From hip hop kid to artist, local DJ finds his groove - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

From hip hop kid to artist, local DJ finds his groove

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Above the glow of Nectars in Burlington the sounds of Club Metronome are pumping.

It's where inhibitions fly to some of the best jams of the 90's on Friday nights.

With the shuffle of a song the entire mood changes. The person controlling it all -- Kyle Thompson -- better known as DJ Fattie Boombalatie, or Fattie B.

"I'm kind of an escape for them," Thompson said.

Djing is how Thompson gets his music thrill now. The Bristol native used to be a rapper in the 90's band Belizbaha.  "We toured the country and overseas. We did over 300 shows a year, for eight years," he said.

On the verge of a huge record deal... "It kind of went down the toilet. That's why that sign is sitting on my bathroom door," he said, pointing out a Nectars sign.

That's when Thompson put down his mic, picked up a paintbrush and started his company Steez -- It's an 80's term for style with ease. "I'm hugely influenced by Andy Warhol and Keith Haring and I grew up being a hip hop kid  -- that all encompasses what Steez is," he said.

His funky designs may look like silk screens but they're all drawn and painted by hand. Each one starts with a photo. "I try to take an image that normally wouldn't be eye appealing and try to make it pop off the wall," he said.

From music legends and influential figures, to the more generic. And maybe future icons...

Reporter Gina Bullard: That's my headshot.

Kyle Thompson: I turned it into static art and I said what colors can we give it to pop it off.

Thompson's art is more than popping off the wall, they're flying off the store shelves. "I can't explain it and I don't try to explain it," he said.

Steez's images are sold world wide, in big box stores including Barnes & Noble, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and Urban Outfitters. "Posters, prints, canvases puzzles shower curtains, tapestries, magnets, mugs -- it's taken a life of its own," Thompson said.

The monkey with headphones is his best selling design. "The simplicity of the art along with the subject matter and the vibrant colors," he said. Taking lessons from Belizbaha.  "I learned to appreciate every second of success because it doesn't last forever."

Appreciating and enjoying every moment, whether he's influencing crowds with his art or his music.

Reporter Gina Bullard: How is this different than painting?

Kyle Thompson: It's the energy I'm feeling. It's the gratification. Painting is more of a process and I get to enjoy the end, but this is instant.

He's a Made in Vermont artist, evoking emotion through sight and sound.

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