Just fantastic, what I loved the most were the huge crowds that took over blocks of the city heading to circular quay. To see that many people going to see light art blew my mind. Probably more people than at a league match easily and the work on show was great too. What a great festival. The city was buzzing we finished at the QVB for tea and hot chocolate I think Sydney is becoming the city it should be, it should be like that every day. That is what we really need is culture to stimulate the economy to make every day in this city fulfilling.
The story about my Dad showing me graffiti in the early to mid 80s is one of my standard tales. When I saw Beat Street I kind of tagged once or twice and lost interest. Even though I saw it and was blown away it took a few years before I decided to do it. The writers I met were a bunch of criminals, violent punch you in the face and take your stuff kind of guys. It was a real shock, here was all this mind blowing art and I guess I just met the guys from Redfern and Waterloo who took your shoes and like I said before punched you in the face. Tudor, Seems, Mystery, Fab4, CIS the art was amazing. As amazing as street art is today to a lot of people. Basically I had to stand over the guys who stood over me and eventually I got there. I was the guy doing the face punching after that. Pretty ridiculous and what about the art? When I turned seventeen I stopped hanging with violent types after a bunch of guys I was mates with got done for murder, what was the point? You have to understand the history of these guys and my own experience with violence to understand. My Dad was psychotic at home when I was young and attacked people randomly on the streets so I felt comfortable in that environment. My mates in Waterloo brought me to their houses and their parents were shooting up back in the 80s-90s you couldn’t just walk around the streets there at night it was dangerous. My mates regularly beat people it was standard. Really I was a mess back then, emotionally messed up and really inside I wasn’t a particularly violent person you just had to stick up for yourself. Youth gangs in Sydney are not the problem now it is more organised crime gangs that are a problem. I used to emotionally rely on my crew and when I finally decided to change what I was about I was shunned, I was an artist, (that was an insult back then), I was weird. Really it was the best thing that ever happened to me, I broke away I got a low income scholarship to go to University and study art, I took opportunities while some of my old crew battled with drugs and crime. Basically I was lucky I always had opportunities where as some people have a bloody hard life. That is what has annoyed me about some street art types taking the piss out of that culture as though you are some kind of loser. A lot of these people have their own stories to tell and some again are privileged, come from a nice safe home free from “bad” stuff. They are usually professionals etc, more power to you but don’t knock those poor bastards who did it tough. It isn’t a joke and sure they could have made better decisions and of course a lot did but some of them didn’t have the tools in their heads to see the way out. For me graffiti was a shock but it was also an opportunity to learn about people and improve. Just because gang culture is now looked down on in Sydney doesn’t mean some people didn’t have genuine struggles, sure it isn’t Iraq or Afghanistan we are talking about, it is about people battling their own demons and hopefully coming out on top. Thats just one side of the story though.
Have been involved with aerosol culture for a while and have seen a lot of changes in Sydney. In the late eighties early nineties being up as much as possible was the aim for me and others still is for a lot of guys. In the 90s opportunities arose to make money but I ignored it for my illegal work. People would laugh at you if you exhibited back then, whereas the last ten or so years have been all about young entrepreneurs making a scene and making art. Crossing over so to speak from streets to galleries. This is good but where does the history of aerosol culture in Sydney get written? Where do these breaks and junctions rise and fall? Really we should all be writing this history, thats why I write this blog. To see where I have been and where I see myself going. People in Sydney will be confronted with new heroes moulded by a scene, no gritty history or much of a history at all. People like this are a blank slate they can be heroes because they were elevated and created. They say don’t hate the player hate the scene. Bump into old writers and they know who is who but these guys don’t even exist to the new scene. They are the nobodies, their attitude is dated to these people. Nobody owns the streets or owns the credibility but you can slog away for decades and be unknown or you can do a couple of stencils and have a gallery backing you up. Personally it doesn’t bother me but artists need to be assessed for all their faults and virtues not turned into a fashionable commodity for street art loving yuppies. The cult of personality, the cult of money, the cult of fame. It is just one side of the equation though there is a lot more going on around the world and in Sydney. It seems though the world is getting smaller, maybe a bit too small, and predictable. You can usually just say the same names for every show and there they are, I just curated it in my head because the curator can only curate the already curated. The chosen few. I started exhibiting in the early 90s and people thought that was wierd and now it is standard. I started doing stuff that wasn’t about lettering in the early nineties and now it is standard. It is guys like me who won’t sit around waiting around for someone to write their history for them I will just write it myself. Create your own scene and grow. That is what it is all about, being creative.