salcainI recently met up with the very tal­en­ted and tuned in Mr Cain The Abyss to talk about art, the uni­verse and Hip Hop!

We both exhib­ited at High­light Nation’s ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ 90’s exhib­i­tion in 2018, and I’ve been fol­low­ing his jour­ney on Ins­tagram & You­Tube since dis­cov­er­ing his work at their Tupac exhib­i­tion in 2017; so of course I jumped at the oppor­tun­ity to inter­view this tal­en­ted young man.

Let’s start with your jour­ney into the art realm.…where did it begin?

Cain- I feel like I’ve always been in it! Ever since I can remem­ber, I’ve been try­ing to mani­fest my ideas into real­ity, on paper, can­vas, any­thing I can get my hands on!

One of my earli­est memor­ies is about the age of 4 or 5 years old, I used to sit and cry because I couldn’t always draw things how I wanted them to look, so I’d obsess­ively keep draw­ing some­thing and not move until I got it right!

I feel I need to use my hands to express what’s in my mind visu­ally, some people say they get artist’s block, I feel I’m the oppos­ite, for me I have so many ideas, I feel I won’t mani­fest them all in this life­time! But as long as I can be in flow and get the major­ity out, I’ll be happy, and to inspire oth­ers to be cre­at­ive too would be great.

Who or what is your influ­ence?

Cain- My influences…Salvador Dali, Alex Grey…psychedelic, oth­er­worldly eth­er­e­al type of art really grabs me.

At the same time, I can appre­ci­ate dif­fer­ent forms of art like a Michael Angelo type of paint­ing, it’s some­thing I’m try­ing to do now, fuse that absurd spir­itu­al, sur­real ele­ment with a more tra­di­tion­al format to see what I can cre­ate.

I have inspir­a­tions all over the place, the greatest & most recent being, Nip­sey Hussle, push­ing for own­er­ship and own­ing your empire — build­ing things ver­tic­ally, that’s how I want to be; play­ing life on my terms.

Let’s talk about spir­itu­al­ity and mani­fest­ing, you have your You­Tube chan­nel fea­tur­ing lots of videos about manifesting.…you’re so young to have found this gift, where does the drive for that come from!?

Cain- Honestly…my ancest­ors who have done all the work before me. I feel their spir­it inside me. I can feel them! I have voices in my head (I know it sounds crazy) whis­per­ing & telling me what to do, and every time I’ve gone against my intu­ition, I see why I shouldn’t have. Your DNA is a memory bank, we just have to tap into that inner com­pass and live by it, amaz­ing things can hap­pen for you. Really my main goal is to know myself.

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It seems to come nat­ur­ally to you, so you’re in a plus place.….

Cain- I think it’s come nat­ur­ally to me because I’ve stayed in touch with my childhood.…I’m an artist right now and when I was a child, that’s what my play was. You’re sub­con­sciously guided (in this soci­ety) to let go of what you played with, people say to you ‘it’s time to grow up’

Yes! “art’s not a job!”

Cain- exactly! be stub­born, cling onto your child­like self, chil­dren are in tune, they’re our tem­plate. Look at older people, they age back­wards men­tally — des­pite the phys­ic­al, they become more play­ful and open, more accept­ing of being in the moment. We are con­stantly trained to think for the future and out of the present moment. All that power is in you now, and that’s my motiv­a­tion… access­ing that power NOW!

Tell us about the work­shops I saw you recently did with primary school chil­dren

Cain- I def­in­itely want to do more …today’s kids are light years ahead! The work­shop I did was called ‘The Ima­gin­a­tion work­shop, I centred it around the idea that everything in your real­ity has come from someone’s ima­gin­a­tion. I asked them; ‘Look around the room every­one, what’s the com­mon thing con­nect­ing what you see’.…the answer was, that everything in the room came from someone’s mind first, they were like “WOW!”, it helped the chil­dren real­ise that they too have this power…they can make everything they want.

We then made a col­lect­ive col­lage, called the ‘Power Word Galaxy’, where the chil­dren (years 4&5) con­trib­uted their choice of power words, in the middle it said I AM…and chil­dren added to it… I am pos­it­ive, spir­itu­al, happy, blessed etc.

The idea was to inspire the next gen­er­a­tion to aspire to be great. I believe the people that come before have to do the work to clear the way, so the next gen­er­a­tion have less to shed

This is great, open­ing their minds to what they can become, espe­cially with the way media is por­tray­ing young people, you could be the one per­son vis­ited their school and inspired the next…

So, I’ve seen your tem­por­ary tat­toos on Ins­tagram, your style is very suited to tat­too art, what’s the pro­cess?!

Cain- I’ve nev­er done any body art before now, I use sharpies, so the art stays for some time, and people get an idea of how it feels to have body art. What I do is I spend a few minutes talk­ing to them and gauge their energy, and cre­ate some­thing rel­ev­ant to them, cap­tur­ing their per­son­al­ity on their skin through imagery, which is what I like about how I work, I can cre­ate some­thing that is mean­ing­ful. I actu­ally spent some time talk­ing to a girl, and for her tat­too, I drew two eagle heads, I didn’t tell her what I was doing, but when she saw it she was amazed as the two eagle heads appeared on her country’s flag, she had’t told me so it was a happy coin­cid­ence!

Would you think of becom­ing a tat­too artist?

Cain- Abso­lutely!

Have you got any tat­toos your­self?

Cain- Yes!!! One small one on my back! In Thai­l­and when I was 18, I went out there to learn some authen­t­ic Muay Thai with Thai train­ers, I stayed at a camp and trained twice a day for 6 days of the week!

I walked into a tat­too shop, out of curi­os­ity, and got my mum’s name tat­tooed in Thai pat­tern using a bam­boo stick, he then took me to a temple, and I had it activ­ated and blessed which was great exper­i­ence, I’d do it again.

I notice that you use the female form, and you have a lot of fem­in­ine energy in your art­work, why is this?

The past 5 years, I have been chan­nel­ing my fem­in­ine energy, hav­ing grown up in a house­hold full of women. You’re giv­en a tem­plate of how a boy should be, and the out­side influ­ence of how boys are tough etc.…but I had that bal­ance of all the lov­ing, nur­tur­ing energy at home,

I feel there needs to be a guy out there (and there are lots out there my age now) that isn’t afraid to chan­nel that energy

Watch­ing my sis­ter dur­ing her preg­nancy and listen­ing to the changes her body went through was amaz­ing per­spect­ive, it makes you respect women more, not to be taken for gran­ted or oppressed

The divine fem­in­ine is cre­at­ive, the mas­cu­line is the energy of action, if you can tune into both these fre­quen­cies then any­thing is pos­sible!

Do you plan your paint­ings, your art work, or do you see what flows out at the time?

Both, I have sketches at home that I down­load from my mind, then work on them fur­ther

There is an ele­ment of sit­ting with a brief and see­ing what comes, I might plan, but still see what flows.

What’s your favour­ite medi­um?

I don’t have one really, I’m get­ting back into paint­ing oh and I haven’t drawn on paper for a while. I’ve been doing quite a bit of digit­al work recently as I’ve taught myself to use a few design pro­grammes over the past year and a half, so I’m prac­tising my new skills.

I like to feel what I’m doing, so prefer doing hand rendered art, you do both, do you feel more con­nec­ted when cre­at­ing by hand rather than digit­ally?

It’s def­in­itely dif­fer­ent, trans­lat­ing the raw sen­sa­tions in your body, the way you’re breath­ing, the way you blend the col­ours, your emo­tions trans­late dir­ectly into what you’re doing, that you don’t get when work­ing digit­ally, where you can rub it out and blend things smoothly, and step back­wards, but with brush­strokes you’re feel­ing the flow.

I get the pur­pose of digit­al, but I think of art as like journ­al­ing. In order to release your feel­ings from your brain you journ­al by writ­ing it out by hand with a pen/pencil and that’s a pro­cess of release, I feel it’s the same with art, let­ting out your feel­ings, ideas etc.

Yes, when you think about it on deep­er level, you’re lit­er­ally send­ing imma­ter­i­al energy from your mind, trans­lated into elec­tric­al cur­rents in your brain through your nervous sys­tem, out into a pen, using the ink onto paper mak­ing the paper gain weight. Your ideas mani­fest and lit­er­ally gain weight where­as digitial you can wipe away errors without trace


Digit­al is very tech­nic­al, so you can get caught up in that rather than the flow.

Your cus­tom kicks.…..I’m sure those are done by hand!

I’m just try­ing new mediums.…I’d love to one day have my own col­lab with Nike or Adidas…putting it out into the uni­verse, are you listen­ing!?

I call them ‘The Abyss Leaps’, for my first design I drew out some ideas, used Pin­terest to build on ideas I already had. The col­lab­or­a­tion is with French Urb­an Streetwear brand, The Daömey Store, and I designed them for a raffle tick­et win­ner!

That’s where it all starts though, some­thing like that…

Let’s talk about that tee you’re wear­ing! Your Tupac paint­ing, I remem­ber from the Tupac exhib­i­tion that High­light nation put on in Croy­don a few years ago.…

They’re com­ing soon! I thought I’d get my work out there, and I real­ised that people like cus­tom art on appar­el, espe­cially shoes. A lot of brands are on the hype beast wave and don’t feel exclus­ive any­more, if you can get your hands on some cool look­ing shit, done just for you, then the aes­thet­ics are just next level!

So rather than your canvases sit­ting there in a box, you’re get­ting it out there by put­ting it on tees, people are walk­ing round show­ing your art and lov­ing the fact that it’s Tupac, spread­ing a mes­sage to oth­ers.…

Yes, mak­ing an image remind­ing people of an energy they can res­on­ate with, someone they con­nect with. Tupac had power­ful mes­sage him­self, sim­il­ar to Nip­sey, but Nip built on his ideas, with fin­an­cial guid­ance giv­ing massive game to us. Since he was mar­tyred, people have become switched on, mak­ing his mes­sage immor­tal; when you sit in your power and share your mes­sage, it becomes immor­tal.


How does hip hop influ­ence your art, with Tupac on your chest!

Yes genre wise I love the music, but to me it’s the whole cul­ture that influ­ences my art because it’s what I’ve grown up through.

It’s the mes­sage and determ­in­a­tion com­ing from some­where that doesn’t maybe look likely, or facil­it­ate your dreams, but you can go through the storm and use your cre­ativ­ity and people around you to build some­thing great. That whole spir­it of hip hop, that trans­form­at­ive ‘boss he hell up!’ energy is what I’m on, it comes nat­ur­ally to me. I feel like hip hop is that men­tal­ity now.

Hip Hop is biggest cul­ture in the world right now. It’s not just music, it star­ted with a major­ity of black people in urb­an areas, but now it can be seen in Japan­ese kids, or European kids in Croa­tia, the energy has been giv­en to every­one

It’s the spir­it of strug­gling into per­sever­ance.

Yeah, the struggle and everyone’s indi­vidu­al struggles and sur­viv­al is what gives us power and belief that we can get through.

Since Nip died, his mes­sage has been immor­tal­ized and we’ve woken up. We’re tak­ing it back, we want own­er­ship now, we’re mov­ing away from the middle men to cre­at­ing ways to con­trol how we want to express our cre­ativ­ity.

Like Swizz Beatz who puts on ‘No Com­mis­sion’ (lit­er­ally) art exhib­i­tions to sup­port artists just to give them time to shine, sup­port­ing them because he’s in a pos­i­tion to do so. It’s your art form, why should oth­er people cream the top off your tal­ent?

Exactly!! We’re tak­ing it back! Swizz Beatz is a legend!

It’s nice to see you people using the tools around them, like social media, as a resource to get shit done to make it hap­pen. It’s about find­ing your reas­on why

Yeah if you want to make it hap­pen you try, and if you fall down get back up and per­severe

I advoc­ate for look­ing inside; #Dig­Deep­and­Dis­play is one of my main brand hasht­ags, to lit­er­ally dig deep inside your­self to find your pur­pose, your reas­on why you want cer­tain things, who you really are, you come out of that inward jour­ney with more light and dis­play it. It’s a con­stant thing, you don’t just do it once, it’s an excav­a­tion of find­ing who you are, shed­ding things you’ve been giv­en, com­ing back out on top just a bit bright­er, accu­mu­lat­ing as much light as you can. You’re own­ing your style and express­ing it.

Your name Cain The Abyss, is a play on words, and one might see where it might have come from!!.…where did it come from!?

One of my first handles on ins­tagram was #Cain­nabis­art back when I first star­ted smoking weed. I used to get a lot of ideas and down­loads when high, mad visu­als used to come to me. But I couldn’t remem­ber who gave me that name and I wanted it to come from me, so I made up Cain the Abyss, which is sim­il­ar.

I can’t help but being deep (abyss) when I talk to people, I know it sounds silly, but I often end up talk­ing about the intric­a­cies of life and the uni­verse, and I just think fuck it, this is just who I am it’s me!

You don’t need to apo­lo­gise, because you can teach people things, the right people will stick around and have that talk, and those that aren’t inter­ested aren’t rel­ev­ant to your jour­ney.

True, those who like your light will be attrac­ted to you, so you’ll attract the right people in your life-

I think it suits you well, look­ing at all you’ve done so far.… you’ll be seen as a source of inspir­a­tion

Yeh, a deep dark hole of end­less ideas and energy!

So, you have your sharpie tat­toos, your art­work going on, tees, cus­tom kicks, work­shops, You­Tube chan­nel, is there any­thing else you want to talk about?

I’m plan­ning to do some big­ger paint­ings, I’m not even try­ing now, I’m going Beast­mode! I need to express my ideas more flu­idly, get it out there, share it. I’d like to do some more work­shops with chil­dren, host some art classes, if I can tie those in with spir­itu­al­ity and look­ing with­in, that would be great. I wish to con­nect with more cre­at­ives and get that cre­at­ive buzz hap­pen­ing, just get­ting on your shit, that’s what I’m about and we’ll see where life takes me!

We could talk all day, so let’s wrap it up there before my word count maxes out!! thank you for your time Cain, it’s been a great con­ver­sa­tion!

That was great, we out here build­ing the cre­at­ive scene people!

Fol­low @cain.the.abyss on ins­tagram and You­Tube chan­nel Cain The Abyss to see his tal­ent unfold.

Listen to the inter­view in full below


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Sally Mur­row aka Sal­freckles is a Lon­don­er who works in early edu­ca­tion, she has a back­ground in graph­ic design and finds inspir­a­tion for her art from hip hop rhymes and cul­ture.

About Salfreckles

Sally Murrow aka Salfreckles is a Londoner who works in early education, she has a background in graphic design and finds inspiration for her art from hip hop rhymes and culture.