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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The pixel writing of Shabe

At the turn of a small tour in Europe, if passing by Kiev, in Ukraine, you come across a rather particular style of letters: pixel writing, do not be surprised too much, and take the time to count the small squares of Shabe’s painting.

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Hi Shabe, you write since 2003 et you have 32 years, can you tell us why chose this name? 
Hi, well, if you read in our language, from right to left, it means something like « let’s do it » Ebash    Ебаш

Did you draw before?
Only graffiti.

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Did you study art in school?
Studied as a manager. But now I ‘m a teacher of calligraphy at the school of art.

What is your inspiration for your letters?
I like the way the brush pen writes, and my fonts are based on calligraphy, plus I like the 8-bit game, and I have the Dandy game console, probably a lot of inspires me from there.

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Where does this way of making letters come from as if it does not have a lot of pixels or if they were tiled?
I was looking for something new, I like to make the volume of letters without an outline, they look interesting in some way, and then I tried to make the outline pixels. Now I like to do a gradient fill from a pixel.

How you can define your style?
Pixel Lettering.

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They are many people who make letters like this?
Sometimes I see fonts and flops with pixel outlines, but lettering didn’t see.

What are you looking for when you create letters?
When I create letters the most helps me draw more on paper. As I use calligraphy in my work, I have to draw every day.

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What are the good letters for you?
Well, good letters are all letters. I generally love letters and creative fonts. There are certainly complex letters, there are complex compounds. Shabe like letters I really like.

Do you think the letters have specificities to Kiev, or Ukraine or everything has been diluted in a great international style?
It’s difficult to connect our country with some kind of style, probably now everything will develop due to the Internet. Probably like everywhere you can find super interesting styles or a toy.

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Why want to change the urban space with letters?
The letters create the life of the city, their activity, and growth dynamics.  And when you get into a city where it is not there, the feeling that no one lives there.

If the artwork creates a world and life imitates art more than art imitates life, what kind of world you want your painting impulse?
The question is unrealistic in this case, it is worth choosing the side in which you don’t fall within the framework of imitation of life, you want to be outside of imitation.

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Do you think it is like one chromotherapy for the city where the dominant is monochrome light?
In our city, for about 6 months, the sky is obscured by gray clouds and expensive, which they never washed, of the exact same color but against the background of buildings built in the Soviet Union.  The color very much affects the state of people, and when you create a new piece, people in this place begin to behave differently, and most often it’s positive.

Do you think that writing only modifies the space or the mentality of people, and how does it modify it?
Pieces definitely change the space and of course, people who are often among this will change for the better.

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Do you have some anecdotes?
Once I painted a wall in Turkey at night, and when I came for me a local resident ran in. And he began to show with gestures that he wants to have sex with me I refused him and began to draw a Piece. After which he became waxed of my piece and lowered his pants and leaned over I left and finished the next day afternoon.

Do you have a word for the end?
The most important thing is that there is a connection between the people who draw, and you can find connections in any country in the world. If you draw it is not unimportant to travel the world. And you should always respect other artists and their work.

Follow Shabe in Instagram: Shabe

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