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BIZARRE BEYOND BELIEF

MAGAZINE

ARTS + CULTURE

ISSUE #22 OCTOBER

2016

ANDRE KAN • DEAN REYNOLDS SEGE1 • IMON • EDIT TVC LOVE LETTER PROJECTs WOOLLY GOAT • NEMCO

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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. All requests and inquiries to: contact@bizarrebeyondbelief.com Interviews Edited By: Emily Pearce

Cover: Nemco Uno 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 2

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MAGAZINE

ARTS + CULTURE

ISSUE #22 october

2016

CONTENTS

TABLE OF

BIZARRE BEYOND BELIEF

INTERVIEWS Andre Kan EDIT TVC IMON DEAN REYNOLDS SEGE ONE NEMCO

PAGE. 4 Page. 40 Page. 52 page. 84 page. 96 PAGE. 108

IMAGE FEATUREs LOVE LETTER Projects

WOOLLY GOAT

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ANDRE KAN Andre Kan is a native of our hometown, Toronto, who has recently been on a tear both in the studio and on the streets. Andre is a recent graduate from the prestigeous OCAD University, which he credits to much of his development. We recently had a chance to meet with the budding new artist and his demeanor is just as dedicated and excitable as his work conveys to the viewer. We’re very excited to showcase both images and thoughts with another exceptional star on the rise. And what’s even more awesome, is we can claim him a fellow Canadian.

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

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: Being a Toronto-based artist, what is about the city that helped inspire and influence you? Andre Kan: Probably the fact that the city alone has so much art at its disposal. Whether in a gallery, or just on the street, it helps with inspiration. Obviously an “ego” thing going on but the artists around here all hustle on a daily basis. There’s no doubt about that. Universally, most artists struggle to make a living off their art, yet still go out of their way pumping out work, going out making new connections and making things happen. That is inspiration right there. Sacrificing so much just to be able to share a piece of themselves with the world - that should keep everyone motivated. BBB: We’re noticing that “The 6ix” has increasingly become more of an “it” city. Do you agree? And why do you think that is the case? AK: Absolutely. “The 6ix” hahaha thanks Drake!

Toronto’s such a trendy city right now. Things are constantly changing; we’re even getting a central park soon! Well a smaller version. However, it’s good we’re progressive, and keeping up with what’s happening in the world right now. That’s the important part. BBB: You recently graduated from OCAD, do you feel this was an integral part of your artistic development? AK: Yes, totally. I read somewhere that “you don’t have to go to art school to pursue an art career but doing so will get you there farther and faster”. That statement is so true and incredibly important. Even while I was at OCAD I contemplated often whether an arts degree was necessary or not and if it would even help. I’m so glad I stuck it through and finished with a BFA in Drawing & Painting. I think I might even go do my Masters eventually. BBB: Would you recommend that young aspiring artists pursue post secondary instruction?

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AK: Absolutely. OCAD didn’t teach me how to paint and draw like an artist. But it taught me how to think like one. Being able to critically engage with my peers and understand exactly what contexts art could fall under was so pivotal. Using this knowledge to understand historical references in art and the significance of process was critical as my career developed. I really had to embrace

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the fact that art is so much more than just technical quality. BBB: If not, what sort of advice would you give emerging artists? AK: A lot of artists can’t afford to go to school for a fine


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arts degree due to circumstance. It’s not their fault but, if there was any advice I could give to emerging artists, it would be to understand and believe that everyone has their own path. Every artist is different and you can’t compare yourself with one another. If you’re meant to become an artist it’ll happen eventually and naturally. Just keep working hard, and the dedication will prosper. Always. BBB: As an artist who works both in the public and private sphere, how does your creative approach change between the fields? AK: It’s funny you bring that up because at the moment I’m totally in this “caught in between” phase where I’m not sure whether I’d prefer one over the other. But I must admit that lately, it’s affecting my creative approach more due to the fact that I’m currently working on smaller intimate pieces in the studio, which at times could take longer to finish than any mural or public work I’m doing. It blows my mind but I guess making art in both public and private spheres require an entirely different mode of thinking. BBB: How do you feel the different realms effect your decisions and the pieces themselves? AK: The space I’m in is so important. I draw influences from my surroundings. Naturally if I’m painting with people or if I’m painting outside, the pieces will feel a little looser and more fun. But if I’m just painting alone in my studio, the pieces definitely feel more tight and thought out. Both have ups and downs, but the piece is dependent on the space which it’s created in. BBB: We see a lot of hurdles with painting in the streets in Toronto (i.e. beef or disrespect), does this ever effect what and where you will paint? AK: No not yet. Thankfully nobody’s tagged over me, which I’m super grateful for because I’m still much younger than most of the bigger street artists around. So naturally I’ll be a little more intimidated when painting with bigger names. It’s been a great mural season so far this year so I have plans to paint larger spots, but even if I get tagged it’s still worth it. BBB: We’ve noticed over the years that your work has

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transformed from more expressive and drippy to clean and rigid, what factors directed the evolution of your work? AK: I get asked this a lot! Often people mistake some of my older work as newer stuff simply because it’s more dense and busy. But the reason some of my work is more clean and rigid at the moment is because I’m taking another look at some architectural objects I’ve depicted over the years, and really examining its fundamentals in nature. How exactly do we use these mundane objects to create a structure? It’s a deeper focus within architecture and a subtle response to what really defies an environment or space. Having that dialogue is important, and I’ve always felt that even when I first started making this body of work a couple of years ago. I’d constantly ask myself, “Everyone can paint a cityscape, but why exactly are you painting a cityscape?” And as I continued making work over the years I started realizing that answer. That evolution, perpetual change, and ability to adapt was always what I hoped to get across in terms of visual dialogue. But where these architectural models were once representing the evolution of space, they are now these unanchored blueprints, functioning as vehicles representing the evolution of ideas. BBB: Your work often incorporates mixed media, how do you feel the interaction between latex and spray paint works with one another? AK: Latex and spray paint work great together. Some of my favourite artists right now only use those two. The immediacy is great and if you do it right, the blend between the two can create infinite possibilities. I know some people might think it won’t hold up as long as traditional oil paints, which is true, but for the type of work I’m doing, just putting a nice finish on the painting is good enough for me. BBB: If your studio burned down and you could only grab three things (nonart related), which would they be and why? AK: Firstly, my Passport (obvious reasons), then my American Vintage’52 Telecaster (she’s my baby and a lefty!) and finally an extra hoodie (because I’m probably wearing a t-shirt already).


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With fall upon us, what other projects or events should our readers be on the lookout for? I have a few mural projects coming up in the fall (just confirming some final details). I’m going to be releasing an edition of prints over the next few months which I’m super excited about. I’ll be participating in a few small group shows before the holidays; one at Gallery 50 near the Gladstone Hotel, one at Yellow House over near Kingston Rd, and another show at Project Gallery on Queen East. Recently I’ve signed on as one of the artists

managed and represented by Project Gallery, so I’m incredibly excited to be working with them over the next year. They’ve been working hard doing some great things, and they’ve been really supportive of my work over the years. My solo exhibition with them is scheduled for next spring in 2017, and I’m already slowly preparing! I’m also preparing to collaborate with a buddy of mine and fellow master printmaker on a litho and monoprint series which we’re working on the proposal for right now. That’s scheduled for next year 2017 as well.

www.andrekan.com | instagram: @andrekan_

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Love LEtter PROJECTS SeaWalls: Murals for Oceans is PangeaSeed’s groundbreaking, nomadic public art project, which brings the oceans into street view around the world, through the creation of spectacular, highprofile public art installations and murals. And, For the first time ever, through the ongoing efforts of a highly diverse and ever-expanding international team of artists, producers and change-makers, SeaWalls was brought to Toronto for its first ever fresh water edition. This past June, Toronto was blessed to have hosted some of the world’s finest local and international street artists painting large-scale murals to bring together the city’s communities and giving voice to critical global issues.

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Edit TVC Getting a chance to snag an interview with EDIT TVC was a real treat for us. This man is an absolute beast out on the streets and a real rad dude to boot. From rollers to pieces, tags to throwies, this guy has got the goods. He attacks his work just the way you would expect him to - all heart. Being that he’s in one of the most vicious crews in the game (no pun intended), it’s no surprised that EDIT has been crushing cities all around North America for years. We could ramble on for days about the man’s talents, but instead, we’ll let his own words and fresh styles do the talking for us.

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: Tell us who you are, how you came to choose your name, what crews you rep and how long you have been writing? EDIT: Howdy. I write Edit or Editism. I’m from TheViciousCycle aka TV25, BoxStarz (freight crew) and W.I.T.S. (wild in the streets - street shit only). I’ve been writing for approximately 17 years.  BBB: Which is your favourite city to bomb? EDIT: San Francisco is without question my favorite place to spray. Traveling is great and a must for me, but spraying in SF has particular challenges that I enjoy.  BBB: Living in the bay area with so many influential writers, how do you distinguish your own brand of graffiti?   EDIT: My own brand huh? Well, it’s definitely important to find a style that is your own. Thats crucial. Pynbal TVC has been a major influence on me and pushes me to extend my comfort level with experimentation. Another very important aspect of spraying in The Bay, and SF in particular, is finding your own spots. I think being selective about where you spray can show that you have a developed eye, and that will make you stand out. I like to go full-size, always trying to hog a spot. Yeah, I just try to keep it original, effective, and standing alone as often as possible. BBB: We know you recently got down with the famous Boxstarz crew, how did that come about? EDIT: It’s such an honor to rep BoxStarz. There is a lot of overlap between BoxStarz and TVC, so I have been close to a good number of the BoxStarz fellas for years. I mostly spray streets these days. Mainly because of accessibility and instant gratification. But, with that said, I am most definitely a freight head. I love trains. I’ve worked around trains, I ride trains, and of course I spray em too. Its a crew I have looked up to for years and after getting to know most of them well I have wanted to push it with them for quite some time. Eventually I got a phone call from Kwest. He asked if I wanted to push the crew. I was shocked, because I wasn’t sure I was up to par with the rest of the crew, but so stoked. I said, “Hell yeah I do!” When I got off the phone I went and got a panel to

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seal that shit in paint. It’s great to be surrounded with writers I look up to, am influenced and inspired by, and that I can learn from. BBB: What makes you want to continue to paint?  EDIT: I guess, first off, I continue to spray because it’s fun. My homie Dicko TVC MC always says, “It’s the crime that keeps you young!” Haha, it’s the fuckin’ fountain of youth! So there’s that, but graffiti is still a lot of things to me, which is likely why I still have drive for it. It’s meditative, therapeutic, and a creative outlet. I’m also pretty fuckin angsty, and I like to shove my shit in the faces of all these square, tasteless clowns flooding the city I love, and strangling the fucking creative life out of it. I do it because its offensive to others and because my

friends enjoy looking at it. BBB: What is your best piece of advice for kids trying to make a name for themselves in SF/Bay Area? EDIT: Advice for new comers to The Bay: If you want to really make a name for yourself out here you have to get spots that are yours. If you’re going to get a new lot, be the first to it. Make your shit fit the spot you’re painting. Look for spots that haven’t been hit or at least aren’t part of the steady buff rotation spots that always get filled in and buffed filled in and buffed. That shit is kinda boring. It’s been done by so many that come out, have their few months, if that, and are forgotten. I think people just get too excited when they get here. I went through it myself to some extent but where I came from spot selection was

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engrained in my bones by the older heads I looked up to. I was real fortunate to have that instilled in me before I got out here. Its easy to fall into the fill-in cycle doing the go-to spots that are hot but require no thought. The real shit is longevity. Slow and steady. A burst every now and again to remind heads you’ve still got it and show the new guys you are capable, but slow and steady quality keeps your profile low with the pigs and high with the writers that care more about graffiti than they do about popularity, coke, and booze… Says the guy thats not famous, not popular, and probably doesn’t like you or your graffiti.

bombing besides markers and spray paint? EDIT: Nope. Well, scribes.. but thats it. Markers, spray paint, and a scribe are all I need. BBB: Anything else you would like to touch on? EDIT: Just wanna say RestInPeace to my big homie and real King, not the king of instagram likes, DRUGS one TVC BoxStarz.  You continue to be an inspiration to me. RIP UpYerz and Vote. I miss y’all motherfuckers. 

BBB: Do you like to use any other mediums when

INTERVIEW CONDUCTED BY 2toes

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imon IMON is easily one of the hardest working writers out there right now. With no shortage of innovative concepts and interesting spot choices, it’s always exciting to see what he comes up with next. Hailing from Malaga, Spain, IMON uses his city’s terrain to his advantage. Spots often appearing as they’re on the beach or in the middle of nowhere, they always have a flair of style that few have in this day and age. Little is known about IMON’s true identity, whereabouts, or much else for that matter, so it makes our interview feel that much more special. If you’re not familiar with his work, don’t worry, you will be and you’ll absolutely love it.

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: When was your first interaction with graffiti culture and what inspired you about it? IMON: My first interaction with the graffiti, I was still a child. I was exploring my neighbourhood and other parts of the city and started seeing tags. So I started tagging with some friends and starting meeting other people who were writing in my area. Later we began painting pieces and we started taking graffiti seriously. It was something that made me feel different from other things. There was both an absolute freedom and disobedience element to the art form. BBB: You’re from Malaga, can you describe what the graffiti scene was like when you started? IMON: My view was similar to that of a child’s, who wanted to paint everywhere and meet other writers. I even hallucinated about meeting and painting with old school

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writers. That viewpoint seemed to happened in a lout of cities. Back then, I liked seeing walls where 20 writers matched backgrounds. I also used to paint with my gang of friends and paint productions with 2-3 pieces on them. BBB: How have you seen it change over the years since you began writing? IMON: A lot of beef. People start off painting burned and abandoned spots. Styles have been lost because almost everything is copied nowadays. There is too much style influenced by foreign styles, but no influences out of sheer artistic curiosities. Writers adopt a personality of the ghetto but that attitude has completely changed. I don’t generally consider myself closed or a writer of classical ideas, but the trap is hurting! BBB: How would you describe the feeling of graffiti within the general public?


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IMON: There is a boom. Street art has hit hard. And people really like street art. It’s nothing bad, but the population has not changed their mentality. I don’t think a citizen would ever come to understand and accept true graffiti, but can get used to it. BBB: Your work is humorous and innovative, what inspires many of your ideas before you go paint? IMON: I don’t usually sketch. Each piece I do, I generally have a reference and it may reference a previous piece. So with each piece I’m evolving. Everything influences me, the place, the paint, the time. I just think of something and say “why not try it?”. No one is evaluating me so I’m surprising anyone with something new and if I’m hit or miss it’s my problem. BBB: You often do letters, but sometimes the work is more image based, do you feel you are graffiti artist or

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a street artist? IMON: Graffiti writer. Street artists are sometimes considered social and intellectually superior writers, however writers feel superior to the street artist. Sometimes disassociating the word “art” and the art world. Street artists also sometimes use a spray and say they are doing graffiti, but they’re not really - it is complicated. In the end, the finished product is something personal to the individual. I just write. BBB: Many graffiti artists travel the world to get their names up, where have you traveled to and what are some of your favourite places to paint? IMON: I haven’t had the opportunity to travel much outside my country. But the nice thing about painting outside is meeting new people and exploring new spots. However, the nice thing about painting in your hometown


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is the comfort.

main inspirations of influences?

BBB: Have you ever gone out on a mission that you felt it was too dangerous to paint?

IMON: Many things. The Simpson, Trailer Park Boys, Borat, Clint Eastwood, Game Boy Colour, GTA San Andreas, Bla Bla Car, my girlfriend, Jonas Wood, Guy Yanai, Keith Haring, Todd James, Matisse, Abraham Lacalle, Adam&Itso, David Hockney, Miren Doiz, Jessica Stockholder, Donald Judd, Guillermo Mora, Lara Almarcegui, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Henri Charrière and many, many more.

IMON: Many. Sometimes I still painted it and others I’ve just hid for hours. BBB: Graffiti has a lot of aspects to the craft (tags, throw ups, pieces, murals) what is your favourite to paint and why? IMON: Free and fun. I’m very used to using rollers and I like doing simple pieces that are legible, and entertaining. I also like doing murals to experience the details. BBB: Outside of graffiti, what are some of your other

BBB: With summer coming to a close, what can our readers expect from IMON in the coming months? IMON: As usual, I hope to keep going hard and I will keep you guys posted!

instagram: @IMON_BOY

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WOOLLY GOAT Artist and illustrator Woolly Goat is an artist that we’ve been dying to get into the magazine for quite some time now. Many artists out there use pop-culture iconography as inspiration for their creative process, but none do it as well and as unique as Woolly Goat. From Simpsons characters to Bert & Ernie, WG always creates work with an element that seems extremely dark and disturbed but also humorous and satirical. Furthermore, WG creates an incredible work at both insane quantity and quality. From paintings, to drawings, to illustrations and designs, he has a non-stop attitude to art making.

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DEAN REYNOLDS Dean Reynolds recently popped on our radar through the wonders of the internet and we’re stoked that it happened. Dean is an unbelievably skilld painter and drawer who brings to life fantastical new worlds in his artwork. Rooted in the beautiful art of surrealism, Reynolds’ has the impeccable ability to seamlessly render, compose and transform canvases into timeless and classic masterpieces. Reynolds is more than just an artist, and has experience a lot over the years. So with that, let his words and images take you into another dimension.

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: As a Phoenix based artist, can you tell us what the community is like and what keeps you there? Dean Reynolds: The art community in Phoenix could be considered small but also close like a family. The art community is developing, opening up to a broader audience, looking to be both active within the city and reaching out to other cities and states. As for me, I would not say that I am staying put in Phoenix, rather I am developing ideas and seeking out new discoveries. The situation now is that I am getting ready to spring board to something new, journeying to a new set of places. BBB: We’ve read that you were born in LA and “bounced around doing things”, can you tell us what that entails exactly?

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DR: I did a lot of things to pay the rent. I worked in restaurants as a waiter, drove limousines for both everyday people and celebrities, delivered magazines, was a telemarketer for a low budget movie production company. I did odd jobs like being in costume for children’s parties, collected aluminum cans from trash bins and dumpsters to recycle for cash. BBB: We also understand you’ve tried your hand at acting, can you describe what that was like and what cut it short? DR: There are three things you do when you are young in LA; be a writer, be a musician, or be an actor. I tried the third choice. The experience was both exciting and depressing. You get to be around a lot of very beautiful women, the excitement of new experiences and meeting


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all kinds of new people. There is a pure vulnerability being an actor. You cannot really hide; you have to allow yourself to be open in front of an audience or a camera. You cannot BS, you cannot judge, you have to resist selfconsciousness. To be an actor is to be naked, and to be able to repeat spontaneity. You have to want to play with seriousness. The other side is that it’s a business, and the main thing is how much do you want it. I realized that I didn’t want it all that much. BBB: Did any of this help you decide to pursue a career in the arts? DR: I had been interested in the visual since I was 18. I was just not sure how to go about doing it. I worked in theaters in LA as an actor and in the technical side. The effort to create the reality of the world on stage certainly

enhanced my interest in the arts. The arts are, in their basic foundational creations, affectations. They are constructs, they are making something that is not what happens in life convincingly real to an audience. I always did paintings and drawings during my time in LA. I was not sure what I was doing at the time only that it was something that I was interested in doing. BBB: You went to Northern Kentucky University for you BFA, can you describe your experience there and how it helped or hindered your development? DR: I must first say that I never thought about attending a college. This perhaps comes from my working class background. My parents were working class people and college was something others did. So how did I find myself at any university and in particular a university

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in Northern Kentucky? For years I had severe back problems since I was 16. Herniated discs. So later in my life I began to have those problems again. I was unable to work, and found myself needing medical attention. My mother was living with my sister in Northern Kentucky. I gave up most of everything I owned in LA, shipped what little I wanted to keep to them, and flew east. After resolving the back issues, I knew I was not going to return to LA any time soon. The university was near

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and I attended a few classes. I decided that I would go for a degree in painting. If the saying is things are what you make of them, I made the best of it. I put as much effort into classes and working in the studios at NKU and earned full scholarships. I spent as much time outside of the University setting using resources like Manifest Gallery. This is a very good organization that promotes the understanding and techniques of traditional drawing which is based in city of Cincinnati. This helped develop


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skill and the discipline to be a figurative artist. I knew that this area was not my home and had to move on. I learned what I could and had to expand to other environments. BBB: As someone who continued on to an MFA, do you feel that those institutions were an integral part of your development as an artist? DR: I am torn about the idea of the artist and institutions. I cannot say with certainty a positive or negative reaction to the whole business. It is too early to tell, I need more time to consider the implications and how it affected my development. BBB: Would you recommend aspiring young artists to pursue this path themselves? DR: I would say that someone who wants to be an artist should ask themselves this one question, “What do you want?” Someone at 18 might not have a clear understanding of what they want. I had a lot of life experiences that I brought into the university setting that you cannot learn within the institution. My situation is not unique, only that I approached the situation with perspective of having lived some life. A young artist should take time outside the university environment and then think about if it would be a meaningful experience to attend a university. It is what you make of it, I guess. A self-taught artist can be just as interesting and amazing as the most erudite and well trained artist out of a university or art school setting. It’s a matter of what you want and what you are able to discover in yourself. BBB: We’ve also read that you liken yourself to a magician, can you describe the correlation between magic and art? DR: Wayne Thiebaud, a wonderful realist painter, said that he creates light where there is no light, space where there is no space, form where there is no form. One

creates the illusion of space, light, and form. This is not singular to the goals of figurative or realist artists alone but to any and all forms of art. An artist takes materials and does something with them that transforms them into something else. It was this and now it’s that with all the extraneous bits removed. BBB: Could it be said that all art is like that or does that relate exclusively to Surrealism? DR: The Surrealist certainly could be seen as the premiere magicians, creating what has not been seen before or what was never thought to exist in the world. All arts deal in the getting a viewer, listener, reader to come along for what you are trying to do. For me its imparting a vision, ideas, feelings. You have to use what you need to get that across, to express it or to give it form. The writer Jonathan Swift said it best, “Vision is the art of seeing things invisible”. BBB: You won the Griffin Art Prize in 2014, can you describe what that achievement meant to you and has it led to other opportunities? DR: It meant that my work and my vision had been validated. It has opened opportunities for me with exhibitions in various galleries, having my work shown in publications in the US, and giving my work greater exposure to a larger audience. BBB: With 2016 well underway, what Dean Reynolds projects, events, or information should our readers be on the lookout for? DR: {9} gallery owner/director Laura Dragon is working on getting a contemporary surrealist show in LA in the spring of next year in 2017. It will be a group show of Arizona surrealist artist of which I am happy to be a part of. I am also making plans to get more of my work into the New York City art environment. This is preliminary but time will tell.

www.deanreynoldsart.com

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SEGE1 SEGE1 is a beast from Chicago who has got every area of the sport down pat. From his letter structure to colour theory, straight letters to chromes, there’s not a single flaw in his game. Beyond the fundamentals of the craft, SEGE easily has some of the most incredible can control skills on the streets. With perfect flares, fades and doodads, each one of his pieces holds new and exciting features to them. With a dedication to the game that few hold, SEGE’s talent and wisdom goes above and beyond most people in graffiti. With all that being said, we’re unbelievably thrilled to have this midwest animal gracing the pages of our publication and we think you will be too.

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: Chicago definitely has a reputation for being a tough place to play, what’s it been like developing as a Chicago-based artist? SEGE: I have been fortunate to experience longevity in a city like Chicago, which has a proven reputation for pushing people out.  Fellow creatives’ strong opinions, and the politics associated with the scene, create a challenging environment in which to thrive.  In addition to those speed-bumps, add the politics that exist in City Hall, their negative perception of graffiti, and the influence they have on the remainder of the population. I’m of the opinion that those speed-bumps are what separate the writers who are doing it for the right reasons and those doing it for the wrong, in addition to determining the relevance and longevity a writer will have in Chicago. BBB: How do you feel some of the socio-political factors of the city have shaped the graffiti culture of

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the city? SEGE: There are many socio-political factors that influence Chicago graffiti. For many years, it has been common practice for elected officials have piggybacked on Chicago’s large gang presence to demonize graffiti writers. While Chicago’s gangs have had an influence on the style of Chicago graffiti, categorizing us all into the same group is a stretch. Other writers may not agree with my next statement, but I think the emergence of street-art has led to a positive shift in the perception that the public has on graffiti. Regrettably, though, this change is mostly the result of politicians’ hidden agendas. The only reason they are beginning to support the display of street-art is because they have realized there is money to be made, and they want a hand in it. They are now busy tweaking their once-negative perceptions of graffiti to be consistent with public demand, ultimately advancing their political agendas and gaining access to the tax dollars they have so


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desperately been trying to finagle.

public perception of the craft in your hometown?

BBB: We understand that they don’t sell spray paint in the city limits of Chicago, can you tell us about how that came about and has it actually been a successful move?

SEGE: Touching on what I mentioned previously, there has been a significant shift in the way that the public views graffiti, and I think street art has encouraged that transition.  When you boil it all down, it is paint on walls in public spaces, which is becoming more and more prevalent, so when there is something new out there, it is less shocking to them.

SEGE: In the mid-90’s, Chicago’s mayor created an ordinance that prevented the sale of spray paint within city limits, all in an attempt to curb vandalism.  I don’t think it was ever very successful, because writers still managed to find it a way to acquire it.  For example, there are suburban stores just over the city border, which only require a quick drive.  Also, more prevalent today than in the 1990’s, many writers purchase their paint online in bulk via large, specialty paint distributors.  Tying back in to my last response, the same Chicago alderman that sponsored the original ordinance is now backing the repeal, because he wants to recoup the tax income the city has been losing to the chain art stores in the suburbs. BBB: That being said, how would you describe the

BBB: ChiTown definitely has a distinctive aesthetic, who or what would you say helped influenced the look and feel of the graffiti scene there? SEGE: When I look at present day Chicago graffiti, I still see influences by those who have laid the groundwork like AGES, TRIXTER, EAST, PENGO, and other crew members of FEDS, XMEN, THC/UFG, J4F, SB, and CMW. BBB: Being that Chicago is often labeled as “The Second City”, how do you feel about this term? How

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do you feel the writers in the city compare to that of NYC or LA?

great, because it’s nice to paint with new people who have different styles.

SEGE: I don’t like the term “Second City,” because I think it’s inaccurate - Chicago has been the birthplace of many firsts throughout history, and its influence can clearly be seen in other cities around the country.  Trying to compare Chicago, LA and NYC is difficult, because each city has its own style, as well as cultural and artistic influences.

BBB: Graffiti is generally associated with Hip-Hop to some disagree, what is your take on writing being one of the 4 elements?

BBB: Have you ever thought about leaving your city and moving elsewhere or has that never been an option? SEGE: I love Chicago, but I am always open to opportunities to paint in new places and surround myself with other creatives.

SEGE: I disagree.  Hip-Hop and graffiti don’t always go hand-in-hand.  Having met writers from all over the world, the one thing we all had in common was graffiti; many of them had no association with the other three defined elements of Hip-Hop.   BBB: If you were jamming out on a wall; what would be your top 5 albums on your playlist? SEGE: I’ll answer with artists instead: Crystal Castles; Alkaline Trio; Morrisey; Deerhunter; and MSTRKRFT.

BBB: You’ve sprayed in a number of cities throughout the US, can you name a few places which have stood out to you and why?

BBB: With the piping hot summer coming to a close soon, what can we expect from SEGE in the fall and winter months?

SEGE: New York is definitely one for me, because of the history.  In general, though, painting in other cities is

SEGE: I tend to do better in the cold weather, so definitely more outdoor activity.

www.segeone.com | instagram: @sege1

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NEMCO There are few words to describe the talent and abilities of NEMCO. This guy has got the skills in every way shape and form. This Milan born and bred artist has been crushing the game since the early 2000s not only in the streets, but in the fine art and photography realm as well. With an undoubted grip on composition and can contro;, NEMCO’s ability to conceptualize his piece and the way it interacts with the space is unparalleled. Like many of the artists in the magazine, we’ve been dying to get a feature with NEMCO for months now and we were incredbily fortunate to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule to chat with him and get his perspective of graffiti, street art and what it’s like getting up in Milan.

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: Milan is known to be a very cultured art city, what inspired you about the graffiti scene to begin painting? NEMCO: At that time the city was really bombed. Graffiti was everywhere and it was impossible not to notice it, also because subcultures have always been really attractive to me. Every morning I had to walk through the FIA hall of fame on my way to the high school. FIA was a really active and stylish local crew in that period. I still remember the smell of chlorine of that place, it was the back lane of a building with a swimming pool inside. One day I started sketching ‘cause I wanted to be part of that coolness. BBB: How would you describe the scene in 2003 and who were the major names that helped shape the craft?

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NEMCO: At that time the scene was changing a lot. Internet was becoming a really big thing in graffiti, and people were starting to stick their style at the main trends. I would say that in the 90s the writers’ bench became the graff zine, and in the 2000s the graff zine became the internet. I started my graffiti career in that confusing period. At the beginning I was influenced in particular by the THE crew, especially from Chob and Kegr. If you look at my pieces you can still see some connections with their productions. BBB: You’ve worked in all aspects of the game, what were some of the difficulties in getting up in Milan? NEMCO: The main difficulty was that the scene was pretty big and the spots for painting weren’t so many. Also consider that Milan itself is a pretty hostile place. The mixture of these two things makes everyone enemy with each other. Wherever I go when I’m traveling I paint


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with everyone, in my city I still paint graffiti just with my close friends or by myself. BBB: Italy has always had a thriving graffiti scene, not only in Milan, but Naples and Rome, what is it about the Italian landscape that lends itself to great artists? NEMCO: To be honest I don’t think that the landscape is connected with the graffiti diffusion over here, rather, I reckon that graffiti doesn’t fit with the historical walls of our cities. This place has a really old skin. I guess that the main reason of the graffiti diffusion is that Italy is a pretty relaxed country and painting has never been really hardcore over here. By the way I don’t think that we have a lot of good graffiti artists at the moment, we have some but really few. I reckon the level is higher in muralism in this country, we have several excellent artists over here. BBB: Your work breaks conventional barriers of graffiti, what are some of your primary influences in

your work? NEMCO: Well, after 10 years of painting graffiti following the rules I felt a bit caged. I had to encompass in my production different elements in order to keep this thing fresh and to not feel bored. This is exactly what the Originators in the70s/80s were doing on the NYC subway when they created this language: they stole a lot of elements from comics, advertising, arts, and they chucked them on the skin of the carriages. Crossbreeding is part of graffiti since day one. My primary influences come mainly from the history of fine arts. At this stage it’s really hard to get inspiration from graffiti, I’d rather focus on the work of the masters. I like a lot pop art, surrealism and metaphysics. At 40 years old I’d rather be more similar to Paul Caulfield than to Cope2. BBB: Graffiti artists often don’t like being called “street artists”, how do you feel about this term?

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NEMCO: I’ve often been labelled as a street artist and honestly I don’t like that. That term sounds to me like a big container where the mass media put every production painted in exterior. It’s really generic and ambiguous, doesn’t mean anything to me. I would define myself as a graffiti writer, a painter, a printmaker, a muralist... definitely not a street artist. Just as an example there’s

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nothing ‘street’ about etching. Let’s call the things with proper terminology. BBB: How would you describe the differences between graffiti and muralism? NEMCO: Basically graffiti is writing your name in the


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best way you can think of, on the surface that suits better with your style and your attitude. There are some rules, you can chose to follow them or avoid them, it depends from your personal research, I do both. I reckon muralism is more similar to painting a canvas, with a different scale and in exterior. There aren’t strict rules, it’s freedom just as painting. I started just few years ago with murals and I feel a huge excitement about practicing this discipline because it’s still mysterious and challenging to me. BBB: You work not only as a graffiti artists, but a fine artist as well, how does graffiti help these other disciplines? NEMCO: I would say that it’s actually the opposite: the other disciplines help me adding new stuff in my graffiti. For example the research that I’ve been doing on shadows in my graffiti comes from photography. At that time I was working a lot on still life photos in studio and I’ve been observing a lot how the light hits the objects. I transposed it in my graff production. BBB: Do you feel as if graffiti artists lose credibility if they begin showing work indoors? NEMCO: I don’t feel that way. Since the beginning of the graffiti movement several writers have been involved in gallery shows, let’s think about Dondi White, Lee, Futura... A lot of amazing contemporary graffiti writers are still doing it, like Taps and Moses, The Pal crew, Felipe Pantone and much more. I’m sure some crazy bomber would say ‘that’s a toy move’. Well, that’s a bit of a narrow minded way to think about it. BBB: Can you describe your creative process when conceptualizing a mural?

NEMCO: First of all I have to observe the wall and the surrounding landscape. My painting have to fit perfectly in the spot. When I first started with murals I painted some large scale graffiti pieces mixed with a lot of illustrative elements, but I realized that from a far point of view they looked really messy. Now i’m trying to avoid letters and paint single subjects in order to make them recognizable from a distance and to create a better interaction with the surroundings. At the moment i’m crossbreeding my linocut illustrations with muralism and I would like to experiment more in this direction. BBB: As an artist who has painted in a number of cities, what is your favourite place to travel to and why? NEMCO: I would say that Melbourne is the best city I’ve lived in. It’s really graff friendly, and is a very cultured art city. I found a vibrant scene over there and I made a lot of connections with the people. Australia is a really young place, looks like a book with blank pages and you’re the writer who has to fill them, it’s not like Europe where I feel that the book is already filled in and there’s no room for the next chapters. I’d love to go back in Melbourne one day. I’m also considering the United states and Canada next year. I feel that I can get good inspiration and good opportunities over there. We’ll see. BBB: What has graffiti given you that nothing else in your life has? NEMCO: Graffiti gave me a lot, but the main thing is definitely the opportunity to connect myself with a lot of people wherever I go. I found heaps of friends here and there that helped me a lot. I’m really grateful to them and to this subculture.

instagram: @nemcouno

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Bizarre Beyond Belief Magazine Issue #22  

The 22nd instalment of Bizarre Beyond Belief Magazine includes image features with Woolly Goat and Love Letter Projects alongside interviews...

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