October 22nd Blog Entry 2012
So here's another one of these college PHD dissertation interviews I got, I posted one of these a few months ago because the answers got pretty good I thought and it would've been a shame if it was never seen anywhere else. So here's another one, not as in depth, but still touched on some good content. Q and A as follows:
Whats your graffiti name? MR. EWOKONE
How long have you been writing graffiti? 22 years now, as of 2012. started around '90.
What made you start? Riding a skateboard around I would see names written at skate spots in markers and paint, then going to NYC to skate I would see similar things and wondered who was behind it and why they would do it in the middle of the night.
How often do you paint? Whenever I have the desire to, I don't paint if I don't have the drive to do something good. A lot of people paint every weekend because they're in an imaginary race for numbers, so they do lack luster quality work on a regular basis and get caught up in the habit of doing a caliber work that isn't up to their real potential. You'll only see me paint if I'm hungry to do something fun.
When you paint, do you wear a mask? Probably not as much as I should but I try to paint in good ventilated areas. Rarely indoors.
Are you satisfied with your work? I am happy with the quality of the work I put out, but I would love to be able to do things on a grander scale and allow myself more time to put into each project, I think I am doing good for the time my schedule allows me to dictate towards each. But one can always wonder, what if I spent another day, what if I spent another week?
Who do you look up to? I aspire to be recognized as a talented, driven individual who created great work no matter what medium I chose to use. These days Simon Bisley, an artist from the UK is weighing heavy on my list of influences. I own a lot of his original work now, and it's gotten me to study more on my drawing abilities and weaknesses, Which in turn only helps my overall image I suppose when I need to do something that takes a bit more ability than someone else.
Legal or Illegal? The Laws around graffiti today no longer really weigh on my mind when it comes to making a decision on whether I should or shouldn't paint something I want to paint on, the reason I say this is I believe the work some of us do now, will be cherished in the future as we are beginning to see now with things like BANKSY's art in places being covered in plexxy glass and restored or protected, or even cut out of walls and placed in museums. No one ever thought something like this would ever happen, but it's a reality now, and I think the real talented writers will be looked at as this generations Warhols, or Basquiats, or Herrings. Every 20 or 30 years there is artists who become generational house hold names. these names just need time to marinate around the tongues of conversation amongst people who love art, and value it's purity. So to me the act of putting my name where I want to for future's sake is far more important then the misdemeanor a blind law books tell me it's considered as.
Favorite place to sketch? anywhere I can rest my mind and let go... Drawing truelly is one of the greatest feelings I know of, from imagination or even life study. transforming
How do you get started with a mural? Preparations? the painting side of a mural for me is a mechanical process, the creative process behind that mural I like to plan out before hand, in a creative environment. I have, but don't enjoy the final results as much when I have to create on the spot. You should know how, and eventually be confident enough that if you don't have a plan, you can still execute a good end result even under a stressful environment, but I personally like to allow a project to be the best it can be, and I don't believe showing up and making it up as you go, allows the for the best result in the end. This of course is my own personal opinion, I'm well aware there are people who never plan ahead, they just paint when they get there and they're convinced that this is what's best. To me this is usually people who are unorganized in their own personal life and can't conform to actually planning things in stages, be it the organizational side or just the patients to sit still for long enough to plan something from start to finish. Their houses are usually a mess, they usually don't know how to save money etc. usually expect instant gratification in things. Who knows if this is true across the board, but this is what I've seen in the ones I've come across over the years.
What is a noticeable influence in the murals on you? Hmm, I think you're asking what is a noticeable influence in my murals? I am known for in my earlier years( '97/'98) to have introduced the 3 dimensional drop shadows to a very 2 dimensionally thinking graffiti state of mind that was NYC. The crew I was painting with during that time was very much into technology and bringing a computerized graphical look into graffiti, at this time the internet was brand new, websites where brand new, so the idea of computery stuff on a wall was a look we broke into graffiti with that was frowned on at the time. We vibed off ourselves and a few other ground breaking writers at the time, like Totem2, Delta Inc and some of the stuff Virus AA was doing in Canada, but we were outcasts by the older generation at the time, I think Phase2 and Vulcan where the only two OG's who I had spoken with at that time who gave us props for what we were doing and supported the steps in a new direction. Vulcan especially, he told me in a long 6 hr convo that my pieces came up on his radar and where the only graffiti he had seen in years that got him to start drawing letters again. I was caught off guard and shocked. Anyways this type exploring new areas eventually lead me to a path to do this piece
with the first full on 3 dimensional drop shadow( as basic as it is now), that takes advantage of color changing on different patterns in the background, not to be confused with the "throw up shadow" that is a solid shape done in the same color as a throw ups outline with no consideration or relation to it's background.
This drop shadow effect was a subtle thing that was picked up by the graffiti community, but I knew it caught on when I was in a movie theater watching a movie that was supposed to take place in NYC, but was filmed in Canada, the actors walked past a wall on the street and whoever got paid to do it did a piece with my style drop shadow( this was approx. 1999 or 2000), right then I knew that this shit was here to stay. Now everyone does it, I'm not so concerned anymore if people know it's origin, but the guys who where around then can attest to it, and in the scheme of things it's not that serious but I enjoy knowing this is something I introduced. Everyone says " everything's been done already, etc etc".... I never been a fan of that kind of thinking because those are the words of someone who has lost their personal inspiration to push themselves, to me those are the words of complacency....
The day I find myself complacent with the work I create, will be the day I stop painting.