by Chandler Christopher
Cozy B, aka Bryan Rappolo, is an abstract graffiti artist who grew up in the Southwest Houston, TX neighborhood of Alief. “Southtown”, as he refers to it. Cozy, raised by immigrant parents from Central America, holds his hometown hood extremely close to his heart. It is a huge part of his identity as an artist. His fascination with art began at an early age, taking a strong interest in his cousin’s ability to sketch pictures of almost anything on command. Cozy currently works full-time at a Vans in Houston in addition to spending most of his time making art. He views his time at Vans opportunistically, absorbing the inner workings of a big apparel company and learning what they might be open to in terms of visuals.
The moniker Cozy B came to life for Bryan in a very cozy way. He told me that while working at a Cane’s in Austin, TX, one of his coworkers approached him, saying:
‘Damn b, you look cozy’.
“I was like ‘damn, that’s legit’. Yeah, so it’s just stuck with me since.”, Cozy B tells me. I smiled hearing this cozy little tale. It just makes sense.
Bryan’s been focused on making art professionally for about six years now, but his art career really started to take off when he moved to Austin back in 2017. Cozy B attended a year of community college after high school at Houston Community College before realizing that the traditional route wasn’t for him. “I kind of made the decision for myself that school wasn’t for me so I just kind of started trying to push art.”, he says. “6 years later, this is where I’m at.” Cozy B hopes to continue to grow his platform and reach as many people as possible. He wants to inspire his home community and be a symbol of hope. “To be able to see some positive change in the community, you know, especially if I contributed to that… It would just be so dope. Especially because I’ll still be livin’ in it.” He says that even if he really starts to come up he will always still be a part of “Southtown”.
“You can’t take the hood out of someone. That’s home all day.”
“Art has brought me so many things man… All my closest homies, a lot of opportunity. It’s just brought so many positive things for me… I just want to continue the journey.”
How big has social media been for you at this point? Which app has been your biggest tool for reaching new people?
Instagram for sure is my main platform. I’ve tried to dabble into Twitter because if you hit on Twitter you can reach an insane amount of people. One time I actually hit big there and got my biggest online sale to date out of that one. Yeah, but Twitter is just something else, man, it’s a lot to keep up with because of how complex it is. I’ve also seen a pretty drastic change in Instagram over the past year. When I first moved out here to Austin I would just throw some hashtags into my post and I would get a lot of reach out of that pretty easily. Now it’s just a lot harder with all of the new algorithms for it and I think it really comes down to figuring out how to get on top of that algorithm.
What has your experience been with sustaining yourself using your art?
You know, it fluctuates. It can be really tough at times because I’ll be hot for a couple weeks and then I’ll start to relax a bit and think ‘Oh, everything is great’ and then the next two weeks could be just dead. Sometimes I can really depend on it and other times I’m really glad I have a job. It’s a very self-motivated career choice so I’m just trying to hone in on that.
How do you hope to progress as an artist?
I think having more defined and planned out projects is definitely a way I’d like to progress. And making that more of an everyday routine thing. A huge inspiration for me is Lewy, you know Lewy right? That’s the fuckin’ guy. He’s the one who got me into my first art shows down here. The art world is rowdy. There’s so much opportunity and it’s all about setting yourself up for as many opportunities as possible. Also, presentation is key with social media and that’s something I really want to get better at.
I saw Cuco follows you on Instagram, what’s the story behind that?
My friend Alejandro (shoutout Alejandro) had a hook up with the band Triathalon who was opening up for Cuco at Emo’s last year. So yeah we got to be backstage for that show and I ended up getting to have a good conversation with Cuco. We got to talking about my art and shit and I showed him my Instagram and he fucked with it a lot. So yeah it was pretty cool and he followed me after that.