Archive for the ‘ Interview ’ Category

Matt W. Moore Artist Feature and Interview

MWM Hex Process Detail 2010

MWM Hex Red

MWM Crystals And Lasers

MWM Brazil Rojo Nova

MWM Parallel Universe Brazil

MWM Hex Process

MWM Op Art Mandala

MWM Crystals And Lasers Paris Mural

MWM Dem Hexy Curves Detail

MWM Rorschach Posters

MWM Parallel Universe Canvas

MWM Hex Series Fulcrum

MWM Crystals And Lasers

JURNE DMENT TWIGS ENRON MWM

I was turned onto Matt Moore’s work after a recent video that Ironlak put out of a track side wall he collaborated on with Jurne, Dement, Twigs and Enron. I had admired his design and mural work before, yet had no idea to the extent that it reached. A very well rounded artist, being able to walk the line between multiple mediums and actually doing it extremely well speaks volumes. I have a true respect for MWM, being primarily a design artist he is able to transition his ideas and aesthetic vision into canvases, and walls very superbly. His signature Vectorfunk style seems to be a visual soundtrack to his own mind that we get a glimpse into one piece of work at a time. I was able to catch up with MWM and ask him some questions below is the interview.

GF

Give us a brief history of how you first started to paint walls, as compared to primarily working in design and painting? Did you paint walls first, then get into design, or was it the other way around?

Like many of your readers, the first creative outlet that I immersed myself in was traditional graffiti. I drew my name in many different ways and then painted those blueprints on walls. As my style evolved I started to put more focus on intricate fills and taking over entire surfaces with abstract funk. Then after a few solid years of that I completely abandoned letter forms and started to paint large abstract free form compositions. Around this time I was in school for Graphic Design and I was learning how to render images digitally. Geometry, Asymmetry, and Composition became my focus in the graphic work I was creating, and I cross pollinated this energy towards my graffiti, murals, and canvas paintings. I’m lucky to have been introduced to so many different art and design disciplines. If it weren’t for my experiments and discoveries in one realm I would never have evolved the way I did in the others.

You talk about energy. For me this is one of the most defining characteristics of graffiti, even without letters its hard to hide it. Some call it style, yet it is something that keeps shining through in most artists work as they cross into new mediums. I recently watched a video where you painted a production with Jurne and friends. How did that collaboration come about, and also do you have other projects coming out in the future?

The track side production in Oakland was a lot of fun. I visit the Bay Area a few times a year and always link up with Jurne for for some painting missions. Ironlak was real cool and floated up a grip of paint for the wall. Twigs was in town as well, and Enron and Dment too. So we planned out an ambitious one night jam and Lea Bruno filmed the whole thing Blair Witch Graffiti style. The video turned out great and we had a good time blending styles and techniques.

I have an exciting 2011 planned. Lots of travel, big murals, and gallery exhibitions. Heading to Amsterdam in a couple weeks to paint a cool boutique interior. Then I’ll be going to Cincinnati for a residency and exhibition at YES Gallery. Definitely going to paint some big walls while I’m there for that. Then back to Europe for the infamous OFFF Festival in Barcelona where I will be painting a huge mural and speaking about my art and design. And then in September I’m shooting back to Paris for another month long residency and exhibition at Since Gallery, where I had my Crystals & Lasers show last Winter. A busy and fun year for sure!

Wow, congrats it seems that you are definitely not wasting any time with a schedule like that. Do you have a preference when it comes to painting vs design work is there a favorite for you?

When it comes to Art and Design I don’t have a favorite. Each is challenging and satisfying in it’s own way. For me it’s all about balance and doing something different everyday. My ideal calendar would be split evenly between Graphic Design work like Logos, Posters, Apparel, Products, and more artsy stuff like Murals, Canvas Painting, and Sculpture. I live by the mantra “Range Is Conducive To Growth”.

Can you describe the difference in process of creating a mural versus a painting a canvas or design work. Your design work seems to be so complex and immense in its scope of detail it would seem such a huge task to attempt to paint. Do you have a clear separation of intent when working in a certain medium?

My process varies depending on many factors, but the raw energy remains the same regardless of the medium. I’ve never made a graphic design that I couldn’t paint on a wall. It’s all about time and resources. Sometimes I have only a day for a wall, other times I have a week. A lot can get done in a week as long as I plan properly. Sometimes I think about my work as being tiny moments in an infinite landscape of geometric optical illusions. There is always another layer that can be added to make it more complex, and there are always interesting moments within the works that could be cropped out and stand alone as their own composition. Designing things on the computer has allowed me to experiment and evolve at a rapid pace. My process has become more fluid, I’m more comfortable taking risks, and my ability to see the way something will look before I actually do it has really helped my fine art and mural concepts. Some stuff makes sense to do with vector design and other stuff is a lot more fun to make with paint and long hours on a ladder.

That makes a lot of sense many graffiti artists at times have stacked the rules against themselves by not utilizing technology or even the most basic tools. Its good to see Artists like yourself taking advantage of your design experience. It seems that there are some however recently that are willing to cross some of these taboos. Can you describe to us your style and what direction you are currently taking your current work.

Moving forward I plan to continue exploring optical illusions and asymmetrical geometry in my work. I’ve been thinking a lot about 3D design such as furniture and sculpture, so expect some cool stuff in these realms from me in the near future. My Design Studio, MWM Graphics, keeps me quite busy working on client projects across the spectrum of graphic design and illustration. And my Painting Studio has been getting a lot of attention lately in preparation for upcoming shows. My current work celebrates a more balanced ratio of Geometric VS. Organic forms, and I’ve been bringing back representational and conceptual ideas into the series I work on.

Nice, it seems like there is no stone unturned when it comes to your goals. I always admire those that instead of making excuses or keeping it safe venture into the uncomfortable process at times of new ideas. Explain a little about Vectorfunk, is this a style or a general term used for your work?

Vectorfunk is the name I gave to the abstract digital artwork that I create using Adobe Illustrator. Vector graphics are created by arranging points to create form, as opposed to raster graphics that are made up of pixels. Many years ago while I was in school learning graphic design I immersed myself in this method of rendering images. In recent years I have translated this approach and aesthetics to the canvases and murals I paint. I initially intended to only use the term for my digital graphic work but things have a life of their own and the term has been used a lot with regards to my handmade fine art endeavors as well.

I don’t know if its just me, but its an exciting time to be an artist in today’s world. With Social Media and being an insomniac like myself, I am able to talk to artists half way around the world instantly. Coming from the pen pal age of trading graffiti photos with your contemporaries, to talking over twitter and Skype Its a whole new ballgame. Is technology more of a hindrance or a positive influence when it comes to your work?

I agree! It is certainly an exciting time to be alive, and be in the business of producing and creating. I could talk all day about the pros and cons of present day web interconnectedness. There are many obvious pros to modern communication. I am able to live in Portland, Maine and work with collaborators and clients across the globe, many of whom I’ve never met in real life. It’s also really cool to tune into all the niche cultures I am interested in, and participate in, and correspond with folks all over the place. On the flip side, I take pride in being from a generation of artists and graffiti cats that came up reading black and white photocopied ‘zines and jocking ideas from our big brothers at the wall, rather than from folks we didn’t know that didn’t live in our city. The gestation period for movements and geographic specific styles has suffered. These days, if it’s dope, it’s on the web the next day, and the day after that there are dozens of cats pulling inspiration from it. This is all happening simultaneously with the originator’s efforts to further develop the ideas. This too has both pros and cons. It’s all one big yin-yang! At the end of the day, if you’re producing more than you consume, having fun, and walking a positive path… You win.

MWM’s Blog

http://mwmgraphics.com

A Look at Graffiti’s Evolution and Progression 2011 in the Artists own words. Part 1

Revok Art Basel Primary Flight Fresh Produce Show 2010

Reyes Art Basel Primary Flight Fresh Produce Show 2010

Haas & Hahn Art Basel Primary Flight Fresh Produce Show 2010

So, I was putting together a post and commentary about 2011, and where graffiti is headed. There are some general observations, I have seen start to see take place. You can say this whole Blog is based on some of these observations, and ideas. I first planned to write a commentary on my own personal thoughts involving the current state of graffiti, and my perspective of Art Basel. Being able to have experienced the event, and see the work in the streets, as well as in the galleries. I was definitely surprised the direction that many artists were headed, it is obviously a subject valuable of attention. I decided, it would be better to ask the artists themselves. I knew, if I could at least ask them one question, I could hopefully get a pulse on what their impression is, on our current evolution and progression. So, below is the question i asked them, along with their responses. I will hopefully be doing a second part on this, or expand on it in a follow up post. The reason being; there are many other artists who are not included, which wanted to reply but weren’t able to finish their answers in time.

GF

Here was the Question that i asked.


Question: Coming back from Art Basel Primary Flight 2010 i was surprised firstly about the turnout of so many talented artists in one place, Secondly the direction it seemed many artists where taking. I noticed a very Conceptual and Abstract direction in many writers gallery and wall work. I was very impressed. My question is in this Post-graffiti age as some like to label it, where do you see the art form progressing and Why? Second part to that question is how has your personal work evolved in this current state of post-graffiti if it has effected it at all.

How & Nosm

How & Nosm "Broken Sounds"

How & Nosm

How & Nosm "Wallstreet Honcho"

First of all we think the term Post Graffiti sounds like the graffiti as we know it, which was based mainly on the art of stylizing letters, is completely out of the picture or even dead. Yet if you look close there is a lot street bombing and train writing going on all around the world like back in the days. Anyway, in our eyes graffiti keeps just evolving like it has in the past. Having new talents from different parts of the planet , the internet and better work tools helps our movement grow faster and it keeps bringing original styles to the surface. And yes graffiti has fused with other ” art forms” but it still stands strong on its own and always will be called graffiti. It is one of the most talked about art forms right about now. I mean we still use the spray can, right?

In our case the main reason why we changed our graffiti style is simply that we got tired of doing the same concept of walls with names that don’t say anything but the names and we wanted our style to stand out of the massive graffiti crowd and have a meaning. We chose to paint with only white, black and red and concentrated more on characters and so created our own signature style. Don’t get us wrong we still love to do tags, throw ups and burners but we needed more to it. Reinventing yourself is a way to stay motivated. You get the urge to perfect that new style you adapted.

Many of our colleagues have taken the same approach and it might have to do with maturing over the years. Like us, many have been writing graffiti more than twenty years and feel it is time for a change and give the scene something new they can call their own. At the end of the day all the generations after the golden age of the New York subway graffiti era just helped this movement grow but couldn’t call it their own like the 70’s pioneers. That aspect has already started to change in the last few years and our generation is finally getting their own identity. There are more surprising changes/ progressions coming with the way the things are going.

How & Nosm 2011

Jurne

Jurne

Jurne

Jurne

First, I’d like to say that I don’t like the term post-graffiti, or post-graffiti age. I think that it is important at a time when there are many influences from other art forms: painting, sculpture, photo, design, etc, as well as the influence of media on graffiti, and vice-versa, in a cyclical fashion so that media and advertising informs graffiti, graffiti informs these things, they are adopted into media outlets (television, print campaigns, etc) and in turn reshape graffiti as a response to them, and so on and so on…it’s important to call graffiti what it is: graffiti.

If it’s illegal and it’s main focus is the letterform(s), it’s graffiti. Calling it post-graffiti takes away from the potency that graffiti has as an illegal art form. We shouldn’t feel the need to re-describe what we do in light of aesthetic changes. What is important is the urgency and power that graffiti has, regardless of the image quality. I think that is the real power of graffiti and what distinguishes it from other art forms; this, and that it is letter-based.

I think the progression of graffiti is interesting to watch. The speed at which ideas are built upon is incredible. Style choices / style homages are the normal; regionalism is less prevalent. That’s exciting to see, and also begs the question: Where do style and references come from, and is it important to ‘cite’ primary sources? To what extent does the ‘citing’ of secondary, tertiary, quaternary sources actually lead to development of new styles? Are these in fact new styles, or a sort of bastard style hybrid in which the style lineage(s) are near impossible to sight directly? Perhaps this is what is referred to as ‘post-graffiti’. Perhaps this a question to be sorted out by the graffiti historians-to-be! Half kidding, I think the recognition of graffiti as a legitimate art form will in fact lead to it’s inclusion within modern art history rhetoric.

As to my own work: it’s an exciting time to be a graffiti artist…I think it always has been though! What we do is dope, it’s ours, it’s learned on the train tracks, in the train yards and on the streets of our cities. It’s ours for the keeping! There are so many dope and inspiring writers out there. In fact, I think with the speed and progression of graffiti in this day and age, there has been a marked interest and return to “simpler”, more traditional letter forms and styles. New techniques get applied to old formats: behold, the age of the visual remix! In my own eyes, I find myself drawn more and more toward “older”, more traditional styles as I continue to write. I think the current aesthetic of graffiti embodies both a “no-holds-barred” approach with respect to color/size/inclusion of non-graffiti references, as well as a push to keep things simple: a shape-based approach to letter-making. These two things can be opposing and complementary at times, and it’s interesting to see these concepts in others work, and to feel the push and pull of each in my own. In the end, I gravitate towards the “reserved/less-is-more/dont-lay-all-your-cards-out-on-the-table” side of things.

Jurne

Moneyless

Moneyless

Moneyless

Moneyless

Breathing out the concrete jungle, breathing in the woods.

I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I wanted…to live so sturdily and Spartan- like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner and reduce it to its lowest terms.

Henry David Thoreau.

3. To put to rout all that was not life.

“I spent ages doing graffiti, painting trains in yards and covering with color every surface, putting my name everywhere. Then I got to a stage where that approach to me looked like leading to an exaggerate proximity with advertisement. But the world was flooded by it. It was a nonsense for me to keep on adding chaos to chaos”.
The chaos of the concrete jungle.

Graffiti has been and is an essential element on which the artist’s attitude lays its foundations. It’s something that has been Moneyless’ life companion since he was 13 and it still is. But leaving behind the burden of fat caps and throw ups, the artist started to sublimate his graffiti, a process made by conceptual subtraction and material removal, that led him literally to strip the flesh from his body of writing. Even if he was still tagging Moneyless, yet developing a geometrical style, he felt like the tag lost its interest and it was pointless for him to push a name. What he’d been doing for years was to him like running into a dead end: “I wanted to push concepts through my work, something that could go beyond”.

“To me the traditional rules of graffiti started to be a constriction and I felt I didn’t wanted anymore to feel linked to a culture that gave its best in the Eighties and Nineties”. So Moneyless’ solution has been refusing those norms, trimming what was becoming dead wood to him, to allow something new to be born. “Letters were too strict a bond with something I had enough of, especially in this period invaded by logos. I felt the need to take distance from the letter”. That process started was irreversible. Letters had to fade away, becoming just shapes first. And disappear then.

2. And reduce it to the lowest terms

Abandoning lettering was the first step of Moneyless’ artistic sublimation, a matter of conceptual subtraction: his artistic research relieved by the weight of a fixed form made his style flow into pure geometry, defined by Johannes Kepler “the archetype of the beauty of the world.”

So came the material removal: “When I was still working with lettering, I used rollers to paint and my strokes were getting so thin. To be able to do them even thinner I shifted to brushes and I started to paint hair-like outlines”. And then the artist realized what was already apparent: his outlines had become threads.
Threads, lines, strokes. And colors. Acting both as mirrors and windows open on the inside. And as Ralph Waldo Emerson says in his Essays, “If the thought is shape, then the feeling is color. It twirls the world’s skeleton with space, variety and splendor.”

“The color that used to create space inside my geometries, now generates their background, it’s outside now. On canvas it still acts as a projection of my graphic imaginary and it’s often inspired by some of the weirdest national flags and their symmetries. But in the open space the color survives in the thread only, marking the boundaries of my pure shapes, not filling them anymore”.

Moneyless had shape and colors then, but to get a skeleton to twirl with them he needed something else. A new dimension, the third.
Reduced and streamlined, his artwork still had matter cemented on a surface. But then came the humble wool thread to broaden the boundaries of the wall. Cheap but effective, it hit even harder thanks to its simplicity. Simple as this wool thread, Moneyless artworks started to reel off, breathing and taking shape in the third dimension, with all the decaying flesh stripped away. The flat space was finally able to breathe through the threads.

Taking shape doesn’t mean that the two dimensions of a wall are something the artist wants to leave behind: “Occupying a mural surface is one of the things that satisfies me more. It’s there, abandoned and no one is reclaiming it. Before I used to follow the bombing philosophy of choosing the most visible places, to be as visible as possible. Now I’m an antibomber: I’m looking for places, hard to find, hard to be seen”. In the middle of nowhere. And his artistic interventions make this nowhere an elsewhere and an everywhere as doing something unique acts as an exemplum, a metonymy, a paradoxical powerful figure of speech to portray the essential part to represent the whole.

An inner/outer whole that as to be sought in the open air, breathing out the poisoning concrete jungle and breathing in leaves, soil, dew and bark.
Looking for that wall now is something that takes Moneyless more time than the act of painting itself. Finding the right place, a place that whispers in his ear is essential to him, as his art is deeply rooted in the environment that nourishes his thoughts. Finding the right place is not just about the act of finding. But is about the one of looking for it and pushing his way to a path sometimes covered in brambles and mud.

Transition

Whether the mud gets to the artist’s knees and the brambles grow stronger, he’s into an homeward journey to the essential and the bare, where civilization is annihilated by the unbridled Nature.

A Nature that knocks you down with its sublime beauty and with the very same beauty arouses you. As water that can save you from thirst or drowning you down.
Woodland bites back the soil, the concrete stolen her. Nature that takes over again what has always been hers.

1. Into the woods

What can be seen on the white walls of a gallery is a compendium of lines and colors of Moneyless’ outdoors interventions, in abandoned spaces, “where the human trace is not visible anymore” and in the wild, “the only environment where I feel free, where I can find peace of mind”. Because “the mind loves his old home, as water to our thirst, so is the rock, the ground to our eyes and hands and feet” as Emerson writes in his Essays.

While the mind attempts to rejoin its old home, through his research Moneyless tries to discover and reach a higher state of clarity and awareness, allowing himself to make “a conscious experience at once of the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives” – says the co-founder of the British Psychological Society Max Velmans.
This research leads him to experience himself , his life and the world in a double way power: he generates the artwork in Nature and its creation, fed by the natural element, regenerates him.

After this process he simply lets things go and his artworks abandoned in space, as time capsules, can be discovered and experienced by whoever, an insect or an old man walking in the wood or in an abandoned place. It’s beyond philanthropy, it’s philEarthopy. A love for the planet Earth as a way to rebuild a dialogue through the silent language of shapes and colors, a way to transcend our material existence, losing the self to restore the bond with nature.

Speaking the language of nature doesn’t need letters anymore, a wool thread is enough. And together with it the dregs of society, its remains, its leftovers are the once-dead, now- living material molding Moneyless’ artwork. This flows out creatively, finds a shape and then loses it again through Nature’s action. As Anaxagora said “Nothing comes into being nor perishes, but is rather compounded or dissolved from things that are. So we would be right to call coming into being composition and perishing dissolution.”

A transition from the solid to the aeriform, the same that affects Moneyless’ floating and volatile graffiti.
In this coming into being and dissolution, in this alluring tension to reach the marrow of life Moneyless’ floating graffiti are the result of a transition from the solid to the aeriform. Here resides the fascination of Moneyless’ research and his artistic wandering/wondering back into the woods. A process to cleanse and reach purity. An attempt to distillate the essence of our ephemeral existence.

MONEYLESS

Part2ism & Ramm:Ell:Zee 2007

Part2ism

Part2ism

Part2ism


2011 is all about where this art has evolved, weather it is evolving and if it still can! To me it has to go straight back to linguistics and semiotics, then the time should be right to strip down and minimize further. Only the letter and the letters mechanics and futurism’s have the weight to re claim this art form’s infra structure. I think that Iconism has played itself out over the last decade and the culture desperately needs it’s science back. Its a year to investigate ourselves, understand & discover where the pure power lie’s in what we’re creating out there…

Part2ism 2011

Graphic Surgery

Graphic Surgery

Graphic Surgery

Post- Graffiti. I am not sure if we should call it post graffiti or is just a direction (some or as you say many) graffiti artists are taking it? Everything changes. Everything has to change and evolve. Though many writers tend to keep working in a more ‘classic’ so called oldschool style, while others move further and further away from that. I think abstraction is just a next step for many to take.

When i talk about this, I actually feel (and know) we, as Graphic Surgery, are not actually part of this post-graffiti movement. We already come from a different direction. As Graphic Surgery we never were typical graffiti writers. We are simply abstract painters. It seems more like many (post) graffiti writers move closer towards an abstract way of working. Probably as i said before, a logical step, cause things evolve. Though who knows, even they will eventually even drop the idea of holding on to type or letters?

Erris, Graphic Surgery

Miami SP One

"Hustle"

SP One

"Damage"

Graffiti is an art form built on fast progression. If you put it in the context that 35 years ago people were still doing bubble letters and now people are creating elaborate pieces – we are still expanding on that simple idea. Letters are ripe for reinvention. The possibilities are endless for abstracting and fragmenting letter-forms. There are probably a lot of reasons for this but the one that sticks out to me especially being a NY graffiti writer is that graff has become a world wide art form and every region and country brings some of there own style into the mix. Even though you can still see the influence of NY graff all over the world there is something that other places and other people’s experience bring to the table that makes a unique individual statement and in turn pushes styles forward.

For me, I am somewhat of a purist and still truly enjoy a traditional NY style. That said, I do feel that creating my own unique style is paramount. And I, like many others feel that I have yet to do my best piece so to that I am constantly challenging myself to create new letter forms and connections that are part of my individual style while still part of the lineage of NY style. I also work primarily in collage which is not graffiti by any means but I do employ many aesthetics from graffiti and incorporate them in my collage work. Movement, colors, layering and of course letters all inform my studio work. I really try to push these ideas into new places and evolve my experience into something completely new.

SP One

Mare 139

Mare 139

Mare 139

Mare 139


As for Post Graffiti, isms, izmz etc. and rah rah, ultimately there can not be much more that can be said than post urban or post graff unless there is a unified mission or collective that has a clear agenda with aesthetic and practice. There is one artist who was a one man movement and that was Kurt Schwitters and that was called Merz. Suffice it to say we have all considered terminology that would identify a new direction ie Panzerism which had several practitioners under Rammellzee’s lead.

Clearly “Street Art’ is a common and soft way to say urban art or graffiti, all in the same vain and extremely mental when trying to corral a common interest or goal. Subway graff was clear in its intent and collective so it was easy to call it tagging, bombing, writing all verb derivatives that speak to an action rather than a theory.

I believe I once called it all Post Century Art but I was referring to the new intersects that my work was pointing too with the Avante Garde and their works of the earlier century. We are all now in retrospect in an attempt to push the work further, either we are painting in traditional means of graff or looking to history to bridge us or validate us.

This has a lot of what I discuss in lectures, as to how this genre can in some ways be identifiable by certain collectives, styles, action and off shoots, there is now one way about it which is exciting yet there is no new concrete movement other than traditional painting to thread it as a complete idea that is innovative or sustained. Not yet at least.

Mare 139

Shok 1 'Human Writes' Frankfurt 2010

Shok 1 'Music' 2010

Shok 1 'Necronomicon' 2001

Shok 1 'Be' London 2009


Huge questions, could literally write a book about it. Will try to keep it concise and not bore people. I don’t like how I sound in writing, doesn’t sound like me in real life at all.

I’m conflicted about labels, I try to avoid them. On the other hand, I do see the wisdom of labeling yourself before someone else does it for you. In this noisy over saturated era it would be useful to have a flag, a rallying point for difference (is that your intention for this site? I would support that idea.)

The culture has progressed as all cultures do. We have large proportions of traditional and retro, we have a diluted mainstream/commercial side …it’s natural that an avante garde should also be a part of it (or maybe “apart from it” is more accurate).

I’m not sure if the proportions are the same as other movements (as I write, I decide I like the idea that the proportions are always the same. I have zero proof to back this idea up. I will say proportions of “creative energy” rather than numbers of people so it’s vague enough to maybe be true).

It’s perhaps the case that the normality of violence and destruction of disapproved art – as the Nazis did, and this should be said more often – mean that conformism is massively over-represented. Or maybe the minority simply fight harder to compensate.

This fear and hatred of difference or the unknown has led much of the work to become inbred (the I’s are too close together).

Democratization of media – the internet – has only led to international work becoming more globalized, homogenate. Strongly defined regional styles / personality are rare. Marketing has made many want to be someone else rather than themselves, as it does.

It is not the first movement to proclaim it is not art, is apart from art, or to believe it does things better. Like so many of us, I once used to believe religiously in the idea that we were separate; the rest of it was “gay”, for art students, lacked balls.

“Graffiti writing is not art”. Of course this is complete crap. Nothing exists in a vacuum. Whether it is good art or not is the relevant question. Or whether it can be. Can it go up against history?

In some ways I believe it does do things better. It’s very clear to me that there are huge regions of it still to explore. Despite it’s size, it is still a young movement, I can see so many areas it can grow into.

To me, the minute you start painting, you are a painter. You can’t escape it. You can be in denial about it or refuse to compare or relate it to everything else but the only way you can even try to get good is to be as open to everything as possible. I think.

“Graffiti writing is just for other graffiti writers”. Sure, make work for your peers to appreciate, they understand it better than anyone else does. But this idea that the foundations were only about that is just wrong. Examples … Skeme is a poster child for that idea because of the staged scene in Style Wars. However Skeme was a protegy of Dez and Dez always did simple letters specifically so non-writers could also hear him call out his name. Lee … were those whole cars really only for other writers? I don’t think so.

Furthermore, even if it was only about that, who is to say that now is not the time for it to change? Personally I’m interested in what writers think about my work, but I’m also interested in what everything else thinks about it too, how it communicates, what it can do.

It was a manifesto scripted by children. Flawed genius, I think, or at least incomplete. More of us need to question the tenets.

To use theft to level the social / financial playing fields, to use art as a rite of passage, and the efficiency of the guerilla tactics developed … those ideas are amazing. The illegality, danger and difficulty of the media as a filter for the truly motivated – to me that’s a better mechanism that any art school could employ.

It falls down on content and progression.

Maybe an avante garde with a strong collective voice could insert that, or maybe kids today just think they know it all and can’t hear it.

Abstraction and graphics are well-trodden paths. I like both but the more interesting direction is conceptual for me.

We are at war and should not take our ability to take and control space lightly.

I believe in a Renaissance.

Second part to that question is how has your personal work evolved in this current state of post-graffiti if it has effected it at all.

I’m eternally grateful for the original inspiration from the pioneers in NY back in the 80’s.

I’m not that aware of new developments, certainly not a state of post-graffiti! I can’t say that they have affected my work at all. I’m interested in what the art might be, not what it is at a given time.

I started when I was 14 and now I’m 40. I’m making 40 year old’s art, not revisiting my youth. No midlife crisis here.

It would take way too long to go through all of my development and explorations. I’ll try to focus on some of the main parts and the work I’m interested in at the moment.

Like I said, it’s conceptual work that really interests me, I’ve been thinking of everything in terms of meaning for a long time now. The things that I’m trying to get to are really difficult ideas, I think the paintings probably do a better job of explaining themselves than I can but I’ll try to explain a bit of how they came about.

I did the first of my organic pieces in 1998. I had been drawing them for a long time before but that was the first one I painted. It was inspired by the John Carpenter film “The Thing”. It wasn’t so much the horror aspect of it as the idea that it could take any form and no one knew what it was going to look like next. The scene where they are sitting in the room with the alien and Kurt Russell is sticking a hot needle in the blood samples … I just related all of that to art and what I thought it should be doing.

(FAQ – I don’t think of myself as a Surrealist and I was never influenced by Giger or Dali. Nature and the imagination belong to no man)

Conflict is always a part of it for me, I think that must be one of my key subjects. Art is always in a fight I think.

I had already been painting in a very organic way for years – most of the walls were freestyles, no drawings, just making it up as I went along, so it also felt natural to paint something that looked organic too. I had never seen anyone paint a piece like that so it was all unknown, I had no idea if I could do it or if it was going to be any good or not.

It got bitten but they just took the look and made it back into a style again, they didn’t get the ideas behind it.

Another part of it was this idea I was thinking about for a long time, this idea of a wildstyle where the connections are meanings and concepts rather than physical things.

It opened a number of doors for me. It fucks with the relationship between characters and letters – I like to say a letter is a character – and gave me a framework to put concepts, ideas and narratives into.

I’m really into playing with signs and symbols, cooking up meanings. I’m only just starting to see how far I can take it, I have some really crazy new ideas planned out for this year.

My friend Lovepusher put it far more neatly than I can. He said I found a way to bring the world into a piece.

What else? I killed the name.

I reached a point where I wanted to really confront some of the sacrosanct areas of graffiti writing. The name is the one thing that writers really won’t fuck with. So I decided to kill my own name. It would no longer be the subject of the paintings.

I still wanted to make letter paintings though. I think you can move so far away that it stops being related and becomes another kind of art. The letter anchors it. I wanted to make the letter the star, the posing nude, the actor, not just another dancer in a chorus line.

There is a lot of other art with words in, but there is something really cool and interesting to me about the idea of just painting a letter on it’s own. I did it back in the 80’s, inspired by Dondi, but those things were really monograms so it was still the name, still the known.

I got really into the idea of freeing the letter, emancipating the letter. When they are isolated like that, in the logic of it they become the individual, the outsider. The word can be the herd, it’s the collective entity.

I came up with two new structures to replace the name. The first were my Trinities, three forms of the same letter based on religious triptychs (graffiti being a kind of religion of the self, the ego, was one of the early ideas). Transformation is another key theme.

The second was Password pieces – random letters and characters. I’ve experimented with using online password generators to decide what letters to paint. Passwords are keys to open things and they are simultaneously ciphers, mysteries.

In terms of technique, I’ve been all the way out to nearly pure conceptual stuff with no style or craft at all. People really seemed to hate that I did that, I was surprised how angry they got about it. I also tried just basing it on drawings, taught myself to silkscreen. Personally I really liked them but there are things you can do with a wall and a spray can … you can just be really massive or epic. I had to come back to it.

I had a pretty long period of really minimalist work with as much decoration and color taken out as possible, really stark naked black and white things with nothing in without a purpose. Just lumps of meaning really. Really making everything justify itself, making it really difficult. Using technique and detail symbolically too. I laughingly call that my Black Period to myself.

Now I’m working my way back to a richer surface, bringing color back into it. The light and shadow comes from Caravaggio, when it’s really intense like that the proper name is tenebrism. For some reason I find using ancient Renaissance techniques like chiaroscuro really fuck-off and cool.

I’m not at all interested in photo realism, I’m totally bored by copies of photographs. No point in it.

Using realistic techniques to paint things that don’t exist in the world – using it to illustrate what goes on in the imagination – that’s great though. It’s really important to me and I know that people really connect with it. I’ve really pushed the intricate detail over the last year too and that’s another element that really works in the world.

Humor seems to be creeping back into it, it was quite serious looking for a while. Sign of the times I think.

I’ve been bringing different ways of seeing into it too – I got obsessed with X-rays and microscope pictures, electron microscopes. Things that reveal truths inside, worlds inside worlds as a metaphor for subculture and individuality. Things that you rarely see paintings of because they are bastard hard to do basically. I cracked that one a while back, will be developing it more this year.

I’m a little less shy about it than I used to be, I’ve really made an effort with that in the last year. I used to turn down media all the time, just really hated doing it, or I’d procrastinate and stress about it for so long they’d give up on me. I have a longer list of books I was supposed to be in than the ones I managed to do. But I’m pretty reliable with that these days.

It’s 4am and I have no idea if this makes sense or not. I’ll stop there. Thanks to Graffuturism for the space and thanks to you for reading if you got this far.

SHOK-1

New Interview with “Antistatik”



















Antistatik was one of the first artists we featured on the site. We have been going back and forth for awhile on the site, and the idea of graffuturism. I think he truly is one of the artists that understand, and embody this idea we have started. So it was great to finally wrap up this interview we did with Antistatik and finally be able to show you all these pictures he has been sending me. A true innovator and a breath of fresh air in our current state of graffiti. Here is the interview with us and Antistatik.

GF: So give us a quick history and bio of Antistatik?

Antistatik: Antistatik was born in 1998/1999, create with friends Aloux, 345, Sly, and myself at the time , other members that completed the family St-Ez, Ugoe,Siro, Jean , and some other connected people. We stayed free to do what we like,with or without the idea of “Traditional Parameters” from Graffiti. Everybody was bringing something: Architecture , illustration, music , but “techniques and materials” too. I always sprayed a lot more than my partners and i would always sign me pieces ANTISTATIK. But with time people didnt know anymore, who made what! At the same time , I started to work with galleries and they didn’t understand that I was signing for my Crew Not My Name.

So we started a new Story , same people same spirit but with an other name :Orbit 119. Erico, an Old school writer came and connected with the movement. Now everybody , has their place and we work in a total independent way and that is most important. When you create, always feeling free! As a spinal column,a missile with a homing device , i still write Antistatik but now alone. Orbit 119 is, an experimental Crew directly straight on the Antistatik Spirit and Style: Dirty, Destroy, Graphic, Experimental, Painting Free, those are the words! So to conclude: ANTISTATIK , like the word says is always changing and always in research of creating a way with my crew Orbit119.

GF: So Antistatik started as a crew but turned out to become your own name? I also seem to get confused at times when i see people in France, and Europe in general paint because a large mural would look like it was the work of one person but it turns out it to be a collaboration of artists. How would you say that being part of a collective has influenced your style? Also can you explain a bit how or why that this is more normal in Europe to paint one mural with multiple writers. It seems that there is more a group collaboration in effect for the sake of the mural rather than a one person for themselves type attitude, is this correct?

Antistatik: Yes Antistatik started as a Crew in the year 1999 and is now my name. I think that i am more inspired by my Partners as they are inspired by me as well. I paint more and i Show my Works , we speak about and search other directions ,for everybody. It’s really important for me that everybody in a Crew , can express themselves, and that’s why maybe, our productions seem like a one man wall.( i sent you a lot of one man walls)

I don’t know why in Europe it looks more like this compared to other countries. Maybe , we prefer one Big image with harmony , than a lot of pieces on the same wall. For example , i see a wall like a Canvas, like one image, one dynamic, one sensation. Maybe we are less “individualist”. Anyway , it’s less easier do to do such a wall, as a wall where everybody comes and makes their style without connection or harmony with other writers, that’s individualistic. We really make a wall as teamwork. Maybe in Europe , we have more so little team as in America. I say little team, ’cause the more of you are , more is hard to connect everybody.

I think (everyone from graffuturism), we start something new, and we bring a freshness into Graffiti, but we are starting that. Innovation is the word.

GF: I really like that aspect of the walls you guys paint and it is refreshing to see a team process in a medium that can be all about the individual. How is your local graffiti scene it seems to me that France has a very open idea of graffiti, or at least the work coming from there recently seems to be very progressive.

Antistatik: France is very traditional country(politic, school, education), but we make what we want. Its like you stated some Artists and Writers are going forward in this direction now because i think it’s one of the next graffiti movements.

GF: I see you also paint some canvases, are you planning to go deeper into showing at galleries in the future.
Antistatik: I paint canvases , when i have time, and the energy to do that.Canvases are another world. I must be more concentrated. Like i said to you earlier, for me walls and canvases , are not far away. You just need other tools(sometimes). I test lots of techniques outside and bring them on canvas. At the moment , i work with a Gallery in Germany, and we take time doing that good. Graffiti on Canvas is new for a lots of people, and like that my Graffiti is not traditional, it’s less easier, but anyway I do my things, Walls ,canvas…its essential to produce, and produce good.

GF: How has your local Art scene adjusted to all these new street artists and graffiti artists?

Antistatik: I don’t really have an opinion on the Local Scene, let’s they do! Everybody is free to do good things or shit. I concentrate on myself , that already takes lots of time.

GF: As far as style and Graffiti where do you see yourself taking it in the future?

Antistatik: I just want to say to you that the message is simple: innovation through the production. I don’t think yet, of the future, i paint ,point. Its always easier that the way.

GF: Who are your artistic influences or influences in general?

Antistatik: For the influences: You can take all for influences, the Clouds, the sky, a shape, a light, an old car….i take all and do a mix.

GF: How about putting it this way just so people can get a idea of how you approach a wall this might also be a tough question but try your best. How do you approach a wall or a new piece and what is your initial purpose. For instance is there a color scheme or is there a overall design and movement you try to achieve. When people look at Abstract they see different things, when i look at your work i see movement and structure all in one. Take what you will from this question.

Antistatik: Ok, the base from my work ( when i don’t paint a character) is Letters, but i try too bring emotions too. Violence , brutality often, i try to bring the energy from an illegal piece on legal spot. i don’t like painting a piece too long, creation is Speed, although the process on paper is long. At the End , if people can’t read , for me it’s not a problem, because emotions are speaking too. Movement, structure clear, like an Architect i do lines, i cut dynamic, to have new logical way. We know that lots of people write from left to right, start from the end or from the middle, you’ll directly have new lines, new vibes. I always paint freestyle, no sketches for have a look, all come out in One time, that could be good or bad, that’s the game.
Movement and structure are united, High flow, Low flow all days are different so all feelings in front of a wall are different, colors or just black and white, i take what i have.

You can see more work from Antistatik on the links below

His Website
Orbit119 Facebook Page
Streetfiles Profile

PREYS UPS Interviewed By Joker














Preys UPS probably one of the most unique and original Graff artists painting right now in my opinion. Coming from the states he has become one of my favorite writers who’s work I always look forward to seeing. There is an air of uncomfortability in his work that draws me too it, just when you think you have seen everything and every style. Then you see an artist like Preys and it reminds you that there is something left to find out there, and just maybe everything hasn’t been done already. I have been trying to get more Artist’s on the site from the states and Preys was gracious enough to take the time and answer some questions for us. When I mentioned it to some of the guys behind the scenes I was going to interview Preys and if they had any questions for him, Joker stepped up and actually put together some great questions for him. So here is the interview make sure to check out his flickr also. Like I said before if you haven’t had the privilege of seeing Preys recent walls you have been missing out.

Joker: How do you approach your construction? Meaning… when you put paint to wall, what is the plan? Do you go in knowing where it’s going to go (colors chosen, layout planned, aesthetics…) and how it’s going to finish or do you show up and stare blankly at the wall waiting for “it” to hit you?

Preys: I laughed out loud when I read your question, because it sums up exactly what I think my biggest problem is when it comes to painting. So I would say that 90% of the time I have a pretty good idea in my head of what I am gonna paint. I have a few outlines, and doodles stuffed in my bag as well as some reference material (print outs, photos, whatever I think might work their way into the piece). I also email a lot of these visual ideas to myself, so I can peep at them on the phone when I am feeling lost. So there is almost always a lose plan. Colors, I usually think about them while I am gathering / drawing stuff. Sometimes I write down what colors go where etc, then I either get the colors I need for that or pull my supplies. That being said, the colors situation never really goes that smoothly. Unfortunately I am super attracted to certain colors or color combinations and they always find their way into whatever I am painting, so that is always something to struggle with. The other problem is that I am never that dedicated to (have confidence in) my original scheme so that often changes along the way. I very often reduce the amount of colors I use just because I am struggling with something else, mainly the outline. Or because they looked better on the can than they do on the wall. Then there is the “it” factor. More times than I would like to admit, my original plan has a meltdown, things are not going right, proportions are off, color combinations are shit, caps are clogging, etc. That is when the “it” factor either decides to show up or not. When it does, it’s a fucking party. I know what goes where, it is all worked out in my head and all I have to do is follow the directions that are laying themselves down. When ” it” doesn’t show up, it’s a fucking struggle to get through it. More often than not, “it” shows up in little ways so a few details are cool, but when “it” shows up for the overall, it’s a good day.

Joker: Your actual letters are fairly simple in their design, something I admire and strive for all the time myself, but it’s how you build the letters together and play with the lines that really abstracts them. This idea is really evident in the last year. Is this natural progression?

Preys: Yeah I think that after the first few straight up simple pieces, I just started overlapping letters and playing with negative shapes to try to get some more complex combinations from the original simple letter forms. My natural tendency is to fill up the space, make more lines, etc. So I try to remember to keep the letters simple. So it can be deceptively complex based on simple parts.

Joker: Outside of writing, what do you find inspirational that you find gives you ideas for your paintings?

Preys: Films, videos, animation, and really anything. Unfortunately right now I feel like I’m in a little bit of a creative rut. So I’m looking for some real inspiration. One of the little tricks I used to do (and I am not condoning this to anyone else but me) is sometimes smoke a little weed, just enough to dilate my pupils slightly and just enough to let my mind wander. Then I go look at images that I have either saved on my computer or favorites on a site, watch tv, listen to music whatever etc. The combination of slightly blurred vision and my mind making random connections is often a good place to look for inspiration, new ideas and concepts. At least for me it is. I need to do this tonight.

Joker: Do you consider yourself an abstract writer or just a writer?

Preys: I would consider myself just a writer. My opinion on graffiti is kind of simple. You use spray paint or not, you write a name, you’re a writer. How you want to write it is up to you.

Joker: I see your work as having an almost ‘outsider’ graphic design aesthetic. you absolutely have the sensibility, but it’s so radically unique that I’m not sure if ‘typography’ from the straight laced side of the tracks is even part of your intent. any insight as to graphic design being a motivation to your work?

Preys: I fear I will get shit for this, but the honest answer is this. I’m a designer in the 9-5 world. However it wasn’t what I went to school for, so one of the biggest holes in my design knowledge / education is the proper lessons on typography that one gets from being a graphic design major. I used to think that graffiti was the my ticket to teaching myself the rules of typography. However the rules of type in the print and web world are way different than in the graffiti world. Graffiti is more over all design than straight up typography. In the graffiti world we don’t spend a lot of time on multiple words and their relationship to each other. Just multiple letters and their relationship to each other. All that shit being said, the graffiti I like and strive to do does interesting things with letters.
What I try to do is turn letters into feelings / moods. Try to create a world that the letters live in. Recently it has been a kind of laser future 80’s world. And just writing this makes me want to go way deeper into that world.


Joker: What is your position on technique and special effects as contributors to a person’s style?

Preys: I had a big debate with my friends Jimboe and Kems about this just the other day. We were talking about the differences between design, style, and technique in the world of graffiti. A few years ago I found this poem by Charles Bukowski called Style. Not to sound too much like a douche bag, but this one section pretty much summed up what I think style is all about.
“Style is the answer to everything.
A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing
To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it
To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art”
-Charles Bukowski

There are writers that have amazing technique and know all the tricks and special effects, but they lack style. They lack that special hand that makes it look like some other creature from another planet created it. Style seems to be a really hard thing to obtain, especially for myself. I know that some people think my shit lacks style because it seems semi technical, I kind of agree. But really I know I’m on to something good when I feel slightly uncomfortable about what I am painting. That’s the dangerous part of trying to make something new and interesting with style. When a line seems awkward, or a shape wrong, sometimes those are the most successful parts of a piece for me. I have a theory on art / design which is that really groundbreaking stuff should confuse you at first. If you feel comfortable right away with a new piece that means you didn’t push it far enough. It means the visual vocabulary you used is comfortable to the viewer, which means it contains just enough things they have seen before so they can understand it. Real break through shit should make you slightly confused between whether that thing is the newest best thing you have ever seen, or the worst thing you have ever seen. If you have nothing to compare that piece to, then it is something new, something innovative. I am not saying I do this, but I would like to think it is my goal.

Remi Rough: Are you in any way religious? Being that you chose tthe name Preys, or does it have hunting connotations?

Preys: Not religious at all. However I did go to Catholic elementary school and always got into the weird power religious icons had. I thought Preys was a witty play on the word PRAY / PRAISE / PREY. When I started writing for real I wrote Juan, a nickname some kids in school gave me cause they thought I was Spanish. Then I got caught up in some personal and legal shit and ended up trying to make a new start. After desperately trying to come up with a cool name I settled on Preys. All I can say is that it sounded cool at the time. The weird thing about what you write is even though the word’s meaning might be lost to the person writing it, the audience often reads into it – along with how you write it. I don’t think about the meaning of the word as much as I should. In fact, I need to step my shit up and one of the ways I need to do that is by using the literal meanings of my tag more in the concepts for my pieces.

GF: Any final Thoughts or shout outs?

Preys: I just wanted to thank you for contacting me about sharing my work, I sincerely appreciate it and it reminds me that maybe all this painting shit is not in vain.

Catch more of Preys Work at the Links below

His Flickr Page

Zedz Interview and Artist Feature

Gdansk chairs 2009

Defining negative space (green), Canvas 100x 100, spray and marker, 2010

Milaan 2009

Netherlands Vlissingen 2007

Zedz at Jeroen and Linda's House Amsterdam 2009

Praha 2008

The ball 2010 80x80 acrylics on canvas

Praha 2008 landscape

Bergamo 2010

MIxed media 2006 - 3 D graffiti

Zedz - D6 - Gekido -Super A (from left to right)

Praha amesfest 2008

Thalys 2009 Foto BY Pierre Tjerdman

high velocity (high speed train) that runs between Amsterdam and Paris. the concept was to paint it in 3hrs15 mins. the time it takes the train to connect between the cities

Thalys Zedz 2009

Zedz Manchaster 2010

Ingolstad RGB 2006

Usually i will have a big introduction to an interview, well in this case I’ll keep it Short, as the interview covers a lot of information as we dive into many subjects on the Artist Zedz. Ill say this, Zedz is one of the most talented and inspiring artists out right now pushing graffiti into new mediums, as well as dimensions. If you haven’t ran across any of Zedz work i suggest you get caught up now, and pay attention. Im sure there will be some great new projects coming from Zedz in the future and we will continue to showcase new works from him. It was a pleasure to talk and get answers from an artist who’s attention to detail is not lost in his answers to all our questions as well. Enjoy.

GF: So i guess the first thing i would ask you, as i am familiar with your work but i apologize as i am not very educated on the history of ZEDZ. So for me as well as those out in the world that want to get to know who ZEDZ is what would you tell them?

ZEDZ- Basically I would refer to my website and invite people to have a look at my work there. I finished high school (while painting graffiti) and after that went to the art academy. I stayed in there for many years and when finished I had decided that graffiti is my main source and binding fact with art. I make typography and graffiti both for art’s sake. I started doing graffiti at an early age. After a while I found myself mostly interested in doing easy read-able pieces, styles that where easy to read and for me equally easy to execute. I realized pretty soon that its important to have a marked style and worked on that so to accomplish a trade mark. My graffiti is pure typography based and that is the starting point for my work: the letters of my name. I have a natural-born interest in dimensionality and that is always to be found somewhere in my works, either by creating 3D as well by denying its existence by for example making plane and plan-matic works. My work is influenced by a legacy of writers, visual artists, musicians, architects and friends (a.o.). I don’t like to think I am very unique I rather think I am a calculation, a total sum of adding and subtracting which might have some rare outcome sometimes. My work comes to existence as being the result of researching and experimenting. I like to think of paintings and drawings as being representations of a 3 dimensional reality/things that really exist. A canvas is a window, a painting is a drawing.

GF: I think that your analogy to your work being a calculation is very direct and analytical way of looking at things, i myself can see that same thought process when i look at your work. You also talk about typography as an influence for your graffiti which to me is very refreshing, many artists close themselves off to so much. This has been a question that i really wanted to ask other artists around the world that had an abstract or just totally different style than most other graffiti. How did they get there, meaning how did their style evolve to a point where it was OK to break from tradition. Better yet was there ever a tradition to break from in their particular situation? As an artist you are very recognized for your design work, gallery shows, and street pieces. What is left for you to do, what do you want to accomplish at this point in your career?

ZEDZ-1. I am indeed coming from a tradition of lettering and name writing. My interest in Lettering is not only in graffiti but more broad. I think its through graffiti that I am interested in letters and visa versa. For me it’s not only the tradition but its the challenge that keeps me on the topic. At the same time I don’t think I have to be read anymore and it’s not important to me to make understandable type. Lettering is an integral part of my work, for me that’s the context of my work sometimes that’s the only connection there is to graffiti ~ the part of name ‘writing’. The letters are the backbone and the load. Perhaps its just a game I play, though from a typographic point of view it must be exciting to see this crossover without crossing over. Its like the newspaper vs the theater (readable letters vs expressive display typography), one is having a more direct conversation and communication the other is perhaps more for experience and elevation. 2. For me the question is not so much ‘what is left to do’. There are many goals to achieve and some of the goals set are not set to be achieved, but are rather starting points or vanishing points.. For me it s not so much about the goal as it is about the journey.
Over the last few years I have been researching and playing with 3D objects relating to the human size and I feel there is a lot of potential in that. I really like to experience those pieces myself. There are many challenges ahead and many things to do, no worries about that, its more the question ‘can I do what I really would like to do’..

GF:”I have seen these 3D pieces that you have been making and am really inspired that an artist can take the great design and letter work they do and take it into another medium or add another dimension to it. I think your work translates well into the 3rd dimension and i hope to see where you take this further. Ideas are the first and foremost to creativity and i admire when artists like yourself have clear thought out directions in their work, I’m not saying other artists don’t but i think a lot of graffiti artists tend to leave there graffiti separate from their artwork. They do really interesting canvases or gallery work, but when they paint a wall the creative process seems to get stalled. How do you approach different mediums when deciding what to paint or create?”

ZEDZ: The approach for painting pieces differs throughout the years. Most of the times I will work from a sketch, though I also really like to start from blank with no sketch at all, and go along with the process. Doing 3D I actually didn’t take the liberty yet, to just cut and create.. I almost always had to keep in mind that the work has to be transported, or their is a limitation in time and budget (material), so for this I have to calculate and think a bit more on forehand. Where I take a lot of freedom when painting in for example the picking of the colors, I plan the colors for a 3D piece on forehand but also have to think of the amount of wood and screws, construction and so on… The process is way longer

GF: That is an interesting dilemma i guess the farther you go with the 3D objects the more engineering gets involved. This process would seem to be a whole new level of creating art far from the origins of painting a quick graffiti piece, yet it still contains that essence. To me that is what i really like about your work that you are pushing these new directions yet still have one foot in where your work originated from. Ever since graffiti’s birth there have been artists as far back as you can think that have transitioned their work into galleries and into in some cases museums. It seems with the new influx of street artists in the last decade that there seems to be a whole new genre of artists emerging almost graffiti/street art hybrids. Do you pay much attention to any of what is going in the current scene, if so what is your take on this new breed of street artists?

ZEDZ: Yes I do look around at what’s going on and it seems more easy for me to keep track of whats going on in graffiti and the so-called ‘street art’ or the ‘street art-scene’ then whats going on in the much broader art-scene. Honestly, I really enjoy whats going on in the streets and what is connected to it beyond (the gallery, magazines, the internet, the fashion scene, etc), which doesn’t mean that I think it is all good and that its all quality output but I enjoy it all and regard it as a whole lot of pleasure. I enjoy art being a public thing. The unexpected appearance of a piece of work in an unexpected place where it might be available to the broadest possible public. I don’t like to criticize and really am in favor of experiment and progression, so in that sense I am almost always pleasantly surprised by new directions and ways of presenting work.. I can see there is a lot of inspiration in street art .. If you ask me the quality is in adding and in putting things in different perspective that makes the art really interesting. The ‘cross bread’ and the straight liner, I respect it both. It’s sometimes like the one cannot exist without the other. I don’t really like the concept of the gallery artist. I like the more romantic idea that work is there to be discovered piece by piece. Though the working or playing with media for promotional purposes or as platform for art is to me as a finding or creating a good piece on the streets. The way I like to see art is in transit or in transition…

GF: I can see that, i have a similar perspective on the new street artists i don’t live in a city so i don’t see much of it in person i only see it on the internet or in pictures. So for me my experience is skewed in a way, if i were to see more work in its natural context i think i can make a more genuine critique of the actual artists. It seems in a lot of major cities there is a huge influx of artists deciding to paint on the streets, i am curious to see how Banksy’s new film will encourage or inspire a new wave of street artists. This could be the street artists version of style wars. Being that you have been around awhile and have a deeper understanding of the scene as a whole, what advice would you have for a new artist coming into this hybrid graffiti/street art scene?

ZEDZ: To the new artist entering the hybrid scene..: I don’t think I am in a position to give advice… even though you might consider me having some expertise (which is needed to give advice to start with) I don’t think its wise to start telling anybody in this art what to do.. I think.. Besides I am not into doing street art so much as I am into “doing my own thing” or something that you might consider coming from graffiti and thus being street art.. I would like to see these kind of labels being removed and just focus on doing what you got to do ../ on what has got to be done…what we (you) feel is right… perhaps by stating this i gave some practical insight in my way of understanding that might be interpreted being advice after all.. but perhaps less from experience and more from the heart without getting too precise or too specific.. 2 About the street art movie that you are speaking about.. I don’t know if you should compare it with style wars….. maybe that’s where the whole comparison with graffiti ends .. perhaps it makes clear its different worlds.. of course there is some spin-off.. Realize the time frame is different.. When graffiti started we barely had VHS (video) and graffiti developed through an era in which at the same time mass media developed into an almost personal tool.. the Graff mag came into existence and the Graff mag again embraced street art and turned lifestyle…or opposed and rejected it.. the photo of the graffiti became more important than the actual piece.. now there is internet instead of TV.. .. Lets wait and see what happens.. the future is now (non fiction) but actually it is still to come isn’t it..?

GF: I can understand that, although giving labels might help us identify certain aspects or a specific genre, it doesn’t need to define any artist or there work. The work and execution are far more important than any label or paragraph i could write. It has been great hearing your thoughts on your art and we appreciate you taking the it took to do this interview. Any last words or shout outs?

No last words. its not that time.. Shout outs.. to all that reach this line after reading the interview.

Peace, Zedz

Zedz Website www.zedz.org/

Zedz Contact zedz@zedz.org

GESO IBD INTERVIEW “TELLING IT LIKE IT IS”













You might not find Geso on some Vimeo video with some fresh Hollywood editing, and were not doing this interview to sell some shoes to kids at Metropark, but Geso is your favorite writers favorite writer and its dope to see that these guys still exist. Anyone that has followed American graffiti over the last 2 decades has had to have seen the work of Geso, putting in work for so many years and keeping it real since the day he started his Graff career. Some of the best hands and throws you will ever see yet with a pure and unique piecing style. A True Triple Threat and reigning freight king, Geso pulls no punches and will always tell it like it is. This interview was no different and it is was good catching up with Geso and hearing about his transition and progression from one of the most bitten styles of the last decade to pushing his new current styles. Geso mentions his work might not be as abstract as some of the other artists we feature, but abstract is only one of the characteristics that i see in his work. Being able to bring a general mastery over letters and create an abstract aesthetic on the surface is amazing, but the letters are there and anyone that looks will appreciate the style even more when they find them. Couple that with the fact of being able to bring something unique and honest to the table in this day and age without compromising themselves is an accomplishment in its own right, much respect.

GF: First off i appreciate you taking the time to contribute to the Site. Man where do i start been so long since we’ve talked and seen each other feels like it was the late nineties and you where killing em with that distinct Geso Style. Now fast forward to now and you completely flipped the style and are now on some next level Geso flavor. So how you been and if you can summarize the transition in style to where you are now?

GESO: Im good man thanks for asking. I think the best way to sum up my style  is, it started off with a heavy influence from Grey which is natural when you come up with some one. Not like biting or how things are now. After that i started doing a symmetrical bar type style that grew into a more technical version of such, and from there I started to fatten up. This was about the late 90’s when Ibd started and we wanted to bring our own flavor to the table, so this started what many call my “funk” type style. Our goal was to incorporate the Graff we loved and came up on, being the late 80’s to early 90’s  N.Y. & L.A. with our style. Unfortunately my “funk” style was bitten to the fullest by many. I think this is when things started to go downhill as far as originality and integrity.  People no longer push for their own style but would rather follow trends. Not to say i was the only one that had a band wagon of biters, but any one who takes that step to do their own thing you will get bit. So that’s why i decided to push it past the boundaries and make something so unique that if you bite it you will look foolish. I hear a lot of complaints about why i don’t do the “funk” style anymore and my new pieces aren’t as good, or there’s no letters in it. But i heard that about pieces i was doing 5-6 years ago and people are barely getting those now. My boy jest said i have like a 5 year curve on my Graff that people will understand it later down the line, oh well their loss haha. If you look at my pieces from the mid 90’s to now you will see its a natural progression of something I’ve created and i don’t think it could have gone any other way to tell you the truth.

GF: Wow. Damn that’s  pretty sad when a style is bitten so much that people actually think it is ok to do so. Handing a style down to crew, or someone your bringing up is one thing, but in your situation as i remember things did get out of hand fast and if i remember correctly that was the beginning of the internet era of Graff.  Shit the world was at every toys doorstep daily. Now it’s even more progressed, to a whole new level of immediate delivery worldwide through Flickr and all sorts of new social media trends popping up. Its a tough time to be in for a truly original artist that has something to contribute like yourself. You want to put your work out there for the world to see but at what cost? Will we all have to, like yourself go back to the drawing board and basically reinvent yourself for the pure reason of cats biting your style till its a trend? I’m a fan of your new new style, not that it is a good thing how you got there but it is dope that you were able to take the idea of how graffiti is viewed and going to be inevitably bitten and make that shit so unique that it cant be bit without being obvious. That’s Dope just the the thought of how you are approaching it is important. So what Next, we know your a Lifer any things your trying to accomplish in the next decade. I seen you paint some dope canvases also, is that a hobby or something you might get more into?

GESO: I don’t think that far ahead, I just do my own thing and try to do different stuff each time and keep progressing, moving forward on each piece I do. It’s so trendy to do art and Graff so I don’t get into much painting. People beg me for paintings so there’s a few floating around. As far as making a career out of art I don’t see that happening, there’s to many artists that are dope and too many writers think there going to make a living on art. If someone is going to pay me a ton of money to paint some art then I will, I’m not scared of making money. I just don’t think I will ever get rich off of art, Twist did it and he’s a exception. If someone is reading this and has money, and wants to make me famous then please holler at me and we’ll make a deal. I’m not a artist and I don’t do Graphic Design, I don’t sell the fuck out to the gayness

GF: Haha that’s whats dope about you, you always tell it like it is. So how do you feel about whats going on right now style wise in the scene? We’ve seen a lot of trends and fads coming and going.

GESO: Honestly there’s tons of trends now..lots of people biting people from Europe, Australia, New Zealand. Then doing their styles out here and acting like nobody knows. They do one that looks like Gebes and then get caught and they’ll do one that looks like 2tone get caught, then do one that looks like Askew or Berst and get caught and just keep switching styles and never do there own thing. Then you have all the dickriders that do 20 things in there life and go to Los Angeles and suck peoples dick to get in crews, while there doing my style and acting like they came from nowhere. I try to stay as far away from trends as possible. Im not going to lie, i have peoples stuff that i like to look at on Flickr but i look at the same people and there mostly my friends. I look at there stuff to see what there doing so i don’t ever do stuff like them. I never want to be labeled as a biter, thats probably the worst label you can have as a writer. That’s saying your whole identity and everything you have done and worked for is stolen from other people. There is still people that bite stuff blatantly and walk around like there the shit, and everybody knows. They must feel like shit or they are just way caught up in there head man..hahah its so funny trends that are going on now.

.Outline your piece with the most colors you have
.Do your piece with a fat cap and flare it
.Do checker patterns in your fill in
.Paint super clean and use fancy paint
.Evaporating letter
.Trying to do tricky things
.Paint a legal wall and take 5 days.
.Wearing fedora hats
.Sagging your pants and having a boxer puff in the back
.Doing graphic design
.Making t-shirt companies

Stay away from me if you have at least 3 of these on the list and you didn’t come up with the shit.

GF: Haha.. damn man you pretty much have to cut off 2/3 of writers now days to find someone not on that list besides the cats that originated some of those trends. What sucks even more is that crews also have changed drastically, even some of the older more established ones. You got crews letting trendy writers in there crew to keep themselves relevant, and you got the new business crew model. Shit is all out of wack. I don’t know whats next for the scene but if the way crews are being ran is any telling of whats to come, shit is going to be chaos for a minute. To me I feel the lack of Elder writers schooling kids and bringing cats up like the old days, now it leads to kids just finding shit on the internet and going at it. Letting the computer teach them style history all courtesy of google. I cant fault them for that, they want to learn and they might know any better. But at some point they need to understand and seek out some kind of real schooling and tradition. Most dope writers are driven by ego and wont even take the time to school the next generation. So shit, its a catch 22 i guess. Where does the fault lie in your opinion if any?

GESO: Well this is a sore subject with me. Me and my friend jester took this kid under our wing and did sketches for him and tags and throw ups, schooled him over 7 or 8 years and taught him the old way, basically molded him into a good writer. He had good hand styles thanks to us and he was getting good, but when he thought he was getting good he thought he was too cool and didn’t need us anymore. He used us as a stepping stone to make a career out of Graff. He was more into impressing people and not actually doing Graff, then he went and he started going to L.A. and biting Revok and Msk guys, mixing Ibd style with theirs. Basically kissed the right peoples ass and got in Msk without doing shit. Then he totally turns his back on us cause he thinks he’s great and all that. And he acts like he just came from nowhere now, like he just popped out of nowhere and we didn’t help him do anything. The sad thing is we knew all these people before him and he just looks like an idiot, even people in his crew don’t like him Yet he still uses the styles we gave him, and he doesn’t like us..hahah ..its so funny man how are you gonna use my styles and hate me. That’s a joke, you know. When we were coming up you had to put in work to be noticed, and you learned from the previous generation. They schooled you and you were proud of it. You respected these people, they were your mentors and you would never let them down cause they gave you everything and you would be grateful for that. Now these kids go on the internet find a style they like and go buy some Montana, paint there gay name like the people they like they get good meet them and there in the crew. No imagination, and I’m not fucking impressed. I guess the fault lies in that new people just don’t know shit about the old people and how it was then. I took this kid to the freights, and i don’t go with just anyone, but anyways i took this kid and he was about to do a piece and i looked at the train and he was a bout to paint over a Sien 5. I was like hey idiot what the fuck are you doing, thats Sien 5. He’s like who’s that, i never went again with that fucker. They just don’t know shit and don’t care about the older guys and the old ways. My friend told me they just don’t know anything don’t be mad, they have nobody to look up to that’s good and nobody wants to teach them cause there idiots and there’s not that many people to teach. When shit like what happened to me happens, to older guys they are weary. We got family’s and life and a routine and we hustle, we don’t want to break that for some fag ..you know..

GF: I feel you on that, its a tough situation when you give and get shit in return. That’s fucking nuts about your ex-pupil, really daaaamn? Hearing that story makes me just wonder WTF is up with this next generation of writers. I don’t know if its just the states or what, but the energy and vibe i get from Europe and the rest of the world is way more humble and open to new shit. Seems like there a lot more honest with there styles even if there not the trendiest. Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of cats out there biting the shit out of the stuff in the states also. There will always be biters but when i talk to other writers that are doing some progressive shit there always humble cats. To me a lot of this sponsorship, T-shirt company shit has got a lot of writers twisted like you mentioned earlier. There are dope writers that wont even paint a piece without getting paid that’s just weird to me. I’m not gonna knock anyone’s hustle, we all got our own and we all do what we got to do. But shit i Hustle to make sure i can paint, and that is whats still pure for me. If i had to get paid to do a piece i probably wouldn’t be able to experiment and find new ways to do shit. So lets get back to style, what do you think about a lot of guys starting to experiment with the abstract stuff. This site wasn’t to start another trend just represent the other artists doing some progressive other shit.

GESO: Well i think my stuff was just natural progression and evolution. Some people just start out with a different thought on what Graff is for them. People say they cant read what im doing, well i didn’t do it for them to read i did it for me, and i can read it and i know what it says and that’s all that matters. Being happy about what your producing and having fun is what its all about, if you can read it big deal i did it to try new shit and step the fucking game up, so I’m able to say in this gay scene that i created something original. Plus I’ve done a ton of readable stuff and i just want to do different styles and do new letters every time i paint. If you look at all my stuff its all different letters..never the same. If people want to do abstract stuff then that’s what they should do, there’s no rules in this shit. For me my stuff isn’t all that abstract like some people you have on your site. But i guess compared to regular Graff it is. I do abstract art i have done paintings since i was 15 but for me my art is completely different than my Graff. I keep them separate, I don’t try to combine the two. That’s to Art fag for me, all I’m saying is its all about the person man. If you want to bite Dondi and paint his style on freights then that’s your choice, if you want to to abstract stuff or art fag shit faces allover town then do it. Im not the Graff keeper that calls the rules. But what i don’t like is people that don’t do shit and try to talk. If your going to open your mouth and have a say in this shit you need street cred. You have to do shit period, no matter what style it is.

GF: Real Talk. Me i really have no bias for certain shit a lot of people think that I’m all about abstract but i appreciate some dope readable funk, but rarely is it done with anything original. Same thing with street art there is some cool shit that i can say i don’t hate and then there is just some random artists that cant get a gallery show and they read an article on Banksy, so what better way to get famous than paste some shit on the street that they took hours making in there art studio. You seem to be able to sum it up, its all about putting in the work and getting respected from the street up. Real cats can smell it right away if it is fake, whether it be some kid biting Banksy or some kid biting Bates. To me your style might not be as abstract but I feel the progression and honesty, i will feature many writers in the future on here that wont be all abstract. Its just more about being on the tip of the sword making trends not following them You know. Thanks for taking the time man this was a great conversation that a lot of kids out there need to pay attention to. You got anything else you want to talk about or get off your chest?

GESO: Ya i have some shit to say like always, if your doing this for money you better get a job. If you talk shit on Flickr under a fake name and delete it your a bitch. If you diss my shit with no name your a hater. If your mad because i cover up crap then your a fucking retard. If your mad cause we paint tons of reefers then your a jealous bitch. Don’t be mad cause you suck and you have been painting 20 years, the more people talk shit about getting gone over the more shit were gonna do. Don’t bite my styles and act like your not my friend, and then talk behind my back when you still rock my styles. Don’t rob my house after i support your girlfriend and your gay dogs for 6 months, and you gave my family infatigo you dirty fuck. Don’t paint 20 freights and make a freight crew, your not doing shit. Don’t bite my people in Europe and try to do there styles here, we’re watching and your a complete fucking loser. Dont wear you pants super tight and sag them with your boxers puffing out while your wearing a v neck t shirt, and trying to be a pick up artist. Dont get molested when your a kid by your step dad. Get some fucking Selsun Blue for the flakes, and get rid of the psoriasis on your fucking head. And clean your ears you dirty fuck. You people know who you are, dont air my spots out on the net. Rip Sope One aka Billy Bronze gggg..

All flicks courtesy of IBD Flickr

ASKEW & BERST TMD “A CONVERSATION ABOUT STYLE”

Askew Urban Development Detail

Askew Urban Development

Askew Urban Development

Askew Urban Development

Askew Urban Development

Askew Urban Development

Askew The Most Defs

Askew Next Level Battle

Askew Miami

Askew Miami

Askew Melbourne

Askew James Wallace

Berst Detail

Berst Detail

Berst Detail

Berst

Berst

Berst

Berst

Berst Detail

Berst Detail

Ok, where do i start with this one? If your Jaw isn’t on the floor after looking at those amazing detail shots of Askew and Berst’s Netchism, well then you might be color blind, or just in shock. I decided to post all of the detail shots that Berst and Askew had sent me and not edit out any of the shots. I actually wish I had more to share with you. As you can see this will be a very large feature. I suggest if you don’t have the time to read all of it now, bookmark it for later while maybe relaxing with a good cigar and a warm glass of some top shelf cognac. For those of you that are ready here we go. We got a chance to catch up with Askew and Berst and have a conversation about many things; style, progression, Netch, fatcaps as well as many other things. Anyone that has been following graffiti lately has seen the work of Askew and Berst, and if you are like me you know that they’re pushing it to the limit, as well as redefining so many techniques and styles. I can honestly say that i have not seen anything like this in the 20+ years of painting myself. There work is amazing, a true respect and foundation in letters yet with a painterly hand abstract in texture. To be able to use a can as they do, they will restructure how many of the next generation of writers approach a wall. Here at Graffuturism we encourage and always try to showcase artists that are pushing new boundaries and thinking outside the box, well Askew and Berst have completely destroyed the box. Im glad they took the time to chat with us here is the conversation we had.

GF

I think interviews are great, but i would much rather have a talk or conversation with fellow writers. This is normally something that takes place after writers are done painting a wall, maybe at dinner after a few beers.  The conversation usually turns to what is going on with each artist, projects, ideas, experiments.  We might also talk about what each artist is doing with there current letters, or  an aesthetic there trying to establish. In this case you guys are literally half way around the world, and you both have so many projects going on it would be almost impossible to have that type of conversation. Maybe impossible but we can try to get some of that same vibe in this conversation here.

Askew

Can’t agree more bro. I really hate the current state of graffiti journalism. Standard Q&A interviews with terrible grammar drive me crazy ha ha!

GF

Not sure if you both have been following the site but after being on the internet 24/7  I never found a site or place where I could see some of the work that I clearly see happening in world all in one place. Most of today’s work gets grouped in all the other countless blogs that just regurgitate it without much thought or perspective. What i am seeing currently worldwide, to me is huge and not many people are talking about or recognizing what is taking place. So i am trying to make that place in this site, there are no rules but i wanted to somehow document these out of the box styles and general movements currently taking place.

I recently watched an Interview from You Askew about the Urban Development Outdoor Gallery Project. The beginning of that interview where you talk about finding yourself as a painter, and not just a graffiti artist is one that has been paralleled by many artists including myself and that is one of the reasons for this site. I think this site is a parallel to that statement, not for an artist but for a whole genre. I think the more the world see’s and hears from other artists that are finding there painterly style and pushing boundaries thinking outside of the box, and evolving we can really push forward into another level of Graffiti.

So that’s what brings me to you and Berst as i have been watching you guys for awhile now and you both seem to be pushing limits piece by piece. Talk to me about your current style and how exactly you got here

Askew

To be honest, there’s no quick answer for how we got to where we are at right now. I think as artists, things are always a matter of trial and error and the gradual determination of what works for you and doesn’t over the course of your life. You develop your tastes, define parameters based on what you like from other peoples work or what sits well with your own principals or ideologies. Sometimes though, you build partnerships with other artists and the ingredients are right. The perfect balance between mutual respect and healthy competition. Berst and I have one of those friendships. We definitely share the same mentality about where graffiti needs to go but at the same time we both feel strongly about foundation and good structure behind everything else. Usually there’s a lot of discussion, a lot of honesty and heaps of genuine collaboration going on with our walls. Although we are still ego driven in the sense that we paint our names, there’s some detachment required to fully attain the ‘NETCH”.

Berst

Hey bro whats up, first of all I would like to thank you for looking into this and having a site that can branch into the type of work we are creating. The site Looks great and 100% behind it.

My thoughts are definitely what askew has already spoken about. It is, it has been, and always will be a process of trial and error and after eight years of spraying you will ultimately go through stages, phases and styles. The result of what we have ultimately been creating is definitely through a level of experimental painting and reflection of the work. Personally, when i was first drawn to piecing i was always interested in west coast wildstyle pieces. They involved a certain level of complexity and illegibility of the letters which made me really curious but at the same time i was also interested in traditional new york blockier letter shapes. My personal goal was to be the most intricate and complex and paint the largest and most colorful. After collaborating with Askew and several other artists within the last year, we have all created something that we simply could not have imagined. It is easy to do safe graffiti but i guess we’ve just had an idea of thinking outside the box and breaking traditional rules of graffiti. I have spent the last eight years working on five letters to perfect my name and if i go so far that I’m not called a writer anymore then thats just peoples opinions which doesn’t really bother me. I think the sooner people grasp the idea that there really are no restrictions and limitations to graffiti then we are all going to start seeing some crazy things.

Askew

Yeah- to further reiterate on what Berst just said, I think that writers often think in such restrictive terms about what constitutes ‘real’ graffiti. It frustrates me on some level because although I feel strongly that foundation is absolutely essential, it must be considered that Writing was born in a particular era in NYC and certain traits should be considered indigenous to that city, time and place. Today I think it’s funny that people all around the world outside of NYC paint that aesthetic and call it ‘New York Style’. Like when you actually stop and think about it for a second, it’s really funny. New York is a big place full of individuals with their own styles. People will paint a shallow caricature of the perceived NYC style though, perhaps with no true understanding of the circumstances it was born from. It could almost be insulting to them in a way, especially when you go to New York and see how open they are to new takes on this art form. When you see how many of those writers from Style Wars et al have branched out and diversified as artists, to me it was like a lightening bolt to my head. Even just revisiting Phase II’s work and seeing the sheer scope of ideas he explored and the immense amount of subtext behind the letters is overwhelming. I think personally that Dondi White’s death spawned a renaissance of sorts and forced people to revisit and appreciate his work again with fresh eyes. When the book came out, it was amazing to see how he handled letters with such a perfect and almost understated approach – finding the balance between simple and complex. I think at that point, there was a worldwide shift back towards the perceived ‘classic NYC’ aesthetic. Sometimes it seems weird to see a pastiche of Dondi-ism’s painted in some remote place on the opposite side of the world and I often wonder how that looks for people that knew him or were his contemporaries.

Berst

As far as I can understand in my own mind, graffiti that came from New York came from painting trains. there was a particular style that was created within that period of time for that specific place. For any city or country to draw on these ideas of getting up and painting stylized letter shapes is great and I think for people starting off in the graffiti game it is definitely necessary to understand all of that information and how significant it has been to lead to where we are now. The way I see it is, if I’m painting a legal wall I don’t need to paint a piece of graffiti that is completed within three hours. i am painting something that SHOULD be different to an illegal piece on any surface such as a trackside, freight or a train. I may take certain aspects of illegal painting and bring it to the table but ultimately the only vision I see is creating something that I otherwise normally cannot create in other circumstances. people either can’t be bothered taking that long on a piece because they don’t think it’s the true essence of graffiti or think it is a waste of time and paint. I can guarantee that if anybody that normally spends three hours on a piece, if you spent three times the amount of time, your results will be phenomenal. The reason for this is because during this time you are engaged, reflecting, experimenting and forced outside of your comfort zone. A turning point in the way I approach painting that has lead me to this point is when i started taking longer to paint my pieces. A couple of years ago Rime (MSK) was in new zealand and he asked me why I only took eight hours to paint this legal piece. I answered with something stupid like “So I can get a flick before it gets dark”. on my last piece, I spent ninety hours.

GF

To me time is irrelevant in painting especially in my case I can take 2 days painting but in all actuality it took about 2 hrs of actual painting time. The fact that I am more of a social painter and I approach painting the same way I approach smoking a cigar I enjoy every minute of it. I think my current style allows me to actually not have to work as much as it involves watching the piece more and talking myself into not touching it rather than making it more complex. When I look at the intense paintings of both your guys work I really can sit and spend forever just finding small nuances that I know might have been on accident but were made on purpose. That is the truest example of form in my opinion and you guys are really mastering this subtlety. I was taking a cab ride home with Rime from a Wall in Barcelona in 2007 and we had just got done finishing a wall he was the last to leave and I waited to share a taxi. He gave me some advice as I hadn’t painted in a couple years and I was really rusty and it showed. He told me to start with painting with a fatcap until I felt comfortable again. To me that seemed like the most backward advice cause I wasn’t ready to control a fatcap especially for a piece, but now I see 3 years later what he was talking about too bad I didn’t listen. Ha ha I had to learn the hard way. Both of your guys use of the fatcap in your current style is masterful, and really lets me see deep into your line intentions. How integral is this into your style?

Askew

To be honest, the use of fatcaps, particularly the Astro came about through a series of circumstances and subsequent thinking. When I made the transition into painting far more traditional pieces around 2003, I was tending to contrive my line work a lot. By this I mean I was building lines up from fat to skinny with Banana caps and cutting things back to get a sharp, graphic result. I was motivated in a lot of ways to focus on traditional letters by my crew mates Can2 and Atom. Also when I was looking over my photo collection I felt unhappy with the walls I was doing, especially alongside a lot of more traditional painters because their work had more immediate impact than mine. I got the book ‘Writing: Urban Calligraphy and Beyond’ as a gift from Atom and was blown away by how the Berlin writers (Poet, Phos4, Amok, Tagnoe to name a few) worked within the confines of foundational graffiti yet managed to bend and twist the letters so they had the sense of dancing in space. I started trying to achieve that but when you are contriving the lines and painting with a type of ‘vector’ approach it limits what you can achieve in way of attaching a certain movement or sense of gesture to the lines in a piece. I saw a lot of people like Rime, Revok etc using pretty large caps, like at least an NY. Also Smash was using the odd level 5 gold cap line on his pieces although never to the extent we started to, he was still very refined in his approach. I think I just started gravitating towards fatter caps because of the flexibility of them. You can do blown out lines with tubular effects. You can get that fat to skinny result without cutting back. You can do half pressure or spitty effects that can be used to create both pencil thin line work (Os Gemeos) or a dusty/spitty effect that I use a lot to give my work a real ‘sprayed’ feeling. Also consider the astro can be used to achieve so much 3D effect as far as positioning it in space. This adds so much life and tension to a piece. I’ve said it before, the closer it feels like doing a tag or a throw up to me the better it turns out. That’s nothing to do with the time expended, just a statement about how much I love to feel each line I spray.

Berst

That too is also an interesting concept to gage with whether people that spend this long painting a piece trying to set new benchmarks ultimately lead to creating a different future for the next generation of writers coming up. personally I do think that there has been a decline in tagging in Auckland, New Zealand and kids are getting into throw-ups and pieces earlier. people that I was surrounded by in my earlier days, it was all about tagging and getting up and I’m sure it will always be an under pinning motivator for graffiti which is great but for people like Askew that have been painting for nearly twenty years I think it is only natural for him to have grown this far and broken so many barriers. in this day and age, if your pieces aren’t getting dissed and your work is going to stay up then why not spend that extra effort and do something that much better

Askew

I also came up in an era in Auckland graffiti where pieces couldn’t  be painted in more than one session because kids would destroy them within minutes of completion. Auckland has really changed a lot in the last few years…

GF

Wow. Now thats what I’m talking about, I think that the direction you guys are going and just the general thought process is as interesting as the work if not more. To me process and the idea is something that gets lost in the final piece, and when artists actually are starting to think about painting that is exciting. Making a conscious decision to take an path that you know might get you ridiculed or written off is not an easy task. Being part of a crew myself that pretty much took a stance against the normal status quo it was very difficult at the time and although I knew what I was attempting to do I had no clue what the rest of my culture and scene would think about it. To me I also like Berst was brought up on west coast wildstyles and pushed that style as much as I could. But I think as artists we always are trying to find something new, a new bar, a new shape, a new color combo. For me I ran into a whole new idea of how to approach a piece. Most would say at the top of my wildstyle I pretty much switched up to a total abstract style. I remember thinking to my self that graffiti was missing emotion, and I tried to create a feeling when someone looked at one of my pieces. I was about to step off a cliff the closest thing I had to a net was other artists like Joker that were there to push the things in a new direction. I think it makes things a lot easier when you have a partner or crew that also believes in what you are doing and if anything else trusts you. Its the simplest ideas that sometimes create the most hatred from traditional writers. I was just having this conversation today in Facebook Fellow Artist She one made a comment about The Chrome Angels and how he was deeply saddened that The Chrome Angels style and aesthetic hadn’t been adopted 25 years later as the standard of graffiti, and that there isn’t anything as fresh out today. My take on it was that our culture is our own worse enemy and stunts growth. That most writers would be automatically seen as biters and ridiculed if influence was too similar. I also think that unless the style was passed down from other Chrome Angels it would more than likely die, as it did only until recently has there been a revival of the TCA style. The point is that we are all conditioned to a point to call other writers biters, or dismiss other writers as having no merit if not following the rules or styles that they deem as proper. To me I have for over 20 years done a piece with an arrow, and I probably never will, most would dismiss me right there as not following tradition. I can see the same thought process for the future writers, or I hope they would take the pieces they need and leave what they don’t need. Without rules doesn’t mean without foundation. I think all of us have paid our dues and focused on the foundation first. The truth is that is just the first step towards forever, and only one step towards what ever we can think of next. I know this is a lot of information but it is needed to be worked out and talked about, without dialogue like this people really wont understand the next decade of why things went the direction they did. So next question doing the research for the site and searching hundreds of artists across all different kinds of sites, I literally ran into so many groundbreaking artists, I have no clue where they came from. I really don’t even know how they got there. The thing is that they all had a common aesthetic across continents, and have no clue of each others artwork. Its something that i think goes deeper than this conversation can go unless we write a book, ha ha. What do you think about the differences in styles that are taking place across the world, we all know about the MSK’s and the New York writers. What about the Greek Writers, the French they are doing some really groundbreaking work right now and a lot of doesn’t even involve actual letters. What are your thoughts on the total detachment of letters, or there movements in general?

Askew

I understand a few of the negative sentiments regarding the breakdown of distinct regional styles but to be honest, it’s just indicative of the era we live in. There’s always that tendency to romanticize about the good old days and feel threatened by change but regardless, it’s just going to happen. You can either ride the wave or get swept under it. In an ideal world, you will find a way to highlight the strengths of what is happening in your region via the context given through good documentation.

Berst

To my understanding there is not an overly huge amount of detachment from the letters in my work. (as far as i can see) if you look at a photo of any of  my pieces that i have marked up, what is it? Its letters. I’m not trying to mark up “abstract” letters or wack letters. I’m painting letters that i have been influenced from, by hundreds of writers and artists to develop these shapes that i now paint. Realistically I take no claim in creating something so new that people should all do this or paint this particular style. It’s merely been a process of development of my own take on things. If my work falls so far out of the classified notions of the graffiti zone I have no problem being classified as these other things, so please  message me and let me know. Don’t want to be an outsider of the movement right?

GF

I just read your blog entry on Netch and its explanation of the term blew me away, great concept I guess the universal mind is strong lately as one of the reasons i started this site it was an attempt to explain the next level of everything graf related whether it be a style an idea, a movement, a step in different direction whatever it may be. It’s amazing that Netch is on a parallel to my own thoughts for graffuturism. We have both been painting Graf for so long and I’m sure we have seen so many styles fads come and go I think this new movement is different, in a way it is like a wave that has been building over the last decade. Now with social media, and self publishing as Futura put it in the interview I just did with him the reality of a global movement and the viral ability of the movement will lead to next level Netch or graffuturism as I call it. I don’t think anyone can stop it not dogmatic thinking writers that want there piece of history to last forever, or all the haters out there that cant fathom change. I might be too old to make a huge impact as a writer but I hope to help the movement and progression through this site, listening, engaging, and featuring artists that might be on the path to what is next. I appreciate you guys taking the time to have this conversation with me and share your thoughts, I know you guys don’t need the exposure or hype as your already are International Graffiti Stars, but talking to you I know you do it for higher purposes other than ego and fame and that’s refreshing in such talented artists.

Askew

Ha ha Thanks dude… I really appreciate it eh.

To be honest I think Netch is like a branch off the Graffuturism family tree more than them being individual of each other. Where ever you see a re-ordering of the approach to painting or a total deviation from the predictable course it seems to fit well under the graffuturism banner. In our case, when all the colors and detail is removed you often find a very simple and almost classic letter shape underneath. The point for us was to tick all the boxes rather than one or the other. When people draw separations between style and technique I get really angry because most of the time they are reciting a cliche rather than speaking from any real basis. It annoys me because when you alter the approach and attack a letter with a different technique it can alter the end result so dramatically that it creates a new style. Process is always so greatly overlooked and sometimes we go to exhaustive measures during our process that people never see. It’s rewarding in the end though because it feels like painting rather than an extreme sport or penis-size contest ha ha!

Wow! What a conversation and amazing pics, much respect and thanks to Askew and Berst for blessing us with this feature. We look forward to watching and sharing any of your new  projects in the future. Till then you guys can see more of Askew and Berst on there sites below.

www.askew1.com
www.tmdcrew.com
Berst Flickr