a conversation with DABS: a self-described toxic, chemical infection.
By Brian Gonnella

I’m sure in some lecture in some economics class I wasn’t taking they had a term for the commercial takeover of a subculture’s fashionable aesthetics.  Like when they started selling Bell-Bottoms at the Mall or when MTV got its greedy little mitts on hip-hop and punk and movies and television shows about marijuana became solid box-office draws for the Male Adult, age 16-36 demographics. 

It would seem in 2009 that the graffiti subculture is next in line for normalization.
 …Or is it?

Nowadays the eclectic styles and visuals of graffito and “street-art” are being employed in multiple mediums of advertisement and fashion. Graffiti writers (or Street Artists, depending on who you’re talking to) are household names in most high-brow, art-savvy homes. OBEY is doing posters for the President. Banksy is running game on Paris Hilton with DJ Dangermouse and making political statements on the Israeli West-Bank barrier. And beneath them, an infinite smorgasbord of writers breaking into the mainstream via varying art installations, web design, t-shirts, toys, and well-placed, well-photographed pieces for graffiti anthologies sold at the local Barnes & Nobles book retailers.

Conversely, in most cities across the United States in particular are cracking down harder than ever before on writers with city-wide buffer crews and specialized police task forces designated to handle the growing graffiti bug.  Catching young writers and throwing them heavy, sometimes unfeasible, fines and prison time before their pieces are even good enough to make the front page of bombingscience.com.

It’s a difficult relationship being forged between our proud little subculture and the commercial world. At times it can be helpful, accelerating careers into international levels, allowing writers to see the world and realize youthful dreams. Other times, it just looks like they’re kicking us in the balls and patting us on the back all at once.

So I recently connected with DABS (aka Dbsk1) an artist currently based in Taipei, Taiwan with a long graffito-rap-sheet and a slighter newer career as a artist working within the current world to talk about this strange symbiosis and more…

Bombing Science: When did you start writing?

DABS: I started writing in 1992 in Montreal, but at the time mostly doing characters and stuff like that at this time, no solid name hooked up yet…I started writing Dab in 93 though and later changed it to Dabs in 94-95 when I moved to Vancouver.

BS: What do you write now? 
 
I write Dabs1, as well as Dbsk1, amongst various other monikers for bombing.

BS: Where are you from originally? And where are you now?

DABS: Originally I grew up in Halifax and later moved to Montreal where I lived for about 7 years. Although, I’ve also lived in numerous cities across Canada for different periods of time. Presently I’m located in Taipei, Taiwan though.

BS: In 15 words or less, how’d you get from point a. to point b.?

DABS: How did I get here? Good question…I’m guessing I got here on a plane, ha-ha.


 
BS: What is graffiti culture to you?  How do you define it?

DABS: It’s generally a collective consciousness surrounded by creativity and sort of something you eat, breath and sleep I guess. It is for me anyway… It’s also an addiction and type of infectious disease that latches on to you.

Forgot to mention, it’s also fun to do.
 
BS: So working with your own definition, where do you see yourself?
 
DABS: Some sort of toxic, chemical infection maybe?

BS: How did you style evolve? What mutations have you undergone during your years painting walls?
 
DABS: I got introduced to graffiti through a writer named Speak, back in Montreal in ‘92; we skated together, but parted ways later after he got heavily into DJing and organizing parties.
 

After that I ended up pretty much solo and taught myself everything, even drawing …while heavily influenced  from books like ‘Subway art’ and ‘Aerosol Art’, since during the time there weren’t a lot of influences to go by.
 
Later on I started to meet up with the likes of two travelling Swiss graf-heads Tem and Size who seriously schooled me, as well as Akira (CBF),Stack, Maink, Chek and Cesk (THC/JKR) Sikes, and Rafa and also seeing guys up like Flow and Timer around ’93-94.
 
Later, I moved to Vancouver around ’95 where I picked up a lot of influence from writers in these parts, namely Virus(AA),Take 5 (BA) whose work I saw a lot and  was really inspirational me at the time, as well as out-of-towners and walking in the freight yards.

I spent some time here I although I was never affiliated with any crews from there, or rolled with too many writers back then.
 
So generally between 94-98 I had a somewhat New York-esque style happening around that time, I guess? Later when I moved back from out west to Montreal again, I started trying to develop a hybrid of this with a little something of my own mixed in and trying to develop something new for myself.

I guess during this time what I developed, if you were to term it, was more of a European/conventional NYC lettering style considering the exposure Montreal has from the typical “east coast style” while having a identifiable European influence in the city, namely from styles coming out of France.
 
Between ’98-2000 I was starting to try out newer concepts that got away a little bit from regular conventional lettering though. I starting seeing writers like Joker (BA) on freights doing more new schools flows and I really dug this stuff since it was new and really original stuff.
 
I messed around with abstract concepts a bit more and also some 3d ish type stuff, but I never got really far with it since I’m much better at doing conventional style letters and it’s something I can relate with more. Probably.
 
Around 2001 I moved out to Taiwan where I stated to experiment again.
There’s a good amount of spots to paint, and it wasn’t spoilt yet by harsh legal authorities and buffing or the regular scenester beefs etc. So I had a lot of room to maneuver and expand with my work.
 
My mind set is so dug into conventional lettering style though that it was hard for me to break away from it, even though I wanted to do something new. 
During the first few years here in Taiwan I really wanted to make an effort in doing something completely different and not following my usual work…although the eventual outcome was that I ended up un-satisfied with what I was doing, so I went back to doing conventional lettering with adding tweaks here and there.
 
Before I was trying to do a crossover of fine art and conventional lettering style but realized that I like more simple letters and shapes and original graffiti flavor, so currently I’ve been  doing this and as I mentioned  “tweaking” it here and there.
It’s not exactly new or anything but I enjoy doing it more.
 
Actually just recently, I’ve started doing more wildstyle-ish stuff again with my letters, not sure why but I guess it’s newer for me since I’ve been doing more simple stuff for awhile.
 
I like to keep it interesting, I don’t want to keep doing the same thing over and over again, and it’s also more challenging and rewarding to see what I can come up with next.
Sometimes the outcome is good, sometimes it fucking sucks.
 
All in all majorly I try to keep it original and introduce something new when I’m painting.
Usually I try not to follow the last piece I did, like everybody else usually does, except of course for when going out bombing or something like that.
 
Overall, I try to keep my work continually mutating and that’s what keeps it fun for me.


 
BS: That’s a pretty long career timeline. Any run-ins with the law during that stretch?
 
DABS: Many, really haha….
 
I have so many situations to re-count, but one memorable one was back in ’97 I was doing a huge block buster on the side of this bridge with a friend of mine and we just finished doing it when a car rolled by and stopped for a moment in front of the wall and we thought it was an un-marked so we took off fast, (turned out it wasn’t though, just some weirdo)
 
Anyway, we got sketched out by it so we finished up, packed our shit and walked fast to his car and started to get in when a squad car came around the corner and drove past the parking lot we were in(we ducked behind his car, hoping they didn’t see us), but then they suddenly stopped in front of the blockbuster and turned around quickly and went “high speed chase” mode into the parking lot where we were so we automatically busted out and ran down to this riverside which was next to the parking lot and ran hard for awhile along the river side until we ran into some woods along side of it, crashing, falling into all these branches and bushes and crap; it was ridiculous.
Then we laid down and covered ourselves with branches and shit (lol!) for camouflage.
We laid there and didn’t say anything for like 15 minutes…then I was like “Dude, I think we’re good”…and just when I started to get up I heard a walkie-talkie and then froze hard.
Then all of a sudden we heard branches breaking and heard voices and saw a flashlight coming toward us, so we just stayed still, hoping they wouldn’t see us under all the wooded shit.

Just at that same time a cop came crashing through the bushes right into the spot where we were hiding with this huge ass German Sheppard police dog and it’s was barking like crazy and snapping at my friend and the cop was yelling at us to get up slowly and the dog is snapping at us while he was holding it back. It was all sort of surreal and psycho in fact.
 
So the cop called in backup, which came, they cuffed us, and they brought us up to street level where there were 5 squad cars and a K9 unit ???(Now you see were tax payer’s money gets burned, wow!)
 
We were like…”All this for us? Cool.”
They must have felt really disappointed to see there were just two of us, lowly punks.
 
Anyway…they thought we were breaking into my friends car (which actually was his girlfriend’s parents car, so they called her parents at 4:00am to verify the car’s ownership etc.etc. and that’s a whole other story…)  So anyway because we ducked next to the car when they went past by (and they saw us of course) . They thought we were jacking the car and maybe the same guys responsible for some other car jackings in the area around the same time.
 
This brought to them the ultimate question after they realized we weren’t the guys…
“So what were you boys running from then?”
“Oh, yeah good question…why were we running again, oops?”
 
We basically came up with a story about us smoking a joint behind the car and got scared when we saw them, so we ran.
 
Although just at that point another cop came out of the bushes with my friend’s bag that he had chucked in the woods while we were in pursuit and then they found his paint and his black book inside and so the story started to go deeper.
 
“Doing a little graffiti spraying too, I see.”
“Did you do that big one over there, on the bridge?”Said the main cop and pointed to the one I just finished doing.
We were like, “No way!”, and laughed it off like we weren’t capable of this level of painting yet, and luckily I wouldn’t have wanted to admit to it either, since it was big and mad ugly.
 
The officer already divulged info that he wasn’t sure it was us, so we basically went in that direction with our main story from then on.
 
We ended up then faux-confessing to painting the back side of the same bridge (and of course it was our first time “spraying”, right?) and stressed the point it wasn’t visible to the street, etc.etc.(because we’re responsible graffiti guys too, right…),as well smoking pot, haha.
 
The 6 cops looked on at us so amazed that we’d actually admit to lying to them in the beginning and changing out story,  smoking pot and doing graffiti and  think like they wouldn’t do anything about it haha.  So immediately then after they checked us both for smoke, (which we didn’t have on us fortunately!). They seemed relatively relieved we weren’t jacking cars though, so that was a good sign.
 
While two cops were searching us the others were checking my friend’s black book and complementing on it and giving him thumbs up on some of the full pages he had done, even the sketch with a fat, “pig cop”, eating a donut in his letters. Honestly at that point I thought we were kind of fucked ,since the one cop told everybody to come and check it out ,but they all actually seemed sort of amused by it, which was also a good sign.
 
One cop even told us we should try to make some money with doing murals and get some work out of it and gave us our paint and shit back. Another cop told us to go home and get laid instead of running around painting at all hours of the night and making them work so hard for nothing.
 
We agreed and we took off fast before they changed their minds, ha-ha!
All in all…mission accomplished.
 
This situation had a positive outcome, but for sure, not all my run-ins with police have been that pleasant.

BS: Looking through your website, you have a plethora of different aesethics and styles converging…there’s a lot of old school tweaks to it, like something you’d see on the side of the F-Train in Brooklyn back in 1994. Care to comment on that observation?
 
DABS: I’m really into all kinds of graffiti styles and art, and even stuff I don’t paint, but I try to incorporate a little something from all these influences or things I’m really into about something I see which I like.
 
I try not to bite anything too literally or use ideas from any one artist which I admire because this is straight up lame, especially if you get called out for it, and it’s just not your thing after that anyways, so what’s the point.
I like to find good concepts and influences I like and figure out how to do it my own way and without compromising myself ,and after as you described “tweak” the hell out it until it’s my thing.
Of course I have other main backgrounds in conventional lettering style and “old school lettering” so almost in everything I do you’ll catch a hint of it somewhere in my work.
 
As well I’m into a lot comic book stuff and graphics so these are sources I incorporate a lot of to give it a little bit more. 


 
BS: Most writers’ bank on either their lettering or their fills–you seem to really push both, and it’s obvious that you’re having fun with both. So what do you like doing more? What element do you think is more essential to the piece’s success? Or is it more of a total package deal?
 
DABS: Probably in the past I’d say it’s all about the lettering for me, but generally these days I think it’s an overall “package-deal”.
I have fun conceptualizing in both areas and also adapting some characters or background etc.
I think concept is more important than anything if you want to do something original, plus it makes it easier to communicate ideas to other writers and the public.
 
You could look at a word piece with millions of effects and great lines, amazing colors etc.etc. And it’s like “wow! so amazing …perfection, so crazy!” but after awhile the experience is all over because you can only look at lettering for so long before it starts to get boring and sometimes beyond all the floss it has no feeling or meaning to it all, except for maybe the person who did it.
 
On the other hand I’ve seen works that come off not as clean, ok lettering and not so flossy color combinations, but have an amazing concept that gives you something to think about and produce some kind of feeling from it that makes you remember it.
This to me in graffiti is the most important element, reaching out and leaving an impression.
 
I like pushing a good concept first then lettering and then figure out colors.
That is in productions, piecing or on steel though.
Street bombing as well, but not have as much.
 
Before I liked using a lot of colors, but realized it hides the lettering shapes too much, so I started to tone it down a lot, so overall I’m more into the shapes of lettering and find that between this and the concept these are the most important elements for what I like to achieve in my work or want to see.

BS: What crews or writers do you rep for typically back then?

DABS: I mostly put up YIA (Youth In Asia) at the moment, but the original crews I rep’d for in the beginning are JKR from Montreal and later HW from Halifax.
Other crews I’ve been put down in are KOPS crew from MTL,SP crew from Paris, ITW from NYC, PMT + BAI from Bangkok, Thailand and “Tuff Guys” from Melbourne, Australia.

 BS: What is AMPM?

DABS: AMPM started out as an independent art gallery here in Taipei that my girlfriend Joe, Chek1 (from SF) and I started and show cased exhibits in contemporary graphics design, street art, sculpture and photography.
 
We felt the scene here in Taipei needed something like this to bring it more exposure of underground art culture ,as well as bring people together with similar interests and just generally to just throw fun parties and exhibit artists whom otherwise wouldn’t get that opportunity to show works in the regular types galleries out here.
 
More than anything it was a venue for having fun and just networking with others in the art community here in Taipei. This sadly came to an end last year because of a rent hike from our land lady that we weren’t able to accommodate, and we weren’t supported by any other outside funding, besides our own individual funding, so we had to leave the space.
 
Later we moved out and my girlfriend and I opened a shop under the same AMPM title, but now we’re primarily use the shop to promote both of our clothing lines at the moment.
 
Unfortunately the space is too limited to hold proper exhibitions, compared to what we had before, so we haven’t been trying to organize any new shows lately, but hoping to later in the near future, when we have the right financial backing, and access to a good exhibition spaces.

BS: How do you transition the paint you put on walls to the projects you put on canvas?

DABS: It would depend on how I’m feeling or the project I’m doing or whom I’m doing it with.
Sometimes I’m doing canvas works or graphics work that has nothing to do with graffiti lettering or culture and sometimes I’m doing stuff that is specifically designed towards lettering of graffiti type concepts.
 
Usually when I’m doing canvases though, I tend  not to do too much lettering styles since I feel this is more something I like doing with a can in hand and on the street or on vehicles etc.
 I also have a hard time feeling good about doing lettering with a paint brush on canvas, it just isn’t the same feeling or effect as doing it outside on something and you’re also limited by the space.
I do however hand paint lettering on say vintage jean-jackets or caps or small model trains etc. and stuff like that. It has more to do with the graffiti culture memorabilia side of things so doesn’t feel as weird doing it, I guess?


 
 
BS: So…how do you capture that in a commissioned installation for a business?

DABS: If a project asks for a Hip Hop type theme, of course I’ll do something in that area which is obviously going to have a lot of lettering involved in it.
Sometimes a Hip Hop store or an event might ask me to do some lettering for them or a canvas, so that’s easy to understand what they are looking for.
 
For a commission that the background isn’t so direct, and concept isn’t entirely linked to graffiti style or culture, but they want something with a “street graffiti” feel to it, I’ll usually incorporate more of a graphic element and fine art style to it while introducing some lettering, but sometimes not a lot or none at all. This is for more commercial type works I do, because usually they just don’t get it or want a heavy element of lettering involved…
 
The best commissions are when they just ask you to do what you want, while keeping in mind what the overall concept is for, and what they’re about as well.
This is much easier to work with and a lot more fun to do and concept for.

BS: You’ve done artwork and installations for hotels, fashion shows for Adidas and Givenchy, designed your own clothing line for Pet Shop Girl Apparel and a lot of other increasingly commercial forums–what do you think it is about the “graffiti-style” that appeals to the advertising community so much?
 
DABS: I guess in the last while attitudes are changing and becoming more open to everything “urban style” (how some have coined it).
Graffiti isn’t overtly linked to gangs anymore or “urban decay” etc. and a bit safer in some ways, since it has more positive tones to it.
It’s easy to appreciate because of its energy, look and raw “DIY” feeling to it, which people seem to have a connection with these days.
 
Since the “street-art” boom and mainstream acceptance in the last several years, commercial outlets and media have also been accepting more of it, give or take, as an art form as well, opposed to considering it as vandalism or gang related stuff.
 
This art form is now considered more appealing to a new generation of consumers primarily because of its edge ,and so the media have been tapping into it more to fulfill it’s supply and demand, I suppose.
Unfortunately, with its newly formed interest, it’s also becoming more commercialized,
which in return really takes out that original edge as being an rebellious underground art form and turning it into something you can make money with, which waters down the original content to make it more “commercially safe” in some ways.
 
 I  use some graffiti themed graphics with some of the work I design for both my girlfriend’s clothing line ‘Petshopsgirl’ and my line called R.T.T.C (Rotten to the Core),but mostly I have gone more for regular graphics based stuff  in mind while coming up with ideas for these labels, and not so much on “graffiti” oriented tip.

BS: What are the divisions of control like? I mean, when working for a company like Adidas, I’d assume that they would have a say in the end-product. You couldn’t just spray paint a bunch of dicks with logos on them right? Does it have to be “safe?”

DABS: This type of work is usually very controlling and usually has to be “safe” in fact, since it has to do with image and branding, although Adidas gave me a lot of room to do my own thing and they trusted me since they saw my previous work and knew what I was capable of and that’s what they wanted.
The theme of the project wasn’t too vague either, so the  style of work I do, went well with the overall concept, which was about a new line of sneakers they were launching dedicated to individual cities around the world, and it was pretty fun to do actually.
 
The hotel room I designed was the same; they had seen my previous work and just accepted my ideas for the theme room I conceptualized.
They basically said “do your thing” but keep it functional, safe to stay in, and interesting.
 
During this project, I had wanted to add some things extra things here and there, but at times they would declined my request, mostly because of safety pre-caution issues and also for the functionality for the hotel staff etc.
 
Of course I also couldn’t paint like a rape scene on the ceiling above the bed or something crazy like that, but things like this just seem pretty obvious what you can and cannot do while taking on a project, for a family/business type hotel.
 
Overall it wasn’t too restricting to work on though, and also a good experience.
 
While working with Givenchy on the other hand, they had some issues with the canvases I did for them throughout the project.
Companies like this which are a bit more conservative and not as in tune with my usual work, or graffiti or street style art stuff, for that matter, are much more picky about things so you need to address this in the project and while you’re working on it.
I ended up going through several different versions of the same paintings before they accepted them actually.
That was a bit annoying to have to keep going over and over the same work, especially when at one point in the process I really thought it looked great, but they still wanted it changed again because of some small detail, or it looked too severe here, or too dark in one section etc.etc., this makes it seem really like you’re doing work, and doesn’t become very enjoyable keep going back too.

I  changed it to they’re specifications many times, and in fact in the end I thought it looked worse because of all the changes, in my opinion, but I had to leave it because of time restrictions. Overall they seemed happy with the end result, so that’s good.
 
This kind of depresses me about doing this type of work though, and not have 70 or 80% control over it, but you really just have to  get over it since it’s not your painting and you’re doing it for a major company for advertising purposes and nothing that personal, etc.
 
Even though it can be a pain in the neck doing these types of jobs, on the other hand they also pay you pretty well, so you just bear with it, I guess.
To sustain a living being an artist, these types of gigs are usually always necessary.


 
BS: Is there something paradoxical about making an art-form that in the broad sense is still regarded as a “criminal” element safe for commercial consumption?

DABS: I think touched on this a bit in another question.
 
But anyway…yes, and no, I suppose.
 
When I do most of my commercial work it isn’t entirely based on “graffiti themed” work though, so in this respect, it wouldn’t be paradoxical what I’m doing.
It would then just be considered regular commercial art, and not really “criminal” element material.
 
Overall ,I don’t even think that regular “production” style graffiti or “street art”  is actually considered a “criminal” influence to a mainstream audience anymore, maybe 20 years ago when it was related more to gang markings and vandalism etc.
 
It’s pretty common place to see in all types of media these days though and now considered very “safe”, maybe even safer than regular contemporary art and design, haha.
 
Of course the real stuff like bombing and train painting aren’t highly regarded by mainstream society or authority and probably considered to some degree a burden and not safe to promote being that it will increase the popularity and therefore increase the amount of un-wanted types of graffiti like tagging and bombing.
 
Is graffiti “safe” as commercial consumption though?
 
Probably not to graffiti in itself, and in some ways now I think it degrades it to some level. Maybe that’s through its commercialization, developing into something entirely different than what it started out as being in the beginning.
 
On a mainstream perspective though probably some people might see it as the gateway drug to criminal activity and lifestyle, which to some degree is true, but not half as much as other types of criminal activity we encounter on the streets and are exposed to daily on TV, or over the Internet.
 
The TV and Internet probably influences more people to go out and become wannabe gangsters, suicide murderers or rapists, which generally aren’t “safe” influences, compared to being exposed to vast amounts of colorful graffiti.

Why is it accepted by our society?  Because it makes more money.
 
This is a  huge difference to someone that might be exposed to seeing some  cool graffiti piece on a t-shirt or some commissioned wall productions on the street, and then it influencing them to becoming a good graffiti artist and or going out and vandalizing someone’s property.
 
Although which in the long run are the better influences anyway?
 
 I guess it all boils down to the general idea of what it all represents: freedom of expression, which also scares some types of people I think.

BS: What makes it more acceptable to have your art, for example, on a canvas, where people are assumedly paying some good coin to enjoy privately than say your last burner on the train station that you did for free, for the world to publicly enjoy? Am I the only one that thinks that’s sad at all?

DABS: I’ll go with the last burner in the train station deal.
That’s a nerve racking, intensive process you go through and endure to achieve that small piece of satisfaction or rush.
 
This is dedication, once you lay down the first line, from here on out your putting yourself on the line, so to speak, so of course if your successful that’s an amazing feeling and a huge rush as a reward, especially if you got some good pics out of it, which doesn’t always happen.
I’ll remember these moments and times in a yard a lot better than say while I was doing something on a wall or making some canvas in my studio, even though I also enjoy doing both.
Also, I don’t mind enjoying the feeling of selling a painting either though.

It’s always nice to feel people love your work enough to lay down good money for it, and it’s also a sign of respect to you as an artist, it says they like what you’re doing, which is also a  good feeling to know.
I just wish I sold more of my canvases; I do once in awhile, although not enough to sustain a living from it. I don’t really focus on this as much either, as I had about 6 -7 years ago. Probably because spend more time either going out to paint, or in designing clothing which is more practical to making a living for myself.
 
Also, if I wasn’t commissioned for a specific canvas and I worked on something privately for myself and then someone came by and wanted to buy it, I might feel hesitant sometimes to sell it, unless I really needed the money badly.

I grow an attachment towards some of my works, which may also be a reason I sell them as much?
Lately though I think I want to get rid of a lot of them and wished I sold them off a long time ago (lol).


 
BS: What projects do you really enjoy working on? Do you have anything you’re really dedicated to going on at the moment?
 
DABS: At the current moment I’m working on a 3d display diorama display for my shop ‘AMPM’ and re-decorating for the celebration of our one year anniversary. We’ve been open for a year now and thankful, being what’s been happening with the current global economic situation.
 
I have fun working on stuff like dioramas though and creating 3d environments, it’s a lot different than what I usually do so it’s a good change of pace for me.
 
My main project other than that however is the street clothing line I’m designing called ‘R.T.T.C’ which also means ‘Rotten to the Core’.
I started this last year and it’s slowly getting that off the ground more and more with new things happening with it, and more people interested in the products I’m making.
 
It’s only myself working on it right now though, and also investing in it, so the process has been a bit slower unfortunately than what I was hoping, but lately  I’ve been making more stuff and introducing new products and selling more at ‘AMPM’ and other shops around Taipei.
 
Hopefully it’ll blow up more in the next year, since I think I’ll have better products and maybe even a dedicated blog to it! (lol)
 
The general concept behind R.T.T.C is a combination of well made clothing with good design concepts/techniques incorporated into it. With of course background influences and ties ranging from many different outlets of current street lifestyle and culture and things that I’m generally interested in that are related within these genres.
I’m also trying to do some cool crossovers with other artists besides creating my own designs, so keep an eye out for that as well in the near future.

Whoa! that sounded like a plug ,haha.
 
BS: Where do you want to expand? Any new and interesting techniques you want to employ or experiment with

DABS: In my general art and design background type work, I’d probably like to do a project designing a toy maybe, seems like a natural progression at the moment?
 
The industry is fairly big out here in Asia, and it seems interesting to experiment with a new medium like this, and it has a lot more of a connection to my world anyway.
 
So generally more stuff involving sculpture and more 3d elements, which are new areas of interest of mine?
 
I really dig the artist Takashi Murakami’s huge life size anime series sculptures he does, and wish I were able to work with stuff like this more in the future ,it looks fun to do and so many possibilities to make cool shit with it.
 I would like to explore it more if it became possible for me and I had the time.
I’ll see what happens; these are just thoughts for now?
 
As for the graffiti tip of my artworks I haven’t really been experimenting as much lately, or trying to push my lettering very much as I usually like to, unfortunately?
 
I will always add new things or change it up a bit before I go out as I customarily do, but nothing too ground-breaking, I don’t think?
 
Probably more so because I have less time these days to dedicate towards only going out and painting, I have many other responsibilities to consider as well, besides getting up.
 
Lately though, I’m more down for just tagging or doing throw-ups and simple styles, because they’re faster ,easier and less time to prepare for and to some extent more satisfying, maybe?
 
I haven’t been piecing too much lately, but really wanting to get out and do something soon!
I’ll probably try doing more production type stuff over the summer, hopefully?

BS: To close, I’ll start anecdotally with a little knowledge I picked up from a documentary in Physical Anthropology 101: There are these caves in Australia on the Nullabor Plain and Arnhem Land and the Aborigines there have been painting on these caves for the last 40,000 years over thousands of generations since the dawn of human consciousness as a means to record the world around them—in other words, it’s like the first massive graffiti piece in the first 24/7 spot.
Keeping that in the back of your head, in 5 years, where do you want to be and where do you think you’ll be?
And where do you want graffiti to be? And where do you think it’ll be?
 
DABS: Wow, that’s a long way ahead. Good question.
I’m not that organized, so honestly I have no idea actually?
Living here in Asia though, time seems to slip by you so fast, so I’m sure that amount of time will fly by in a minute?
It only feels like I’ve been here maybe less than 4 years, but it’s now going on eight!
 
 Hopefully by that time (in  that 5 years from now) I’ll be able to drop my day job, and be more successful with my shop and the clothing line I’m currently involved in ,and that will allow me to be able to travel more and get to paint in other interesting destinations, and meet other graf heads etc..
 
I enjoy travelling and that’s more or less where I’d like to be in that time frame, although you need money, so my current venture hopefully will make it possible to fund this in the future.
 
I don’t like being stuck in one place for too long, I need space and movement.
 I’ve been dug in here, (Taipei), for awhile now, and I enjoy living here, but change is definitely essential for me as well, so maybe I’ll also be located somewhere else as well?
 
Once, I’m safer financially, I’ll probably try moving around more and use my time to develop other art skills and experiment with other artistic mediums etc. like I spoke about earlier.
 
Maybe I’ll go and live in another country and absorb some other culture for a bit, not sure yet?
 
As for keeping it real like the aborigines…Wow! 40,000 years, that’s a serious legacy!
Maybe I should go find a remote cave somewhere in the outback and turn it into my own private little gallery /show room that people can come and visit and add to, in like 40,000 years from now ,that’s if we’re all still around by then ,ha-ha.
 
As for graffiti overall, the future, for sure there’s going to be a reality- TV show being made about it or has it been made yet?
 
I suppose, graffiti in the future will probably be majorly commercialized to the point where dudes will have to post sponsors and logos all over their letters, while entering internationally televised mega-competitions in giant football stadiums, maybe?
 
That would be cool if they had events like the movie ‘Running Man’, but with graffiti somehow involved in it though, that would actually be a lot of fun to watch!
 
 Graffiti jams and contests seem to sort of be moving more and more in this direction now I think, as well as graffiti culture in general.
Once money is involved, their peaks more interest and motivation to be involved with it.
 
I actually entered in an event similar to this in China, last Fall called ‘Wall Lords’.
My crew won in the Taipei contest, so we were also flown to the finals in Shenzhen, China to compete with other crews from all over Asia.
  We actually came out first place in the contest as well, which was cool and sort of funny, we even got a trophy! Lol
 
It was just a small jam event (10 crews) and fun painting/meeting up with heads from other cities in China, as well.
The scene is relatively new, and also more on a pioneering tip at the moment, than it is back at home, so that was interesting to experience and get to see what’s happening out there.
 
  It was a great time, even though I’m not always much into these types of things on a regular basis, but I do like travelling and hooking up with other graf heads and having fun, so I saw this as an opportunity to do so, and that’s sort of what it’s more about than anything else, anyway.
 
But generally it still feels a little weird being involved in formal, organized events like this.
 I came up during a time when there weren’t many jams ,Internet “graf blogs” to check up on ,and even finding graffiti supplies, like mags or caps etc. was actually a really a exciting moment, ha-ha, let alone now participating in a graffiti contest and actually getting prizes for winning in it, ha-ha.
 
The direction the scene has taken over the last 15 years is pretty progressive though, being it’s still considered a criminal art form, and people do still go to jail for it?
 
It seems people’s motivations to be involved in graffiti are way different than what it maybe had been like 20 or thirty years ago though, but this is an evolution, I suppose, good or bad.
 

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