BLOCK BY BLOCK
Posted by newz12 on 1 year ago
 
Interview by Matthew J (@IamJamesMatthew


 
BSCI: Before we start talking about the business aspect of your company and building process I want to ask you, who are the individuals that make up BLOCK BY BLOCK? How did this entire movement come to being?
 
We can start with me: my name is Sizeo and I am the creator of Block By Block ink. I'm born and raised in Toronto and have been involved in graffiti since '96. 

As far as building the brand goes, it has been a two year process; set off from the influence from some friends of mine, but keeping it as local and homegrown as possible seemed only right as there was no real Canadian brand. It seemed like the right time to come out with a high quality product(s) that could be sold at a reasonable price for EVERYONE involved - from the people buying it to the dudes selling it. I got tired of seeing kids split their lunch money three ways to buy a pen only to find out that these [expensive pens] sucked and the guy who sold them could barely make a profit due to the high price. 
 
After some serious research everything was set to go and the name BLOCK BY BLOCK just seemed right…it’s how you see the best a city has to offer…by getting out there and walking it BLOCK BY BLOCK, it’s how you build a solid foundation, and I’m not just talking about houses…could be your rep, career or brand, it doesn’t matter…..you start with a single block of ideas and expand upon that! 
I couldn’t be doing this without the support of a number of people, and at the risk of forgetting someone I won’t try to name them all, but the daily operation comes from me but with massive support from Dazem with the web/IT shit!!! Designs and additional nerdy stuff has come from Herbs, Bien and Cody Finney.

 
BSCI: In Canada, it's not always easy to get "our own" artists and businesses off the ground, especially when looking at the art world, because so many people would rather support the American or other foreign bodies. Despite being its own sub-culture, I find that Canada has a tendency to be slow when it comes to supporting its own. For example: Banksy and Revok can get more love in Canada than EGR or Elicser. How supportive have Canadians -both individual and market wise- been to the Block By Block brand? How important is it for Canadians to get behind their own kind?
 
It’s of the utmost importance that we as Canadians throw our support behind our local artists and brands! We’re the second largest country in the world with the populist of the State of California spread over its huge land mass. At times, it can be difficult here BUT the support Block has received is HUMBLING on all fronts! We appreciate it.
 
BSCI: How important is word of mouth (advertising) concerning your product? I ask because unlike many American or European brands, BBB is not using slick-product ads or buying spots on websites. So how would you define your marketing strategy? 
 
Word of mouth is so important as to what’s going on with Block; everyone wants to be the one to put the next dude on to some shit…were all guilty of it But using some slick promo ads would be sweet. If the money was there maybe there would be some high budget block AD…..but that wouldn’t be BLOCK, hard work from the network of friends that have been accumulated throughout the years of painting graffiti and social media have been kind to us! Our strategy is to be out there and to be honest. If Block wasn’t around prowling streets would still go on in my daily life!
 
BSCI: Let's do some a quick networking (roll call) and tell the readers where they can find Block By Block products? 
 
Vancouver: SHARKS AND HAMMERS
Calgary: LE ROCK
Toronto: JOE HUFFERS, HOME BASE
Hamilton: BLAZEN
Ottawa: FALL DOWN GALLERY
Kingston: ROCKIT BOUTIQUE
Montreal: LE ROCK, SUB V
Houston, Texas (USA): REAL713
Of course at WWW.BOMBINGSCIENCE.COM and our site, www.blockbyblockink.com 
 
BSCI: Your brand is steadily picking up momentum and gaining supporters, but do you feel -at this point- it is too early to say whether or not you're successful? From a business-world prospective, BBB (Block By Block) is one year old and considered "brand new" however -as a writer and crew- you have been around for quite a while and I suspect that reputation affords you a bit more clout and recognition than the typical start-up company. How would you define your success?
 
The measure of success differs person to person. Right now the main goal has been getting the product out to the people and they are taking notice - it’s amazing. Does that mean we’re successful and can hang out? Fuck no! Working hard is what’s up. Sitting around thinking about what you did seems like a waste. Pushing on; staying focused is the mo.!!! 
Graffiti has given me an amazing network of friends, which I’ve used to promote the product and to reach out to shop owners through friends of friends etc. Using my own graffiti career wouldn’t get me that far….I’m not a talented artist, just a dude that’s honest about what I’m doing and willing to work hard for it.

 
BSCI: What kind of satisfaction do you get from knowing there are people using your ink to express their ideas? I imagine that would be an intense feeling. 
 
Vandalism facilitation has been the most satisfying and stressful project I have been a part of. But while going out and walking the blocks and I can point out who’s using BLOCK and it drives me to walk that extra five blocks. That motivates me to stay up all night and get the boxes packed for the next day. Seeing those drippy tags make all the hard work worth it.  
 
BSCI: BBB (Block By Block) seems to embody a true hustler's ideology of hard work and blue-collar effort paying off in the end. We all know the amount of work one puts into a task will reflect on its outcome-whether it be graffiti or business, the effort is essential. I want to know more about the effort; the work that goes not only into establishing your brand but also establishing yourself as a writer. What goes on behind-the-scenes to make this who thing a reality? How does that process work? ? 
 
Block as a reality is fucked (hectic). It’s not my full time job so after being a productive member of society I spend a few hours each day- in the grind- filling bottles, completing orders and doing whatever I have to do in the office. Some days it takes three hours, others it’s over 16. To be honest, I don't always notice the time because this is like painting to me; it’s fun and seems natural to work hard at something. 
The hardest part of branding Block has been documenting all it. It’s hard for me to stop and document things and be like, “LOOK! LOOK! THIS IS US!” 
 
I feel nothing is cornier then seeing some douche writer be just that, a douche writer. So honesty has been the main format for not only my graffiti but for my brand, it’s really easy to be yourself…..it has awarded me some great things and limited a lot , as I will always speak my mind and do what seems right.

 
BSCI: Another way you have promoted BBB is through your Tumblr page which comes across as being very authentic to both your brand as well as the culture. How would you describe the content on this platform and what are your online intentions?
 
Tumblr is awesome; been slacking because of a lot of time is being spent on Instagram, too. I respect anyone on Tumblr that can keep the content 100% THEIRS. The guys at Mook Life have done an outstanding job at that! I like old paint, music and chicks with fat asses. If you can relate and like graffiti then follow us at, www.Blockbyeblockink.tumblr.com . Using the internet to help showcase our product and spread the word is the goal, we’re in a golden age of DIY marketing based on the internet that’s so close to the fundamentals of what graffiti was based on that it’s stupidly easy for someone with right attitude and a little bit of know how to push anything……that being said it will become a shit show of watered down consumer B.S. soon enough…….so ride the wave in the meantime, but don’t expect anything else but honesty from us!
 
BSCI: Apart from the production of new colors, which will be coming out soon, what else can we expect from the company in 2012? Do you have any big projects on the way?
 
NEW PEN JUST CAME OUT!!! A squeezer just dropped, working on a larger more Kiwi-type-style of pen, too AND OF COURSE SILVER, WHITE AND YELLOW are here and being distributed. Be sure to keep an eye out of the Vimeo/YouTube clips. We’ve spent a lot of time walking blocks with the homies filming and are so excited to drop the rest of the footage!!!!
 
BSCI: What does the future hold for BBB regarding international business? Do you plan on taking your product to other markets? I know a lot of people would love to get their hands on the ink you're selling.
 
Yes we have broken in to some foreign markets; we are now available for sale on the Australian version of Bombing Science called OZ GRAFF, ozgraff.com. We are available for sale in a few shops in the US, we will ship anywhere from our online shop and our homies at BombingScience.com can handle any order anywhere. Brazil is the next market about to crack (the deal is being worked on as this is being typed). We are willing to work with anyone interested in trying or carrying our product. Spreading the disease [of graffiti] is the goal. Although it was unexpected to have grown internationally, I must admit, we’re all VERY EXCITED at all of the new opportunities coming our way!!!!

                                                                        
BSCI: Before we end this, is there any final message you'd like to leave with the folks reading this interview?
 
I want to say THANKS to homies in UNC, VC, KPS, LSD, 56, UFOS, GH, AOR, STS, NWK, ETC, POSITIVE APPROACH, UNDER PRESSURE, and PYRAMID SCHEME CLOTHING. There are too many people to mention, but believe us; we haven’t forgotten those who have helped!!
 
Respect to Bombing Science and Matthew Johnson for the opportunity to speak my mind and let the public see what’s going on here behind the scenes.  Shouts out to all the shops and to everyone that’s tried our product - without you this wouldn’t be possible. 
Until next time, we’ll be out there doing our thing, no doubt. See you on the block!




 
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