When did you start being a graffiti artist? 1984 – 1 don’t like the word graffiti. It’s too vague. I prefer wall art, but you can’t avoid it. These days I just feel like an artist. Fuck labels.
What got you into writing graffiti? I was fascinated by a punk writer Baz who was up in my area around 1981. Then in 1984 I was inspired by the usual books and films.
What are your first memories of seeing graffiti? The first pieces that really impressed were the Chrome Angelz works at Covent Garden in London.
What were your influences back then and what are your influences today? Back in the 80’s it was mainly the early European style, so mostly Dondi and Futura. Since then I’ve become more and more open to other genres of wall art. These days I have a million small influences, anything in my day could spark off an idea. People, the world, a sweet wall mural, life. But everything I paint, I can trace back to earlier writing I did, it’s never disconnected. Conflict is usually a part of it in some way.
I’m interested in other ways of seeing, ways to look inside. X-rays, microscopes. I think a lot about meaning, I haven’t used my name as the content piece in a long time. I do still have letters in it but there isn’t a boundary between them and everything it’s all one thing to me. That’s part of what MY organic thing is about. I like to say a letter IS a character.
What/who influences your style, flow and ideology? I think you have to be the master of your own destiny.
Being that your work is quite synonymous with being loc2 to advance your work further, can it be somewhat intimidating, stifling or difficult to keep on the cutting edge? That’s a good one. I always have a ton of new ideas I want to experiment with, far more than I’m going to live long enough to deal with. New concepts every day. I haven’t painted 10% of what I’ve already worked out, the stuff I think might be good. I’ll die frustrated. The challenge is to work out which ones are most worthwhile … I try to research what else is going on in all the art worldwide, try to explore the paths less trodden. I think about what our art has to do with the rest of it. Is it good? What is the point of it?
Originality is a distance not a place. It’s an ideal to strive for. I think I spend too much time on that at the moment though, 1 want to get back to painting more and thinking loss. The trouble is, you can’t go back to not knowing things. The other big dilemma for me is to do with consistency. This information saturated age seems to favour a logo mentality but I hate to repeat myself. It just feels like I’m wasting my time if I don’t move forward in some way each time. So I try to strike some kind of balance but I don’t think I do a very good job of that. I think I make my life far more difficult than it needs to be. I could take just one bit of it rinse and repeat.
Trackside, panels, bombing or a chill wall? I’ve done all of the above during my career. These days I’d choose a high profile wall and try to put something interesting and worthwhile on it. Something that fucks with stereotypes, makes people think. Chill? I wish. We just did a whole Nazi bunker in Frankfurt. Massive. 4m thick concrete walls. Big budget, open brief, painting whatever we like. Big responsibility … turn something like that into something positive. I’m ok with a mystery … sometimes I’ll illustrate an idea, sometimes I’m ok to do something that’s not so easily gettable.
Any major wall art projects in the pipeline? Lots going on as always. We’ve been trailblazing out in China. I’m working directly with an architect’s company who have designed a lot of really insane buildings in Shenzhen and other cities. Lot of sparks flying in the recent project; culture clashes, freedom vs censorship etc. Ground-breaking public art projects, big things. That’s an ongoing project. I just did a nice custom arcade cabinet that will be auctioned off to raise money to help out with the disaster in Japan. I’m an old-school gamer so I really enjoyed that, I’m thinking of doing a series of them. I have a street art gallery project I’ve been developing in Central London that features some canvas and vinyl wall art. I’m trying to take over the whole street, massive wall murals. High profile. Ton of other things going on. Just a lot of painting and fighting to create space for new ideas basically.
You recently painted in China. What project was that for? It was for the Shanghai Expo. The project was in OCT Loft which is the creative district of the city of Shenzhen.
China isn’t a country people would generally have come straight to mind when they think of graffiti/aerosol based artwork – what’s the scene like over there? There is basically no bombing to be seen but some nice piecing there. My main friends there are IDT crew. They are young but doing some advanced work for what is a relatively new scene. I can see China becoming a force to be reckoned with in coming years.