Interviews

Adam "Dumperfoo" Dumper on His B-Boy Days, Working at Wet Paint, and the Thrill of Live Art

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You started out as a breakdancer during childhood, correct? Yup. Probably in grade school, as a breakdancer who used to b-boy all the time. Back when I was a little kid. I was hella cute. That was when grade school, so like 12 years old. It was the early 80s when everybody was breakdancing. Everywhere you went, like the mall at Los Arcos or something, there'd be 100 kids breakdancing. That was a wild time during that era. You either breakdanced or you rode BMX bikes or freestyled and shit.

Did you bust out the cardboard and everything? I had tile [flooring]. My dad was a construction dude so he broke out the tile for me. Then I used to go to downtown Glendale where I danced at a church over there and I got in this little crew and we did this Phoenix festival at the Civic Plaza. So we went down there and battled people and the announcer was like, "Today we're gonna see a breakdance battle....isn't that fun?"

What was the name of your crew? I don't remember the name of the breakdancing crew. Shit that was back in the day, like 1986 or '87. My mind has kind of slipped on that. I just knew we practiced at this church in Glendale. It was crazy.

Rate yourself as a dancer. I was pretty dope back then. I wasn't much into power move stuff, I was kinda more of like a popper and shit. I used to dance like every day. And then I got into the 90s in high school and then I danced hip-hop and b-boy stuff with my friend Tyrone Robinson and a couple other dudes. Me and Tyrone used to dance everywhere, like [now-defunct nightspot] Sergeant Peppers and all the clubs. I'd be the only white dude at all of the clubs.

When did you first get into art? I worked at [now-defunct Phoenix music venue] The Grind and I was DJing the after-hours. And I started making did art at that time, murals and stuff, and also bartended and cleaned the club. I was doing art, graffiti and doing my little thing then, not on the streets too much, but doing graffiti art and hanging out with hip-hop dudes and being a shithead, being a homeless kid.

Why were you a shithead? Didn't get along with my parents too well at that time and era. Had problems with my dad, I was being a dick and just being a shit and a drug addict. That was from when I was like 16 until about twentysomething.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.