Bombing Science: First of all what’s good? And what do you write, what crews do you rep and how many years have you been in the game?

Vents: Life is good. I write Vent/Vents, RTR crew, I painted my first piece in 1996

BS: How did you get down with RTR Crew?

Vents: It’s always just been a small team of good mates. Ikon, Shake and I were the original members and since then we’ve only added 3 more. We’ve never been concerned with being the biggest or the best. We just enjoy hanging out, sharing ideas, partying and painting together.

BS: What part of the world are you from?

Vents: Auckland, New Zealand.

BS: How do you contribute to put New Zealand on the map?

Vents: New Zealand’s got a good little scene going so foreign countries have already taken notice. It’s a long way from the rest of the world but still a popular travel destination. For me it’s just doing graffiti, putting photos on my flickr account and responding to the occasional photo request from international magazines.

BS: I noticed among your pictures that the trains you paint are really different from the ones we see up in America. What models are they, where do they go?

Vents: I guess you’re referring to the freights? The most commonly painted ones are called “Space Runners”. I believe they are manufactured locally and are unique to New Zealand. They carry freight all over the country. They’re often put on a Ferry that goes across the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands. I’m from Auckland in the North Island but things done up here often end up being photographed down in the South Island, and likewise a lot of the stuff that gets painted in the South Island travels back up North.

As for passenger trains they are old cars from Australia and Britain, shipped over then refurbished and repainted in local regional corporate colors.

BS: Any funny yard stories to share?

Vents: Mostly its the usual things like lying in bushes, getting chased and evading capture. The last time I was painting with a freight car with Stray we were about 5 minutes from finishing our E2E when a security car came speeding through the gate right onto the tracks directly at us. We ran around the other side of the car and then legged it down the tracks for about 100m until we found some bushes to hide in. At this stage Stray announced that he lost his car keys during the dash. After waiting about half an hour we decided to go back and finish the pieces, then look for the keys.

After finishing and about 10 minutes searching in the dark we were just about to give up when I found them. The pieces were cool, we didn’t have to walk home and we got good flicks the next morning so everything turned out OK!

BS: Tell us about the police in New Zealand, is graffiti well tolerated or is it still an underground phenomenon?

Vents: I wouldn’t say graffiti is well tolerated by any stretch of the imagination, the city councils spend a lot of taxpayer money to clean up graffiti fast, but there are always areas that mange to elude the buff. Sometime the buffers let some pieces slide because they actually like the pieces. I’ve been pretty lucky not to be caught for over 10 years. In most cases it’s just a case of getting arrested, going to court and paying your fines.

However they are starting to get tougher these days, I’ve heard about a few house raids going down, and police trying to build cases against guys that have been doing excessive damage. I’ve managed to talk my way out of many situations over the years where a landlord has not been on site to contradict my story. To be honest my biggest problem with police has come about from minor driving offenses, not graffiti.

BS: What are you thoughts on the amount of graffiti on the internet? How do you feel about graffiti being more commercial?

Vents: It’s only natural for graffiti to end up on the internet just like the news, shopping, porn and everything else people are into. I’m not really into buying graffiti magazines so it gives me something to pass the time at work. Even if you try to keep your photos to off the net there’s always going to be someone else putting a shitty flick of your piece out there. At least by showing your own photos you can have more control over the quality of the image and release it before anyone else does. I like how graffiti on the net is so up to the minute. You can check in on Monday and see what everyone did on the weekend. With magazines and books most of the pieces are already at least 3 months old. I tend to avoid online forums – too many toys and big egos trash talking behind fake user names, it’s depressing to be read opinions of 16 year old internet gangsters that spend too much time in front of a computer, I’d rather not think that I’m somehow involved in that scene.

Regarding the commercial side of graffiti – Personally I’m not interested in expanding the boundaries of graffiti beyond painting in the public environment. I’m not interested in collectible graffiti merchandise, brand identity or graffiti fashion. Even when good writers work with good brands the end result usually tends to be pretty contrived. I don’t have an issue with writers who choose to pursue a career from graffiti or making some cash on the side, but personally that’s not for me.

BS: What are your sources of inspiration, how do you stay motivated to spend so much time out painting?

Vents: It’s always been mostly about fun and adventure. I guess over time the ambition to progress stylistically becomes more of a driving force. I think seeing a lot of highly polished and technique driven graffiti inspired me to explore the limits of my own artistic and technical capabilities for a time.

Nowadays I’m less concerned with competing to be the best and doing the most. I think you have to sacrifice a lot to reach that point and you have to ask yourself what the real benefits and rewards are. I’m thinking a lot more about the enjoyment I get during the process of painting in a restricted time frame. Also maintaining a balance between graffiti and other aspects of life like friends, family and relaxation. So I think for 2010 I’m going to take a back to basics approach to graffiti, take it a little less seriously and just try to have a lot of fun with it. So far so good!

BS: What are your other interests aside from graffiti?

Vents: I love to travel and graffiti has been one of the best ways to do it. But when I get away I like to have a holiday too, take in the sites, culture, food and nightlife. I’m focused on sport, health and fitness a lot more these days. We are lucky in New Zealand to have access to a lot of outdoor pursuits like beaches, fishing and nature. Other than that I just like hanging with friends, enjoying good food and life in general.

BS: Any advice for the kids who are just starting out?

Vents: Learn as much about the history of graffiti and your local history as you can. If you only get one book make it Subway Art or Kings of Graffiti, they will be a constant source of reference, knowledge and inspiration. Don’t tag on pieces, or backgrounds for a cheap shot at fame, nobody reads that shit. If you’re going to go tagging, walk down the main street or bus route, not the tracks. Look for new spots instead of going to the places with the most graffiti.

BS: Last words, shout outs?

Vents: Thanks for the interview.