Monday, 6 June 2011

LSD Magazine Interviews Old Skool Graffiti Writer Shok 1

Piercing the pineal eye of shadowy midnight and hacking the arcane circuitry of unsettling consciousness growls the Shok. Carving through layers of slow burning, viceral imagination and illuminating the subliminal, the sublime and vivid flashes of the just plain slime, his ruthless, gleaming precision etches a molten mind-scape of dazzlingly elusive, nano warped lucidity onto the physical and the metaphysical alike. Liquid dreams and biting themes whistle through the looking glass and diamond drill impossibly clean vectors into the vortex as hypnotic visual detonations somehow manage to whisper an unstable silence back through the mirror of the mind...

How long after you started painting did you actually start to express yourself artistically? 

Hmm tricky question. I got involved in Writing in 1984 but I have been making art my whole life. I suppose I found my own voice in the early 90s?

At what point do the budgets, security and long time frames of legal art open up fresh dimensions and at what point do they sacrifice an intangible element? 

Each has it’s pros and cons. It’s healthy to be able to adapt to different situations as an artist I think. The movement I grew up in was always about getting the art out anywhere and everywhere. Invading spaces, taking over contexts. Getting up. The pioneers found new ways to place art in fresh contexts and I try to keep that spirit in what I do with my work now. I’ve become quite contemplative about my work of late and it’s slowed me down a bit which annoys me. So I’ve been deliberately making some work in places where it is going to be destroyed soon after.

Does the transience of illegal art imbue it with an intrinsic power? 

Illegality seems to lend it an alluring image in general. But I don’t give a shit about image. Ephemerality ... we are transient beings so perhaps it is a more realistic way to do art. (fleeting image of tags laid out on pavement in flowers a la Andy Goldsworthy). Ideas can endure anyway, and documenting the work photographically has always been a part of it. Infinitely better to see in it in real life too of course, and that’s a nice prize in this age of mass reproduction. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found myself wanting to make things that last longer. I seek out spaces where the work can endure so a lot of people can see it. I tend to prefer putting more effort into each work rather than doing loads of quick things so I have to try to create spaces that suit that.

Is there any such thing as high art? 

I believe in it as an ideal to strive for, yes. I think it comes out of the everyday decisions and struggles, the sacrifices. 

Is imagination always one step ahead of the means to express it? 

I’m blessed/cursed with very clear visualisation. What I can look at in my head often isn’t what I’m able to paint at a given time for one reason or another. And there is always way too much of it. It’s a fucking torment.

Is commercialism a far more potent weapon than repression? 

It’s the most refined form of repression

Do all underground movements inevitably self corrupt? 

I don’t know, do they? There will always be both sellouts and people with integrity within a scene. I’m more about individuals than movements anyway. I’ve never liked rules. 

Is rebellion a starting point or an end in itself? 

For me it was a starting point. You can turn it into a tool and put to good use. I think illegal art is a good foundation ... I think it’s important to learn how to be strong in the world, how to create a space for your work, to be prepared to stand alone.


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