1) Alright so thanks for taking the time out to do this interview, can we get a brief rundown of who you are and how long have you been in the game? What crew do you rep and how did you get the name POKAR?
This is Pokar from Hamburg, Germany. I’ve been doing graffiti since 2004, I was sketching for years before that but it didn’t pop off til then. I am the founder of the Suf Crew and as 4 years ago I joined the group Shk crew from New York founded by Blame and Penz.
2) What I dig about your work is the mix of wildstyle letters, but you also incorporate a lot of figures and other graphical elements into your work, this makes me want to ask: What kind of educational background do you have? Do you work as a graphic designer or illustrator on the side? I can imagine your stuff would look dope on a comic!
I try to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone as much as possible, I really enjoy the freedom of doing my own concepts on walls that are whatever I am inspired by. I do commission works now for a living and I worked as an illustrator and designer for years before I started making a living off my own work.
3) I see a lot of your work takes place in Hamburg Germany, how would you compare the scene of Hamburg to other places you’ve been to in Europe?
Hamburg has a pretty active scene. Trains are constantly being painted and there are some very high-level writers here. However, in the last few years quality writing has gone down and we see more of the anti-style writing. It’s hard to compare or point out now but there are many differences to the scene in Hamburg and other European cities. But I think every city has its own Touch in this World. Hamburg, for example, always had an influence from Scandinavian graffiti which is more simple, cartoony, and colorful.
When you travel through Europe do you feel like your picking up things from other areas, different ideas and techniques that might be unique to each community/country?
This is an interesting question, It was like that in the past and still, you do see some regions that have their own approach to style but I think social media has done away with a lot of that. These unique differences have Faded away to a certain extent because you can see graffiti from the whole Planet on your couch when you open your Smartphone.
4) With any creative pursuit there are peaks and valleys as we do the creative work, what kind of obstacles have you had to face along your path? Was there ever a time where you thought about giving it up and doing something else?
In my almost 20 years of painting, I had ups and downs as everybody will have but I can say Graffiti got me in a lot of trouble with law enforcement, and at the same time it kept me from getting involved in worse things, at the end its only paint. Graffiti is awesome it has opened so many. doors for me. I’ve gotten the chance to know some really great people and I’ve seen so many places in this world I would have never seen without doing graffiti. I never thought about quitting, graffiti is life for me. However I would like to paint more on canvas, but that’s another Story.
5) What is your favorite documentary or book that covers the history or major players of graffiti and why?
Subway Art. Why cause its Subway Art :)! A second book I would recommend is a pretty new book from Hamburg called “Eine Stadt Wird Bunt” the artist Daim was one of the initiators for this book. It’s a book that Shows Hamburg in the development of the first political Tags of the late 70s till full color walls and trains of 2000.
6) I see you’ve done a fair amount of traveling not just through Europe but also India, why did you pick India as a spot for graffiti work? I see you know Dizy in Germany she is from India and you did some traveling there. How was that? It seems like you are a well-traveled guy, any crazy travel stories to share?
I traveled a lot in Europe. Outside of Europe, I painted in the US, India, and Cuba. Recently I was in St Louis to paint a spot at night and a guy came out of his house with an automatic shotgun yelling at us that we were in the wrong neighborhood and to get out if we didn’t want to be shot. This was pretty shocking, as a European I am not so used to people pointing automatic weapons at me in the middle of the night!
That’s a more recent Story. I’m sure there has to be a story involving a monkey at some point in your travels. Luckily no monkey stole my paints in India no 🙂 but I spotted a lot of them all over.
7) For those wanting to follow in your footsteps, what kind of advice do you give? For people that are getting good at their craft but are timid about throwing themselves completely into it 100%, what do you say to those folks?
First, be humble and respectful and know the history. I think graffiti is not for everybody, but if you are one of those paint-addicted people you will find your way.
8) What’s your go-to hip hop artist to listen to while you’re working? Who would you say is underappreciated in either hip hop or graffiti that deserves more recognition?
I mostly Listen to more old school rap: Wu Tang Clan, Nas, Hieroglyphics, Large Professor, MF Doom, Stuff like that. In graffiti i think there are a lot of crazy talented guys out there that are not on the map cause not everybody likes to play the social media game which is nowadays important to get seen.
9) Thanks again for taking the time out to chat, any shoutouts you would like to give? Where can people follow you and purchase your work?
Thanks for having me! Shout out to the whole SUF Crew, especially Koma, zoxes, Jat and Abik! Shout out to my boys from SHK !!! Thx for rockin together Meres, nemz, zerock, blame and penz! And last greetz to Dizy thanks for a great time in India! You can follow me on instagram you will find my work for sell on there from time to time. Thanks guys!
Follow POKAR on Instagram @pokaruno