Airmagination Brings Hip
Hop to Fashion
12/10/05 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview
Airmagination has quickly
claimed its stake as the most popular Latin-owned airbrushed
clothing business in the industry. Owner and artist Ray Sierra
of the Bronx, along with his fellow artists, are responsible
for the official Big Pun clothing line, and their work can be
seen at clubs, in the street, and on the walls of 50 Cent's
home. Ray's company has introduced a new level of high quality
airbrushed shirts at retail prices, he takes time out of an an
especially busy month to speak with LatinRapper about his
long have you been in the airbrushing business?
About 11 years now.
How did you get started?
I bought a shirt off of somebody, and thought I could do it,
and that was it basically.
Did you teach yourself?
Yeah, I went and bought the inside guts of a compressor, a
cheap airbrush, and started airbrushing all my clothes.
Most of your work obviously has a hip hop feel to it, how
has been a Bronx native influenced your art?
Basically you got all the graffiti writers, like the best ones
originated from here, in my opinion. You get to see the best
work, and you’re constantly surrounded by the hip hop, the
What shirt design do you get the most requests for?
That’s a hard one. I would just say it varies, mostly
celebrity portraits. You got Biggie, Pac and Pun, they’re in
the top three.
Speaking of Pun, Your company did most of the designs for
the official Big Pun clothing, what was it like to be involved
with such a successful line?
It was definitely good, the shirts we created were on a mass
production level, it makes me proud to see people accept it
and your artwork.
Are you involved with any other artist or official clothing
Yeah, Biggie line, Scarface, Godfather, City of God, King of
New York, Martin Luther King, Soulja Slim, Young Jeezy, Al
Capone and many more to come
So you obtained the rights to do the designs?
The company that pays for the license to the people that own
the estate, they come to us for a lot of artwork that they
You’re known to do murals, what were some of the more
significant pieces that you’ve done?
Definitely 50 Cents' house, right now I'm doing the BET.
office, 50 I would say was the pinnacle as far as murals,
besides that we done neighborhoods, a whole building,
barbershops, a lot of backdrops for different people,
including the one for Pun for his pool hall he had in the
If an artist or label outside of New York is looking for a
custom mural, are you available to meet that need?
Yeah, whether its custom murals, we definitely trying to
expand to any clothing line company out there that’s looking
for a nice little twist on an urban product. Anything for any
product that’s out there.
You previously had a shoe deal with Timberland, how did
that come about?
It wasn’t really a shoe deal, they had a contest where they
had a youth outreach program. Where its about giving back to
the hood, having artists from different cities compete to
represent their cities. And Kelvis Polanco of Airmagination
won the competition. Originally they were supposed to
reproduce the boots and part of the sales would go to charity,
but the time frame they got it only made it to a few places.
We went out to meet the public, it was real cool.
You’re presently working on your own clothing line, right?
Yeah, we just signed our deal, we got picked up by the same
company that put out the Pun line, Biggie line. The line is
called So Hood clothing, its gonna be t-shirts for men and
women with very strong artwork covering every aspect of the
hood from good to bad. We gonna do shirts at retail, what the
public really wants to see that other companies are scared to
do. We’re gonna push the envelope with the clothing line.
Is So Hood out now?
That will be coming out this spring, look out for that, we got
a website coming up for that, sohoodclothing.com
Do you bump music to get into a particular mood when doing
a shirt or mural?
Yeah, the latest hot stuff, we listen to everything from hip
hop to alternative, rock, whatever.
What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most?
I would say coming up with an idea, creating that initial
sketch of something original, just like our clothing line.
Who were your influences while you made your way into the
airbrushing and art game?
When I first started out, the local guys who originally
airbrushed… maybe T-Rex, as I progressed it was guys I would
see in the magazines like Dru Blair, Steve Driscoll.
You have a DVD on airbrush instruction, what kind of
feedback have you gotten from people with no airbrushing
experience who purchased it?
We got excellence feedback from people, the biggest surprise
to me was the respect we got from people who were already
artists. One guy had six years experience and stuff he learned
off my DVD helped him progress immediately.
What’s your advice to aspiring airbrush artists who might
be reading this?
Stick with it, man. Keep practicing, just don’t give up.
Any last thoughts for readers?
No matter what it is, whether art or music, keep it true,
don’t stray away from that.
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