I paint for many years, started, like everyone, at three or so, ate all the crayons and brushes and then learned not everything is food. Then at 13 I lived in a small rural community in Zeeland, discovered tagging and up to this day I am still active as a graffitiwriter, but the past years slowly turned me into a canvas painter. :-) I have had many commissions over the years, from small children's bedrooms up to largescale murals for business clients. And now I am in the middle of a switch to purely canvasses and not graffiti-related murals (nothing public anymore). This year I hope to reach some of my "in-between-goals" which are buildingblocks and small steps for large-scale, museum size canvasses. Just to see how far I can go. A quietly productive, step-by-step, year. :-)
Edit: left Zeeland (and NL) 15 years ago.
Have you posted any of your paintings or graffiti? Good luck this year!
Congrats on making it out of Zeeland alive, by the way!
He has posted many here, of course under the radar of the posting police. We have watched him go from walls, to canvas, the walls in many cases helped children (I think maybe his most treasurable experiences), this transition to canvas, well like artists who go through phases, this too may change, but he is our resident true artist.
He may be a next Bob Ross, a great artist, a great person, at least in my mind.
In case you did not know Bob.
"I got a letter from somebody here a while back, and they said, 'Bob, everything in your world seems to be happy.' That's for sure. That's why I paint. It's because I can create the kind of world that I want, and I can make this world as happy as I want it. Shoot, if you want bad stuff, watch the news."
You make me happy.
Well, yes, I have posted several works throughout my time on SnapZu (I like it better with a capital Z, but I also have a not really maintained webpage and a Facebook-page. Shame on me for the latter and for not maintaining the former. I am lazy. Lazy and old. Not really old, but the kind of age where you never really belong to a certain group. Ah, well, it must be that darn coffee again. ;-)
Making it alive out of Zeeland could fill a decent book. Living there would make several books, eventhough you wouldn't say that, such a boring province. :-P I was the only artist in that little town, but not the town-jester, so to speak. Also not the shaman; because there were really good shamans in the town nearby (and legal, also). Their coffees were great. ;-) I was more of an entertainment than a worry for the villagers. And oh did I have to paint for really religious (Christian) folks. About 2/3rd of the town shared one of four last names and some doors held signs that said twice the same name. Cousin to cousin marriages, still today, the political party representing that demography had more influence than democratically possible, so to speak.
The last ten years became more or less important in many ways, living, friends, girlfriends, a few of my best experiences were definetely from that period. But also the taste for canvas came around. I did three exhibitions in about a year, purely abstract canvasses. Because spraycans and canvas were no close friends at that time. I saw it as sell out to use a medium for graffiti on that small scale elitist way of expressing. But people loved the works, one exhibition sold out completely (my very first exhibition in 1990 did that too) and the others gave me more than enough connections that I still see them once in a while. From that network of people came the one I am in now. The sold out expo was also the one where people challenged me to "up the notch a little". That message stayed. :-)
Throughout the years active as graffiti writer, I have learned to get comfortable with pretty much every medium and technique used in painting. BAM. That's a lot to take into, but 30 plus years is enough time. I knew I could do realism, because I was once asked to leave after I applied for hyperrealism on a local academy. I had to draw a Victorian bust and did just that. As the thing was, like a photo. Never done that before, honoustly. The teacher said he had nothing to teach me and that was it. Out on a roll again, no tips, no clues, nobody who could help. But in came small, but good for learning, commissions. That would be my school, together with bombing.
Realism in graffiti is fun to create. Spraycans are so versatile and volatile at the same time, it changes a man into a control-freak. Skills, skills, skills. That was objective number one with my first tag, it still is now. A few of the bigger projects were not always realism, but a playfull version of it. Not so much cartoonish, more with colours, 3D, special effects, you know, the things you people dig to see. Add a little streetwise and there you have it. A good thing to paint alone, but not for graffiti jams. Focus. I did several realisms on jams, but not really to my satisfaction. That was pretty much the moment that I found a change needed to come, no matter what.
Two years back I tried it on boards, canvasses, doors, name it, small scale boogie! I refuse to use stencils, because street art destroyed graffiti and is also for pussie...
Two years back I tried it on boards, canvasses, doors, name it, small scale boogie! I refuse to use stencils, because street art destroyed graffiti and is also for pussies. They're in for the money, not the game. So, still a lot of open area, but oils and acryls and brushes don't belong on the street, they belong inside, just on canvas. What you see me posting lately are little try outs and some small works, both for getting discipline and a workflow. That is completely the opposite of graffiti. Now I will be bound to one place, inside, quietly, just me, the experimenting and working and of course the internet as distraction.
It takes a while, it actually takes a lot, on all fronts: emotionally (it's kind of a divorce), physically (painting at the easle is stressless (sort of) for my body, energy needs to be redirected, new neurons need to be bound to old ones, change in a big way. I underestimated the sheer impact of it. For now, the ripples are out of the pond and the painting started to take it up that notch. But with new roads come new opportunities and distractions, but the artsy people are not used to and into me. I know that, because I asked. They do not like that. Graffiti mentality into the gallery? No way. ;-) Maybe there are new things coming and they scare me? Who knows.
Yeah, it takes a few years to switch, but it is most certainly worthwhile: new ways of working, make new things. And after this year I am pretty sure this isn't over, yet. Not businesswise, but most certainly on skill-level and new insights in colour, light and form. Don't get me wrong, I like money. It is a great tool to achieve things with, but it is no goal for me (as in: having a shitload of it and never do anything useful with it). Am I a sell out? Naaah. Out for fame? In my world I already got that. So, just a little to keep the stove burning. Let me marinate for another year and try to get those little mini-goals, those step-by-steps. You'll see. :-)
On top of my other question: have you found your style changing because of changing mediums? Or have you mostly tried to use the graffiti as an influence?