Meeting with Burs and Bozik from Russia

We met Burs and Bozik from Russia the last year, they were in Paris to prepare an exhibition.

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Can you explain what you make exactly? Letters, characters…?

Burs: I write letters. This may be my name or Vice versa. Now I began to write different phrases. Mostly I write things that inspire me. Sometimes I create them myself. Sometimes, somewhere, hear them, and understand the sentence. I want to write on the wall. Recently on the street wrote the sentence: « Do what you love ».

Bozik: I draw everything. From tags and stickers to large murals. I like to draw sacred geometry, I like to draw animals and I like to draw a letter and fonts.

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You are in same crew, can you tell us more about?
Burs: we came up with the team « good » with my friend Anton . Back in 2011 . We wanted to create a team of unique and original people . This team was created to do good for people . But after a while I realized that we inspire many people to work and people talking with us , began to engage in any kind of creativity . This is good . One of the only salvation of man lies through creativity ,Creativity makes man free , through the process of creativity man is tuned to positive vibrations . Creativity is changing and expanding human consciousness . Man develops through creativity . That’s what we understand . And that’s what the team strives for « good » – to develop .

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How long have you known each other?
Bozik : We met live 2 months ago, but I was familiar with the work of Bursone and his team for a long time. I always liked what they did.
Bursone : I met bozik 2 months ago, in his hometown of Kazan, at the combination festival. I felt a good vibe when I met him. After getting acquainted with a lot of drawing on the street, and I realized that we are very similar to him.

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What are these similarities?
Burs: we are close in spirit people – to put it briefly .
Bozik: We are very similar in that we are both in a positive mood. For a long time I did not write my name on the street, I wrote the word Love in English and Russian (ЛЮБОВЬ). Roman and his team have long been writing the word ДОБРО (Good, kindness). And it’s almost the same thing. Love and Good are inseparable. Therefore we are united.

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When did you start drawing?
Burs : I started drawing graffiti in 2004. I’ve been drawing for 13 years and there have been breaks in my creative work related to the understanding of my art. I have experimented a lot in my search for my forms. But I’m still looking for more and more forms of letters. This is the process where you are constantly developing your style.
Bozik : graffiti started to draw in 2001, but then I did not draw much, and I had a long break, then I started drawing in 2011 and still draw every day.

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Why make pause, how many time, and what did you do?
Bozik: I had a break in drawing. I have not painted on the street for about seven -eight years. At this time, I painted on paper and painted canvas. I painted a lot of abstract and surrealistic paintings. I experimented a lot and gradually came to the point that I began to draw with dots. I really liked it. When I started to draw graffiti again – the first drawing after the break I drew. I really liked it and for many years I drew only dots.

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How did you start drawing?
Burs : I was inspired by 1 person from my area to draw graffiti. This is Pacer tad in 2004?. The first time I met graffiti when I saw his work. They inspired me very much.
Bozik : I started drawing as a child, drawing trucks, motorcycles and ninja turtles. Graffiti began to draw with the appearance of a musical CD Rap-music 2000, it was a powerful collection of Russian rap. My first piece I drew from the cover of this album.

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Why?
Bursone : After my inspiration, I ran to the shop for spray paint. And when I first tried drawing, I really liked the feeling of drawing. I liked my vibrations while drawing. can you describe these vibrations? I can say that I didn’t feel so good before I met graffiti.
Bozik : I’ve always liked the drawing process itself. I like the state of the art while drawing. When I draw, I forget everything. Time disappears. I feel calm when I draw on canvas and I feel invigorated when I draw illegally.

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What kind of studies did you do?
Burs: I did not conduct classes , I drew if it was required by my soul . And if I wanted to do something to Express through
Bozik: I studied at high school and the oil technical university.

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How did you study drawing?
Bursone : This is a personal process and everyone has their own. I wanted to achieve interesting forms of graffiti, good combinations of colors. I didn’t do it all at once, sometimes I was upset that I couldn’t do it. But after a day I ran back to the shop for paint to make my drawings even better. After 5 years of drawing, I saw my development. I had no talent for drawing. I don’t need it. The main thing is to love my business. That’s what I realized.
Bozik : I haven’t specially studied drawing anywhere. I constantly painted on the rear ports at the school institute. And I did not like to study and therefore always painted. I received all the basic drawing training while standing against the wall. He learned to draw people and animals not on paper but on the wall. In general, when I started drawing graffiti, I always bought paint and spent all the money on it. I drew little sketches but drew a lot on the walls. This is probably why I have a lot of bad fonts and drawings. I always try new techniques to apply it outside.

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Do you draw only for an exhibition or draw something else?
Bursone : I draw mostly on the street, I like that passers-by can see the art of different artists on the street. It’s an open-air gallery. Isn’t it beautiful?  I have always painted only on the street, in illegal places. I drew on the roofs of St. Petersburg, in the city where I live for 10 years. I drew on everything I can imagine. This is my first exhibition, I want to thank the owner of the gallery « in Art we trust » Jonas, for this opportunity. I am very pleased with this opportunity.
Bozik : We make paintings for the exhibition, but most of all I paint on the street. 90% of what I paint is illegal work on the street. I think it’s the best exhibition ever. In my own city, I have been drawing on the street for many years for another name so that the police wouldn’t find me.

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Why want to show art to passers-by?
Burs: Because art is a holiday of the soul, and when you have a holiday , you want to share it . People like to see art . They are charged , they are inspired to new thoughts on new ideas .
Bozik: Streetart and graffiti is a very convenient creation to show it to a casual spectator. These people may never go to the gallery, but they will see our drawings on the streets. It can inspire a new generation to create something good.

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Do they really want to?
Burs: I can’t answer that question . I do not know. Sometimes they are unhappy with what they saw creativity . But who knows, maybe he should be unhappy . And the other on the contrary will be inspired by the drawing on the street , and will become an outstanding artist .
Bozik: I don’t know if passers-by need this. Like it or not. Always someone likes someone doesn’t like it. But something inside me tells me that I can make some places even better. I can decorate them).

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How is the legislation in Russia about tags?
Burs: In Russia it’s very simple . If you tag and you get caught, the fine is 8 euros , and you’re free
Bozik: In Russia, if you are caught for a tag on an ordinary building or fence, then you will be taken to a police station, you may sit in jail until morning, then they will write you a fine of 500-1500 rubles (8-20 euros) and let them go home. But if you draw on historical buildings and monuments, they will first write a huge fine and in some cases they can put you in jail for vandalism.

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How is the reaction of people?
Burs: In most cases there is no reaction . All people are in the matrix of their problems and things that they need to have time to do . They don’t have time before you, before you paint. I always wonder about that. But on the other hand, I don’t do anything criminal , I just draw .
Bozik: Everyone thinks differently. some people like and some don’t. In Russia you can hit if you draw or try to detain to call the police. But more often yell on you. Few people say positive things.

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Have u word for end?
We would like to thank the whole family and friends for supporting us. we thank everyone with whom we painted and will paint! We love everyone and everything! we feel that we are all one. our game is beautiful. our illusion is wonderful. life is a joy! Thank you.

M. Wassup’s making of

Some of us travel with a watercolor book to sketch the world with the tip of the brush, but others sketches it with the caps on subways, and walls. Wassup book of travels is all over his Instagram account, a day to day journey printed on plane tickets like a collection. Although it seems to be a travel book, it is also an artistic issue.

I am under the impression that we are experiencing vacations for months, they started like six months ago in March everything is lasting like August only too long. Lockdown had me tackled my articles through the unfamiliar of some Youtube, or Instagram accounts from writers around the world. At the ends of the earth impossible to travel to when Schengen was closed, and now that we are almost free but not totally. I am about to say again: yes it is disorienting to scroll Instagram writers’accounts from Miami to Jakarta. I see myself watching a 1up short movie painting a subway in Berlin under climes penetrated by flashes of fireworks, people were stunned. I also see myself watching photos of Kivi’s of the beach of Odessa, or San’s photos of Honolulu. Those photos are not only important because they refer to something essential when the distance offers the possibility. Those accounts provide for action photos, live atmosphere, portrait.

Among them, you have M.Wassup’s account, with block letters LOVE through Europe, Asia, or South America. Some pictures show letters on various trains from Italy, Germany, Swedish, and boats from Bali, graceful under Indonesian climes, where the shadows of the palm leaf stripe the colors spread out to the walls. Most of the photos which gather information about it seem to be jealously preserved from intrusive eyes. Like his letters on a train in Sao Paulo, drooped, we get to see very little, more a panoramic picture of the city, gloomy comment. Or the ones on Moscovite subway where we get the perfect head of the machine breaking off the convergence lines with its tubular box. Wassup creates a mysterious atmosphere out of his letters.

Enigmas ruptured that Wassup seems to prefer to maintain with poetic intervals (the study of the creative process). Pixels spout out of the scintillation of a wire wheel machine bumping into a subway door. A cloud of paint only visible because of a light bulb glistening inside a tunnel somewhere in the world. Those photos limit how we perceive the work to introduce the process of creation. They free the paint from the “esthesis” (how we perceive the work) of a frontal camera angle, it looks despotic, upon its throne. Just like an anamorphosis, those camera angles create a new perspective where the blue of the sky plays with the obscurity of the metropolitan labyrinth, where the horizon of the sun breaks those of the tiles of its stations. The look of a female spectator wearing or not a bikini, it abolishes the dryness of a picture purely informative. They put the paint in context, and they tell what was going on during the creative process, they make it alive.

Poetry intensifies these camera angles where sometimes we see the painters go through by narrow entries, some verticals dizzying tubes, some never-ending ways along the railways, forbidden support like an excellent fruit…those pictures to seize those attitudes calculating the space and the time parameters to measure their work comparing them to the excessiveness of the big cities and their complexity, capturing the gestures of the painting bigger due to the length of the work, imposing, on enormous support as well; prominent ride horse onto the head of that big iron horse resting under surveillance inside its underground stable; and the last shots of the getaway blocked; we could think that the process of creation could end up here. Coming out of that improvised workshop, where the day to day life seems to be put on hold. But the air of the surface can not announce the end of the act of the interventionism of the artists from the 70s and the beginning of everyday life again.

The air puts its continuity together, the logical sequel of the process of creation which feed itself from life, one you can not lockdown inside the claustrophobic atmosphere of the studio. The set of pictures which are defined as the unusual Wassup’s travel book could be taken along a coastal path, the curve of a craggy road, a private parking lot. That making of which is not affordable to any passenger or walker who then becomes a spectator is not just a bonus. It gives life to the painting by revealing all the performative process, the complexity of the painter’s context. They reveal the evolutionism of the modification the painter made. The piece of work does not spout spontaneously anymore on the support as a creationist act it elaborates in life. The ordinary which feeds the painting, which takes possession of the man, and alters by its presence. By replacing the usual nobility repository of the frame to use it as a support, could we consider that the transposition of the alteration paint announces the desire to honor the daily?

Find him on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mr.wassup/?hl=de

Translation by Sarah Gozzi.

Discover Kiev with Kurt

We met Kurt to get away from it all this summer, so let’s take a trip to Kyiv, Ukraine. Between his 20s and 30s, he made pieces through the city walls, and we are going to find out why with him.

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What is your tag? What does signify your tag? 

I am a kid of the 90s – the decade that passed under the sign of Nirvana, and also I frequently came across this name in various movies. I felt it was funny and odd. Also, when I was 16 years old. I had long blonde hair, and local rednecks called me Kurt.

Can you tell us how you start to write? 

For a long time, I used to live in a small provincial city, where I barely had any opportunity to express myself in the way I wanted. Eventually, I got introduced to graffiti culture, thanks to my friends. I tried, it caught my interest, now I am here.

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Why chose writing? 

I chose writing consciously after nine years of my graffiti activity. Before this I perceived graffiti rather like sport or adventures, but not like art. When I started to take graffiti as a serious form of self-expression, I became much more conscious and careful about what I want to create. I started to spend a lot of time and energy, so to say, the « pre-production » stage of my works, to find a proper place, to create a compositional and color conception. If I can achieve my goals – I get mental satisfaction.

Did you draw before start writing? 

No, I wasn’t interested in drawing before graffiti. I started to study academic drawing at the same time when I started to create my first graffiti works, and it’s more deeply & faster helps me to understand the art world.

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How you can define your style? 

Hard to say. I like different styles and try not to restrict myself to some specific visual forms. I don’t want to dedicate my time to something limited. I’m also trying to implement my painting into a surrounding, to make a piece a part of the environment.

What is your inspiration for this style? 

I’m true, inspired by music. Let’s call it fuel for me. I can be also inspired by old school german graffiti, Japanese paintings, contemporary graffiti crews from Paris, synthwave, and much more where I feel the right vibe.

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How we can define what is good letters? 

For me based on my understanding of graffiti and its styles, this form of art is limitless in a sense of expression. Moreover, it is open to influxes from other art forms – digital art, various contemporary art practices, illustrators, its available to experiment with types. graffiti just started to evolve seriously, became more complex and diverse. Artists ceased to restrict themselves just to mural paintings, they started to tackle other formats. In summary, I would say that the best letters are those, that get into your head for a long.

Is one style typically of your city or country? 

I would say that in Ukrainian graffiti there was more or less common and unique style until the 2010s, the most prominent representatives of which were artists like Frost, Nam2, Glugk, Piar. Nowdays it’s hard for me to define one general visual trend in the Ukrainian graffiti scene. Perhaps, time will show it. What I see now – a whole bunch of various and interesting artists, that barely connected in a sense of style.

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Can you tell us how the writing come in your city?

I came to Kyiv from the little town and actively started to draw and meet other artists. At that times there was quite big graffiti community, bigger than now. So I would answer that writing didn’t came to my city – I myself came to writing.

Who is the firsts writing in your city? 

I think it’s difficult to claim who was the first one. In Ukraine graffiti started to become popular in the late 80s and early 90s, when youth was obsessed with rap, alternative rock, brakedance and foreign cinema – mostly american. You know, the end of Cold War and the destruction of « iron curtain ». The pioneers of Kyiv graffity was from that generation and without names.

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How do people and authorities see the writing in your city, and your country in general view? 

In general, people mostly have a negative attitude. I mean, first of all, the older generation, fostered in USSR, people who saw nothing but grey walls of typical apartment blocks with soviet propaganda on them. Most people here don’t accept writing as art. They barely accept it as color stains.

What is the connection you have with your city, your country? 

I love my country, smart and talented people are abundant. I think the world starts to open Ukraine and Ukraine just starts to get rid of the soviet and post-soviet crappy mentality.

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Can we think of writing as a form of democracy? 

If we look at the very formulation of direct democracy, it turns out that the graffiti artists’ behavior falls under this definition only in Wikipedia. To judge strictly, there are no fully democratic countries in the world. Graffiti is anarchism, where every participant has his own rules and game. Some draw only legal walls. Some do trains, subways, etc. Some just tags in a light-minded way. And in many cases, all these persons and crews have no connection and barely tend to communicate with each other. Classic Ukrainian anarchism of Nestor Makhno.

If the artwork creates a world and life imitates art more than art imitates life, what kind of world you want your painting impulse? 

If I understand the question properly… I don’t consider that art creates a world, and life imitates art. As for me, this is the two-way street, on which an accident constantly occurs. An accident, caused by a whole bunch of other factors, that affect reality in a much more powerful way, than do art – I mean politics, society, economy, etc. I don’t strive to consciously influence life, to « create a world » – it creates itself on its own. I just leave my traces on its surface. If it somehow affects the course of events – ok, but I don’t do it on purpose.

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Do you think it is like one chromotherapy for the city where the dominant is grey? 

In many cities all around Ukrainian our local governments came up with the idea of making our cities more colorful and motley – I am talking mostly about those soviet districts with thousands of monotonous grey apartment blocks. It instilled life in this city zones. So, if you are asking, my answer – I am sure about the chromotherapy.

Do you have a word for the end? 

I am grateful for having graffiti in my life. It did shape my lifestyle, and without it, I would have a completely different experience. True graffiti, I met lots of great people, shared with them my obsession, energy, good and bad times. Life is an adventure, and it’s up to you how complicated or easy it is going to be. Thanks.

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Follow him on Instagram: Okkurtism 

Mayor Interview

At the junction of letters and characters, Mayor seems to resolve the surrealist conflict taking place between images and words, this group of poets at the base wondering what words or images were born first in the brain. Even if the neurosciences have since answered this question that it is the images, Mayor offers a pacifist compromise to this ancient conflict.

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Hi, Yiors aka Mayor, you from La Coruña in Spain, you have 31 years and you paint since 2003, your name comes from your surname, did you drawing before?
Yes, I began to paint when I was in Chile. The drawing was always a part of my life.

Did you study art in school?
No.

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What are you looking for when you create letters? 
It depends on the moment, recently I try to find the simplicity and the best contrast.

Your letters are very singular, what is your inspiration, idea for making that? 
I’m an open-minded person, I’m in a continuously searching for new ideas, the inspiration even comes from washing dishes or go for a walk… I’m searching to add a touch of humor usually including characters with simple, clean, and contrast styles.

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How was this style?
I try to find the perfect balance between the graffiti and the illustration with my touch of humor and my thoughts and all of this creates my style.

Do you travel to paint?
Yes, whenever I can.

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Did you live with your art?
It is difficult, there are good times and bad times but that is the objective.

Do you think the letters have specificities in your city and country or everything has been diluted in a great international style?
Some time ago, each city had her own style, a marked style but nowadays social networks and the new forms of communication had done that everything is diluted.

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If the artwork creates a world and life imitates art more than art imitates life, what kind of world you want your painting impulse?
Colorful and funny world fueled by constancy, love, and sacrifice.

Do you think it is like one chromotherapy for the city where the dominant is monochrome light?
Yes, a grey city is like a lifeless city. Streets need colors, I’m glad to be a part of that culture.

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Do you think that writing only modifies the space or the mentality of people, and how does it modify it?
In my opinion, I think that is something which helps in the visual appearance from the neighborhood, from the streets and it can give life to the city but not all the people think the same… It’s something that during the years It has come to be accepted.

Do you have some anecdotes?
A lot of them! The last was some months ago. I was in Porto, I was waiting for a man to get out yo the place that I want to paint and when I thought the man was gone, suddenly he starts painting the spot that I wanted.
I have crazy stories, once  The GNR (Portuguese police) pointed a gun at us after a police raid. Another day I was offered 50 € to paint a  shop window because the owner was in debt! Also, another day when I escaped from the police I broke my hand… There are a lot of anecdotes.

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Do you have a word for the end?
Thanks a lot and don’t stop the party!

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Follow him on his Instagram: Mayor

Little walk in Morocco with Mevok

In this world tour of writing, we pass through Morocco to meet Mevok.

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Hi Mevok, you from Tangier in Morocco, you have 29 years, why choose this name?
It’s just I collected the letters I like, no story behind.

Can you tell us how you started to write?
I started scratching 2006/2007 and it was just here in Morocco at the beginning of the scene so it’s was nothing and I continue scratching just for fun until I found my self addicted to this beautiful world.

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Do you draw before?
Yes, some portraits and comics books.

Why do you choose writing?
Cause writing is so creative and so illimitée to progress and discover.

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What you studied in school?
Economics license degree and I’m not working with it cause I want to follow graffiti.

Do you have a crew?
SMC, mean Street Masters Crew, with local writers and it’s since 2017.

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The question of the crew is it important in your city and country?
Not important in Morocco there are few writers so there is not a big scene.

Can you explain how the writing comes to your city?
It was me the first one in Tangier city.

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How do you explain that he arrived so late by rapport in western Europe where he arrived at the beginning of the ’80s for example or in eastern Europe at the end of the ’90s
Graffiti arrived in Morocco and whole arable or Islamic world late cause people are focused on their Islamic or Arabic culture and it is hard to accept anything new even now peoples still don’t accept something coming from outside their culture. And it’s started in Morocco at the beginning of the 2000’s.

How people and authorities see the writing in your city, your country?
Sometimes talks and tell you to stop and sometimes they just let it go because of graffiti here not too much like Europe so there is a bunch of empty walls so they don’t mind if some are painted. It’s Illegal but there is no police for only graffiti so it’s not so dangerous to paint but it still illegal.

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They are many places to paint in your city and the rest of your country?
Yes, there is a lot of empty walls over here.

What are you looking for when you create letters?
I look nothing I’m feeling if my feelings are bad the letters are shit and if am happy the Graff is lit and dope. For me graffiti it with Latin letters you can make it with Arabic or Chinese but the original one is Latin.

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What are your inspirations?
Wildstyle and typography and all styles honestly.

How we can define is letters are good or not?
First thing if the letters follow the basics and then it’s OK for me.

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You spend a lot of time drawing with paper or digital?
Paper for sure digital it just in this last year.

What the digital change and bring at your work?
Digital makes sketching easier for coloring and does effects but for flowing the letters I prefer papers.

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Do you live with your art?
I’m trying to yes even it’s hard.

If the artwork creates a world and life imitates art more than art imitates life, what kind of world you want your painting impulse?
Art imitates life cause there is a lot of things in life to get inspired from.

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Do you have some anecdotes to tell us?
There is a lot but I tell you one time we were painting and the police catch us and they took us to the police station than one policeman told us you’re the guys of the jet ski.

Do you have a word for the end?
For now, graffiti is my life, my wife, my friends, and my parents who take care of me. Emotionally and all and I love graffiti so much.

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Follow him on his Instagram: Mevok

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