Saturday, May 31, 2008


Bed-Stuy Artist Profiles: Rob Fokused
By The Changeling | May 30, 2008

As most of you know, I have a special place in my heart for artists. I’m especially interested in artists who place their art in public spaces, and I try to photograph their pieces whenever I stumble upon them. Several months ago I photographed some art placed on a sign in front of Tiny Cup (above). The colors really caught my eye and it made me chuckle because it read “Green Like Your Boogers!” After taking that picture, I started to notice the artist’s work all over the neighborhood (he really gets around!). When I finally put the photo above on the blog (it was originally posted with my Eye in the Stuy feature back in March), the artist himself contacted me. I jumped at the chance to meet him in person, and I suggested we meet up at Tiny Cup, since that was the place where I first saw his work.
The day I met Rob Fokused, he was preparing to travel abroad. He was very friendly and he spoke openly about himself. Cool fact about Rob Fokused: he’s a polyglot. In addition to English, he speaks Spanish, Japanese, Inter-Hebrew and Arabic. I asked him about his signature image “the A-Man”. He said that the futuristic design was influenced by the Flying Nun’s habit. Remember how her hat was A shaped? I love it when artists get inspiration from the unlikeliest of places!

Pieces of art with the signature image.
The mystery artist in the flesh!
Name: Rob Fokused/Fokused Empire State
Age: 30
Where did you grow up? I grew up in Clinton Hill/Prospect Heights. I’m currently living in Bed-Stuy.
If you’re living in Bed-Stuy, how long have you lived here? I’ve been in Bed-Stuy since 1993.
What type of art do you create?
I create art that innovates and keeps your fokus.
How would you describe your art?
My art is futuristic and you can interpret it in the manner you feel embraces you.
What effect do you think that your art has on Bed-Stuy and the people who view it?
My characters are here to stay embedded in your head like barcodes. [A-man] is like the mayor for the community and if you don’t notice him right away you will surely see him pop up. You definitely won’t get enough of him.

How do you view the arts community in Bed-Stuy?
I love art. I eat art. And it is important for the kids growing up today, especially. Not to mention art keeps individuals expressing themselves. Instead of hanging in the park, let’s have a “paint park” and paint the community red.
The A-man likes the Bed-Stuy Blog!

Sadly, the woodcut art that was in front of Tiny Cup was stolen, but you can find Rob Fokused’s work in other places around the neighborhood. Check out his tribute to Sean Bell on Tompkins Avenue (look for a design with the words “over 50 shots”).

I’m always looking to meet more Bed-Stuy artists who bring art into our community. If you’re an artist who wouldn’t mind sharing a little bit about yourself with our blog readers then drop me a line at

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