a human being. There’s a lot of close minded followers out there, It could totally be a situation as to where you actually liking something because you think it’s cool, but if the majority of the population rules and doesn’t like it, you feel weird for connecting with it. That’s never a good thing. People are afraid to like what they like cause they don’t want to be looked at as an outcast, But you need that. There has to be a balance. You can’t have love without hate, you can’t have positive without negative, you can’t have one without the other. You have to have people who don’t want to see you make it, and when you do make it, you’ll be surprised at the ones that’ll come back and ask you for things. I never worry about this situation though, cause I know I’m gonna be okay in a couple of years. And truthfully, I might even help out the ones who doubted me cause that’s just the type of person I am. But one things for sure, is that I could always forgive you, but I’ll never forget the ones who doubted me, and neither should you. Also in some instances, people have no idea who they’re talking to, or what that person can achieve in life, so that’s when you have to set back and forgive those for not knowing. At the end of the day, I’m all about positivity.

That’s an all around great key to success man. So, in the immediate future how do you see Xaniel and the AWE Club coming into the spring and summer of the year? – 
Creative gems thrown left and right! The website www.theaweclub.com is gonna be back up and running in the spring. More clothes more collectibles, a lot more visuals, as far as student films. And quite a few installation pieces. I want people to have nostalgia with my art. Like “Wow, I remember when he made this!” “He was making this around this time I was…blaśe blah.” I Just want a lot more good vibes being depicted in my work. I want you to feel like you’re 7 years old again, going through life carefree, not worrying about adulthood, bills, rent, debt, or any of that type of stuff.

To wrap up, what advice would you give to young aspiring creatives out there trying to make it? – 
Don’t listen to anyone but yourself, you know yourself better than anyone else. Oh! And If you have a group a friends who all like doing the same things that’s creative, make a team. (Things work better in groups.) Then as time goes on, see who will be the one who’ll surpasses everyone if the group ever breaks up. *Most of the greats were in groups before they were solo.* Just think about it. And if you’re still in that group or at least have mutual relationship with the people, you know you got a good set of friends in your circle. And ALWAYS remember to have fun! Don’t let society take away your inner child, You need that to fly.
You can check out all of Xaniel’s exploits on his Instagram, follow his Twitter, and see some more AWEsome pictures of his work below!
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