Spraying Bricks tell us all the secrets about the graffiti world and reveals how artisrs manage to spray the strangest & hard to get to places!
I’ll start with the difference between street art and graffiti art.
Graffiti is technically vandalism. It is the art of writing your name and writing it on many places and as many times so that your name becomes recognised. I like this as it is the anti-establishment element of it...a big fat FUCK YOU to the man. Australian artist Meggs said it right to me once… ‘I pay my taxes for these government / public buildings, why can’t I decide how it looks if I have to look at it each day? Surely it is partly my property too’ and I agree.
There is also the fact of becoming famous that I like...people knowing who you are but not ever really knowing who you are as you always use a pseudonym. I like that...especially when people say ‘have you seen so and so’ and you’re sitting there thinking ‘yeah thats me’ but you’ll never say it.
Then there is Street Art - street art is different. You’re doing street art for the public, this is public art. Graffiti is a selfish thing where as street art is something for everyone or to make a point, send a message. I like certain messages and there are certain ones that I don’t like but that is the beauty of freedom of expression.
How did you get into graffiti art, what inspired you?
I had a brief spell when I was between the ages of 8-12 when I used to play basketball with renowned Street Artist Word To Mother. He was constantly drawing on things, doodling and always had a Graphotism magazine to hand to see all the latest letter pieces.
As I got older, and the fact I’m from a small town by the sea, this faded away and I became more and more close minded from the environment I was in.
When I was 18 I eventually had the balls to up and leave my small town of Hastings (which surprisingly is home to many creatives including Ben Eine, Word To Mother, The Chapman Brothers and Banksy even spent some time there) I was exposed to all the colour and creativity that surrounded East London, Hackney and Shoreditch - this was in the time of what I like to call BH (before hipster)
The anit-establishment of it and the political power of graffiti and street art is what drew me back in and inspired me to pursue such a career
What influences your current work?
I used to be influenced by the drugs that I take and fun times with friends. Light hearted but meaningful.
HOWEVER...at the moment I’m currently influenced by the current state of affairs in the western world and how damaging we are to the rest of the world. The endless race for fame and money, people taking more than they should and most importantly the fact that people do not care for others anymore...it’s heartbreaking and I feel people need to be called out on it.
I’m currently also exploring inspiration from mental health and depression as it is something I have been battling myself over the past year.
We always see graffiti in the most obscure places, how do people manage to do their art there?!
With graffiti, it is all about getting into the most obscure and visible places. That’s why quite often in New York you will see the pieces up high over a rooftop, because NYC is shrouded in high buildings. How they do these is with use of a roller, an extension pole and house paint. They then stretch over the rooftop and paint the piece back to front and upside down so that it reads right...truly amazing.
With street art it is usually done with permission from the landlord or owner. Not many artist, although more and more are, use the space as a reference and include their surroundings with their piece. I.e. using windows that are there or change of brick work etc. If it is a commissioned piece then they will likely have use of cherry pickers or scissor lifts to complete the piece. We have also on occasions used a swing stage, which is what window cleaners use on big sky scrappers.
Where’s the strangest place that your ever done your art?
Strangest place...don’t really have a strange place but sometimes strange organisers. But I did paint a letter piece in the middle of Malaga in Spain in by the dam and waterway they have running through the city centre...amazingly no one had thought of painting it before so I was the first!
And what if you go wrong, because you can’t rub it out!
Luckily with spray paint you can go over and over with it and it applies quick and dries quick. That’s how you get the tight and tidy lines is by cutting back in with the other colour. There is room for error and with the larger pieces there is even more room for error as something you may see up close you’ll never notice on the ground....especially when its 150ft high
Do you have a favourite location where you like to do your art?
Miami - we go there every year for Art Basel. It’s the best as you’re free to paint with no bother, the sun is shining and all of your friends from all over the globe are there in one place at the same time, doing the same thing. It’s a blast.
On that note should let you know that the street art world is a very small circle of people and everyone knows everyone. Miami Basel is that last blow out before the new year and takes place from 3-7th December.
What is the longest a piece of art has taken you to spray?
The piece above is probably the longest at 7 days in total. But then there is the prep work prior...so that piece took approximately 15 days.
I never see people doing graffiti but then I always wake up and see graffiti art! So when do you guys make these pieces?!
When it comes to graffiti...people don’t go out until gone dark. Prime time to be out painting is around 3am. This way you avoid traffic, police etc. and become one with the night. It’s important to wear dark clothes and cover your face...especially in London as it is the most watched city in the world!
Street art on the other hand is best done in the day. Mainly because you have permission but if you don’t it is easily hidden with a quick hi-vis jacket or vest that says you’re a local council worker...no one will bother you!
What advice would you give to artistic individuals that are trying to challenge audiences’ perceptions?
Sounds cliché but keep doing what you doing. Make sure you’re learning along the way, always progress. Ignore simple minded people who say you should get a real job, as I still don’t know what ‘get a real job’ means. Most importantly stay articulate and make sure you know what you’re talking about...unfortunately the world isn’t fair and you sometimes have to act like a wolf in sheep’s clothing for people to understand you. You can be a chameleon in how you present yourself but it doesn’t mean you have to change your personality with it.