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*Didn’t you start out as a tagger mainly?*
My graff life started with tagging-yeah. Though I was always drawing pieces at the same time I just wasn’t good enough to paint them then so tagging was the quicker fix.
*You’re probably most famous for your heel designs – how did that start?*
Sounds funny to put it down to a precise moment but I was holding a high heels one day and saw it made an awesome S so went on to do pieces spelling out INSA in heels. I was also doing lots of contour line drawings mainly on my letter pieces but some characters and bodies too I loved the 3D effect you could get. It was like in direct contrast to a lot of the shady fading stuff I was doing- just flat bold lines. Some of the earlier curvier line stuff I was doing I started to add heels and it reminded me of Hans Belmar’s work, an artist I had always been a fan of since doing art at school and liked the notion of referencing a more classical artist in my graffiti rather than following the set formulas that existed in graffiti.
*When did you decide to get involved with designing for brands and
At my first solo exhibition of artwork I was approached by OKI NI asking if I wanted to design some clothing. I have always been into exploring new creative outlets and the idea of people wearing my artwork was great and so I designed my first clothing with them.
*Do you get any negativity about your embracing big brands and working for
I don’t really get any direct negativity but I know there is probably plenty of bitching and moaning in the graff world as its full of so many narrow minded attitudes. I do wanna say though that I don’t just embrace big brands in general. Just a few selected projects that have seemed like good opportunities to me.
*One of the main ethos’ behind graffiti is the whole getting your name up in
front of as many people as possible. So working with someone like Nike
you’re totally doing that at another level aren’t you?*
Yeah. I have always seen the colabs and special projects I’ve done as a way of getting my name out to a wide audience. But its more than just getting them to know my name- I see it as an introduction and hope people come to my blog and see all the other stuff I’ve been doing. So even if it is just product it comes back to my artwork being the most important thing. It is another level to graff though- like on this NIKE project they played the animation I painted on loop in the big window of NIKETOWN on oxford circus and that is a reach! There’s no way you’re gonna get a tag or throw up there that would last longer than a day so it is next level exposure.
*You’ve been in the graffiti game for a while now – how’s it changed since
you started out?*
Well loads has changed- the fact it’s a complete packaged lifestyle now. It’s so easy to pick up- buy all the right tools. It seems so boring to me these days – like people just pick the random choice of letters for their name and then pick a style to imitate. Also now it seems very divided like you either bomb or do trains or do walls- when I was a kid the idea of a writer was someone that did all of it.
*Where’s your favourite place to paint?*
In another country, in the sun in a fairly busy city.
*What do you think of east London’s graffiti scene?*
Possibly a bit incestuous, I mean that only of the people that have lived and died their graffiti career just on the streets of east London. I do like the fact you see a lot of graff in the area- writers from all over London and other countries get up as it’s such an easy place to get up.
*There’s a pretty strong community of graf artists in the area, do you run
with any crews or groups? *
I have painted with and get on with plenty of the writers that live and work in the area but don’t really run with any one set crew- I enjoy doing my own thing and having my work seen as an individual thing.
*Are there too many scenesters or try hard wannabe’s doing it in east
Hell yes! Have you seen some of the shit that gets put up in the area?? Though I’m not keen on calling people out or bitching in interviews so lets leave it there.
*A lot of folk fancy being the next Banksy don’t they?*
Yes – so boring- why be the next someone else??
*Which other artists work are you into at the moment?*
I love both the pieces and art stuff that ROID is doing right now and a lot of the other MSK stuff both here and in the states. I’m really into the work of El Mac and RETNA. I don’t know why I have just named writers here I am into so many artists work that I see.
*How did the Nike sneaker collaboration come about?*
I have never done a sneaker for retail with NIKE…
*Tell us about the Nike project you did at 1948?*
To coincide with the whole IAM1 project I recently was part of with NIKE I was invited to put on an exhibition of work at the 1948 space. It was to showcase both the animation project I had produced for them and be an expression of where I’m at with my work at the moment.
*What was the inspiration behind it?*
Well the title of the show ‘Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places’ gives you some indication of the ideas behind the work and installation. It is a continuation to recent themes in my work about aspirations of wealth and consumer happiness and the objectification of products and love. I know that seems to say a lot in a very short sentence but I sometimes drag on trying to explain the ideas in my work and I figure I won’t do that here.
*The whole thing had a real impact when you saw it, you totally ‘INSA’d’ the
whole space with the outside painted up too.*
Yes I saw this show more as an installation than an exhibition of individual pieces so I wanted it to be all consuming. I also like to put the effort in- its the only thing to do for me- if you are given a space to paint then paint all of it.
The whole purpose of the painted interior space was its reflection in the heart- taking straight perspective lines and bend them round the curves of the sculpture and then the reflection of you the viewer and where you stand in the reflection how you see yourself in this shrine to a giant silver ass. It was a great space to work with as well especially as it’s a ‘concept store’ and I was exploring the concept of consumer fetishism
*Did it give you a chance to try out new things you’ve been wanting to do
for a while?*
Absolutely- the inverted chrome heart is a sculpture something quite new for me but also something that I have wanted to get made for a least a year or two but haven’t had the budget to make it -so when this installation opportunity came along it was the perfect time to do it, and I’m really pleased I did as I was very happy with the results and got a lot of amazing feedback
Now though, as no one raised the asking price of 10gees it’s gonna hang on the ceiling above my bed- because I’m classy like that 😉
*What’s your favourite Nike trainer? You seem pretty into the Air Max…*
Yes it is the air max 90
*What new stuff have you got lined up?*
Always onwards and upwards- hopefully I have a few shows in some far flung parts of the world next year and finally getting the second collection of INSA HEELS released.