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BIZARRE BEYOND BELIEF

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ARTS + CULTURE

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ISSUE #19 june 2015

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Street art & Graffiti • FROSt45 El Mac x Tood Mazer • james rawson alex garant • daze • dirty safes bench report • Mural festival myneandyours • lauren ys • BRAY1


Dedicated to the brilliant, beautiful and bizarre. Whimsical tales, visuals and various odds and ends about obscure and misunderstood sub-cultures. Bizarre Beyond Belief is a bi-monthly digital publication & daily updated blog with an online shop. Disclaimer: Some of the content on this site may contain offensive nature. BBB does not condone or promote the activities portrayed, it is merely documentation of said sub-cultures. Submissions & general inquiries to: contact@bizarrebeyondbelief.com Advertising proposals & press requests: contact@bizarrebeyondbelief.com

Cover: El Mac Boston Mural - Photo: Todd Mazer Website www.bizarrebeyondbelief.com Shop: www.bizarrebeyondbelief.storenvy.com SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS: Instagram: @bizarrebeyondbelief Facebook: www.facebook.com/bizarrebeyondbeliefmagazine Twitter: @bbbmagazine Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/bbbmagazine Tumblr: www.bizarrebeyondbelief.tumblr.com


MAGAZINE

ARTS + CULTURE

ISSUE #19 june 2015

CONTENTS

TABLE OF

BIZARRE BEYOND BELIEF

INTERVIEWS street art and graffiti MYNEandyours frost45 James Rawson alex garant daze Lauren YS bray1

PAGE. 4 Page. 30 Page. 44 page. 56 page. 74 PAGE. 100 page. 122 page. 136

IMAGE FEATUREs dirty safes bench report mural festival el mac x todd Mazer

page. 18 page. 68 page. 84 page. 112


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“We really want to democratize street art by making it accessible to all.”

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BBB: Street Art & Graffiti started from beginning an Instagram account which gained a lot of recognition, why did you begin this account? SAAG: First of all, I’m a passionate about street art. I wanted to share this passion by taking photos of walls in Paris, New York and Wynwood. I also go to a lot of exhibitions and museums. Instagram is an incredible social network because there is only photos and for art it is really convenient. I was able to talk with artists and collaborate and they would send me photos. Everyday I would share them with my followers and the more artists I shared, the more popular the account became. Finally, a group of us began to brainstorm and StreetArtAndGraffiti. com was born. BBB: When the account began receiving a lot of followers, did you expect this reception from the public? SAAG: Thanks to the artists, in 6 months we have

gathered more than 50k followers. This is huge and kind of incredible. 10k followers is unbelievable, so imagine 50k, I couldn’t believe that I had more followers than famous galleries, museums, artists. It’s actually kind of scary. We kept posting everyday to enable fans to discover more and more walls. Today, our account gathered more than 90K followers. I was surprised and we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity as much as possible and offer a new project to our followers. BBB: What led to the idea to taking it from an Instagram account into a full on business? SAAG: I always knew that I was capable of created a website with some of the best street artists that I met on Instagram. My dream was to create a real community of artists so we would be able to share our common passion. The only way to achieve this dream was to use the Internet. StreetArtAndGraffiti.com is an online gallery that offers a selection of more than 100 street artists with 400 different works (canvas, print, sculpture).

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jeremy nichols

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By collecting with Street Art And Graffiti, you will invest in confirmed oremerging artists that we selected only for you. Whether you are an informed collector or if you just began your collection, we want to offer you the best of street art, helping you at the same time with a maximum of information to acquire some works with trust and security. We want to create a real community of passionate from all over the world via our blog and social networks. We really want to democratize street art by making it accessible to all. BBB: As the business expands, we assume your crew is expanding too, how many people are now a part of the SAAG team? SAAG: Today, I work with my team which comprises of two people - one developer and an art director. If the website is running well, and we expect it to, we will hire more people in our company. However, we’re still a little start-up.

BBB: SAAG’s slogan is “From The Street To Your Wall,” was this always the way you wanted to sell art? SAAG: Our main specificity is to offer artists a shop where they can sell their own artwork, in order for them to have a real freedom with their art. When you buy a work on StreetArtAndGraffiti.com, you buy it directly from the artist‘s studio. We want to favour the exceptional relationship between the buyer and the artist as much as possible; buyers will have a unique experience when purchasing on our website. Our slogan illustrates our concept and our philosophy. BBB: How do you feel the work that you sell relates to the work in the streets? SAAG: In my opinion, works that are for sale on StreetArtAndGraffiti.com are a continuity of the art which is on walls. Of course, the support is not the same - a wall doesn’t have the same texture than a canvas or a print.

icy & sot

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pez

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BBB: Considering you’ve built a business from a passion, where do you see SAAG going in the upcoming years?

However, from the moment the work is on a wall, it is art. BBB: SAAG has a number of exceptional artists involved, how did you go about retrieving these artists to participate in the business?

SAAG: We want to stay on the web. Our aim is to collaborate with more artists and offer to our clients the best choice of urban art. We really want to be a better reference than a real gallery because some artists believe that because you are online, you are not as credible as a physical one. E-business is the future and we want to be part of it. Finally, we will still develop our Instagram by sharing art daily. We are working on our blog, which will be launched in three months. We have a lot a project in mind, follow us on Instagram to be part of our story. Stay in touch!

It was a long year of sending emails everyday. Most of our artists were contacted via Instagram. I was surprised because artists, even some that are not collaborating with us, love our concept and one day will collaborate with us. I’m very glad because I know that we will have more artists every week. This is a really precious advantage because we can welcome a lot of artists on a same platform; something you cannot do in a physical gallery.

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www.streetartandgraffiti.com

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daniel eime

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dirty safes

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Living alone in North Bay there isn’t a lot to do but get drunk with like-minded people, and that’s where Krystian Kielbasa - a wiser than his years, long-haired beer swiller that had just dropped out of college found himself a couple of years ago. On one of those northern Ontario blackout evenings, Krystian was at a party with a buddy, who’s friend happened to be visiting from Toronto for the weekend. Without that fateful evening, Krystian (bass) and Mischa O’Hoski (guitar and vocals) might never have met - and Dirty Safes might never have been. Fast forward to a couple years later and Krystian gets recruited to play bass along with Steve Maxwell (guitar and vocals), Mischa O’Hoski (guitar and vocals) and Fabian Dessau (drums). All living in the junction and happen to be the raddest hard working and up-and-coming, surf-rock, yelling at you like a beer bottle and heartbreaking lullaby band to be playing shows in Toronto. In a short time they’ve come a long way from that party in North Bay - but the blackout vibe and party hasn’t stopped, going all night in the songs and shows that Dirty Safes keep throwing down with shot-taking tenacity. What’s special about Dirty Safes, though, compared to a lot of other bands with comparable sounds and attitudes is that while they still have an abrasiveness - they also have a tenderness - listening to songs like ‘Keep Me Calm’ and ‘Diner Girl’ is kind of like being kissed by a girl on the cheek where you’ve cut yourself shaving. Their live show also just kills, and it’s hard not to look at whoever you’re beside halfway through every song and be like… “Yes.”


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Though they play hard, they are easy to ‘get’, and while the traditional indie-rock cynics are still milling around, holding the wall or at the back of the crowd wanting to find something to criticize, they’re also whether they know/like it or not - nodding their heads, not wanting to, but nevertheless being taken in by what Dirty Safes is showing them. Most importantly however - as it was when they played The Garrison a few weeks ago - Dirty Safes makes girls dance. And when girls are dancing good things are happening - and will continue to happen for Dirty Safes if they keep up this pace. Dirty Safes are expected to drop a new album by the end of the month. We’re excited to be along for the ride. B B

B M

www.dirtsysafes.bandcamp.com

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@dirtysafes

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words by: david ace dean instagram: @davidacedean twitter: @ddner Photos: ally chadwick Website: www.frecklesandphotographs.tumblr.com instagram: @justmyfreckles photos: will cox website: wllcx.com instagram: @wllcX

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: The concept of Myneandyours is based on a cloud, how did the story of the symbol develop? Myaneandyours: It was kind of organic, and evolved pretty naturally. It only really began to take on meaning once an audience gave it reason. I guess it only takes the reaction of a few to give birth to a reason worth pursuing.

What I mean is that once those who noticed it began to ask questions about it, I began to ask questions. It isn’t pushing an obvious idea, and it isn’t trying to persuade you to do anything, so I guess it’s a little bit confusing. And this is its allure. It exists purely to exist, and I liked that. I thought everything had to exist for a reason. The future didn’t seem so important anymore, and I began to live in the moment following it where it went.

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they have of it. In this instance it may be something that purely cheers you up on your way to work, or something more structured that begins to persuade you to question your environment in a way you’re not used to, or both, or something else entirely. To question every detail of yourself and your surroundings will help you begin to understand what it is to be human, and what this really means. I’ve been lucky with it in that it has been the catalyst in building relationships with others I may have never met, and pushing me into paths I may have never walked. I sometimes wonder how things would look without it. BBB: As primarily a street artist, do you feel the cloud holds more weight in the streets than in the gallery? MAY: Work placed outside has this fascinating impact because it’s not supposed to be there. There’s this great thing about something unexpected and raw that commands attention. I mean you can still do that in a gallery, but composing a visual message outside in the streets that inspired it in the first place will cause

BBB: What does the cloud signify not only to the viewer, but to you as an artist? MAY: The cloud can signify anything to anyone. The great thing about something visual is that it inspires objectivity and opinion, and this to a certain extent is influenced by what circumstances the viewer comes across it, which will determine what kind of opinion

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a reaction unlike anything else. It implies a f**k you DIY punk ethic, and this can resonate to even the most unlikely of observers. A gallery commands a different approach, and gives you the opportunity to test the inner workings of your work, to push the finer side of things in a way. The work doesn’t lose weight, but rather it gains perspective. BBB: Beyond work in the streets, you create digital and fine work, how does your creative approach differentiate indoors vs. outdoors? MAY: Well indoors, a lot of the time I get to sit down on a chair, rather than navigate ladders, rope, and walls. Instead of blisters, I strain my eyes. And instead of breathing through a mask, I drink tea. There are two sides to every coin. The common thread is the systematic process of creating the work in the first place, which always starts with an idea that is translated digitally, and

then worked up into stencils that then transcend space and time (whatever that means) and ends up as something painted in one form or another. BBB: How would you describe a day in the life of Myneandyours? MAY: I open my eyes, and curse the world and everything that exists within it. I then routinely promise myself to get back into bed as soon as I’m back home. This never happens, and remains a never-ending cycle, followed by a crucial shower to introduce me to the world, a bottle of freezing water to wake up everything on the inside, a couple of fried eggs, an obligatory cup of tea, and then straight to the studio. The great thing about not working for the man is that you are the man, or you think you are, and you get to do what you want. And so with that the madness begins I guess, and generally I stay until the studio closes late into the evening. If it’s not a studio day, it’s a meeting, wall painting, or some other unexpected

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day. I find there’s no typical day in the life of an artist. BBB: You’ve traveled all around the globe to convey your message, what are your favourite cities to travel to and create and why? MAY: I would say that what sticks with you are the people of the places you visit. They are the ones that give you something to remember, and give you reason to keep on reacting to those memories. We’ve seen some pretty cool places over the past few years, and without a doubt the humble culture of the Japanese gave us something to hold on to. We found the language stood not as a barrier, but instead a way in. We were forced to become part of their culture, and without that we wouldn’t have been given what we were. There’s so much variation in terms of environment and culture over there that just made it so much more exciting to be part of it. I’m still counting down the days until I can go back there, be a part of it, and paint again.

BBB: What has the reception been like for the project since you first began years ago? Have you found different cities or cultures react differently to the work? MAY: Last week we stopped by New York, and the reaction there was surprisingly welcoming. I took care of a few pieces in the middle of the afternoon, and figured I wouldn’t get through them without someone having an issue, but it was exactly the opposite. It took me three times as long as so many people were genuinely interested and excited to see the work go up and why. Again, it just makes me want to go back. We then flew straight to Madrid, where I assumed it would be even easier, but it was in fact the opposite. The city is already over run with tags, and when the shutters come down it becomes a different city entirely. I think the locals feel the city is over run with decay and as such view any form of non-sanctioned work as contributing to this decay. I was stopped, questioned and threatened on a few spots,

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and then on others encouraged. Maybe it didn’t help that again it was in the middle of the afternoon. I figured siesta would be downtime. I was wrong. What’s great is that work outside elicits a personal reaction, which means that you are encouraging emotion and a voice. As I mentioned before it’s all objective, and what one person may understand in a certain way, another may understand as something else. In terms of Myneandyours, it has been pretty cool to see a reaction to the work and in particular the cloud. It has become a part of the every day lives of people, living on their phones, hanging from their keys, sitting on walls on their way to work, and developing a relationship that once I’m gone I am no longer aware of. It begins a life of its own from the moment I leave it, and takes on shape and form in ways I could only imagine. BBB: You recently moved to Dubai, what were the primary reasons to leave your native UK? MAY: I’m lucky enough to be part of this crazy studio called Tashkeel over in Dubai. This place in itself is

the reason I left London. It’s a hub that stands alone a short drive out of Dubai, and is filled with enthusiasts who dedicate themselves to the arts. Sheikha Lateefa is an inspiring lady over here who built this place out of nothing, fostering the development of artists. There are creatives from all over the world who under this roof try to contribute to the emerging culture that Dubai is still trying to understand. What is interesting about Dubai is that it is so new in every respect, and this means that what we do as artists is welcomed and entertained. I guess what’s exciting is that there is no movement here, so it is up to you to create it. No one puts up stickers for instance, so the only ones out there are the ones I put up. Most of the public don’t understand what it is, and so it remains. Really what I’m trying to say is that you are part of something new, maybe like what New York was like when graffiti started on the subways. It was exciting to watch artists start to shake things up. BBB: Outside of art, what are 3 things that you

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absolutely cannot live without?

MAY: I’ll be back in the UK for the summer this year. Dubai is great, but my skin starts to melt at around 50 degrees. I’ve got a few walls lined up back home, a wall to tackle in Lisbon, and any other spots I can find while I’m away. I’d like to paint a wall in the US so I’m trying to work on that. Otherwise, my good friends at Drawdeck have just released the first documentary on Myneandyours called Art Of One, which you can check out on Vimeo or Youtube. Long awaited tshirts will be out after the summer, and there’s a few other things in the pipeline which I’ll keep a lid on for now. I’ll release news of everything on www.myneandyours.com and all social media related things @myneandyours

MAY: Three beliefs: Firstly, that there is an elephant out there that can sing opera, secondly that one day I will go to space and finally that hope is not a figment of my imagination. BBB: What things outside visual arts help influence your craft? MAY: My wife, the behaviour of people, and mohawks. BBB: Are there any projects, events or information fans should be on the lookout for from Myneandyours in 2015?

As always, keep your head in the clouds.

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B M

www.myneandyours.com

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: Can you describe the first time you went out painting and what did you rock?

BBB: You have a very unique and funky style, how important is letter development for you?

FROST: Besides early pen tags as a kid in the mid nineties, I used my first can in 1999. I walked down to a bridge by my place and rocked what I thought at the time was a piece, but in hindsight it was probably just a shit throw up.

FROST: Letters are everything to me. I see them in almost anything I look at. I’ve got time for characters but I don’t often rock them. My work doesn’t develop half as quickly as my brain would like, but I’m always thinking bout the next letter.

BBB: What was it about graffiti culture that propelled you to start painting?

BBB: How would you compare it to that of your neighbouring country Australia?

FROST: I was always into hip hop and that’s often a gate way for young writers, but it was my mate Uno1 IK who got me into it. Feels now like the transition was instant and I just jumped in the deep end. I love it all. If I didn’t have graffiti, my brain would be pretty stagnant.

FROST: I guess there are many similarities ‘cause we’re very close with Aus. It’s like a little sibling kind of gig. Graffiti has evolved so much though that I don’t focus too much on whats going on around me. Letter forms have kinda done a 180 in the last 10 years, at least from my

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perspective so I tend to focus on my own work and those who get me off my ass. BBB: Being from Auckland, how would you describe the graffiti and street art culture at the time? FROST: When I first started writing, Auckland was beautiful. The tracks were being painted regularly, streets and roof tops were getting smashed. All the writers around at the time were putting out really nice work and you’d always be meeting new cats along the lines. Then the rugby world cup happened. They cleaned up the tracks and started buffing everything. The whole scene changed. Heaps of writers dropped off while new cats came up with a real different approach and style. I miss the old days. BBB: Auckland is known to be a very clean city, does that mean writers are more inclined to paint trains instead of walls?

FROST: As I mentioned that’s mainly due to that bloody rugby. It certainly hasn’t directed cats to start hitting panels though, that’s still a relatively small scene. The city still gets bombed a bit, just doesn’t stay up long around the CBD. I still see a lot of work getting done, but the amount and the quality isn’t what it used to be. BBB: Graffiti has a number of elements to it (piecing, bombing, tagging…), which is your favourite aspect and why? FROST: I’d consider myself a jack of all trades, master of none. Most of my focus would go on piecing I guess, ‘cause I do more of that then the rest, but its all gotta be done. You get a different rush from each aspect. It’s like alcohol, why stick to one drink? Drink it all. BBB: If you’re getting ready to paint a spot, are there any rituals you have to follow before heading out?

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FROST: Whisky helps. I freestyle most of my stuff these days, so I’ve usually just got letters and lines going through my head. Yeah, Whisky and lines, ha ha!

You Want More?; Rage Against the Machine – The Battle of Los Angeles. BBB: With winter on the way in NZ, what is your plan for the cooler months in your hometown?

BBB: If you’re at wall or in the car off a spot, what top 3 albums would you blast on the stereo?

FROST: Nothing much changes, paint a few more sheltered spots, snowboard and “Hot Totties.”

FROST: The Doors – Morrison Hotel; The Roots – Do

B B

B M

instagram: @frostfortyfive

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: We’ve read you felt as if you felt no inspiration growing up in Norfolk, can you describe the culture and community there? James Rawson: Whilst the town I grew up in does have its quirks, there is lack of culture when it comes to art, and in particular contemporary art. Norfolk is largely rural but is becoming increasingly popular as a second home location for those seeking refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life. The picturesque countryside and long beaches are the inspiration for much of Norfolk’s art, which although beautiful, does not inspire my style of work.

back to Norfolk and pursued my art career full time. Going forward I am looking to leave not just Norfolk, but England too, perhaps to live in LA or NY so I can experience their culture and see a bit more of the world. BBB: That being said, what was it about the pop culture landscape that helped fuel your artistic inspiration? JR: Artists have always created work from the world around them, and I quickly realised my world was the media driven one dictated by the images and sound from the flashing screens that surround us. This statement becomes truer and truer every day, people barely

BBB: You still live and work in Norfolk, have you thought about moving to bigger and more arts based cities such as London?   JR: After completing my degree in Fine Art, I did actually move to London. Trying to build a career from the ground up proved very difficult, although I never expected it to be easy. This was largely due to working full time in retail just to pay my bills, leaving me almost no time to paint and focus on my art. Eventually I realised that I had to leave the 9-5 world if I ever wanted to have a successful career in art. So I did just that, I said “f*ck it” to my job, moved

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glance from their phones to take in the world around them or speak to their friends face to face. It was this world of fragmented images that bombard our daily lives that I wanted to capture. BBB: You’ve completed a fine arts degree from

Loughborough, did you find this was an integral part of your artistic development? JR: It was an incredibly important part of my development as an artist. Before university I just wanted to paint, I didn’t care much for idea generation or much consider

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“I quickly realised my world was the media driven one dictated by the images and sound from the flashing screens that surround us.”

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may be the results of hundreds of combinations of images I have tried until its right. Sometimes only tweaking the placement of an image by a few millimetres for hours. Occasionally a collage just won’t work, so I pull it apart and start again. Quite often the images I find dictate the direction a collages takes and the ideas develop from there, but sometimes I will sit down to make a collage with an idea already in mind. From there I take the collage, draw it on a large canvas, and the painting begins. I use to use spray paints and acrylics but in the last year I’ve just stuck to oils as I much prefer these. The painting usually stays pretty true to the collage, just tweaking the colours but the overall composition doesn’t change at this point. BBB: Your work discusses many important issues of recent decades, what are your primary targets to tackle in your work?

the theory behind art, so often my art lacked that extra depth. My degree opened up my mind, but I guess that is the goal of the course if you truly embrace it. I learnt a lot about myself and my art at university. BBB: Would you recommend attending artistic institutions for aspiring artists? JR: Absolutely. It is a level of learning and development unlike anything you can experience elsewhere. It is an environment where you are surrounded by likeminded, creative people, discussing and making art. I would advise any aspiring artist to go. BBB: Your work is incredibly layered, can you describe creating a piece from concept to completion? JR: All of my work starts as a preparatory paper collages which could be considered my sketching process. I have literally hundreds of books and magazine that I have collected from across the country and even packaging from fast food restaurants. If I find an image from these sources that intrigues me I will simply cut it out. My desk, floor and even the walls get covered in these cut out images. I’ll then try small combinations until something clicks and I start to build up the image as I see it in my mind. Some pieces work almost instantly, some others

JR: Over consumption, greed, artificiality, media saturation and the problems that they have given birth to, such as issues surrounding female body image. I also seek to explore parts of the human experience that have always existed such as love, hate, violence and death now manifest themselves in visual media. I believe that images are layered more and more in our world, we live in one big collage. No one focuses on just one thing anymore, be it through looking on Instagram whilst watching the TV, billboards that scroll through images or the adverts that layer YouTube videos.  It was this aspect of life that I really wanted to reflect in my work. BBB: Do you feel art has to have a message or can it be purely aesthetic? JR: I think it has to have a both. If you’re talking about creating a contemporary work of art, you can’t have one without the other. If a work has an enlightened concept but fails in aesthetics then surely it fails as art. At the same time, and this is me getting pedantic now,  I don’t think something such as a portrait of a dog (just to use a generic example) that clearly has no message, even if it is fantastically painted, is art. It is kind of “so what”, the world doesn’t need another portrait of a dog, so that fails as art, to me at least. BBB: With my own work I don’t want people to fall into the trap of just taking the images on face value.

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Whilst the images may be  realistically painted or pack a visual punch, the images in my work serve as metaphors for deeper meanings that I want the viewer to discover.

traditional sense. If I had to, I would probably do something weird, escape it all and move to a tropical island and become a fisherman.

BBB: If your studio were to go up in flames and you could only grab 3 paintings, which would they be and why?

BBB: With 2015 in full swing, what can our readers expect from James Rawson throughout the coming year?

JR: Good question, but very difficult to answer as all of my current work is off for exhibition, and the new work in my studio is merely pencil sketches right now. What I would grab for sure is my book of collages.

JR: I have got a very busy year ahead with two print sales coming up, one with GILT.com and one with Touch of Modern. I am also exhibiting with Parlor Gallery in New Jersey USA, from the 25th July to the 25th August. I also have a pop up exhibition in Detroit although dates for this are yet to be confirmed. I am about to start work on some screen prints, which is a new thing for me so I am excited about that. Generally a lot of great paintings to start work on. With some of the new work I’m making I’m going to be throwing a bit of a curve ball with what I’m doing, so stay tuned for that.

BBB: If you were told you could never paint again, what other occupation or employment do you think you would seek? JR: Tricky one, as I have never wanted to do anything other than make art all my life, I’ve hated every other job I’ve had and never wanted to be employed in the

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Bench report volume #1 Bench Report Volume #1 is the first volume of our newly introduced (and recurring) image feature. The editorial seeks to find out the best and brightest freights from all over North America coming through our home town of Toronto. Being a central hub of north North America, we tend to get a lot of amazing visuals passing through on the wheels of steel. The first edition features the likes of TLOK, KING157, BERZERKER and Toronto’s very own SIGHT. All photographs are taken by our very talented photographer and dear friend CRSPPHOTO.

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provinces? AG: I believe the work ethic of the artist community in both provinces to be about the same. It doesn’t really matter where you are, you will find artists with the motivation and discipline to create on a daily basis and you will also encounter brilliant artists who have difficulty finding the time to put their ideas down on paper. The creative struggle is universal. BBB: Did you find that going to college was an integral point of your artistic development?

Bizarre Beyond Belief: You worked for one year as a flight attendant, what drew you to this line of work? Alex Garant: Wow, that was a while back, I feel like I lived a dozen lives since then. Back then I wanted to travel more and it seemed like a great life challenge. BBB: As an obviously gruelling occupation, what led you to eventually calling it quits and turning to art full time? AG: I had quite a few jobs since, mostly office jobs. But the switch happened after a health scare that made me realize life is short and you must do what you love before your time is up. Refuse to settle; refuse to be comfortable, that’s how I try to live my life. BBB: You studied at Notre-Dame-De-Foy College outside Quebec City, what inspired you to settle in Ontario versus that of Quebec? AG: I wanted to keep learning English; I knew there was a big demand for French speaking people in Ontario. I didn’t realize how amazing the Toronto art scene was until I moved here. BBB: How would you compare and contrast the work ethic of the artist community in the differing

AG: Not necessarily style wise, but it is a very humbling experience. You are suddenly surrounded by incredibly talented people and you must learn from them, also accept being critiqued and analyzed by your peers. It pushes you to become better faster. Also the technical knowledge acquired is fundamental to the process. BBB: Labeled “Queen of the Double Eyes,” did this style begin in college or develop later and what inspired the aesthetic? AG: That style was developed later, college was over 10 years ago, I went through quite a few years of artistic experimentation before finding my creative voice. And once day, everything just came into place naturally. BBB: Can you describe your process or approach to a piece from concept to completion? AG: I usually start by sketching my character, I usually work from photos I have taken, then I create a second sketch and play with the two images, until the result is satisfactory. The sketch is drawn on canvas and I start the painting process which can take up to 20 hours depending on the size of the final

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BBB: With the summer upon us in Toronto, are there any projects or events that our readers should specifically be on the lookout for?

work. BBB: If you’re chipping away at a piece in the studio, are there any rituals or routines you never skip while creating?

AG: I personally will be spending most of my summer in the studio and travelling to different art show openings; anyone is welcome to hunt me down for an art talk

AG: I always set up my palette the same way; I usually sit in a corner with a tea. I also love to work sitting on a chair with my painting on the ground, which is probably very bad for my back but let me see the overall image better. I will often play something silly on my computer, just to get some background noise going, sometimes a vintage movie, childhood cartoons or some pro wrestling videos from Smash Wrestling…

• June 6th, 2015, A day in the six collection, Cinecycle, Toronto • June 19th- July 5th 2015, Small Works Art Show, Auguste Clown Gallery , Australia • June 20th, 2015- Ghost Stories- Penumbra Art Boutique, Portugal

BBB: The subject matter of your work is almost exclusively female, is there any particular reason to paint women vs. men?

• July 18 2015, Libertine Art Show, Gristle Tattoo, New York, NY

AG: It just happens that the softness of the female figure is more appropriate for the illusion I try to create.

• July 18 2015, Frida Art Show, Labodega Gallery, San Diego • July 24th, LVL UP!, NUVANGO Art Gallery inaugural show, Toronto

BBB: You’ve exhibited all over the globe, how do you find the various cities responds to your work?

• August 22- September, Transfigure with Sarah Joncas and Kit King & Corey Popp Last Rites Gallery, New York, NY

AG: I believe the response has been great pretty much everywhere, I am very thankful for all the art lovers out there spreading the word about my work. I truly appreciate the love!

• September 2015, BEACON, Gauntlet Gallery, San Francisco.

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mural festival The Mural Festival in Montreal, Canada came and went this past weekend again and was another smashing success. With artists from all over the globe such as Axel Void, Faith47, Jaz, Bicicleta Sem Freio and the infamous NYCHOS, the murals visually jumped off the walls. This is our third time covering the event and it may have been the best one to date. Not only did every artist bring their A-game, but the city was almost entirely shut down for it and everyone was just as excited as we were. If you get a chance to head out to Montreal, you can’t miss these walls that are on (and just off) the “Main,” which is on St. Laurent Blvd in the “Plateau” neighbourhood.

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Mural Festival website: www.muralfestival.com Instagram: @muralfestival photography by naz goshtasbpour: website: www.nazology.com instagram: @nazology


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#FROM THE STREET TO YOUR WALL CHECK OUT OUR NEW WEBSITE ! BUY YOUR WORKS FROM THE ARTIST ’S STUDIO 123KLAN / AARON GLASSON / ADNO / AKUE / ALANIZ / ALESSIO B / ALEX SENNA ALEXANDER BECHERER/ APESEVEN / ARCHAN NAIR / ARTEZ / ARTY & CHICKLE / B.  BAFCAT / BASK BELIN / BILLY MODE / BISCO / BLAKE BYERS / BOSOLETTI / BTOY / CERN / CHANOIR CHARLIE ANDERSON / CHRIS RWK / CHRIS S STAIN / COL WALLNUTS / DAMIEN MITCHELL / DAN 23 DANIEL EIME / DEDE / DJLU / DON RIMX / DREW MERRITT / DS / DULK / EELCO VIRUS / EISMANN ELLA & PITR / EN MASSE / ENTES Y PESIMO / EON 75 / GAUCHO LADRI / GENT 48 / GOLA HUNDUN GREGOS / HELIO BRAY / HELLBENT / I KEEPMOVING / ICY & SOT / JASON BOTKIN / JM ROBERT JOVANNY BRAIMASH / JUMBO / JUSTIN MAYS / KEVIN LEDO / KRAM / KURAR / MALAKKAI / MAR MARCO GRASSI / MARKA 27 / MARINA CAPDEVILA / MDMN / MILLO / MISTER PRIMO F MISTER THOMS / MONCHO / MR CENZ / MR HERGET / MURO NEMO’S / NICK FLATT / ONE TRUTH PANTONE / PATCH WHISKY / PETER BARBER / PEZ PLASTIC BIRDIE / RATUR / REVOLTS RICARDO CABRET / RUSSELL KING / SABEK / SAM RODRIGUEZ / SAMINA / SKOUNT / SONNI / STEEP STEVE LOCATELLI / SUNSET TANK PETROL / THE STENCIL NETWORK / TONCE / TREK6 / TRIPEL / TXEMY VESOD / ZAKA TOS / ZMOGK

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DAZE Bizarre Beyond Belief: Your career began in the mid1970s, what fascinated you the most about the culture to begin painting graffiti? DAZE: It seemed to encompass this wild energy that was hard to contain. In many ways it’s still like this. I think initially though I was attracted to the vibrancy of the colour in an otherwise grey environment. This made a huge impression on me. Whenever a train would roll onto the station it was like an explosion of kaleidoscopic colour. BBB: Considering it was so early in the craft, how would you describe the culture at the time? DAZE: The culture was very secretive. It’s wasn’t something that you wanted the whole world to know you did. It was like belonging to a secret society in which you created things solely for the other members of that group. You did not seek the approval of general society but from your peers. They were the only ones that mattered. Now things have changed. It’s still not 100% approved of but most people know about it in some capacity. The veil of mystery has been lifted. BBB; Despite the obvious answer of the internet, how would you describe the transformation of the culture since your beginnings? DAZE: It’s become almost a rite of passage now for young people. Even if it’s only for a little while. Social media plays a big part in all this. It’s not enough now to to gain fame through word of mouth. Now people seek to let the whole world in on what they’re doing through the internet. I miss the good old days . There are too many


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people who are “internet famous.” Everyone has become their own publicist. BBB: Beyond the scene and technological changes, how would you describe the transformation in public perception of the art form? DAZE: I think there is a large sector of the public that is more accepting to all this. More than 25 years ago the idea of having a museum exhibition in America was out of the question. Last year I had a solo exhibition at The Addison gallery of American Art in Andover, MA. This year several paintings were purchased by The Yale University gallery of Art. I have more museum exhibitions planned. There has been a big switch in the perception of all this.

BBB: You have seen styles come and go over the decades in the game, is there any era that you consider the “Golden Age” of graffiti and what made it so? DAZE: Well, any writer will tell you that they think the era they were a part of was the best. Thats just the way it is and there’s nothing wrong with that. I liked the early 80’s but I’m not stuck there. I’m still looking forward doing work that is quite different from that period. BBB: Your first gallery show “Beyond Words” was in 1981, how would you describe the atmosphere of the reception considering it was such a new phenomenon? DAZE: The “ Beyond words “ show , which was curated by Fab 5 Freddy and Futura 2000, was and amazing experience. It was still very new to everyone, particularly

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BBB: You’ve shown and collaborated with the likes of Basquiat and Haring, how would you describe their methodology and energy in the creation process? DAZE: Jean-Michel usually worked on more than one painting at a time. He was like a sponge that soaked up not everything, but the most important parts. He’d listen to Maria Callas, Charlie parker, have history and anatomy books open, and at the same time have cartoons on T.V. All of that found it’s way into his work. He was able to create compositions from varied sources that made sense. Haring on the other hand was closer to people like William Burroughs. His approach was more methodical yet automatic. His images were like the development of a new kind of language. BBB: Furthermore, how do you find the collaboration process with other artists or corporations helps or hinders your own creative process?

the downtown New York scene. It was where I sold my 1st piece, an impromptu collaboration between myself, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Poke, to the late art critic Rene Ricard. It was where I was first exposed to the downtown art and club scene. It was all very exciting. BBB: Considering this brought the streets to the gallery, what was the mentality of graffiti writers about bringing the form indoors? DAZE: Surprisingly very mature. Everyone that was included in that show had something to say. If you look at the roster it’s not just subway painters but people like Iggy Pop and Kenny Scharf. It was a great mixture of people that defined what was happening at that time. It was also the start of Keith Haring’s language of images. He started all that on the fourth floor of the Mudd Club.

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“There are too many people who are ‘internet famous.’ Everyone has become their own publicist.”

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powered celebrities private collections, what does it mean to you when a celebrity purchases your work?

DAZE: I used to collaborate with more people but now i’m more choosy abut who I want to collaborate with. Especially when it comes to making paintings. I enjoy the process though. With the right people it can be a lot of fun.

I mean it’s cool for conversation but I don’t think about it that much. I’m excited when anyone buys my stuff... ha ha!

BBB: Your work is found all over the world, what is your favourite city to travel and paint to and why?

BBB: With decades of success under your belt, are there any new events, projects or information our readers should be on the lookout for in the future?

DAZE: My favourite country is Brazil, easily. I love the people there and the context for art. I’ve painted many, many murals there and have worked with artists from Rio, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre and other cities to name a few. The scene there is very fresh and inventive. There may be many socio economic problems there but the art scene is alive and fresh.

DAZE: There’s always something new around the corner.I have a series of murals that I’m going to do this year that will take me everywhere from Coney Island to Russia and Italy. I’m also going to be in some amazing museum exhibitions and i’m already planning more for 2016. The train has left the station and it’s going express!

BBB: Your work has also made its way into high

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x todd mazer One of our favourite photographers and all out individuals, Todd Mazer, recently moved out to Boston where he’s been killing it in just about every sense of the word. This time around, Mazer got a chance to link up with his close friend - the infamous El Mac. In both of their classic styles, Mac paints a beautiful woman who is electrifying the wall and Mazer captures the essence of the piece, the mood and its surroundings. We’re thrilled to get Mazer back in the pages of our book and have El Mac grace them for the very first time.

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todd mazer instagram: @toddmazer el mac www.elmact.net instagram: @mac_arte

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: Very few (if any) can say they’ve received higher education from institutions such as Stanford. Would you say this experience contributed greatly to your success? Lauren YS: It didn’t help me hugely with my technical skills; Stanford is much more theory-focused, and the department is very small and comparatively underfunded. However I did live in an incredible arts-focused

community and received a lot of support from the school via art grants and application-based outlets. If you want to make something, chances are someone will fund you and help you make it happen - but you have to be selfmotivated. This is also how things work in the real world, and probably what has helped me push my work outside of school. If you want to put your work somewhere, you have to do it yourself, at least in the beginning.

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BBB: How do you feel about artistic institutions? Would you recommend them to aspiring young artists? LYS: I have had some amazing experiences at art schools - pre-college and I did a semester at RISD during my undergrad. The most amazing thing about art schools and probably anyone who has received a degree from one will echo this - is the community. Like the other kids and the weirdos you will meet and work with there. Those connections will feed your career post-grad more than any series of still lifes of pomegranates you did. I felt like I’d missed out on that for a bit, and then I met everyone who makes art for a living, a lot of whom went to art school, so that panned out well. Every now and then I wish I had some rudimentary technical training that I’m sure I would’ve gotten in school but I’m a firm believer that there’s nothing you can’t teach yourself. When it comes to school, go where you want to go, but never assume you can’t be an artist (or anything at that) if you didn’t get a degree in art.

come into contact with each other a lot, you just end up seeing each other everywhere. It’s nice because if I wasn’t painting murals you’d probably never see me, I’d just always be in the studio, going insane. I think a lot of muralists might be the same way.

BBB: How do you feel the Bay Area stacks up against other art scenes but nationally and internationally? LYS: It’s got its own thing going on. I have yet to get my tentacles very deep into another city, but as far as I can tell LA and NY are pretty popping - I’ve been slowly pushing my work in those directions because I think it’s important to build a base in other locales. Internationally, it seems like there’s a lot of cool stuff going in particular hubs, especially when it comes to street art. The Pow!Wow! and Art Basel programs are largely responsible for doing that. I think it’s really exciting and I want to get out to see how things work in other 

BBB: With an extremely vast and talented group of artists in the Bay Area, how would you describe the competitiveness of the art community there? LYS: The art scene in the Bay, as far as I can tell, is incredibly supportive. Any competition I have experienced is more in the vein of respectful/playful jealousy/admiration. People have been by and large welcoming, generous and encouraging. It’s kind of scary. I think it’s just because everyone who’s doing it knows how hard it is, and people drop out of it every day the odds are pretty much stacked against you; support from other artists is sometimes the strongest source of motivation you have. I don’t think the world has anything to gain from losing artists; we may as well support each other. And the art scene is so expansive and porous that it’s not as though we are fighting for roles, like actors have to. w There’s always more room for awesome work. BBB: That being said, would you say the scene there is cohesive or divisive amongst artists? LYS: I think it’s pretty cohesive. Naturally artists will cluster together and form smaller communities, sometimes tied by certain styles, galleries or events, but most of the time its by friendships and proximity. Muralists have their own communities because they

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“In acting if you get a part, it means that someone else didn’t - in art it’s not so cut and dry.”

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artist’s residency, I can definitely tell you that! BBB: How did studying in one of the most influential arts communities help shape your view of contemporary art? LYS: I wouldn’t say I was studying per se, but I did make it out to a lot of great museums. Mostly to see the work of Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt. As far as contemporary art, however, it’s mostly very highbrow / conceptually focused gallery work. There is a growing scene for illustration and lowbrow / street art, but it’s still quite small. Most of that is coming through a gallery called Inoperable and Nychos’ gallery itself, Rabbit Eye Movement. He and a few of the most active painters in the Austria/Germany area are working very hard to bring this genre of contemporary art into the community, but it’s a tough sell in a very traditional city. I am excited to see how it grows! BBB: You’ve worked with a number of amazing artists such as Tatiana Suarez and Nychos, how would you describe the collaborative process?

You also completed an artist’s residency in Vienna, can you describe to the readers your experience? It was amazing. It was pretty “free-form,” you could say. A lot of fun and hard work. Some long weeks on the road painting walls, driving lifts and bumming around the Austrian countryside. The same with long weeks in a dungeon making art for my show. But overall it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. It wasn’t your typical

LYS: It’s always different one of the most fun parts of being in artist is learning how to work with any number of creative minds. People like Nychos and Tatiana are really fun to work with because they are always open to ideas but unafraid to challenge or critique. It’s about making something better than it could be by itself. Sometimes collaborations don’t go so smoothly, and that’s all good as well, you always leave learning something about yourself. Oftentimes the process just takes sitting down with a drink and some good music on and just spinning out the wildest, weirdest ideas you can come up with and saying “No that won’t work and yes let’s do that. How would

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you do it? I’m excited for this.” Sometimes you just draw and don’t say anything to each other, just react to the lines going down and let it come organically. It’s always exciting.

milk tea with Boba and lychee jelly. Why? Because delicioussssssss!

BBB: Does this help or hinder your own work as a solo artist?

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LYS: It helps because not only do you get to create some weird hybrid fresh work, but it also helps you identify your own strengths and aesthetics. And it’s natural to see some influence leaking into your own work; you play off each other. I always go back to solo work feeling excited and refreshed after collaborating. It’s fun to just share some creative energy.

www.laurenys.com

BBB: We’ve seen a number of amazing sketch based work from you, how often does what you draw directly translate to the wall? LYS: Thank you! That I am still trying to figure out. Sometimes I plan everything out very meticulously, with colours laid out and all that, and then I am not so happy with the final product - maybe because there’s so much you can mess up if you have a clear image of what you’re trying to do. Other times I have simply done a really rough sketch and worked out all the rest directly on the wall, using whatever colours I have available. I’ve done some of my best walls that way, but also some of my worst. It’s a constant process. You just have to go for it, be open to change, and learn from your mistakes. BBB: If your house was burning down, what 3 things (non art related) would you make sure to grab before you fled to safety? LYS: Honestly, probably my panda Meekus, my computer and my dad’s flannel shirt. BBB: If you were on death row, what would be your last meal and why? Wait, why am I on death row? I would probably have Peking Duck, a spider roll and Jasmine

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'Iron Pueo' Meggs x Bask, Honolulu Hawaii 2014 - Photo: Brandon Shigeta

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BRAY1 Bizarre Beyond Belief: When and where did you begin painting graffiti and what was so inspiring about it? BRAY: First of all, when I started to do graffiti , I had never seen anything like it before. I started in 1998 and the first place I painted was in a place called Azeitao. It was where my home was at the time and it’s a lovely village. We have a lot of regional products and amazing kinds of unique Wine. Doing graffiti was such a great experience, because for me the colours were the most attractive thing about it. Still does! BBB: You have gone through a number of graffiti styles over the years, can you tell us about your evolution? BRAY: I’ve been a graffiti writer for almost 17 years. I had a lot of styles, forms, designs, but the thing I most enjoy is the letter structure. Everything I have made; all the walls, bombs, and the wall of fame with my team was such a great way to grow up and to reach a lot of different styles I had through the years. In fact, I think the more you paint, the more you can experiment new ways of doing graffiti/art/painting. BBB: How does working in the graffiti realm differ from other artistic forms you work in? BRAY: Well, first there is the question of the area for painting. My world has always been outside - the wall or the street. When we try to pit graffiti in the galleries, the thing we miss the most is the space we paint. Usually when I exhibit in galleries I paint on canvas. I use to paint big canvas, but now it’s always small.

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“Graffiti can be inspired in anything, like fashion. When there are no limits you can move faster.” bIZARREbEYONDbELIEF

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BBB: You also continuously exhibit fine art , how does the context of the work change inside the gallery versus outside? BRAY: I started to exhibit in Art Galleries last 2012. It was big challenge at first. Yes, it was not my natural way of doing art, because I grow up in the graffiti world, and would exhibit in a limited places with a limited size. It’s not easy. But, I’m the kind of person who loves transformation, pressure, challenges, and I have changed or maybe just created a new style to put in Galleries. Something smaller. So I think, once again this has led me to experiment with new styles. BBB: Do you feel it still holds the same credibility? BRAY: Honestly, I think the answer for that can be asked to all the people who follow my work. I’m not the kind

of artist who only does one kind of art/design. I only do the things I love and the things who make me feel alive. Versatility and colours will always be the 2 words who defines me the best. BBB: You also work as a fashion designer, how does your approach change in comparison to painting graffiti? BRAY: I had my own store at the time. It was a Skate and Surf Shop, and it was a kind of my first gallery. I had opportunities to work with great brands, and the sales were mostly in my store. Most of the works I have done were in conjunction with my art and sneakers, clothing, and skateboards. So in many ways, graffiti and my experience as a fashion designer were very similar.

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BBB: Do you find each field helps push one another? BRAY: Yes, definitely. Most of the people know me as a graffiti writer, but the important thing is the way that I look at the graffiti myself. I love graffiti, I love art, and all forms and colours. Graffiti can be inspired in anything, like fashion. When there are no limits you can move faster. BBB: You have worked with big brands like vans , adidas , quicksilver and DC,, tell us about working with big corporations? BRAY: Most of the corporations I’ve work with were always connected with surf and skate styles. Fortunately, all the people who wished to be involved with every project, were “open minded” enough that we could move

on with the artwork. Above all, they always trust me. My work, my taste and my opinions were always taken in count. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t even think about to do the project. Once again, I can affirm that I only do what gives me pleasure to do. BBB: How does your artistic process change when dealing with large clients? BRAY: In the first place, I’m not very flexible when we talk about doing something which doesn’t mean a thing to me. I want to do the work because I like it, if not, I simply don’t do it. Doing something where I can’t be myself or I’m not free do to what I feel at the moment or when I have to follow someone else’s idea, I prefer not to do it. So I always try to explain this with my client, and I’m

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glad to say that usually my relation with my client work out very well. the client comes to me because he knows and likes my work.

Family and friends, the beach, and Football (BENFICA).

BBB: What are 3 things outside of graffiti that you can can’t live without?

In the same place as I am now. I love to live where I do and of course I hope to have some big new walls for me and my team.

BBB: Where does bray see himself in 10 years?

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www.bray1.pt

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Profile for Bizarre Beyond-Belief

Bizarre Beyond Belief Issue #19  

Bizarre Beyond Belief Magazine Issue #19 features interviews with Street Art & Graffiti, Myneandyours, Frost45, James Rawson, Alex Garant, D...

Bizarre Beyond Belief Issue #19  

Bizarre Beyond Belief Magazine Issue #19 features interviews with Street Art & Graffiti, Myneandyours, Frost45, James Rawson, Alex Garant, D...