While the city sleeps book launch was today and I am glad I went. I normally avoid any graffiti scene meetups. I got to sign some books and talk to some of the great artists from that era who inspired me. I feel like the eighties were a very inspiring time although every decade was for me, the eighties though was when I was very impressionable and with each decade I eventually went back to what inspired me in the eighties.
Snooz, Seven, Tudor, Jcee, Jerk, Unique, Kidm, Kode, Rexzy, Rama, Paze, Blaze, Fear, Prins, Dmote, Unique, Stylz, Cassim and so many others shaped my own trajectory. Even the people you don’t want to emulate are shaping you in some way. That period still sits in my mind, sometimes a work by Tudor will come to mind, I think Tudor’s portraits had a big impact on me becoming a portrait artist.
Years later when I was older and had access to a lot of old-school Sydney photos I realised how great a lot of artists who worked in the early eighties were. Work by Jive, Mess, Omen, Mean and others whose work I had only seen a small amount of in late 86 opened my eyes to the work from 85. I think 85 became really pivotal for the work I have explored over the past fifteen years and I want to explore what a lot of people left behind for new ideas.
Rather than look for new ideas or settling into a postured style I hope to expand my practice mainly by working through missed opportunities which I have many and I hope to find that place people hoped to find when they first started an art practice. At my age, I can’t expect to hook into fashion but I hope to become what Auerbach sought in his practice to find something completely unique and his own.
I had a great chat with Seven and he was talking about my old crew and how I was the voice of the crew for years but eventually went quiet. I think when I went to art school and the battle with RBS started I went into street bombing which wasn’t respected as much as it is today I got sick of crews and that was a hard time for me. I went to a smaller crew and even then people came and went and it was disappointing so yes I did go quiet.
I wasn’t keen on battling RBS because I felt it was mostly negative and my crew were getting pretty nasty in a way I was battling my own crew in that I wanted the creative side to shine through but the drugs had started taking a hold on a lot of people. Also, other people I had known from the late 80s had gone down really bad paths in the early 90s and I wanted to escape Sydney graffiti, it became hellish.
If my crew hadn’t been so keen on negative paths things could have been different, Seven was saying our crew were always hanging back from the scene, originally that was because we had a bunch of disappointments in the late 80s and we trusted nobody. Later it was the negativity in that we were in the dark shadows and maybe that was why drugs become an outlet.
I think the underlying paranoia is still present in even myself today but I felt that concentrating on the art side of things and being productive was a good choice. It is the slow grind approach. Then nobody can stick you in a box or put a label on you. I also had a brief talk with Snooz and thanked him for the inspiration. I think Sydney is better for the book and I am looking forward to seeing Snooz’s book.