Thanks to Fred from Bombing Science for the information about the interview with New Zealand graffiti artist, Askew.
(All pictures below are courtesy of Bombing Science. )
I suppose we should go through the whole formalities first. What do you write? Who ya' rep? Favorite paint and color? Favorite style to paint and favorite object to paint?
I write Askew, I rep TMD, Stick Up Kids and F1 crews. I don't have a favorite color really but I use Ironlak exclusively. They have been kind enough to sponsor me the past couple of years and it has made so much possible...I am so grateful for that opportunity. As far as having a favourite style to paint, I like knowing I can paint what's appropriate for a given occasion or surface. Generally I like pretty stripped back styles with an emphasis on something between traditional letters with structure and something awkward with the odd strange or original take on New York style. I'm not a snob when it comes to what I paint as long as it looks better after I paint it. That's a fairly subjective thing though I guess.
At this point in the game, do you hit the blackbook anymore? And if so, do you go to it to work off of it when painting, or is it more off the top of the head? What do you think is the importance of sketching verses first hand practice?
I think sketching is good for unlocking ideas, but that's all I do. I have very rapid drawing sessions spending 2-5 minutes on a piece just trying to be as fluid and free as I can. I never do perfect full-coloured blackbook sketches and I may have a loose idea of what I'm going for before I do a wall or whatever but usually it's a fairly spontaneous process for me. These days I like to draw more from the environment around me, discuss political events of the time or at least create some type of dialogue that can engage the viewer.
Other than writing is there anything you feel you have the same amount of passion for?
No, not really. There's things I like doing but none match the obsession I have for this. It's beyond a hobby, it's my life and every other skill I have some how relates back to this.
Has writing ever cost you anything you held dearly?
Other than money for fines, which I couldn't really care less about it's cost me nothing. All the time and sacrifice has been worth it for me and most of what has come has been positive or an interesting experience. Maybe ask me in another 20 years though and I'll see if I'm a balanced and healthy human then!
Has there ever been a time when you've thought about giving up writing? If so, what led you to that train of thought?
Last year was the hardest time for me on a lot of levels. I contemplated a lot of things I'd never thought of before and really had a quiet battle with some type of depression or emptiness that I couldn't kick. I didn't feel like an adult or that I had anything substantial to show for my life other than a bunch of pictures. The most positive thing that happened to me came from something potentially really negative.
My hard drive literally exploded one morning and I lost ALL of my photos. Of course I had a lot backed up or in printed format but maybe not everything. At first I panicked but then I started trying to find everything again and very systematically went through all my albums, DVD's of digital photos, other peoples collections and put the call out to magazines to send me back anything I'd sent them. I think I found about 95% of my work again but it was with such critical eyes I looked at it all during this time. So many tightly cropped photos with no real context or connection to the environment and so many stories to tell and no real documentation that re-conveyed those experiences.
I felt kind of blank like it was all for nothing but then decided it was time to turn things around and radically changed my approach to my work. I have such a renewed vigour for painting since then and I'm engaged because I'm fanatical about contextualising my work and documenting the process and ideas behind it. It feels like it has substance and purpose for me now.
The previous were selected questions. For the full interview, please visit Bombing Science.
Video: Askew, Flying Fortress, Phat1, Repo, Pest5, Dskyes in Auckland New Zealand