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BIZARRE BEYOND BELIEF

MAGAZINE

ARTS + CULTURE

ISSUE #23 january

2017

Dan hampe • Denial skor • athen b gallery ruffpup flykidd • soler skape289 • rafael sliks

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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

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

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MAGAZINE

ARTS + CULTURE

ISSUE #23 january

2017

CONTENTS

TABLE OF

BIZARRE BEYOND BELIEF

INTERVIEWS DAN hampe ruffpup flykidd denial skor rafael sliks

PAGE. 4 Page. 30 Page. 56 page. 70 page. 108

IMAGE FEATUREs skape289 athen b gallery soler

page. 18 PAGE. 42 PAGE. 88


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DAN HAMPE Dan Hampe is a visual artist born in Denver, Colorado who is currently based out of Oakland, California who creates stunning and expressive painting work. We became aware of Hampe’s work via the wonders of Instagram and we immediately sparked a conversation to get him in our publication. Hampe’s work holds a vast amount of energy and expression that immediately draws the viewer in. Using various painterly techniques and extremely unique colour palettes, his work is sure to be desired by art collectors and galleries alike.

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

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: What was the pivotal point in your life which made you decide to want to be a practicing artist? Dan Hampe: It’s hard to say, not sure if there is a single pivotal moment, it’s more of a series of events. However, I always knew that I was going to tackle life on my own terms. So, as one thing led to another I found myself continually committing myself to making more and more work and through that repetition started to find a voice. BBB: As a self taught artist, can you describe the turning points in your aesthetic development? DH: They are constantly happening, which is something I think is very important to embrace as a painter. For me, and I think this goes for most painters, you have to constantly be a student. That being said, I was fortunate enough to come across an amazing mentor and teacher very early on in my journey into the world of painting by the name of Dave Zaboski. Check him out. I owe him

much praise for helping launch me into the painter I am today. BBB: Many people use educational institutions to do this, why do you think many feel that’s necessary? DH: I have no idea. I dropped out of college. I found myself ditching more and more classes to go study painting, so I eventually decided to just cut my ties to school and focus all of my passion for learning into painting. I think educational institutions are a great place to find peers and to sit in limbo before you really decide to brave the real world. We are conditioned to think that there is a formula for success. There’s not, and those two words are capable of opening up the gates of the imagination and take you to places you would have never predicted. And honestly, the unknown is the “roll of the dice” which is fucking exciting and keeps me working hard everyday. BBB: Have you ever considered going into an art

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institution to further your career? DH: I did. I actually dropped of college in Santa Barbara and decided that I was going to go to the Academy of Art in San Francisco. I walked in as a 20 year old aspiring painter, and was ready to learn. Then they asked for my credit card. Like the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in

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Pompeii, my image of the perfect art career was buried. So since then, no, I haven’t. I moved across the bay to Oakland, and started getting to work. I do, however, value academia and have heard/seen plenty of successful artists come out of Art Institutions. It really just boils down to how determined are you and are you capable of recognizing non traditional instruction and applying it.


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BBB: Oakland seems to be thriving right now, what’s it like living and working there? DH: It sucks. Stay Away. Haha, I’m kidding. I love it. There is this beautiful romanticism that surrounds the city, yet it holds true to its roots of a hard working city. Things are definitely changing there, and like I said before, embracing evolution is crucial as a painter and artist of any sort. BBB: Can you describe the arts community and what makes it so lively? DH: Oakland is a Tabula Rasa (in latin means “Blank Slate”). Chicago after the fire in 1871, became a blank slate for architects from all over the world to showcase their skills and innovations in building. It catapulted architects like Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright into the spotlight. I think that Oakland is the same way. After the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 that leveled the Cypress Freeway and opened up West Oakland, there has been this community brewing innovation in the arts. As more time passes, the city just keeps gaining momentum. New generations of artists are constantly arriving, and as long as we take note and respect the history of the town then things can flourish. BBB: Do you feel it’s just as powerful living there instead of moving to NYC or LA? DH: Different Animals, but Yes. Like I said before, Oakland is the Tabula Rasa. LA and NYC already have established artistic foundations. BBB: Your work contains a vast amounts of layering, can you describe you creative process to us? DH: In my paintings I deal primarily with time and

its impermanence. I move back and forth between representation and abstraction using reference images just as a music producer uses samples. I cut up imagery and weave it into itself. When I work I usually bounce between two pedals, representation and abstraction. As I apply one I ease up on the other. I kind of dance through the gray area that exists between the two. I want people to observe my paintings with the same innocence and openness as listening to music. Orson Welles said in an interview, “The object of every artist: Good, Bad, or Indifferent is a lifelong inquiry into that subject and his work is testimony into that effort.” BBB: You often juxtapose abstract expressionism with portraiture, how do the two fields affect your creative approach? DH: I love those moments where you don’t know if things are about to fall apart or come together. Like I said, there is a gray area that exists between representation and abstraction that feels like the open plains of the west and I just want to run wild through them and see where I end up. With summer in the rearview mirror, what can we expect from Dan Hampe in the fall and winter? I spent the summer as an Artist in Residence at Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science, and Technology working on all new work for my upcoming solo exhibition titled “Don’t Think Twice” which opens in downtown Los Angeles October 15. It’s a special ‘one night’ pop up exhibition curated by Ryan Rehbock and Tucker Rowe from The Crown Collection based out of Boulder, CO. The show is all about not hesitating and acting with absolute honesty. It’s a ‘one night’ pop up, so if ya snooze, ya lose. SEE YA THERE!

www.danhampe.com | instagram: @danhampe

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S.KAPE289 We first connected with Skape289 via email a few years ago and since then we’ve seen his work develop at an extremely rapid rate. From trains to murals, productions to sculpture work - Skape seems to have a real grasp of graffiti that is as strong as any one else in the game. Skape is also a globe-trotting artist who as far as we can see, has painted in almost every major city in the world (and smaller ones as well). With that being said, we were also fortunate enough to meet Skape on his trip to Toronto and got a chance to get to know him as a person outside of his. Not only are we undoubtedly major fans of what he’s putting out. But the guy is a stand up dude to boot. Take a look a selection of these incredible new sculptural graffiti paintings he has recently unveiled.

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RUFFPUP FLYKIDD We had the pleausre of meeting Ruffpup through a mututal friend and colleague of ours in Toronto - and we’re bloody thankful for it. Ruffpup is a go-getter in every sense of the phrase. Beyond modelling and managing a number of up and coming artists, he’s had the foresight to help many artists blow up before anyone else that are now household names. The range in which this man is capable of is outstanding and we truly believe he’s going to be one of the most influential names in the music and arts scene in not only Toronto, but worldwide very soon. We were forutante enough to snag some time out of his busy day for a chat about his work, career and vision for the future.

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: Being the founder of NeWAge Sound, can you describe its origins and who’s involved? Ruffpup Flykidd: NeWAge Sound started as just an idea from a couple of young guys, me from the West End and Sha from the East End, coming together to create a movement. We didn’t want to just be a typical rap group. We wanted to help young artists brand and market their talent by paying attention to every aspect of who they are as a person. By branding a lifestyle, we can tell a more whole story. BBB: We’ve read that NeWAge is “Deeper than Music”, can you describe what that means and how it stems further than just traditional management? RF: NeWAge is deeper than music. We go beyond traditional rap groups, because our members include many diverse artists from all different backgrounds, from visual artists to producers to rappers, and together we represent a new identity. If you watch the commercials, you can see how NeWAge is a lifestyle. BBB: Can you tell us a little bit about who you’re managing and what we can expect from them in coming up? RF: Currently I’m managing Sosa K. also known as Design by Sosa, a graphic designer and painter from Hamilton. He recently went back to pursue post-secondary education where he is focusing on developing his own unique style. He’s been working on the launch of his upcoming blog called Issue Hype, a street e-magazine, featuring various Canadian talents. To take his artistic style to He’s been working with brands, helping smaller companies develop their logos, and R. Bush is an up and coming rapper from Brampton, Ontario. His culture with his African culture influences the way he makes him music. Trappy Blocka is a producer and rapper from outside of Niagara. Unfortunately he’s incarcerated at the moment. Sayzee is a rapper from Niagara. He just dropped his latest single called “Imnotcool” and has a lot more content coming out soon. I also manage an artist named Pressa. BBB: Now that Toronto has become an “it” place for music and culture, what do you feel this city is offering that other major cities aren’t?

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RF: Toronto has always been the place for music and culture. This isn’t new to the NeWAge Sound. Toronto is different because we have such a high standard. Toronto offers the best of the best. Screwface capital means that even if you’re good, it’s not good enough here. You have to be great in order to make it here, in all aspects, your look, the music, your story, and your lifestyle. BBB: In the past, many artists from The6 usually move out to find fame and fortune, due to the new landscape do you think it’s a smarter to stay put instead? RF: I was born in New York, grew up in Toronto. There’s nothing wrong with moving around sometimes, but Toronto is my home. When it comes down to it, if it’s

necessary for an artist to move to attract a bigger fan base or find their fan base, that might be the move they have to make. BBB: We understand that you’ve worked with a number of artists before they blew, can you describe your methods of working with artists and how your foresight as help? RF: I’m a critical thinker. The way I think when it comes to working with artists is to think years in advance. I foresee trends and opportunities. I design photoshoot concepts, I know best times to drop new music, cover art designs. BBB: We recently saw that you had an incredible

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party that was documented by VICE, can you tell us the purpose of the party and how they got involved? RF: At the end of the summer, me and my bros from Humber Blvd, a community off Weston Road, got together to celebrate life. VICE got a call from one of their contacts basically telling them that we were having a party, so they said alright we’re coming, and coincidentally the host was a homie of mine who just got back to Toronto from New York. We were hella amped like “alright let’s have a party!” And that’s when the biggest party in Toronto happened, HBMB Mansion Party.   http://en.daily.vice.com/videos/were-just-celebrating-lifewe-experience-an-epic-end-of-summer-party BBB: We understand that you also do modelling, can you tell us a little bit about your career there and how it came about? RF: I’ve been modelling for a long time, even before I was working in the music industry I was modelling. How it started, a friend asked me to take photos of me and invited me to the studio. From there I’ve been working with various clothing brands and photographers. BBB: Also, who does your approach to dealing with modelling agencies and companies differ from your

own methods with dealing with artists? RF: Agencies have a big pool of talent and blast out a bunch of names at a bunch of gigs. My artists get my time. I work with each individual artist one on one I market their specific talents to a particular audience. BBB: If you were to assemble a perfect lineup of artists on your roster, who would you choose and why? RF: I already have my dream roster of talent. I would add a few more Canadian artists though. Sha hustle. Yea I’m biased, but he has mad talent. He has so many amazing songs and is strategic about when he drops them. That’s my bro. I’ll throw Jazz Cartier in there. He’s hard. He’s gona be a problem, he’s coming up. The hottest artists in Toronto right now are Tory Lanez and Drake so why wouldn’t I put them on my roster? And they would have to work together. Dead Mau5 and Justin Bieber. The designer behind New Regime. BBB: With 2017 underway, what can our readers expect from you in the new year? You can expect in 2017 everything new, a new age, new day, new wave, new everything. I’ll be working with my brother Shotty Horrah from the UK. We have some exciting projects coming out. We’re always finding new.

www.ruffpupflykidd.com | instagram: @imnotcoolruffpup

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“reset” @ Athen b gallery Athen B. Gallery recently unveiled “Reset”, a group exhibition which came to Oakland featuring the works of twelve local, national and international artists. Some of the artists in the exhibition, like Augustine Kofie, Dave Kinsey and Duncan Jago. These artists were featured alongside emerging artists like Aubrey Learner, Christie Yuri Noh and Pakayla Rae. By hand selecting a diverse array of techniques, styles, and aesthetics, we have aimed to make this our most surreal exhibition to date. Be sure to check out the exhibition which will be on view through February 3, 2017.

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dave kinsey

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augustine kofie

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duncan jago

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martina merlini

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christie oh

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pakayla rae

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curiot

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Jean nagai

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smithe one

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augustine kofie

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kelly ording

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DENIAL We are super pleased to present to an interview you one of our long time favourites - Denial. Denial is a Windsor based visual artist who has a body of work that is so vast, most artists can’t keep up. With much of his time spent in his hometown of Windsor and Detroit (its neighbour across the river), Denial crushes the streets with stencils, stickrs and posters. Beyond putting endless amounts of work in the streets, he kills it in the studio to create many extremely topical and powerful pop art inspired fine art work. We’re thrilled to have gotten the chance interview interview him and we think you’ll be just as pleased as we are to see what he’s flexing.

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: You use Denial or D3N!@L as a nom de plumes, how did you form the name and what’s its significance? DENIAL: I started doing graffiti and street art when I was about 18. Me, my brother and some other friends never even heard the term “street art” before, we just called it “the weekend”, it’s what we did when we weren’t working at our jobs. I started doing these interruptions and installations, just pure chaos really and I simply signed them “Daniel”. There really weren’t any other writer/artists around that were doing anything like what we were doing so I never got the whole run down about graffiti from anyone, I was just doing it off the cuff and knew it was something I had to do. Long story short I finally did meet some graffiti artists, older guys, and they were literally “Hey dickhead you can’t sign your real name”. So I had already worked with these letters so I just switched them around and DENIAL was born. Of course

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though over the years this name has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Everything I have learned about the world, DENIAL is just so prevalent. BBB: Being an artist from Windsor you travel to Detroit a lot, how do you feel the two scenes play off one another?   DENIAL: I feel really fortunate to have been situated so perfectly to be able to make the kind of social commentary that I chose to make in my art work. Windsor/Detroit is like the front lines of this economical war. I have been able to observe the rise and fall and rise of 2 cities. Windsor and Detroit are very similar, Windsor being much smaller, but both very much alike. I am excited for to help shape the future of both using my skills as an artist.   BBB: That being said, Detroit has definitely been on


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the rise over recent years, what is your perception of the city’s rebirth? DENIAL: I guess it depends on your definition of “rise”. Id gentrification a signifier of a cities rise, then yes of course, the gentrification re-purposed gluten free vegan machine is in full effect. I like to gauge the rise more in terms of grassroots, diy, organic fruition of culture and the arts. These are the aspects I like to look for.   BBB: Have you ever thought about moving south of the border full time or is there something about Canada that keeps you there?   DENIAL: I have definitely thought about moving to the US and I think in the future I will, but for now I really like where my studio is and where I live in proximity to friends, family and the airport. There has been so many amazing opportunities amongst all the negativity in this area. I mean I am full time artist and I own my 5000 sq ft

studio and a house down the street, I don’t see that being possible in another area for as cheap as it is here. I am not bogged down by all kinds of overhead and it affords me more time and money to do my projects. BBB: You’ve exhibited many works all over the globe, can you tell us a couple of your favourite city’s you’ve traveled to and why?   DENIAL: Seattle has been really amazing, met so many great people I am happy to call friends there. Detroit of course. New York for the inspiration and awe I find there. Sydney and Melbourne for the street art and people. So far my favourite shows have been in Detroit though because I get to work with my friends and family on the entirety of the exhibition, when I travel elsewhere its usually me on my own. I can’t thank 1xRun and Innerstate Gallery enough for all that we have done together over the years.  

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BBB: From stencils to murals to stickers you work in a variety of mediums, how does each one affect your creative process? DENIAL: I have humble beginnings as an artist, I used to gather all my materials from recycle centers, side of the road finds, second hand shops etc. and that what all my early works were painted on, found objects. I have certainly evolved my process throughout the years to reflect a maturity of sorts as an artist. My newest work is all very clean and tidy, ultra vibrant colours, it screams at you. I have also tried to reflect where my art is made, as in the use of the abandoned infrastructure of Windsor and Detroit. We have access to milling machines, laser cutting, cnc cutting unlike anywhere else. It’s amazing to have access to that kind of automation and build that framework into an artistic process.   BBB: Your work often conveys a corporation element to it, what is the significance of these companies in

your work? DENIAL: I truly believe that human beings were meant for a greater manifestation, rather than becoming a planet of blind, lied to consumers. It’s all a rigged game and somebody needs to flip the board over, my art is my way of attempting to help do that.   BBB: You’ve collaborated with a number of artists from across the world, how does working with other artists play a role in your creative development?   DENIAL: I find it very important as an artist to collaborate, it gets you out of your comfort zone and helps shift your own ideas into new directions that you may not recognize while working alone. I have had a lot of great experiences collaborating with other artists.     BBB: You curated an incredible mural festival in Windsor “Free 4 All Walls”, can you tell us about the

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experience and how did it come to fruition? DENIAL: Really I started this project selfishly. As I mentioned I purchased a pretty run down building about 10 years ago and slowly turned it into a high functioning art production studio. The neighbourhood was bleak but had serious potential. I began getting permission to paint some of the alleyways and slowly over five years have facilitated, funded and implement almost 50 murals all in one area. It has completely transformed the neighbourhood with all kinds of entrepreneurial spirit in the air now. Lots of interesting people and businesses have moved in and I feel a lot better living here. It is amazing to see the power that art has.   BBB: With that being said, How did the public receive the event?

DENIAL: Well the project is an ongoing one. I coordinate it as I can with my schedule, we do open studio parties to raise funds if we know an artist is coming to the area and we help facilitate all the logistics. The public is 99% love 1% meh, but whatever you can’t please everyone all the time and nor should you want to, I kind of enjoy upsetting people. BBB: With the year of 2016 winding down, what can our readers expect from you in the years to come?   DENIAL: I have a show line up for January in Miami at Wyn317 Gallery, great bunch of people! Also in the talks with Next Street Gallery in Paris for early summer and Treason Gallery in Seattle for 2017. Other than that I am gonna just continue on this trajectory of painting huge murals and delivering the goods.

www.enjoydenial.com | instagram: @denialart

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SKOR SKOR is easily one of the hardest working writers out there right now. With a style all his own and painting techniques that are out of this world - we’re not only proud to have him in the magazine, but also call him a friend. When he’s not crushing burners in Montreal, Quebec, he is jet-setting around the world from places like Miami, Puerto Rico and Mexico and livening up everything in his path. Representing some of the most major crews in the 514, SKOR is an innovator and style master who will definitely help to influence and shape future young generations of writers in Montreal. If you don’t know who he is, you’ll soon find out why we think he’s top tier and well deserving of his recognition and accolades in the game.

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: You started painting in Montreal, which is considered the bombing hub of Canada, can you tell us what the scene was like when you started? SKOR: Montreal is where I really started writing. This goes way back, man. From what I can remember, it was a great era. I was active from like 1996 to like 2003. I started really painting when I was in high school at PGL. I met this guy Dust who introduced me to Dock (Rest In Peace) and Shok. Then got put down with SIK. I looked up to guys like ZECK, STACK, CAST, CASE, SIKE, FLOW, TIMER ZEPO, KONE and so on. Particularly liked what BAT/JKR/SVC crew did. Shok nailed it on the Mook-Life interview saying how back when we sprayed everybody did it all. You bombed, pieced, did freights, straight letters etc. They all did that and we looked up to them so we did the same thing. Nowadays cats just start piecing or bombing some of them only do freights etc.

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I moved out of Montreal for like 3 years and came back in 2000. The following years were dope! You had crews like JKR, HYH, NME, SVC, DA, KOPS,TA,VC,NRK that were just going bananas in the city. On top of that, almost every one I knew seemed to have a tag at that time. They weren’t really writing but still had a handstyle. So a lot of people did marker tags. Shit was fun. Wandering in the streets bumrushing deps and sippin forties in the park. It was also an era where people were fucking with rollers a lot and also lot of groundups in the streets. HYH rollers all city. Loes had groundups on almost every blocks. Guys like Neos, Icer, and Bacer just to name a few were doing solid illegal burners street level. Think that was specific to that time. Finally, I have to share a specific period I will never forget about this era. It was the time when everyone rocked the Avenue du Parc viaduct. That was epic! It’s a bit fuzy in my head, think it started with some guys from KOPS (Specter, Morons) were doing spots there like in 2001. Somehow the word got spread in the streets that it was legal but really wasn’t! The following days everyone


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was going all out everywhere day time doing full color pieces and shit crazy illegal graff jam type-o-shit. It was wild, man. Good times. That spot got destroyed a few years after (2005 I think). R.I.P To another gem spot of Montreal gone too soon - was a great time! From the feedback of people in the scene think I was part of a good era. Most call it the golden era of graff in Montreal. So am thankful have been in it. That’s how I see it. It may not be the same for someone else and not claiming to know excactly how the scene was but that’s how I remember it. Real talk. BBB: What was it about the game that made you want to make a name for yourself? SKOR: Nothing about the game. Over the years, I understood that you need to be selfish when it comes to making life decisions. When I do something I do it for myself for what it brings to me first and foremost. This

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is my life. Not someone elses. That being said, growing up, I learned to do shit I liked doin as much as possible. Life has to be fun! Naturally, I just kinda wanted to push myself to be better at what I liked doing. I grew up in an artistic family too. My grandpa was super curious about what I did and inspired me. As much as I enjoyed spendin time with the homies I also always was a bit of a loner and didn’t do team sports. So graffiti, like skateboarding, was appealing since I could do it without relying on anyone, didn’t need to have a rink or whatever to practice. Again like skateboarding, I could do it everywhere. Also, was never into mainstream stuff - always was more attracted to underground type shit you know? So I got in graff ‘cause I liked doing it. Nothing about making a name or about the game. BBB: We remember you tell us that you took a hiatus for a while before coming back strong, what was the reason for the break?


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SKOR: Hard to say. Lost a few cells since ha ha! But for real, nothing specific really, man. Just drifted away I guess. I was more into skateboarding at that time, kinda was hanging out more with my skate buddies. And not so much with people I wrote with anymore. Also, that lifestyle I was living through graff wasn’t best for my future at that time. A lot of hood shit you know. Had my shares of problems with the law and shit but no regrets though. Good or bad shit I did before makes me who I am today. BBB: With that being said, what enticed you about coming back harder than ever in the game? SKOR: Midlife crisis, man! Ha ha, nah, it’s a combination

of things that made me reconnect to graffiti and sparked the fire in me again. If I like something I love it to death. All or nothing, man! When I’m passionate about something. I become obsessed and naturally my energy is geared towards that obsession because it’s all I think about. I also always was someone that had to progress/ push myself at something I liked doing, whether it was video games when I was a kid, to skateboarding/ snowboarding/spraying when I was a young adult. Skateboarding thought me a lot about being dedicated, not giving up, believing in your abilities and yourself. Now just kinda doin all of what I like still. but mainly focusing all my energy torwards graff. I love spraying more than anything. It’s hard to put in words all the positivity it brings me. It gives me a purpose to live - a direction to

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go in life. Even if I have no clue where I’ll be in a year, 5 or 20 year from now. I trust the process and I’m sure that somehow the direction am heading will take me where I need to be. I am grateful that life brought graffiti back my way. Unlike skateboarding (injuries and all) I can spray and push my game to evolve until am six feet deep. That is also super motivating to me. I have fun doing it and don’t see how that could change. Just gotta wear my mask more often! BBB: You currently represent some serious crews such as SIK, TBK and ITS, can you tell us how these crews and the members within them helped you develop your skills? SKOR: SIK is family, I get inspired by them constantly they all got sumthing to feed off of. We are really tight crew now. In my early days with SIK, I learned a lot from Dock & Shok. Didn’t know Kers and Fare much but they were dope writers. My man Tork was also in SIK. We are really tight. In my early days with SIK, I learned a lot from Dock & Shok. Dock was super meticulous when spraying. Just to give an example, one time we were doing fill-ins on Cote-Des-Neiges in the winter when

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it was -30 degree. It wasn’t too late so streets were still alive. He did his throw-up (His throw-ups would take a lot of time because he wants it to be perfect) and then when we was about to leave. From what I can remember that throwup he just did was dope but he said “hold up don’t like my D keep lookin’ out I’ll fix it real quick and then instead of just fixing that part he went over bigger. TABARNAK! Bombing with him you had to go by his rules. So I spotted him again and kept my mouth shut ha ha! Surgical precision regardless if he was on a busy street or an abandoned building. Dock Le Ninja. Real G - R.I.P. So, I do same in my pieces if I don’t like shit I find a way to make it work till am satisfied. As for Shok he’s always been someone I was particularly influenced by. Glad to have him as a brother. He’s all about that real style writing raw letters that just are 100% pure graffiti. On top of that, he is probably the cleanest dude I’ve seen out there. Never cut corners on letters. They flawless. So thanks to him I will always put efforts torwards my letter structure and flow. That’s something I got from him in my early stage and still today. That’s why my first outlines take so long. (People who sprayed with me know) It’s the foundations, baby! I related with Narc on a lot of points, especially on the importance of themes, color


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schemes and never neglecting backgrounds! He pushes me for sure. Finally Tuna a.k.a T-BONEEEE! He’s the wild boy of the crew hes super funny. The crowd pleaser fuck boy! Raw talent too. Love him! For my other crews, TBK. Is kind of a broken off crew but that I still keep great memories of. Kemt is a very good homie of mine, Sewk we chill to sometimes too. Dems and Nost do their thing and Crer is back home in France, I think he owns a restaurant or something like that. As for ITS, man I respect them especially for the family spirit they have we kinda just bonded when I was in Chicago. I need to go back to see them - love Chi-town. If you never been - you sleeping! I also consider myself lucky to have homies like Killa Ef around! Real humans like him are a rare breed! I look up to him a lot and glad we tight. BBB: Outside of your crew mates, you often paint with a number of great artists, can you tell us how collaborative pieces affect your creative process? SKOR: First of all, I am super grateful for those opportunities. Traveling and spraying with new people is probably in top reasons fueling my progression and desire to spray. Every wall is a different environment and people

you spray with different vibe. It’s inspiring. Meeting people I don’t know but look up too is so gratifying. So much knowledge can be absorbed and the bonds that are created just makes it that much more fun. Seeing their ways of doin it. helps me understand what I do more. For that and many more reasons my creative process is for sure affected. Huge key to progression is inspiration and I get inspired in many ways. Every time I spray with someone new I absorb a little bit of knowledge and that makes me grow as a person and a writer. BBB: You’re a very versatile graffiti artist from bombing, trains to burners, how does your creative approach differ between each of these fields? SKOR: Like mentioned earlier I think it’s because back when we started we did it all. That’s just how it was. So I believe those foundations stuck with me. That being said, I don’t really bomb anymore. I consider myself a piecer - I paint pieces. I focus my energy torwards that. But love and respect all other aspects as well. Being an adult that as to do adult things I chose to focus on piecing as it seemed more appealing to me. But to answer your question. Regardless, if I am piecing or on some rare

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occasion doing freights or bombing. The approach is the same I rarely have a sketch. It feels more natural to me to just let loose on a wall and not have my sketch contain my creativity at that time. I like to adjust to walls, environments and people am with. It feels more fun that way. I’d also add, that since I got back into spraying, I don’t look at life the same way. I get creativity from everyday type shit. Like, I’ll be walking in the streets and check out perspective, color schemes, drop shadow of stuff around me. Got that artist vision I guess and glad I see life this way now. For other aspects of graff, The “every day” people mostly don’t like or understand bombing, but bombing definitely as a special feeling that is hard to describe - I miss it sometimes. I think in my opinion a city without bombing feels empty and fake. Freights, that’s a whole different animal. I suck at it. I’m

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fortunate to have the boys from BTH take me out to their turf once a while and share their knowledge of the freight way-of-life. I have nothing but respect for them. They do it proper in every aspect of the game from bombing to piecing. They are a tight well rounded crew, super dedicated and in my opinion an example of what a real graff crew should be. They also know their Montreal graff history and respect the people who paved the way before them. BBB: For the past couple years you went out to Miami for Art Basel, can you tell us about the experiences there and what the festival entails? SKOR: Yeah, been going for the past 3 years. And over the years it just got better for me. I know more people so


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for me since I have been traveling quite a bit it’s a good occasion to see people I met thru my travel. It’s like a big reunion. As much as it is a very street art oriented event there is still insane amounts of wall that are pure graffiti pieces, you got guys like Eskae & FDC crew that have tons of wall it’s just crazy. The vibe Is just so good, every one paints daytime and wilds out at night. Just seeing so many dope people spraying everywhere makes it a good time for sure. I’ll be there next year again 100%! BBB: You’ve also recently painted in other cities and festivals all over the globe, can you tell us what some of your favourite cities were to jam out and why? SKOR: All over the globe. Nah, man I still got long ways to go and so much to see!! but so far honestly all cities and jams had something special about ‘em. However, going out to Roskilde with my homie scan was quite exclusive. definitely a lifetime highlight reel for real. For those who don’t know Scan, he isn’t this good for nothing. He is one of the strongest dedicated humans out there. This dude been through a lot of hardship and despite that he keeps pushing harder than anyone I know of. A true soldier. Keep Going my gee! And as of the Festival it’s just madness an open bar of Spray paint and walls. I never painted this much in such period of time and at night you can go check out all the shows and craziness going on. I met tons of dope writers. Just too much to say and at same time way too hard to put in to words! Respect to Tiws for making it happen year after year! Probably going to be in my top highlights experiences of my life when I look back as an old fart! Puerto Rico with the ADM cru was quite special too! Also, Love the NYC vibe. Recently went back to spray with my homies Trace & Hoacs and really

had a good time. Some cripsy details can’t be mentioned though ha ha! But yo, they were good to me and NYC ain’t far so I plan on going back a few times next year! BBB: You’ve also recently rocked a couple joints with your lady, can you tell us about what it was like rocking with your lady and if there were any obstacles? SKOR: We not together anymore,but we cool. To answer your question, not really. Think she kinda had it in her. She surprised me how well she did. We had fun. Think it’s cool she had interest in what I did. I remember, she was a bit hard on herself. I am as well but man I believe you needs that - I’m hard on myself too. That’s part key to progress I believe BBB: Outside of graffiti, can you tell us about some of your biggest influences or inspirations? SKOR: My grandpa, my mom, my family, my friends. BBB: With the year almost over, is there any information or news you would like to let our readers know about for the upcoming year? SKOR: Not really ‘cause I have no clue what 2017 has in store. Most definitely will spray more and travel more. That should keep me busy. In the end. I plan to keep going on that path I’ve been on the past years I guess. Just keep having fun doing it regardless what people think or happens. Keep chilling with my peeps and keep pushing. Just experiencing shit and carry on with the legacy my grandpa left me. Thanks for the interview opportunity BBB! Respect!

instagram: @skoroks_

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SOLERo SOLERO has been one of our favourite graffiti artists since we first came his work a few months ago. He’s not only one of the cleanest in the game, but his style and innovative concepts grant him a certain credit that few other writers deserve. From traditional graffiti lettering, to murals, to unbelievable trompe l’oeil pieces, SOLERO has got his style on lock. It is with much excitement that we have a selection of images he hooked us up with to give him a nice lengthy feature in this issue and if you’re a fan of the graffiti scene, which we’re sure you are, you’ll definitely start notice his work pop up more and more.

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Rafael sliks Rafael SLIKS or better known as SLIKS, is one of the most powerful driving forces in the graffiti movement today. Not only does he have a brilliant style in all aspects of the game from tagging, to bombing to pieces, he uses the graffiti fundamentals as a catalyst to create mindblowing muralism. With an almost calligraphic approach to his murals and street art work, SLIKS creates layers and layers of extremely tight letter structure that the words themselves almost get lost in an extraordinary bigger picture. The fact that SLIKS gave us some time to talk about his practice is an aboslute honour and we’re privileged to present to you the one and only Rafael SLIKS.

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Bizarre Beyond Belief: Being from Sao Paolo, what was it about the scene that made you want to start graffiti? SLIKS: It all started in my neighbourhood in the central zone of Sao Paulo in the 90s, where I was a child about 8 or 9 years old. When I went to school alone, I paid attention to the streets and the walls that had Pixaçoes, (the Sao Paulo style), and I would pay more and more attention to it. When I went school I would see Pixando, which I would also see later in the streets. At 15 years old I was doing in the streets myself, until I saw a graffiti. I would spend endless minutes looking at every detail and wondered how it was possible to do that on the wall. So from there in 1997, I did my first graffiti, ha ha! BBB: We’ve heard Sao Paolo can be very dangerous

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for graffiti artists, is this true and why? SLIKS: Sao Paulo, because it is a metropolis. Sometimes we do not know what you can do in the street, so you have to always be smart and have a keen eye. From police officers, shopkeepers, taxi drivers and people who are walking around. Always get smart painting anywhere being Sp or any part of the world. BBB: Do you think that this danger has change and become more safe over the years since you began? SLIKS: I think it can be dangerous, but I also think it maybe the same at the time nowadays people exchange some ideas, before they arrived wanting to fight, that even goes for aggressive policemen. Today might be better, but danger always walks, so always walk away from him.


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BBB: How would you say the scene from Sao Paolo differs from other cities in Brazil and around the world? SLIKS: About the SP scene, it differs from the question of a big city where there’s the settlement. That’s where I came and learned a lot about the street, to respect each other, to not go over anyone, an respect the space of everyone. I generally look for my own space. What differentiates the scene from Sao Paulo, never going on top of others; “respect is for those who have” as Sabotage would say. A rapper from Sao Paulo. BBB: We read you are well trained in calligraphy, how did this help with your graffiti career? SLIKS: I always liked Chinese Kung-Fu and Spadachin movies, and their handwriting and movements, and when I would go to paint in the street illegally, I woudl always have to be a ninja, not to be caught and do well done in

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a short period of time and so I let go of my movements with the spray can. And when I would get home, I would always sketch in my notebooks and canvases. I love researching and studying with experiments in search of always learning new things and movements. BBB: What would you say are the primary similarities between graffiti art and calligraphy? SLIKS: I think graffiti and calligraphy are different things. Graffiti is coming and painting in a place without authorization and expressing oneself. No worries being free. Calligraphy comes from study and research, but if you have this information, when you do your graffiti, you end up dropping a little of the aspects of it and that ends up being an interesting thing. BBB: You work from classical graffiti tagging to vibrant abstract murals, how do the two styles play of each other?


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SLIKS: I study a lot of the abstract universe, especially mine. In my series of overlapping tag paintings, whether in the street or some unauthorized place, I always make legible and illegal tags, and when a legal place appears I add several tags until it becomes almost like a texture which is illegible. BBB: Outside of graffiti, can you name to us a couple of influences that inspire your work? SLIKS: Yes, I always try to be out of the norms of graffiti, so I look at other things like modern classical arts and art schools. My graffiti is something with more freedom. When I take my bike and I’m going to do a spot, I find some wall to express myself and with my research and experiences influence comes in my art.

BBB: You recently did a collaboration with the NBA, can you tell us how that came about and what it was like? SLIKS: This was a job that jsut appeared. I ended up holding a meeting with another company and the NBA, which led me to develop some pattern prints for some NBA teams. BBB: With the new year underway, what can we expect from Sliks in the coming months? SLIKS: Let’s enjoy and live, do what we like without fear and always be smart. New year is here and we will receive it as an experience.

www.rafaelsliks.com | instagram: @rafaelsliks

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Bizarre Beyond Belief Magazine Issue #23  

Bizarre Beyond Belief Magazine issue #23 includes image features from Skape289, Solero, "Reset" group exhibition at Athen B. Gallery, and in...

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