thanks Wuna for doing this interview! We actually did a portrait with you not too long ago where you delve into your personal history with graffiti, and in it you mentioned that you live in Montreal now instead of France. I was curious how you would compare the two scenes? I know Canada is being hit with crazy winter storms right now which must get in the way of you painting so how do you make a living during these months?
Honestly, I do not yet know enough about the Canadian scene as a whole; regarding Montreal, I have the impression that people are less coordinated when they paint together on a wall. Indeed, there is less production with a common thematic, similar colors scheme and a well-worked background than in the French scene (except for the gig) . Too often, everyone does his piece on his side, without link. The price of spray cans in North America compared to Europe or Latin America certainly plays a role for it. Apart from that, it seems to me that I find much more similarity than difference between the two scenes. Graffiti remains a common language.
As for the winter, it is certain that it plays a very important role in the dynamics of the scene. During this period, I focus on other projects, I do sketches and sometimes interior graffiti projects, and as much as possible I fly away a few weeks in the sun and paint abroad.
Moving from France to Canada is a huge leap what was it that made you want to move and do you ever think about going back or is Montreal now your homebase?
I immigrated to Montreal without expecting anything, just because I wanted to move and live new experiences, to test something else, to discover a new continent, and… I stay there…. I am now a Canadian citizen and, although I often return to France, part of my life is here. I do not know if I will stay all my life in Montreal as we do not know what life will be like, but I might still be there for a few more years …
Being from the united states I always thought of hip hop and graffiti as being something that started in the states and grew out into other parts of the world, would you say that is accurate? Or would you say it was a international phenomena from the start? What was your first encounter with hip hop culture?
I think it is hard to deny that Hip Hop culture was born in United States, even if it draws it inspiration from many cultures around the world.
I grew up in a very small town where Hip Hop was not very present; I discovered it, and especially graffiti, on the walls of the skate park of my city where I was doing skate and rollerblade at the age of 13-14. I immediately felt in love with this culture as a whole and that never left me. I started to practice graffiti and Break dance and I still continue to this day.
What do you think about the culture the internet has created around graffiti? There is so many writers out there that its very inspiring but at the same time very competitive? I imagine its a double edged sword because it must be easier to find work around the world, but there must be a lot of pressure to work constantly.
Internet culture has good and bad sides. But it allows graffiti to be spread around the world, and it help graffiti artists to get in touch more easily. Personally I do not feel in competition with anybody except myself. Everyday I discover talented graffiti artists and that really motivates me, but I do not feel any pressure. Graffiti is a pleasure, if you start to see it as a competition you have already lost.
On your website you say that you do educational workshops, can you tell us what people who are looking to learn from you will gain from these workshops? Where are they held and what do you hope people walk away with?
Honestly, I give less workshops than I used to, but when it happens, I prefer to be with a french speaking audiences, as it is my native language and I’m more comfortable this way.
I prefer to give workshops to teenagers and adults, and I avoid to give it to young children, because I do not think that a child can understand graffiti in its essence, and that it is not necessarily adapted. I don’t like to give workshops that turn quickly to “Daycare”. We do not learn graffiti with workshops, graffiti is a culture that lives, and I do not try to get my students out of workshops by being real writers. I allow them rather to discover and to become aware of this culture. We talk about history, who are the pioneers, what are the different style of letters and how we build them, I also explain the implicit rules, what is a crew … I try to make it fun, because for me, graffiti is above all, a game.
What do you do as a full time job? Do you ever think it will be possible for you to do graffiti as a full time gig?
I work for a cultural organization that helps artists of all kind, to manage and develop their artistic path, and aside my full time job, I get regular paint job like deco, customize, etc… But I don’t consider that like real graffiti… As soon as you are doing a commissioned work, you loose that sense of freedom and liberty that graffiti is supposed to be made of. And as soons as there is money involved it is not graffiti anymore… I don’t get the same pleasure out of it, at the end. Having a job next door allows me to be able to choose only projects that really interest me, because paying my rent do not depend only on that. In addition, make a living out of paint requires a lot of commercial work, you must know how to sell and I’m super bad with that … But if I could live out of painting by doing only what I want, I would sign up immediately!
How much time do you get to put towards your craft on a weekly basis?
I work between 35 and 40 hours a week to my full job, then for the graffiti all depends on the projects, sometimes nothing happens, sometimes I work on my graffiti projects 30h more… It requires a lot of organization and also sometimes generates a lot frustrations …
Who are your favorite artists and writers that you follow today? what music are you listening to these days?
There are many artists that I love, the list is too long … in terms of graffiti, here are a few: Miedo, Sly2, Hest1, Astus2, Rosyone, Mode2… I listen to a lot of music, which sometimes inspires me in my creativity. I listen to a bit of everything but especially boom bap rap, jazz, soul and fun….
Any shout outs? Where can people follow you and what can they expect next?
Shout out to all the people I met and to those who will one day cross my path, to my crews NTC, FPC, SGX, CMK, SP, and to all the relatives who share my life … What’s next? I do not know what to expect, I just came back after traveling for a couple of month, so I will now have to stay quietly in Montreal a few months, so you can surely meet me at the end of an alley or on a spot … To follow my work, go to my website or instagram
Interview by Wesley Edwards