Interview No. 57
Interview By: @The-Great-One
Today's guests are what some may call "rebels of society", artists who use the world as their canvas the meager pedestrian as their spectators. Hidden in the shadows with little to no credit of their works. These fellows are @Dromedary, @therealanimator, @esko-man, and @AngryBombshell. They are the proud members of The Graffiti Crew.
ANSWERS WILL BE POSTED BENEATH THE _A:_ DUE TO TWO PEOPLE BEING INTERVIEWED PERSON ANSWERING WILL BE NOTED AS SO.
Q: How did you find Newgrounds and why did you join?
Dromedary: Well my tale of discovery is none too glamorous, i'll tell you that. As a young kiddie, back in early 06', I used to play stick arena, and I was always jealous of the hackers because they were unbeatable. So the obvious conclusion was to google "Stick Arena Cheats." I got linked to a thread on NG (Can't find it, unfortunately) which was NGers doing what they do best, bitch about shit. The shit in question was stick arena cheaters, hahah! I can't tell you why I stayed.. I guess I have no idea. Maybe the humour found on most of the general forum appealed to a younger me. Can't say I regret staying though, it taught me a lot.
therealanimator: I found out about newgrounds when it was known as assassin, I was a lil kid then and boy the shit they had it on was gory as hell but I loved it.
esko-man: I'm not entirely sure how we found it, but "Pico's School" brought my cousins and I here. We were just bored kids on the internet, looking for entertainment, and newgrounds had that raunchy-humor we wanted. I kept coming back through the years as I started working in Flash, and in 06 when I finally got an internet connection at my house, I signed up and discovered the forums. I don't know why I actually signed up for the account, but I was twelve at the time.
AngryBombshell: I must've been an idiot twelve year old when I found this site. We didn't have a computer at home at the time, so I'd take a walk up to the library downtown and just play games and shit. I'd do this a few times a week. There was often no sound without headphones, so I kinda had to deal.
I scrounged around for any decent flash games I could find on the internet that weren't already blocked. Back then you could get away with watching porn if you knew how to cover your shit up. Can't say so much now at that particular library. April a couple years back was exhilarating. I went back, got caught, and enjoyed it. But I digress - I'd spent hours on end there playing flash games on no-name sites and must've seen a Newgrounds.com link in some of the intro panels.
It's cool though, I got introduced to the mecca of user-created content.
Q: The Graffiti Crew was created on October 1, 2006. How did you find this crew and why did you join it?
Dromedary: I was always interested in graffiti, and one day in.. well I'm not sure when, some time in 07' I think, I happened across the Crew when I was just browsing C&C. Anyway it seemed like a place full of like minded and inspired people, so I decided to join in on the fun.
therealanimator: I discovered it in 2010 i was trying to see if there was a graffiti club and there was! I joined straight away and kept on posting
esko-man: I've always had an interest in graffiit and tagging, so when I came across the the crew I joined. A few weeks before, I started the "NG Graffiti & Tagging" thread in the Art forum, not long after its launch. I joined so I could share my work there, and to keep up with the users posting theirs.
AngryBombshell: I'm a newcomer to the crew, myself. Me and the Graffiti Crew only have recent history together. I'm sure that I was sure I had my own account in '06 and was just too pussy or puppy-shy to participate in the BBS. Fast-forward to now and I am bothered to post on the forums every now and again.
From there it was simple. I looked through the listing of the boards and eyed Clubs and Crews and said 'what the hell' and posted in a few. I went purely off interest. This is when I decided to take my hobby more seriously and actually develop skills. On January 22, 2011 for my 18th birthday I realized I needed to buckle-down with something I'd really only screwed around with on classroom tables. (When you're an adult it's no more games.) It's also the date I registered on this account, as well as with my blog and deviantart page. If you track my progress since 7 months ago you'll see I still need some improvement on my style. It's still feather-weight tier at best.
You can never go wrong with being around other writers. Ideas get passed back and forth and there'll be the ocassional discussion about big names or their own pics or their own sketches. That's the beneifts of me joining.
Q: Before this crew was created there was already a thread in the Art Forum entitled NG Graffiti & Tagging. Were you a part of that thread and if not why did you choose this crew over said thread?
Dromedary: I had no idea that it was still running! I'm pretty sure it used to be in C&C, it must have been moved by request when the Art forum was created. So thanks for reminding me of their existence! Anyway back when I was looking for a crew to be part of, that thread was very much dead. Esko was always a cool guy, but I didn't see much sense in reviving the thread. Anyway, as Quickbeam says on the original post of the GC, "Since all the other Graffiti crews died i have re-started a new one!"
therealanimator: I honestly didn't know about it till now.
esko-man: I created that thread. I knew the two would be conflicting in some ways, but the Art forum and the Clubs & Crews forum serve their own purposes, so the threads weren't exactly the same.
AngryBombshell: Honestly, if you hadn't just told me I wouldn't 've known. So thank youuu for that. I will now post. That's my fault in only skimming over the topics in the art board.
You generally shouldn't have it both ways - I don't meant to be salty but it isn't as if there aren't other forums whose sole purpose of discussion is graffiti. Forums with all types of age groups with more of their years on them in experience. From a bunch of teens through late twenty year olds you have to say 'Well, what do you expect?" The skill level isn't quite the same. Not from what I've seen. There's a whole 90 pages of the crew and only 12 of that thread.
Q: This is probably a dumb question and it is. What is the purpose of The Graffiti Crew?
Dromedary: It's a place for people who take part in, or just appreciate graffiti. In some ways I guess it's a safe place for us, as we're surrounded by others who don't judge us, but not only that, they respect us. It's where all of our conversations about graffiti, or even other art forms happen, and it's also where we showcase what we have done. Showcasing our creations is incredibly important to most, if not all of us, because we're artists, and damn proud of it.
therealanimator: For people who enjoy discussing and showing their graffiti
esko-man: I suppose the answer is relative, but I used it for the purposes of sharing and viewing work, and getting some opinions from people who were also into graffiti art.
AngryBombshell: I can answer in one word - Networking. There are the memebers who go there to be around people who share the interest and there are those who plan to improve. I'm the latter; there are aplenty tips and techniques being picked up. I'll admit that when I first joined I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I was stuck asking questions to myself like 'what kind of markers should I buy?' 'What's the best way to sketch out letters?' and so on. Now I know full well that I should buy an empty marker and just refill with ink. And lettering and handstyle just take time, effort, practice and patience on your part. There isn't a magic formula to getting clean flow.
As a writer, you can't expect someone to take something completely upon themselves and figure out every nook and cranny. It's like hoping a five year old will learn the ABC's all by himself. Just being around other people often helps you learn, because without them you'd be extremely isolated with little guidance as to what to do.
Q: Out of all the different artists and works of art I've seen, graffiti has to be one of the most interesting, it can paint a message or breathe inspiration to whoever reads or sees it. Why use the world as your easel instead of well an easel?
Dromedary: I like people who can appreciate what we do. The reasons for choosing graffiti as an art form are normally induvidual to the artist. I started because I wanted to be heard, to be noticed, but without being noticed. It's a concept which confuses even me, but I like the anonymity of leaving my mark in the form of four big letters in the middle of the night, only noticed by the rest of the world when they wake up. I like to tag in places which are easily and regularly seen, none of that back alley graffiti which is so common. Artists who paint on canvas are restricted to showing their art in a gallery, or even hanging on someone's wall. The world is my gallery.
therealanimator: You might be surprised but Some graffiti artists use easels to sell in art galleries or even give them to friends as gifts. It can depends on what your message is and how it can infulence people.
esko-man: A canvas can be many things. I canvas can felt stretched across a wood frame, fine quality paper, a city wall. The world around us is the canvas, and the streets are the gallery. The foundation that defines art has changed rapidly over the past century, and it's brought closer to our attention with the internet and media playing it's role on our societies. The earliest known examples of human-created art are found on the walls of caves, carved from the faces of cliffs, when art was to be observed by everyone, as much a part of life as spirituality and belief. Art can be a form of communication more powerful than anything we're used to.
Graffiti and street art can be broken down into many purposes and forms, but what unites it all is the placing. An artist can create anywhere. Canvas and paper have never been the limits, and they never should be. Graffiti art isn't purely about artistic principle and subject, but application. Graffiti art, as many forms of art spawning from the end of the 19th century, is all about the viewer. It may change the viewer's point of view, their perception of the things and places around them. It may inspire them to be more creative, finding a joy in originality, as a spark to life than much of humanity seems to have forgotten.
It's not in a gallery, or on the wall of someone's home. It's in the public squares, on the rooftops, maybe hidden so well you get a satisfaction from spotting it and appreciating the work of the anonymous person who has given this to you and everyone around you. This is artistic creation, from one person, to everyone that notices it. It's not sponsored. It's not censored. It's free.
AngryBombshell: North Carolina - the place where I live currently - is a complete snore. I caught a liking to street art through just looking at the explosive colors and sick lines. It's the most beautiful and eclectic art form out there. And my favorite. It was always nice to see walls and quick throw-ups on a sidewalk from inside a car window. It made this already boring state more beautiful, regardless of what the officials said about 'defacing public property'.
Though in NC you'd be lucky to see any full-blown walls if you aren't in any capital cities like Raleigh or Charlotte. Or any decent-sized cities. Any where else is a back-water town with people afraid to get paint on their homes.
There may be exceptions to this rule, but I know for a fact that some graffiti writers/artists are angry, depressed, bastards trying to get a message across and graffiti is a perfect way to exploit your surroundings. Anybody passing by will see your work. Other artists just like it, and those taking it seriously are hopefuls wanting to get recognized. I can even pretend to be deep and say that it's almost as if you were leaving your mark on the world. Cheesy, right?
Q: The crew's creator Quickbeam has since left Newgrounds so I don't know much about him. Did any of you know who he was and if so what was he like?
Dromedary: I spoke with QB a few times, but he left close to the time when I arrived. I got the impression he was a nice guy, even if he did exaggerate about his work sometimes. I respect the fact that he left graffiti for another art form, which happened to be photography. I wished him all the best when he left, and I still do now.
therealanimator: I didn't know him well but he seemed keen on restarting the crew and he did a good job until he left.
esko-man: I remember him posting often for a while, and other users seemed to like him and get along with him. We never had a personal interaction that I can remember, so I don't know much about him.
AngryBombshell: That was back in 2007. I'm sure you'd get an answer if you'd asked other regulars. Can't say I've gotten much influence from that particular guy.
Q: When it comes to making art, inspiration can usually strike at just about anytime. Is location important or does it hinder you?
Dromedary: If you mean the location in which you get inspired, then it's not really a problem. Most of us carry around sketchpads, or blackbooks in case we're suddenly inspired and need to write it down. For me, the inspiration excites me, and I'm unable to think about much else, so I don't really need to draw it to remember it. If you mean the location of the actual painting, that can be a major problem. You want to be seen, to be noticed, but not caught. But at the same time, you can't play it too safe, because risks have to be taken. I've had many friends arrested due to overly ballsy choice of tag, so in that way, it's a hindrance.
therealanimator: Location Location is a rule a lot of graffiti artists follow by and Hell I follow by it. If you wanna piss of a government Spray on their building. Also location and inspiration intertwine just think about it.
esko-man: When inspiration strikes, it can be hindering to be in a place or situation that forces you to take your mind off of it and back to something else, but it may be the location itself responsible for the idea or inspiration, so it really depends. A great idea is usually easy to remember no matter the situation, but I know I've forgotten a lot of ideas I was excited about for the moment because I was in a place where I couldn't write the idea down, or sketch it out.
AngryBombshell: I primarily sketch, mainly because I'm nursing skills. But yes, location is important. Sometimes my room is a means of escape and other times it's a chamber. Location is important. Some days I'm off and the work affects it. It can come out shitty or better yet, really clean. You really just need a clear idea of what to sketch/bomb before hand.
As for bombing, location does matter. You can pick up ideas from practically everyone/thing around you. But I've seen tags I regret not snapping a pic of with bad locations that eventually get washed. If that's what you're asking. Besides that there are tons of places online to get inspiration, from pictures, other artists, etc.
Q: When it comes to tagging is it split from graffiti or is it more similar than different? Also how do stencils play into this?
Dromedary: Both are very open terms, which often collide and run into eachother. I suppose when you think of 'tagging' you think about a quick marker job, scrawled fast and without much thought. If you think that, then 'Graffiti' is larger scale work, using different colours and such. In all honesty, I believe they are the same thing. If I saw a giant, beautiful piece of graffiti, I would still refer to it as a tag. 'Tagging' is just one of many forms of graffiti, such as Stencils, and wheat pasting. Stencils are great, you can fit a whole lot of creativity into a small piece of manilla folder, and it's easily transferable to any place you like.
therealanimator: Yeah taggin is just using a marker to write your name but with graffiti you gotta make it beautiful Make it outstanding man. Stencils are handy when you are trying to draw something detailed in a couple of minutes hell if you wanna see the king of stencils look up Banksy.
esko-man: "All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares." The definition of graffiti is basically "a mark or scratch on a wall," so I think it's a broader category that's broken down. Tagging is based on marking a place with a name or symbol, which certainly fits graffiti, but graffiti can be a 20 foot mural with no words, just a visually centered piece with an emphasis on color theory and shading. That form of graffiti is very different from tagging. A term that may separate tagging from other forms of graffiti is "Street Art", which can include tagging, but plays more upon the artistic value of graffiti than marking.
Stencils are only one of the many other forms of street art that artists use to spread their work. Each one, weather it's stencil work, wheat paste, tile mosaics, and anything else than can be done is its own practice and they all have to be learned and tried to be skilled in. Look at the work Banksy does with Stencil art and wheat-paste, what Space Invader does with tiles, and check out some of California's signature style mural paintings, and you see what time and practice in these individual forms can result in while they continue to change. Stencil art can be used for tagging, but the range of use extends beyond that particular application.
AngryBombshell: The two differing styles of Street Art are Freeform and Regular graffiti. There are the guys who attack area space with rollers, paint buckets and paint brushes...and there are the guys who throw on a backsack full of mops and cans and just go bomb.
Your freeform shit includes murals, wheatpasting, rolling, obscure pieces, random junk you decided to throw together and put out, and also stencilling. I encourage anyone to go into a borders or barnes and Noble and check out the books they have on graffiti. Tons of styles. There's all sorts of crazy shit you can do on canvas with spray paint. Including Space Painting (planets, etc.)
Traditional graffiti, though is much more informal. Pieces and walls have much more color and there isn't much of a fine line between the art and the tasteless vandalism. It's all property destrcution either way. There are toys and kids who run around with spray paint to look cool,
and there are writers who come up with burners every time. Like I said, Graffiti has to be the most open art style for anyone. There aren't many limits as to what to tag. Tagging is just usually writing a name with ink or spray paint, so that's included as well.
Q: I hate to ask this question, but this is the Internet. Have any of you ever pulled a V for Vendetta?
Dromedary: *Googles V for Vendetta* Huh.. not sure what that means, sorry.
therealanimator: Fuck yes however if your thinking of Anonymous then no if its political then yeah. When the elections are starting the potential MPs place posters of themselves all over town and its..such an eye sore so what i do is i deface them silver markers is my signature weapon of choice when it comes to this.
esko-man: Painting the V or wearing the mask? I happen to have the mask that I've worn to certain events, but I've never gone out painting the big red V anywhere.
AngryBombshell: Great movie. I actually haven't seen it. But in all seriousness, there's several ways writers can piss each other off. A good handful of Real-life modern day graffiti crews have been known to start trouble with each other over territory. But if you insist on getting someone to pay attention to you or get on them you can vamp them or go over their pieces. That's a sure way to show disrespect. It's dangerous out there.
Q: One thing I've noticed about graffiti artists are the large scales of their work. How much time does it usually take to map everything out and bring the creation to life?
Dromedary: Obviously it all depends on the scale and intricacy of your work. For example, a four part stencil is going to take a few hours to cut the stencil, but roughly 10-20 minutes to put onto a wall. A very large piece of work may take days to complete, depending on location. Like if you're doing it in a busy place, you will only have a few hours each night to work on it. Again, it's all depending on the piece. Colours used, location, scale, and intricacy all play into this.
therealanimator: Like designing a building it will take a long time and i mean a long time like sketching out the tag and then thinking of what colours would be suitable. Planning is important in the graffiti world.
esko-man: The location would be the most important factor to that answer. Doing something large scale on a public street or in public view is risky and often dangerous, so quick but precise actions are needed. A lot of graffiti artists keep a book of per-designs drawn up to reference when it comes time to spraying. Others can take a piece of chalk to draw their plan out, then use it as a guide to create by. In that situation, you want to be as quick a possible without sacrificing the quality of your work. Some artists have come up with their own solutions to this in pretty interesting ways.
If the location is safe, and you know you're a lot less likely to be caught, or meet anyone who cares enough to do anything about it, you have more time to work and concentrate on the graffiti.
AngryBombshell: Scroll up a few paragraphs and you'll see where I said that there are the guys who attack areas with rollers and etc. Those are these guys. There guys take hours, whole days even to get walls done. And it all usually starts with a rough sketch.
You can't jump into piecing head-first either. There are specific methods to outline, letting, fill-ins, etc. Alot of stuff you don't know until you actually try. Sketchers and Blackbookers usually purchase the materials for filling up pages with all their work. Some guys have some amazing stuff.
Q: Are there any interesting people you have met within the Graffiti Crew? If so then who and what do you like about them?
Dromedary: Sate is a very interesting guy, who I've connected with on facebook, and we have become friends. I like how different he is to me, living in different countries, and having completely different cultures. TheRealAnimator (TRA) is pretty cool, I can relate to him as he lives in the UK. He exaggerates a bit, but shit, we all do about different things. Spildabongwata or DattMamon is a cool guy, we share a lot of the same interests, and are in a few of the same crews.
therealanimator: Well yeah i have met one of my friends who actually comes from belfast and hell we hang out on occasions.
esko-man: I haven't been as active in the thread as I'd like to be. The users in the crew that interest me the most are usually the ones who are just getting into this form of art, and haring what they've done to get some feedback. I've appreciated getting it and I'm happy to give it when someone wants it.
AngryBombshell: You can tell Sate received the traditional art education with his pieces. They cross the line between street art and a fine art style. Some of his shit is even in an art gallery, supposedly. GIST just had clean letters and tons of experience. I saw a pic of his that he tagged in a skatepark.
Q: What can we expect from the Graffiti Crew in the future?
Dromedary: Those of us that are left will continue to share and do new work, while other newer members will join, and we will eventually let the new generation of the NG Graffiti Crew take over.
therealanimator: You'll have to wait and see man.
esko-man: It seems like a lot of the activity there is conversational on graffiti and street art, so maybe we'll see more of that informed discussion that others can read and think about. Hopefully we'll see more Newgrounds based submissions like Elios and others have popped out. I hope more users can find the Crew and use it to post their own work.
AngryBombshell: Hopefully more activity and more people willing to regularly participate. I'll be posting and I know the other regulars will too. This is one of those things that really shouldn't die.
I've always found graffiti artists not only creative, but interesting. Usually going by a certain handle when leaving their mark or creation upon the world they work in the shadows as to not be seen by authorities. They are the original rebels, no doubt about that, but they are also some of the most inventive artists of their time. I can only hope that this club will gain more popularity as it keeps going and more people join over time and keep this art form alive and thriving.