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Grippo$ and The Glass Crown

$ide Note:

"Grippo$" is a character in my creative universe that represents me as a kid. He can literally be anywhere from 8+ years of age on any given painting. I use him in my artwork and in my art curriculum to spread information throughout the world. I hear people say they wish they could go back in TI:ME to tell their younger self something, wishful thinking, huh? Now I actually can, in a way, not to my younger self but to my students. What I learn now and wish I could've known when I was a kid, I create art to teach that to my students and share it with the world.


In my creative universe, my characters have crowns, our symbols of royalty, and rocket ships, our tools for elevation. Majority of the crowns I create are gold, some solid and others have various accents. For special occasions and/or for specials gifts, I love to create 1-of-1 crowns, like The Glass Crown.


$ide Note II:

The Glass Crown is Grippo$' "Mr. Hillman" crown. At HBCU's (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) there are what's called Royal Courts. The court consist of "Mr. And Miss" (whatever HBCU) and other campus leadership offices, such as Mr. And Miss Sophmore. I actually graduated from Central State University, an HBCU in Wilberforce, OH - I did not serve on the Royal Court, however. "Hillman" is a made up HBCU that featured on the classic TV show, A Different World. "Hillman" is also featured in a clothing and lifestyle brand called, The Chipmunk Chronicles, by one of my big brothers from Central State, Omotayo Obayanju.


As stated in the second "$ide Note," Omotayo (or Tayo for short) is a very influential person to me, who I met in college and still serves in that roll till this day. Any chance he gets to support me, he does! I appreciate him greatly for that and it was TI:ME for him to get an exclusive painting. My paintings of Grippo$ in various forms are actually school pictures, magazine covers or trading cards, remember, he can be any age from 8yrs old, on up. "The Glass Crown" is a magazine cover, Grippo$ just won "Mr. Hillman" and he's crying, overwhelmed with emotion and red eyes. You literally have to attend an HBCU to understand the concept of a Royal Court, the yard, campus leadership offices and the persistence it takes to survive and graduate. I had to gift this to him at his birthday party - I was actually nervous.

(Left to right: Tayo, myself, Odis Parker III)

Photo copyrights: Odis Parker III

As fate has it, soon as I walked into the party, Tayo walked back into the party and we met right in front of the DJ booth. Only God could coordinate the timing of that! The DJ, Odis Parker III, came from behind the booth to get us pictured as you see above. The compliments from Odis calmed me down and the fact that Tayo loved his painting. While making the painting, I didn't necessarily plan to make the crown glass, I wanted to make the crown chrome with diamonds. The paint was acting weird and giving a translucent effect, I was pressed for TI:ME and had to finish this before the party. I just went with the flow and kept painting, then I noticed how dope the translucent effect was looking. At times I have a direction I want to create in and at any TI:ME God can make an adjustment, this was one of those times. The “HBCU King” only wears his crown on special occasions when representing the respective university, so the fact that Grippo$' crown is made of glass and chrome isn't a problem at all. It literally represents Tayo, he's going to pop out every once in awhile and make the moment exclusive - a crown fit for a king. I had to name drop our actual school, Central State University (CSU), on the painting and highlight Tayo's brand, Chipmunk Chronicles .

The brand is so dope and it's been evolving him out of his comfort zone. The painting itself gives a doorway to a few things, one being a way for me to talk about HBCU's to my students as I depicted in this blog. Now I can recreate real college moments in my creative universe and inspire kids to go to college in general. I cannot wait to make lessons for my students based on this painting. I can also promote Chipmunk Chronicles and the dope collections they have dropping, you can check them out here:



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