Sitting inside a blank white room, on the first page of a blank white book, with an extremely open mind, I sat and searched for inspiration. As I stared out the door of my office, my eyes rested on the paintings across the hallway. With splashes of color and bold lines that stretched across the canvas, they looked like carved out pieces of someone’s soul.
As I gazed down to the bottom corner of one, I saw the name Ease One TX. Ok, I thought, maybe this person can help make our space more vibrant. So, after a bit of sleuthing, I found a promising Instagram account. As I scrolled through the images, I realized that what I was seeing were the full size, intact works of this person’s art, sprayed on walls of all sorts scattered across the world. They were complete expressions from the same soul that had left pieces on the wall outside my office.
Copenhagen was the hashtag below one particularly spectacular image. I filed that away, and hit up @easeonetx for his email. To my pleasant surprise, I got a response back within a few days. Over the course of our correspondence, it was decided that he would come and paint something for Fashion Feed at the next First Friday.
The day rolled around much quicker than anticipated. I scrambled to gather up the corkboards I was going to assemble into a 12×6 makeshift canvas. In the late afternoon, I leaned the boards up against the warped chain link fence in the parking lot and prayed he would show up.
It turns out I had nothing to worry about. The night had taken hold, and the streets outside Reclaimed, the building where my office is, were filled with people. There was a Burning Man inspired fashion show and some drummers that had set up in the parking lot. Crowds had formed and reformed, and at precisely nine o’clock, Ease One and his buddy Zac materialized.
We stood around for a while, staring at the blank boards. Zac and I made small talk, and eventually he asked me what I wanted Ease to do. I hadn’t really thought about it. Finally, I sheepishly said Fashion Feed? And then he started to paint. I hadn’t said more than two words to him.
Ease One, otherwise known as Alex Pesante, was born in Puerto Rico, but spent most of his childhood years in Euliss, Texas, a small town in between Dallas and Fort Worth. There was a train yard behind the apartment building he lived in, and as he reached his teens, he and his friends started tagging the trains.
Like most artists that find their passion at a young age, he became completely consumed. At that time, roughly 2000-2006, a graffiti movement swept itself across Dallas, out into the suburbs and mid-cities. It was everywhere.
“I would get a ride or take the train from where I lived, (…) where just a couple of us were doing graffiti, to Dallas where there were a good amount of people doing graffiti, says Ease. “I would just go, not even to paint but pretty much as a fan and just to walk around and see what was new or who was painting where and what styles all these writers/bombers/ pieces had. There were many influences.”
Some of the artists became so prolific that it prompted the Dallas police force to start a graffiti abatement program to crack down on the offenders, mostly young men in their late teens and early 20’s. One night when Alex was out painting, he was stopped by an undercover cop. He was looking for a tagger that went by the name of Sekt, and wanted to know if he knew the guy’s real name or where he lived. When Alex declined to answer, the cop walked away and let him finish his piece.
“Sekt is and should be known and respected by many because to me he is one of the bombers that put up so much work and still does. You could see his name and his crew, HD, pretty much everywhere you went. There were many that were like that. Ozone, Mosquito, Infinity Crew, Minus (rip), Abis, Tex, Chosen, Ucron, Honest, Mes, Marka 27, Somber (…) to name a few and the list goes on and on. They are a major part of Dallas graffiti history and my teachers pretty much. As well as a guy named Debt who’s my favorite writer from Dallas.
After reaching adulthood, he took a deep breath, and disappeared into the depths. From time to time he would resurface to paint. His work eventually appeared all over the United States, China, Sweden, Slovakia and Germany. His first large piece was at the Gadefabrikken, a company in Copenhagen. Initially, he was given only 2 weeks to finish and display it, but it received so much attention, he ended up staying for 3 months to finish it completely. It marked a milestone.
Now 31, Alex has been living in Las Vegas for the last few months, or, from his standpoint, a pretty long time. He came to paint and create art in the offices of a childhood friend, Jonathan Jenkins, who owns the tech startup company Order With Me, housed in the old Uptown Motel on Ogden. His buddy Zac works there as well.
While here, he has had the opportunity to collaborate with another artist, Angelina Christina. Together, they have created some beautiful murals at Life Cubed, the Western Hotel, and along the wall on the back side of Container Park on Carson Avenue. If you frequent downtown Las Vegas, then most assuredly you have seen their work, possibly even see it burn.
First Friday continued to unfold, and Zac and I watched Alex paint. It was mesmerizing. He moved fluidly, stopping occasionally to step back from the fumes. The lines were chaotic and a bit confusing, until suddenly the image popped out. It said Fashion Feed, clear as day. And it didn’t just say Fashion Feed. It expressed it from a very specific, deeply rooted point of view. Alex stepped back for a moment to stand with me, and I burst into tears. It was better than anything I could have imagined.
When I interviewed him a few weeks later, I asked him how he came up with the name Ease One.
“I started out writing names and they didn’t really describe who I am, says Alex. I’m quiet and laid back most of the time. At ease. So I went with that and it stuck. I liked the letters as well. The letter combination is cool. I can stretch them out in certain ways here and there. Making them 3D or abstract, bold in some parts and skinny in others. I guess I just get a good flow with them. I always try to have a good flow throughout the pieces that I paint. Yeah, something like that.”
Things were winding down. I was spent. The mural was finished but still wet, and had a strong odor. We said our goodbyes, and then Ease One vanished into thin air, leaving me with my art, my memory, and a piece of his soul. It’s in the Fashion Feed office. You could come see it sometime, if you want.
written by Catherine Treu