‘Art is sanity:’ Artist with background in graffiti depends on his creations to keep him grounded

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Jordan Massey used to watch “graffiti trains” pass through his hometown. Now, he uses spray paint to create all kinds of art.

Jordan Massey grew up watching local graffiti artists paint the trains that came through De Soto, Missouri. The “graffiti trains” arrived covered in designs from similar artists around the United States. Massey would watch as they were either repainted or left to sit in the yard for months before moving on.

Jordan Massey looks at two of his recent creations. Massey creates portraits, stencils and more. Photo by Robby Floyd.

“I got to see a lot of artwork that a lot of people don’t get to see,” Massey said. “That’s how I grew up, so I think it was inevitable that I’d get into art myself.”

Now Massey, better known as RiteHand Robot, does art full-time. He does portraits, murals, stencils, digital art and even made props for a music video once.

“Art is sanity for me,” Massey said. “If I didn’t have a way to produce and keep myself busy, I would go crazy.”

Massey has severe obsessive-compulsive disorder and uses his art as an outlet to keep himself focused.

“Artists that have been doing it for years don’t understand how I cut stencils using an Exacto knife,” Massey said. “They’re all using lasers to get theirs done.”

RiteHand Robot Studios is located in his garage and down the stairs in the basement. Massey said any artist will tell you how important it is to have your work station close to home.

“Having your studio in your home beats having a pen and paper on your nightstand,” Massey said. “It beats trying to sketch out your idea versus being able to bang it out immediately.”

Jordan Massey works with spray paint for many of his projects. During
nice weather, Massey often works in his garage to create art for clients. Photo by Robby Floyd.

Massey has been a part of studios in the past but described them as places of creative clashing and jealousy. He loves the freedom of being able to have his own workspace and work whenever he feels inspired.

When the weather is nice, Massey works from his garage.

“[Spray Paint] just isn’t good for your air quality to do it indoors,” Massey said. “I have three kids and to think that could give them any problems while their brains are developing; it’s just not good.”

Massey said spray paint does not work well on cold surfaces, so in the winter, he will do a lot of digital work in his basement studio. This past winter he did book covers, album covers and portraits.

The Thirteen Roses Tattoo parlor in Maryland Heights has many RiteHand Robot pieces on its walls. Owner Matthew Womack met Massey at a local art event. Massey and around thirty other artists were there showcasing their work.

“I’ve got a weak spot for local artists,” Womack said. “Some of [Massey’s] stuff that I’ve gotten is agenda motivated, but a lot of it is just appealing to the eye.”

After that show, Womack would become a regular customer of Massey’s artwork both for his home and for his tattoo shop.

In the future, Massey wants to create an art show with art that is painted with texture and made to be felt.

Massey hopes to get several other artists together to create a completely tactile show. He’s going to title the show “You feel me?”

“The number one thing you’re told at an art show is ‘don’t touch anything,’” Massey said. “I wanted to create something you can touch and feel the texture.”

Editor’s note: This article is one part of a bigger project focusing on St. Louis artists. You can follow the project on Instagram (@thestlartscene) or visit their site here.

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Robby Floyd
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