1) Alright so thanks for taking the time out to do this interview, can you give us a brief introduction of how you got to this point? When did you start, what crew do you rep (if any), and what’s the story behind “Coaster colorz”?
Hello, my name is Coaster and I´m from Rostock Germany. I started writing at the age of 14 it was in the year 2000. At the age of 12, I started Breakdancing in a youth club. This was my first contact with the Hip Hop Movement and the 4 Elements. Breakdance was my life, but graffiti fascinated me more and more. So I did some sketches and tags from time to time.
In 2003 I met Sner from the CSR CREW at a festival. We already knew each other from the Youth club, but we weren´t close friends till that Festival. We had a fun time, on the last day he offered me to become a member of his Crew. And I said… Fuck Yeah! He became a mentor to me and from that moment I seriously started writing, before That I only did sketches on paper. I also met other members of the crew and we became close friends quickly. We hung out every day, doing sketches, smoking weed, going out bombing walls and trains. Graffiti became my life.
2) I see you offer a variety of different services and products, which I think is really cool. Not enough graffiti artists capitalize on their abilities so I’m curious how did you get your business started? Can you tell us about your clothing brand and how it connects with your graffiti services?
From 2004-2007 I was in school to become an “Offset Printer”. At this time I printed my first Shirt with graffiti on it as a birthday present to myself. I did a sketch, scan it, print it on a low budget Shirt foil, cut it out with scissors and put it on the shirt with an Iron. And I also did my first Graffiti job. So I saw that there is a market for Graffiti Art.
In 2007 after I was done school, my boss told me he couldn’t keep me on anymore, So I took a year off to figure out what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. Working for a company 45 years as a slave for the system!? No way! I want to do my own thing without someone telling me what to do. So I decided to start my own business Graffiti Shirts and painting Walls. In 2009 I founded “Coaster Clothing”.
3) What is your favorite documentary or book that covers the history of major players of graffiti and why?
My favorite Movie is “Beatstreet”, cause it was the first movie I saw about the roots of the Hip Hop movement. “Wildstyle” is also a great documentary about the beginning of Graffiti. “Subway Art” from Martha Cooper is also a must-have.
4) in most entrepreneurs they are 100% business-minded but what makes your business unique is that the value you make is made straight from your imagination. The value you are offering to other people couldn’t be taken from anyone else and isn’t like any other product out there, people are instead licensing your imagination which is your connection to the infinite in my opinion. I’m curious what your thoughts are on the artist/ businessman relationship you have to have with yourself to run a business? Do you find it difficult to balance between the two? I’ve heard people say it’s like having two people in your head at the same time.
2009 I also started working in a copy shop that a friend of mine owns. For me, the most important thing was, be able to pay my bills, Because at the beginning my network wasn’t big enough to gain the income to live on. In the Copy Shop, I learned how to vectorize Graffiti Styles in Adobe Illustrator to make them printable and also about the different Print variations.
5) with your art expanding from murals to digital to products, I assume you had some formal training. What is your background in art, did you go to school or are you self taught?
I never attended an art school or anything like that. It was all learning by doing it a little bit with some help from time to time. Step by step I met new people and my network got bigger and bigger. One job came, and then another and today, with the copy shop, graffiti, and shirt printing I gain a regular income. I’m not rich, but I have a good life and the most important thing is, I can do what I love… So work doesn’t suck….that much.
7) Do you make a living off of your work now and if not do you plans to transition out of a day job? If you do do you think it’s the dream? What is the reality of making money doing this type of work that people do not realize? Do you have free time or does work take up all the time?
Over the years it was necessary to be a businessman, but I don’t like to call myself one. It´s like 70% artist and 30% businessman. Sometimes there are Graffiti or Print jobs you don’t like to do but you have to because of the money. So sometimes there is a conflict between both components. Work and Family take most of my time, but I try to do at least one or two pieces a month.
8) for those that are wanting to start their own business doing what you do, what advice do you have on getting started?
If you want to start your own business, a big network is very important. Also, you need luck and endurance. Always be honest and reliable.
6) What kind of music do you listen to when you paint? Who is your favorite hip hop artist and why?
It depends on my mood. Sometimes I listen to Radiohead or Björk, sometimes Pearl Jam or Nirvana or Techno or House…. My Favorite Hip Hop artist is Jeru the Damaja, I like his beats and what he is rapping about.
9) when you were coming up who inspired you and taught you the ropes and who inspires you now? Who are the artists that are inspiring you now?
When I was coming up sner and mora are the ones who gave me most of my knowledge. I was inspired by my crew members and also by well-known writers like Daim, Dare, Loomit, Won and so on… Today there is no specific writer who inspires me… There are so many good Writers with different styles. I get inspired by all of them in one way or another…
10) Any shout outs you would like to give? where can people follow you?
Peace out to Sner, Modus, Mora, Nice, Ekel, OH, Sera, Crek, Rism
Thanks to Bombing Science for reaching out.