Interview by Brian Beavers

Bombing Science: How do you feel about the modern art world’s embrace of graffiti as an art form?

Egr: The modern art world has long since embraced graffiti as an art form, from back in the days of Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat.  Perhaps it was more perceived as a trend, as in my opinion it does still seem quite rare that graffiti appears in modern art spaces.  My work is part of a group exhibition titled Housepaint, which happens to  be the first exhibition of street art in a major Canadian museum.  It has taken a long time for graffiti to be accepted as a legitimate art form around the world and not just a trend or fad.

BS: It started out as a way to express or to mark territory or as a way of getting a message across, do you feel it still holds true to these roots?

Egr: I definitely feel the same holds true for modern day street art, even more so in competition with all the advertising messages we are bombarded with on a daily basis.  To have your (street) art stand out you are competing with a myriad of distractions, colours and motifs in billboards and general street marketing and advertising campaigns, so to have your work stand out, or to put forth a message, it is even more challenging nowadays.

BS: Do you feel the commercialization of graffiti has tarnished it in any way, such as Marc Ecko’s video game or the uses of it in advertising?

Egr: It depends on which level of the spectrum you are looking at. For the graff artists whose personalities and work is featured on Ecko’s game or in advertising, it sets them apart and glamorizes them like rockstars- so in turn it is great for their careers.  For graffiti’s sake in general, the commercialization has taken away from the original concept in terms of what it originally represented, in my opinion, making something out of nothing, or having a voice in a struggling community.  Making it marketable and accessible in a ‘guitar hero’ kind of way is kind of sad in an exploitative way, but I understand everything has to move forward somehow.  Like the commercialization of hip hop, it has tarnished people’s concept’s of it, but you can’t take away from the past and what it once or originally was, and it still can be tapped into.  Plus, many of the originators of the art form that are still alive are still in their prime!!!  And who knows what might come of the art form, or future forms of art.

BS: Are your pieces politically, socially or more aesthetically driven and how do you decide what ideas to convey?

Egr: Can I say that my work is emotionally driven?  I do tend to be socially conscious as opposed to heavily political, and aesthetics are always key.  I tend to think of painting like telling a story, and it’s a challenge to filter all of my ideas into one image, so I tend to go with my gut in making these decisions.  The reason I love working with aerosol is that it adds another element to the story by the juxtaposition of soft elements with such a hardcore medium. These days I tend to work with a theme and that is my starting point, and whatever happens in between and during the process is the raw stuff, the meat & potatoes.  I like to have things planned out to some extent, but it is in the process that I learn about myself and make realizations, so I try to be open and experiment.   When I paint it’s like tapping into another realm or form of consciousness, so I try not to be super intellectual or over think it.

BS: Who were your major influences/What drove you into the graffiti scene?

Egr: I was attending college for Illustration when I became more conscious of what was happening on the streets.  There was a connection for me when it came to the accessibility of the art form. At the time I was so engrossed with trying new mediums and experimenting with new techniques.  I was breaking down boundaries in my one advertising class with the use of graffiti in the subtext of one of my projects.  I began to see street art as a statement in and of itself, and the fact that it fit into contemporary categories made it fresh and new to me.  My friends were also into it and we would post stickers in the hallways at school and venture by train into Toronto to drop pieces and leave our tags.  My peers and other artists like Clew, Font, Kwest, Art Child and Elicser (to name a few) inspired me, and the fact that we all seemed to be communicating with each other whether we had met or not, like an underground communications system, is what kept me intrigued.  I never thought that street art and murals would be something I would still be doing so many years later.

BS: How do you find time to do all the forms of art you are involved in? According to your site,, you currently do installations, mural pieces, as well as work on canvas and found objects.

Egr: Lately I have been overwhelmed, as commissioned work tends to take up most of my time despite the fact that I really want to be doing my own thing.  I can’t complain that I’m busy, but I cherish the time where I can create the images that are in my head and sketchbooks.  I do have creative freedom when it comes to commissioned work, but I am aspiring to move into fine art more so these days. I wear alot of hats, but you know, women can be quite good at multitasking.  😉  I could never hold a job where I would have to go in and do the same thing, day after day, and I enjoy the freedom and flexibility.  I also have a live workspace and that helps alot too.

BS: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Egr: I draw my inspiration from life in the city, the fast pace, the colorful nature, and the organic buzz you can see and feel despite the lack of nature.  I can find nature and beauty in raw brick, in weathered wood, in the changing of the seasons and the evolution of the city which makes me feel alive.  I am inspired by my peers and the talent that is coming out of Toronto and Canada for that matter.  My family is a big part of my inspiration and I want to heal and inspire others, which inspires my willingness to create.

BS: Are there any artists outside of graffiti art that you admire?

Egr: I am inspired by fine art masters like Klimt, Schile, Van Gogh, Modigliani, etc, as well as the contemporaries of my time in terms of illustration and fine art such as Glenn Barr, Joe Sorren, and Gary Baseman, to name a few.  These artists have a quality in their work that is dreamlike and recognizable, and I’m simply drawn to the aesthetics of it and other forms of lowbrow art.

BS: How does the graffiti scene in Canada differ from the American one for you? Where do you consider it to be most prominent in the world?

Egr: In my opinion, the most prominent graffiti scene in the world has to be the US, specifically New York.  The fact that graffiti originated in NY makes me believe it is still the mecca. In Harlem and the Bronx with so much work by TATS crew, and The Hall Of Fame is brilliant and nostalgic and alive as ever, and I’ve seen it firsthand.  I haven’t yet been to LA so I can’t really say, but from talking to other artists I see it also as thriving.  Without cold weather to put up with graffiti is all season.  You can’t really compare the States to Canada as we have our own thing going on, and our Canadian pride is deep.  Montreal is the graffiti capital of Canada, I would say, with Toronto and Vancouver following suit.  Big things are coming up from here.

BS: What is your overall message? You clearly enjoy this, otherwise you wouldn’t be doing it. But is there something you’re trying to convey?

Egr: I would like to convey a feeling of hope within the struggles of dealing with life, or urban life, as a young adult. Defying gender roles and the topics of the deteriorating natural landscape and our effects on the earth are also sub genres that I find myself addressing time and again.  I think people tend to think that the medium is the message, or that I’m all about girl power, but my work is much deeper than that. I’m an artist.

BS: Do you find yourself fighting to prove something because you’re in a male-dominated industry/profession? What sort of struggles as a woman have you faced as an artist?

Egr: As a female I have found it difficult to be taken seriously.  To be confident in this game as a female is pretty tricky, especially in the midst of the boys club scene.  Being one of the only girls can make one feel vulnerable, so it’s important to stand your ground and have confidence, and only few women seem to possess the confidence in themselves that it takes to step up and just do your thing.  I know my place in the world, and am a woman now;  but when I was a girl it was harder to fit in.

BS: Where do you see graffiti in the next 5 years given its acceptance in many major cities these days? Do you see it becoming more prominent? Becoming more controlled by city law enforcement?

Egr: We have already begun to see an evolution of graffiti in the form of various types of street art.  Public murals, digital prints pasted on the streets, and virtual forms of laser tags and light projected on buildings are new forms and extensions of the art form.  In the future I see many types of people being drawn to the artform, participating and overtaking public spaces by developing their own artistic statements.  These days it seems you have to have permission, a proposal and approval for the city to accept it and not remove it.  Hopefully public spaces can be claimed for use by its owners to host various types of art forms and murals, and for the negative graffiti connotations to be more clearly defined as vandalism and for graffiti and street art to earn the respect and recognition they deserve.

BS: There are many people outside of the graffiti world that still view it as destructive or not an art form. You cannot sway everyone’s ideals or beliefs to fit your own, however, do you still try to do so, so that it’s not viewed as just “gang-writing” or ugly?

Egr: I know my work walks a fine line and I accept that. I love painting huge and quick murals with spraycans, but I’m not trying to say what I do is graffiti, but it is art.  I think when most ignorant people think of graffiti, they think of vandalism.  I usually use the term ‘mural art’ or ‘aerosol art’ for what I do, but I don’t just paint on walls, I paint on canvasses and other things too.  By admitting that I paint with aerosol,  people can decide for themselves which category to put me in if they must.  I hope that I can broaden people’s perspectives by not labeling my work. I’m an artist. I just happen to love using spraycans.

Thanks a lot for your time, EGR.
Be sure to check out her work at