Exclusive interview with AZEK from Toulouse.

Article courtesy of Sandi-O

For those that don’t know you, who are you and what crews do you rep and how long have you been writing?
Azek from Toulouse, south west France. My crews are LEC (Lecrew) & CZ (ColomZoo), I’m also member of DSK (from Paris), LCF (Toulouse) & ASK (NYC) 
I’ve been writing since 1995.


How do you believe living in France has affected your graffiti, whether it is style, flow, color schemes, or just the way you think?
First of all it was the early influence from my city Toulouse, with guys like Soune, Tilt and Sike. Graffiti started around 1987/89 here. We can call it “french style” but it was also influenced by the basics from Paris witch came from New-York, Amsterdam, London…
I think living in France doesn’t really affect my graffiti in any way, I’m more like multiculturalist and my graffiti reflect that a little bit. My style is something I can’t really explain, it’s a about a lot of paintings and freestyling, flow and color schemes could be premedited or not at all. I like to paint in very free conditions.

Graffiti seems to have taken you all around the world, what are some of your favorite places and why?

I’d like to say that but I have a lot more to do!! So many great places to visit are on my target.
One of my favourite places is without a doubt Montreal, I love how I feel so welcome and share great moments with great people! That’s what’s up!
I love New-York and want to take a look at Tokyo when I can.

Do you have any particularly crazy stories from your travels? 
Yea! we all got some but I’m sorry, the best ones must stay private with friends for the memories 😉 I can say Davefoto and me were one of the first using “city bikes” at 5.am in MTL, with all our luggage and paint hahaha… this service started being provided a few days ago… people were looking at us like we was crazy! Lot’s of laughs and parties! 
Is there any place that you have not gone and would like to go? 
Yes sure! In the moment I’d say Tokyo, Japan, again it’s a great and giant city, so many stuff to explore… It looks crazy A.F!!!  

How is the scene in France different from the scene in the states and Canada? Which do you prefer?
There are good and bad aspect in each scene. In France first thing the walls are smaller… The city’s architecture is different so bombing is a little bit too. Both got dope level, and graff heads repected worldwide, I can say Toulouse and Montreal are quite connected, chill cities with whill people, def’ different from Paris and Toronto for exemple. 
I like the fact that each of our big cities are kept smashed while police are more and more out there. I prefer being arrested in France but I prefer bombing in Canada or US cities. 

If you had to pick a type of paint to paint with, which would it be and why?
I like to paint with every type of paint, spray cans. I use to paint with car paint witch was very good, like european rustoleum : Multona from kwasny, auto k, Belton… For piecing I like the new generation cans like Montana, Molotow, Flame, Kobra…
In the moment I prefer Montana cans and Belton Molotow, about quality and colors I guess.  
What is your favorite color scheme?
I like yellow and red! But also turquoise, greys, white , black … Sometimes I can use a lot of colors on one scheme.
Black and white/silver are dope too, can’t hide the style!
If you could describe your style as a food, what food would that be and why?
Haha hard question! I don’t really know, never think about that… Maybe something sharp, quick and tasty!! … but what?!

You are known for your complex Wildstyles and crazy color schemes but you also seem to bomb quite a bit, which do you prefer? Do you get a similar rush from both or is it different? How?
Thanks for the compliments. It’s totally part of the process, graffiti for me is global, bombing and pieces was connected when I started and I like to keep doing a bit of every part of it
It’s about balance I think, sometimes I need to paint Wildstyles, sometimes I need to bomb, throw ups… Always been the best practice. And no, It’s very different feelings, I need both.

Sometimes when you do throw ups I notice you write ASEK instead of AZEK, any particular reason?
At the begining I used different names, and then I choose ASEK, with the S … I used it long time and start my throwup research with these letters… After I changed the S for a Z that I prefer in Wildstyles, but I kept the S a long time in my throw ups… Not anymore, I did just AK for a few years, now I do AK and AZEK in throwies too.

What was it that got you into graffiti in the first place?
It was simple at the beginning: just writing my name in the city. I was listening to hip hop, like French’s rap group NTM. I wanted to see my name all over the good spots with my friends I started with at this moment. It wasn’t really to be known or for the style, but more for the feeling of doing it and the good competition with the others.
If it wasn’t for hip-hop, do you think you would still be painting? Would you be making different kinds of art?
I never asked myself bout that, it’s a good question, I don’t know really. Hip hop was the essence but I’d keep painting without it. I don’t think I’d make different kind of art. My love for graffiti is love for the letters and colors first.
What would you be doing if it wasn’t for graffiti?
Haha don’t know really, probably selling weed lol I’m from the hood, still in the hood!

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years in regards to graffiti and life?
I hope the passion will be intact, that’s the most important. In 5-10 years I hope to been able to travel more, see new countries and meeting great people. Of course painting a lot, pieces, throw-ups and stylish tags everywhere I can.
Hope my art keeps the energy I want, on any different support, medium.
I want to push the limits, still in evolve while keeping my style growing and the oldschool influences of my basics. I want to show a bit more of my whole graffiti universe in some piece of art, and so hope people will like it. I try to do my thing for everyone.

Who were your influences growing up and who are your influences now, in regards to graffiti?
In regards of graffiti first influences was from my city, and more from my team mate, partner in crime since the glory days: Kaise (LEC, DKA…) He got it in the vein, style was always there, the best challenge for me to push the level up.
Tilt, Soune, Sike, 2Pon were such very important too, they’ve burned Toulouse with style and I want to thank them for opening my eyes to the real graffiti after my beginning I talked about in previous questions. 

Is there anyone in particular that pushes you?
Kaise no doubt, the “Bando” from Toulouse (with 2Pon I’d say), he’s style king, European freight king also.

As writers get older we are conflicted between the desire to settle down into family life and the desire to keep traveling and painting, have you faced this conflict and if you have how have you handled it? 
I know what you sayin, it could be tuff for some, easier for others. I have no kids for the moment so I should say it’s cool for me, I travel with my GF and have also painted alone too… I can say no conflict about that for the moment. I must enjoy while I still can!!

Is there anything that you would like to say and/or mention in regards to your work and life as a graffiti artist? 
I can say something about my vision of graffiti; when I’ve started it was all about graffiti with style, we didn’t want to put an ugly tag close to a great handstyle in the streets, we learned our basics on paper and hidden walls first! Then you go and put your style up in the city!
Also we started without not fuckin caring about vandalism or legal or else, we painted, everywhere we wanted, everywhere we could or been authorized for or not lol It’s all about the spots and time you got! Put the most of style possible in the toughest conditions and you’d be respected, no more needed!
Don’t forget you’re not as sick as real gangstas, you do painting! Real criminals don’t care lol
About life, we are all human beings, all brothers and sisters! 
Thanks to Bombing Science, love Canada !!! Can’t wait to come back and chill with awesome friends.