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? How long have you been in graffiti and how did you get started?
Hello My name is Snear, I’m from a small place – Riga, Latvia. (I bet many of you don’t even know where this place is)
The letters have linked me since I remember myself, i enjoyed exploring all kinda a variety of food & snack packages,
cartoons, comics, and musical band names, everywhere where were letters.
One day I saw the graffiti on the trainline walls, it was unseen in my eyes, how come someone can paint something like this?
It changed my life and I began to draw my first graffiti sketches on paper.
My first attempts of graffiti dates back to 2000. I began painting on the walls around 2003, of course it was with bucket Paint and pinzels.
One day i got spray paint cans, but nothing worked out on the wall as I had planned. That made me realize there would be no outcome without practice.
I started to draw a lot of sketches on paper but i didn’t go painting on the walls at that time. There were also pauses when I didn’t do anything about graffiti at all.
Ive been active on the walls I started to paint in 2006, at that time when the graffiti new era began in Latvia. I met alot of new friends and writers.
When I scroll through your feed I see a lot of crew jams and collaborations, what is your favorite collaboration piece that you have done?
What crews do you rep and do you ever do any festival jams or do you only do throw-ups and bombs on your own with your buddies?
I represent DNA(Damage n Art), ODC(Off Da Chain) crews.
Yeah, i love to paint together with my good friends.
One of my favorite wall I painted with the ODC crew in 2014. It was a street art event, but they didn’t even announce that we were painting at that event and at the end we had to sort out all the permits with city government so we could paint there.
This painting represents our city of Riga. This spot is the largest I’ve painted in.
(there were unexpected surprises , of course, and at night time we lost our spray paint cans,someone came and took it, but no one would admited it. We even had a security guard there. But he said the organiser took it.
After this, I realized that I was not going to participate in such unprofessional events.)
I very much liked the graffiti festival in the Netherlands “Step in the Arena”, more than 150 writers came from all over the world. Very good memories.\
Big thanks to my man Clone to share his wall with me there. respect
I mostly paint detailed and technical graff pieces, I don’t have two equal paintings, I choose to draw something different each time.
So I choose Chill spots, where I can draw without a rush. And I enjoy every minute there next to the wall. This is how I relaxing, my meditation .
I like to take part in events, but not in Latvia, I prefer other countries.
What is your favorite documentary or book that covers the history or major players of graffiti and why?
The documentary Style Wars. These are the beginnings of graffiti, it was a time in which you could prove yourself, it’s all true and without fake , it’s our history.
Book – Subway Art: 25th Anniversary Edition.
There are a lot of writers that could be highlighted, but I will highlight exactly this period of time in general who has so impressed me.
Some graffiti artists take their craft and try to turn it into a full time career as a service for others, I’m curious if you have any ambition to do something along those lines?
Others say that if you do it for pay then you lose the soul of graffiti, do you agree or disagree with this?
It is all individual, others do need it, others do not need it at all. I have also tried to create a few projects, for example, I made a printing machine so I could start marketing my graffiti shirts, sweaters, etc.
People liked my stuff, but I stopped at the fact that I don’t like advertising and stuffing with my products on top of others.
But still there is an idea to come back one day and try again, time will show. I have already some good ideas 🙂
I believe you can’t lose your soul with what you love to do.
Graffiti has expanded into multiple areas, we see mural art everywhere and it’s begun to spread into art galleries and it’s finally accepted as real art.
What do you think of how graffiti has evolved over the years? Do you think how mainstream it is has killed the mystique behind graffiti? Do you ever think you will put your work in a gallery?
Everything depends on where you are. We don’t have a legal wall in Latvia, where you can express yourself in technical letters with background and theme That is why we have so many bombings and tags around the city. Only few guys still try to do wildstyles. And the events are mostly dominated only by street art without letters at all. Latvian people don’t accept the letters here. But at the same time, they called street art graffiti, we are very much behind the European level. So our graffiti scene is what it is.
Now here is an era when you can start drawing straight away, go into the internet – chose your style and redraw. (You don’t have to!) Its So fake.
I believe that a large part of the young writers do not respect others at all, they do not understand that you need to respect others too.
They crossing old school pieces without any guilt, they aint give a shit at all. Cmon.. zero street knowledge. You cant take them seriously.
Pay attention to what re you doing first and then do it with attitude.
I don’t even know what I should paint to ever get into the gallery. Certainly wouldn’t be ready for it now.:)
What kind of music do you listen to when you paint? Who is your favorite hip hop artist and why?
Honestly, when I paint, I don’t listen to music at all. But I do it when I making sketches and at my free time.
Oldschool Hip-hop and instrumental beats dominate in my playlist, but I also prefer, deep house, jazz, blues, drum n base.
For those out there that are hungry to improve at their craft but don’t know how to exactly what do you recommend? Is there any specific practice or exercise that you have discovered that has helped you over the years?
Get to know your niche, use the internet, find very useful information there (youtube, Reddit, google). Don’t be afraid to fail and believe yourself, and everything will be ok.
one thing that i discovered over the years: don’t waste your money buying expensive sketching tools .They wont increase your skills for letters structure and flow. I always bought only cheap markers for sketching letter outlines without fill-ins. You only focusing on main thing on graffiti like letter structure.
And Later you can learn all kinds of color combinations and other stuff.
Do You have any crazy travel or chase stories you can tell?
There are a number of stories to tell. But I have one really good.
I and my teammate ZINK came on a bus to the countryside and we had to go 3 km by our feet to the village. We had full bags of paint and weed. We decided that we were going to be out here all night and paint a bus stop with some throwies and we both got completely wasted. So we vandalize it and we went on our way to the village. We see that some car is driving on the road, it was dark outside and at the last moment we see its a police car.
Ok, they just passing us, damn ,that was close , everything seems fine. We keep walking and we see someone driving again from the other direction.
We see its the same police car from before and he stops for us. The police guy opens the window and says: ” Hello boys, the road is dangerous and its a nighttime, so get into the car, we’ll take you to the village.”
We didn’t want to look suspicious considering we just did a shit load of illegal activities and we had some stuff in our backpacks.
We get into the car straight away, since it wouldn’t be a good idea to run away when you are super high. We didn’t say a word, cuz that moment was so weird to talk.
We just did a crime and now were in a police car, but they didn’t know anything about that crime at all.
When they let us out we laughed so hard. 😀
Any shout outs you would like to give? where can people follow you?
Huge thanks to my family for supporting me all these years – Signe, Leonora, Mom, Dad and my bro.
Shout outs to my mates: Zink, Jeker, Sense, Avoid, Thot, Shit (ODC crew)
Yo Spark(DNA), my boy Trend, Yo Faro, Ynk, Tek, Tase (boys from TDV crew)
Yo Clone (Lafa, Nawas), Koesh(Ogees) and all other guys and my insta followers. I respect you all, real deal boyz.
My Instagram: Follow me here
Interview by Wesley Edwards