Phree to Phind out- Cyril Bullard of SWAG
It’s was the first unofficial day of spring in Philadelphia. It’s a little above 70 degrees, the sun is shining, and the sidewalks have been besieged by masses. It took me almost 12 minutes to make it to the Tbar on 12th and Sansom Streetfrom a late lunch over in Rittenhouse. I ordered my favorite, Honeydew Bubble Tea, and grabbed a seat at the table by the window. My phone vibrated.
“Uh yea I think I am close but where is it again?”
“You’re walking right past it. I’m watching you.”
He turns to his right and sees me waving. He comes in and slides into the chair opposite my own. I recommend my favorite to him, and he gets the same flavor but asks for a shake instead of having it iced. He slides back into his silver chrome low back chair, takes a sip, and approves of his beverage choice.
For the most part I can’t say I have ever known him to not approve of his choices in general. Mistakes to him are not mistakes, just one more debatable necessary step in life’s journey. So when he decided to pursue his artistic talents and use them to educate, advocate, and empower children and various communities throughout Philadelphia , I made a decision. I decided I needed to know a little more about Cyril Bullard, member and cofounder of the Sharp With Arts Group (SWAG) and Greedy Carnival clothing, as well as a member of the Hip Hop Party for the People, and the David P. Richard Empowerment Academy.
Phreedum: Who are you in 5 words?
CB: servant, activist, artist, intellectual, entrepreneur
Phreedum: What is the most fulfilling thing about the work you do?
CB: My ability to work with other artists. Some are friends I’ve grown up with and others a new people. I also get to express myself through my art and use it as a means to educate children. SWAG is all about the babies!
Phreedum: What has been the most challenging aspect of your work?
CB: Overall SWAG has been beautiful. Individually the most challenging thing has been coming back to being an artist again.
Phreedum: Back? What do you mean?
CB: As an artist I am primarily a graffiti artist. But when I was younger I got into trouble so I stopped. I got into other things….girls.
We both laugh.
CB: Sike sike sike. Well I mean I did get more into girls but artistically speaking I got into rapping and poetry.
Phreedum: How does the work you do change the lives of others?
CB: The work I do with SWAG provides education. It causes people to pause, look at themselves, and be encouraged to make changes that change the world.
Phreedum: Who has been the most influential person in allowing you to phreely pursue your dreams?
CB: God has been the most influential in allowing me to pursue my dreams phreely. But there is also my SWAG crew, Greedy Carnival partners, fellow activists in the Hip Hop Party, fellow educators at the David P. Richardson Empowerment Academy. Basically my colleagues in all of my initiatives.
Phreedum: What’s been your proudest moment thus far?
CB: The influence my work has with children. Also, I know you said the most, and I know I like to talk a lot, but my growth as an artist and as a team has made me really proud too.
Phreedum: How would your staff, friends, and family describe you in one word?
Phreedum: What’s your favorite way to de- stress?
CB: Draw, read, or pray.
Phreedum: If your brand was a sport what would it be and why?
CB: UFC Mixed martial Arts. There are different styles in martial arts and there are different styles in SWAG- graffiti art, fine art, and abstract art. Different approaches to attacking the canvas.
Phreedum: What advice would you give other entrepreneurs?
CB: Treat people how you want to be treated. Be humble and be patient.
For more information about Cyril Bullard and SWAG visit http://www.sharpwithartsgroup.com