Friday, 17 December 2010

LSD Magazine Interviews Canadian Street Artist Jerm IX (Issue 6)

You've been an active street artist since 2004, tell us a little about your first pieces...

JERM stenciled onto a Purolator sticker I stole from work was first, the next day at work I called in a fake flood to Purolator and they replaced dozens and dozens of rolls of stickers, and it began. I stuck one to the next and began stenciling one-liners that were usually anti-capitalist or humorous in nature. The early pieces were a mock advertising campaign merging the techniques of graf writing, street art and advertising my thoughts. 

What made you decide on the stencil message format?


For decades now graffiti has been an evolution of letter styles, growing evermore complex and thus less accessible to the public at large. I came to the conclusion that style and any creative aesthetic needed to be removed from the equation as I wanted my statements and poems to be accessible to all ages and demographics, not just the graf and street art community.  I chose store bought stencil letters as my weapon of choice so that the words themselves would take center stage. The stencil letters provide familiarity and own a certain authority as they blend well with the other texts that communicate with us in public spaces. I find that by using the stencil letters as opposed to a tag style, my work simultaneously stands out and hides in plain sight.

Did you consciously decide on the paste up format or were you minimising future court appearances?

I started with markers and spray cans and was uncomfortable with the amount of physical and financial damage I was doing to my community as well as the risk involved. Within months I progressed to paper and paste and never looked back. Pasting paper, I realized quickly is much more tolerated and respected by Vancouverites and Vancouver authorities. Getting the vibe now that anything goes in Toronto. I still rock of some wack throwies and tags here and then but the pasted paper is my primary medium.

What motivates the messages you create?


Everything. It's innate, living inside me. It just has to come out.
How often are you out pasting?

As often as I can, day and night, I’m a wanderer. I always have a pocket full of stickers and usually carry my whole kit. Between 24 and 30 hours a week at least I’m out here hitting. For years there was no break, we just kept going and going, but lately there have been some ebbs and flows that allow me to come down and experience other parts of life again. I'm a street art addict, I guess. I'll never be abstinent but I'm recognizing that I can't stay high all the time either.

Do you fear arrest and have you ever been arrested on the job?


I just do it like I'm supposed to be doing it and no one seems bothered. I don't fear arrest because I use a cellulose paste which is water soluble and does not do any damage to the structures my work is adhered to. I've had my fair share of chases and bad scenes but that's usually when I'm bottle half empty kinda drunk. For the most part I'm confident that my techniques are law abiding and therefore I have no worries.

Featured Artists, Visionaries, Interesting Folk
 Ananda nahu, The Correspondents, Solo One, Soulflux, The Orb + Youth, 69 DB, Raymond Salvatore Harmon, Rennie Pilgrem, The Yes Men, Resto, Chaz, Neurodriver, Lokey, Elate, Dhear One, Page 51, Umek, Karma, K-Guy, Richard A Webster, William Parry, Andy C, Jesus Greus, Push Pony, James Lightning Wilks, Dominic Spreadlove, AK - 47, Mr Sofalumpkins, Mat Banbury, MikkiM, David Corden, Ian Milne, Punch Music, Hudson Zuma, 
Wayne Anthony, Sirius23 

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