Hey man how’s it going, thanks for taking the time to do this interview. You call yourself asmoeroc the architect, what was the inspiration behind the name? How long have you been involved in the graffiti game?
Hello there Bombing Science! I’m currently working at local Architecture Firm in Malaysia. That’s the only reason behind that name. I do architecture for my full time profession and graffiti as well I started painting on walls since 2012. It’s been 6 years now in the game.
You’re the first person I’ve interviewed from Malaysia, who are the big names in graffiti in Malaysia? Who inspired you growing up, was it local or international artists or both?
Yeah my friends & crewmate Katun & Siek is one of the few big names from Malaysia. Their skills, determination, and ideas have inspired me to move forward and keep improving myself. I believe I take a lot of inspirations from a lot of people. Both international and local.
When I look up your city, Kuala Lumpur, it looks like there is a lot of amazing cultural monuments like the Batu Caves and it reminds me of when I travel sometimes I see graffiti done poorly on cultural monuments and it bums me out. Sometimes these cities put in a lot of effort to protect people from messing up these areas, so I’m curious how does Malaysia react to graffiti as a form of art? Do the graffiti artists stay away from the historical stuff and only tag in the cities?
Are the police aggressive about putting an end to graffiti? What is your opinion about tagging near historical/cultural sites?
Graffiti on cultural monuments is unacceptable in Malaysia. It is just disrespectful and intolerant. The idea of graffiti is to spread your names as much as possible but there’s always a limit. Nowadays, Malaysian begin to accept Graffiti as a form of arts, as they do enjoy the vibrant energy that we try to impose in our pieces. We received tons of positive feedbacks from the public and it is awesome. But however, sometimes we do have police and local authorities try to stop us but we just kindly explain to them and they seems good with it.
For me tag & throws are cool but it has to be somewhere other than religious or cultural monument which affect the sensitivity of the society.
What I really enjoy about your instagram is that you get to travel alot and collaborate with different artists. For example one of my favourite pieces is the side by side piece you did with Mr. Katun. Can you tell us a little bit about this piece and how it came to be?
Thanks a lot man for the compliment! Yeah I did travel a lot both local and international. Graffiti and architecture is the main reason why I travel a lot. Regarding my piece with Mr Katun, we always paint together in Malaysia. He’s like one of my biggest inspiration as I mentioned before. “Style Delivery 2017” is a graffiti production which includes 4 graffiti writers. Katun, Siek, Akid One and myself. It took 2 days to complete the whole production and it was extremely hot which make us really hard to focus hahaha. The idea of Style Delivery is to highlight style and identity as a crucial part in graffiti game. The production turns out really good and we have a really good time on that weekend.
When you travel and collaborate with other graffiti artists do you look for the graffiti artists that you want to collaborate with and then go to them, or do you think of the place you want to go to first and then find the best graffiti artists there?
Normally, I will travel to join the graffiti festival or specific graffiti jam. So, I get to meet a lot of writers during the event I like it more that way with a bit of sightseeing in the city.
Any crazy travel stories you would like to share?
There is, but I think I keep it to myself hahaha
What do you do for a full time living to support yourself as a graffiti writer? You seem to have a lot of followers, have you thought about trying to sell some shirts or prints of your work?
As I mentioned before, I’m a full time Architect in local firm. I only paint during weekend so yeah, I love my work and passion so much.
Yeah sometimes I do sell my original sketch, paintings and sticker packs. I collaborated with clothing company for t-shirt series and collection.
What kind of books, movies, music or art is inspiring you right now? Who do you listen to when you are painting?
Graffiti books, graffiti magazines & Architecture books. I listened to rap music all the time. New school and old school. I can get down with all that. Movie? I enjoyed all movies No specific preferences.
When you were coming up was there any particular piece of advice that was given to you that sticks out as being still helpful to this day?
“ Progression, not Perfection “ – Denzel Washington
Who are your favourite writers today? Any piece of wisdom you can give to those wanting to do what you do?
I have a lot of favorite writers, but my main inspiration is Zeus40 from Italy. Wild Boys.
His style and amount of pieces that he did amazed me, make me want to push even harder every time I paint.
Just keep on progressing, don’t stop. Style matters.
How important is a blackbook to an aspiring graffiti writer? Are you someone who spends a lot of time exploring different styles in your blackbook still today or do you just freestyle it when you are putting up your tag?
For me, sketching is one of the most crucial parts in Graffiti, especially in letters development. Sketching and drafting my own forms multiple times will help me to determine the possibilities of my letters. I enjoy every process very much, from tagging, simple basic fonts to wild style letter forms. Endless possibilities of my letters every time I sketch which excites me the most. I’ m the type of guy who always refer to sketch while painting, and improvise my sketch on walls. From there, I will be able to stretch or squeeze my forms depends on the wall/spot.
When you were starting out did you ever study and try to reproduce the works of others to understand how they did it, or imitate them? Do you think this is a valid way to learn?
Nahh man. For me imitation / reproduction of the works of others is not good for your development. Unlimited access through social media nowadays will give a lot of exposure to writers and this is a great challenge for us. Sometimes I will try to avoid seeing other’s works to avoid me from biting them, subconsciously. Any writer need to undergo the whole process of being a toy, from scratch, and develop from there. It is okay to be inspired, but to copy other’s work 100% is wrong, disrespectful. That’s my opinion.
How do you think the internet has impacted the culture of graffiti? I always imagine that since the current form of graffiti sprung from hip hop culture of the west that it hasn’t been around in other parts of the world as long, do you agree with this? Is this true for Malaysia? How big is the graffiti culture in your country?
I’m a new kid in the game. When I started doing graffiti, facebook is already there as a medium for us to share our artworks, globally. Therefore, it’s pretty hard for me to give a solid perspective on this matter. But what I can say is, graffiti used to be an extreme, active and energetic kind of activities that thrills you when doing it, most of it illegally. But now, the existence of internet make us becomes lazy. That includes me as well. Hahaha. But social media helps me to connect with other writers from all over the world. So yeahh, that’s the good part !
Graffiti scene in Malaysia is still growing. We are small in numbers, compared to the western countries where graffiti is everywhere. But, we manage to pull off high quality of production with other countries, I can confirm that. We need more time to grow, to inspire younger generation about this culture. Plenty of events and paint session between the old and the new generation have been organized, just tighten the bond and to put Malaysia’s scene on the map. I believe one day, we will be one of the best
Any shout outs? Where can people follow you and what can they expect next?
Shout out to all my friends from all over the world ! People can follow me through my instagram and facebook. @asmoeroc.
I’ll be heading to Europe next month for Step in The Arena 2018 in Eindhoven, Netherlands. From what I heard it is one of the best graffiti festivals in Europe. Can’t wait! Shout out to Chas Loveletters for the invitation! 😀
Interview by Wesley Edwards