David is one of the founders of Graffiti Life, a company that creates murals and offers graffiti workshops. He tells us why he can't work without spray cans, sketchbooks and sweets, and explains why graffiti isn't what it used to be...
Full name/age/job title:
David, 30, graffiti artist.
What does your job involve?
I’m one of the founding members of Graffiti Life. We started off as a small company offering murals in people’s homes and graffiti workshops at schools. While we still do this kind of work every day, the company has expanded to now working with big brands on advertising campaigns, graffiti lessons and painting massive murals across the country. I juggle painting as much as I can with the less glamorous side of keeping the business running.
Five things you can’t work without:
1. Spray paint
I can take a small sketch or photo and recreate that image, quickly and on a massive scale by using spray paint. It’s a notoriously difficult medium to master, learning to control the paint as it rushes from the can, not letting the paint drip and achieving the desired effects, but my preferred tool will always be the spray can. I love it so much that our logo is a spray can!
My sketchbook is a mess. There is probably more writing in it than actual sketches. I keep it with me at all times, and whenever a random idea for a mural pops into my head, I’ll scribble it down. I’ll then work up some rough plans and somewhere down the road it’ll turn into a painting. I fill every inch of every page and make each book last as long as possible (years) because I hate starting a new book – as I feel a tremendous amount of pressure when confronted with a pile of blank pages!
3. My Crew
Don’t want to get too street on yo’ ass – my days of running down railway lines with the mandem are long gone – so perhaps crew isn’t the right word, but “team” doesn’t sound right either. Graffiti has always been competitive by nature, and being surrounded by the best artists in the country keeps me on top of my game, always pushing forward. Working with those that are strong where I’m weak has been essential to our company’s success. I know that there is no project that we can’t handle, artistically or organisationally, because the crew is strong.
4. People with vision
This is kind of broad, so let me break it down. Graffiti isn’t what it used to be – it has permeated mainstream culture on every level. We have gone from painting in the shadows at 5am to doing it in front of huge crowds of people. From being vilified to being revered. I embrace those people who are open-minded enough to realise what a positive and impactful force spray-can art can be. If it were up to me our streets would all be filled with amazing art. Slowly, brick by brick we’re getting there and it’s the open minded visionaries that keep people like me painting.
It’s stupid how much “candy” we eat. Inhuman amounts. It’s like when your parents went away and you’d be all excited about yamming as many sweets as you can without repercussion. In the lucky position of being my own boss , no one can tell me a bag of cola bottles isn’t a ‘balanced’ lunch.
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