Pugs Atomz talks about his creativity and artistry

Photography credit: Cos G
Photography credit: Cos G

If you spend anytime in Chicago these days you will notice an artistic renaissance happening. The music and visual landscape of the city is growing consistently every year. World-renowned artists cut their teeth in this city and flourish around the world. Rolling out had the opportunity to speak with one of these individuals, Englewood’s very own Pugs Atomz, a hip-hop legend in the city whose talents are multifaceted. We talked about these talents and how they have helped pave the way for this explosion of creativity.

Tell us who you are.

Pugs Atomz is a creative enjoying Chicago.

People are acquainted with what you have done musically, take a moment and tell us about what you are doing currently.

Well, right now I’m a designer for Iridium Clothing Co. As well as the creative director of the company. I just organized my first fashion show [at] ROOF on theWit for Activate. Still hosting Cta Radio on legendary Whpk [16 years]. Getting back to making art and music and performing when I have time. Public speaking with college kids and at-risk youth. Besides that, enjoying fatherhood.

How does what you do as a visual artist translate into your designs for clothing?

At the heart, my art in all forms is based around [a] collage or layers of ideas. In the beginning my designs would be more like album covers then evolved into paintings. Now it’s more communicating a story with function. For instance my “warriors windbreaker” tells the story of me in the ’90s loving windbreakers and polo rugbys but always being out late listening to my Discman and almost being hit by cars walking through South Shore and Englewood blocks. So I added 3M [tape] to the front so at night so cars could see me walking, and added zippers on the side to make it more comfortable to wear or take off.

Pugs Atomz Artwork for his release Nouveau Casino , Photography credit: Cos G
Pugs Atomz Artwork for his release Nouveau Casino (Photography credit: Cos G)

How would you define yourself as an artist?

Multidisciplinary, I guess, I create only when I’m inspired, I try to never force it.

How has Chicago shaped your artistry?

For me rising from struggle, in the sense there weren’t many outlets for us to win when I first got into music and graffiti in the ’90s. We all had to create our worlds. To see people I knew growing up, like Kanye, [Rhyme]Fest,  Hebrue, Jugrnaut, Fashion Firm make their dreams reality keeps you dreaming bigger. But mostly always telling our story in the music and things I create.

Sneakers designed by Pugs Atomz, Photography credit: Cos G
Sneakers designed by Pugs Atomz, Photography credit: Cos G

What is one of your most memorable moments with respect to your journey.

Moving to London with my wife to tour the world with my band, The Electric. In 2003, I went to Germany, U.K. and France with Thaione Davis for his tour. I vowed not to come back until I was asked to come back, it took a few years but when I returned I never imagined the influence of Chicago and my music as well as seeing so much of the world from writing a few songs that resonated with people. It really changed the way I wrote songs. Communicating ideas with people who don’t speak English really made me appreciate simplicity and step up my performance.

What encouraging words do you have for our readers?

Write it down and figure out a plan to make it happen. … I remember writing a verse some years ago” next week I’m in Moscow like comrade I’m killin’ it” and literally a month later I made that happen. Focus, timing and direction is important.-

Learn more about Pugs Atomz by visiting: http://pugsatomz.tumblr.com/

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