Alright so can we start by getting a brief introduction of who Boogie is? I see you are a graphic designer as well, so I’m assuming you juggle between graphic design jobs and mural work to support yourself correct?
Yes that`s right. I`m a graffiti writer since around 25 years and I also do graphic design jobs. I studied design and graphic design was always super interesting to me. Since a few years it`s more and more graffiti jobs or graphic jobs which are influenced by the whole Boogie thing.
You’re work is so beautiful and vibrant! i can really tell that you have a background in graphic design, its obvious from how well constructed your letters are. I’m curious how do you think the graphic design side of things helped you out? Was there any typography class that you took that inspired you to see graffiti in a different way than before?
Thank you so much. You know how it is: I`s sometimes not the wildstyle which is so complicated to do – it`s the simplicity of the letters. To make them look funky or like they would move.
Back to your question: I had a few lessons in classic typography during my study. But it was more like the basics of typography. Shape of the letters, distance, arrangement… But I was always interested in classic typography (which was sometimes way too hard to me) and in figurative typography. There are lots of guys who were super inspiring to me. Best examples are 123Klan, Mike Giant or Shepard Fairey. Their work was like a drug to me. Especially in the time without Internet for everything it was so good to go into a book shop and check out some new books about that stuff.
I see you spend a lot of time traveling with some of your latest work being in Los Angeles and Moscow. Can you tell us about your trip to Moscow? I see you threw a freight party in Moscow I’m sure there must be some interesting stories that come from that.
My first trip to Moscow was in 2015. I got an invitation from my friend and crew mate TRUN and spent a few day there with SOFLES, SELINA MILES, ZEBSTER, KAYO and the rest of the TAD crew. I was growing up in the Eastern part of Germany and I even learned Russian language in school. But after more than 20 years this was the first time ever I had the chance to visit this country. This year I was invited again for painting there. Moscow is a super amazing city. There are two worlds: the center with the money, the Maybachs, AMG G-Classes and the Gucci-society. And then there are the region around all that. And this is even more interesting. If you`re down with the locals and DON`T act like „I`m from the west…I`m better“ then you`ll have a great time. And yes: I had the chance to paint a lot and the pieces are rolling thousands of kilometers for years. That was really fun. Thanks to my friend TRUBA for this great experience.
How did you hook up with so many international artists to collaborate with? Did you meet your collaborators online or at festivals? Can you tell us about how the piece for The Container Yard came about.
It developed during the years. I was getting to know a few guys online on STREETFILES.ORG – maybe one of the first European Social Network for graffiti. After a while they closed and I switched to Facebook and Instagram. If you handle this stuff with care but in a good and pleasant way then you`ll get to know lots of people. But to be honest: the best relationships are made by a personal meeting. I was travelling to lots of smaller and bigger events in Germany and Switzerland. I`ve painted as much as I could and was always focussed on quality. After a while I got the first invitations to international festivals like STEP IN THE ARENA or ROSKILDE. Then I knew that I want more…and more international things. I was getting to know so many nice guys from all over. BONZAI, TASTE, CHAS, CENZ, INKIE or ARSEK & ERASE are just a few of them.
On my way back from my honeymoon to Hawaii we spent a few days in LA. There I met my good friend YANOE (I was getting to know him personally at Meeting of Styles in Antwerp/Belgium) and he organized our first wall at the Container Yard. We`ve painted a really massive wall there. The TCY guys around Ash have been super nice hosts to me and so I always visit them when I`m in Los Angeles. Last time YANOE and me painted a big wall inside the Container Yard with LA based legend 2SHAE. That was really fun. I`m always a bit sad when I have to leave this city again. Hope to come back soon and rock some more walls.
What does an average day look like to you? How much do you spend painting and how much do you spend behind the computer?
I think you can imagine that there`s not really a rhythm. It all depends on the projects/jobs I have to do. There are illustration jobs which takes lots of time on the desk with markers or iPad and then there are the mural projects or graffiti jobs I do. Both things are great (mostly) and I feel really blessed to be able to do this what I like. I`m happy with my job. Sometimes I would be happy if clients (or wannabe clients) are not start to discuss prices. We`re artists and we also have to eat, to pay our appartements, our insurance or whatever.
Is there any business tips you can give to artists first starting out trying to get their business going? Was there anything that you encountered that you didn’t expect?
I think before you start making business with graffiti or painting with spraycans you have to prove your skills on the streets or wherever. It`s fake to paint graffiti just for the money on a legal way. This teached me to paint quite fast. Hahaha.
But I think the main thing is that you stay true and don`t work blind just for the money. There are lots of sharks out there I never would work for. If it`s NESTLÈ or STARBUCKS or McDONALDS. I mean: everybody has do decide by himself if he’s willing to work for companies like this but we also should take our chance to teach the world that we and our kids want to stay a bit longer here on this earth. We all have a responsibility.
The second thing is – like we saw it recently with REVOK, RIME or SMASH137 that copyright is a really important thing. We should all stay together and show these big companies that we maybe could work together…but not for free.
Where all have you traveled? What is your favorite place to visit and do you have any crazy travel stories you can share?
To be honest: there are too many crazy places I have been…and there are so many more on the To Do list. But I know: you want names. Ok. I was in Tahiti which was one of the most crazy places to be invited for graffiti. Other places which impressed me really much were Jakarta (Indonesia), St.Petersburg (Russia), Detroit, NYC, Los Angeles, Quito (Ecuador), Lima or Naples (Italy).
The hardest story happened when we left Ecuador. I was standing in the plane before starting and a really hard earthquake started. After around 3 hours we could leave the airport as the last plane. When I arrived home we saw the pictures in the news. It was the hardest earthquake there since the Seventies with more than 800 victims. That was not funny and I was really happy that all my friends I was getting to know there survived.
What kind of art or music is inspiring you these days? Is there anything in particular you like to listen to when you paint?
Usually I`m a Hip Hop head but I`m opened to everything. If it`s good electronic music, good funk & soul music or the hardest classics from the 80s.
Who are your favorite writers and artists today? Is there anything new you are trying to teach yourself these days?
There are so many guys I could put on the list and in the end I`m pretty sure I would forget somebody. Thats why maybe no names.
My biggest goal is to paint more characters or stuff like this and develop my „simple“ stuff forward. It ain`t easy sometimes but I have a few ideas what I want to do next.
I think the main thing is that you try new things and have fun on this what you do. Otherwise you`ll never know if it works.
Thanks for taking the time out to do this interview! Any shout outs? Where can people follow you and what can people expect from you next?
Thanks for having me here. Really appreciate that so many of you guys seems to be interested in what I`m doing.
Keep following @boogiesml on Planet Insta.
Respect your next and fuck racism!
You can follow Boogie on Instagram.
Interview by Wesley Edwards