Early influences

I mentioned on Instagram how I felt about black culture because I wanted to have a positive personal spin on my own work and pay homage. At the moment I find my own aerosol work a bit boring and I am not particularly happy with it. Yet I look at the drive to do it and that makes me happy. Mainly Phase2 and Vulcan’s work have influenced me to do graffiti over the years. I always loved Public Enemy and felt compelled for justice for people in general. You could say that it is quite naive to latch onto black thought or black culture and now even more so as you may just look like you are cashing in on the fact that it is the main topic of today. Yet it has never been about just today. Injustice against First Nations people has never ended and African Americans are continually facing injustice and systematic discimination. It never ends. I should really be celebrating these artists and influences all of the time yet I get caught up in my own culture. 

The drive to do graffiti for example was to make a split from the stuffy aggression and anti-culture of Australia in the 80s. A kind of repressive throwback to surfing and hanging on the beach. I personally hated it. Sport drove me nuts. The only sport I enjoyed was the NBA. Sports like Australian cricket, Rugby League and Union were dreary. Of course I only got to experience black culture through entertainment and magazines. Maybe if I was in America I would have felt differently. That import mentality only gave me a glimpse and I loved the visual art of black artists. I got inspired. I felt there were other voices other than the ones I found in the cultural backwater of Australia. So a guy on Instagram asked me why I didn’t credit other cultural influences like German, Polish etc etc as though I am just riding the current cultural wave. I said that it was black culture specifically that inspired me initially. Of course there are other influences but for me it is the initial drive that has never stopped pushing me.

Maybe that is why my own graffiti is so bad. I simply just never really got it or understood the culture. Yet who am I to know any different. To me street art can seem like the white wash of what graffiti was yet there are artists who have different influences and drives. Yet maybe they are all just self centred pricks drowning out minority voices so they can do some feel good street art about black culture. At any rate I can only point fingers of blame in every direction yet in my own direction. My own initial drive was maybe misguided? Yet it is mainly done. I can only pay homage to my influences even if truly I will never understand them culturally. Whenever I hear the Rolling Stones doing a black inspired riff I scratch my head yet they were inspired. Or did it all become about egos and money? Well I don’t listen to that stuff anyway and people can sweep my work aside as the same garbage. In the end I know I am misguided but it was the release valve from my own culture. I may never really get it but I got into it.

In the 80s I spent time with First Nations graffiti artists. In the 90s I hung with some First Nations artists and people were simply inspired and trying to get their stories across. There were no boxes you had to tick. You just tried not to be a dickhead. Sure German graffiti really inspires me today but initial drives always push. Also sometimes people question you to be provocative or look super smart. I am not writing this to try and smooth out any drama because I have written about this stuff in my blog a few times before but because writing is about repeating yourself endlessly. Also art is always the same thing over and over again with something missing or added. Now of course is a good time to show homage to your influences especially in a divided world.

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