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SUMMER 2010

IN FOCUS:

HONET SKIDS

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FOCUS | HONET

FOCUS FOCUS| HONET | BATES

Honet Paris, Europe France, SDKWUF C PIIB, , YKS, TM A TOY, V AD Cit , y

1988

In the mind of a globetrotting Frenchy Since the nineties, the Frenchman Honet is a familiar name in international graffiti, a member of the Franco-Swedish crew SDK-WUFC and a habitual traveller who constantly broadens his views. UP got to share his thoughts ranging from everything from Chinese walls and the 80s gang culture in Paris to the Moscow subway, and why Write 4 Gold competitions are no good for graffiti. Text: Nazar Photo: Honet

started one night in Paris in 1988. Honet: ”That’s when I started writing. A school mate invited me to paint along the tracks. It was a great experience and I wanted to do it again. At that time Paris was wild. It was like in the movie The Warriors. The streets were controlled by gangs like the Skins des Halles, Red Warriors, Green Berets and Requins Vicieux. There were skins, mods,

Honet’s story

wave and the situation changed. On one hand graffiti grew bigger, but on the other, police grew at the same speed and all those young outsiders disappeared. Only writers survived and became, in some way, out of control. Right now, graffiti in Paris is bigger than ever and the situation is unique. In Northern Europe anti graffiti measures is like a routine and always well organised. In the South it’s sometimes the complete opposite. The situation in Paris is more complex. It’s not

It’s easy to shine in the middle of the less talented punks, zulus. The city was Punk Rock and influenced by London. Writers were just a drop in this ocean of night crawlers. In the nineties came the American rap

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# 42 | SUMMER 2010

# 42 | SUMMER 2010

hard to paint illegally but neither is it easy, you never know when and why things happen. I guess only a Frenchy can understand this strange way of acting.”

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Nam2, Petro, Bios, Odessa 2009

Bosie on a Soviet built "ER" car in Kiev 2009

The Ukraine is one of Europe’s largest countries both in terms of surface and population, but it is poor and has suffered badly from the global recession. After the country broke off from the Soviet Union in 1991, a chaotic decade ensued. The basis for the current society formed of oligarchy, mafia, poverty and corruption was laid in a nearly lawless state. With its high unemployment, budget deficit and average salary of €250, the Ukraine finds it hard to uphold itself. This is noticeable in Kiev, where the

of crews like CWK from Lutsk and CBK and KGB from Kiev. The first issue of the Kiev magazine Element appeared in 1999. A train scene took shape in Kiev in the early 00s in connection with the second generation, which Bosie is part of. The city was visited by writers from Germany and Poland, and it was Poles from WTK, US and EWC that painted the first metro in Kiev in 2001. One evening, we meet some of the Kiev scene over a few bottles of vodka in a park

”The metro is for tourists”, he says. Bosie agrees. ”I’ve been down in the tunnels but it’s too much work to only paint a few minutes and never see it running.” Though many parts of Kiev are badly maintained, the city’s subway is exemplary. The three lines are mostly underground, and the escalators to the platforms are so long that Kiev has the world’s deepest subway stations. The thought was that they should act as bomb shelters as well. Down there, old Soviet-built subway

Bosie, Kiev 2009

The Kiev subway is painted five or six times a year”, says San. ”In Kharkiv, maybe two or three times and in Dnipropetrovsk once. streets are lined with babushkas selling bread, jam, pickled vegetables or large cuts of meat, which can be laid directly in the snow, practically enough. Small underground markets spread out under larger streets, kiosks are rife and anything is for sale. It’s like a scene from Blade Runner. It was in Kiev, Lviv and Lutsk that the first Ukrainian graffiti appeared in the mid90s The first generation of writers consisted

20

overlooking Kiev and the Dnieper river. In shocking cold, we stand in the deep snow, downing drams and trying to following the comprehensive rules on drinking. Most of them speak English, and those who don’t converse with the fractured bits they know. With us in the cold is San (the tag is written with the Cyrillic letters CAH, pronounced SAN), who has done most subway pieces in Kiev. Fifteen of them.

Atos, Kiev 2009

cars whoosh between stations. At night, they are populated by cleaners and workers and the inaccessible trains are parked in hangars and tunnels. The subway cars are not, and have never been, a primary target for Kiev writers. Similar situations prevail in the Ukraine’s other subway cities, Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk. ”The Kiev subway is painted five or six times a year”, says San. ”In Kharkiv, maybe two

# 42 | SUMMER 2010

Fat 315, Kiev 2010

Nam2, Kiev 2009

# 42 | SUMMER 2010

21


“I’d just started doing outlines when we heard a noise. I looked under the train car and saw a bunch of legs on the other side. At least five or six guards came running. Time to split. Hardcore chase, man!”

text:

Torkel Sjöstrand

and snitches. The stories are of-

Certainly many people already know

a violent arrest by security guards,

writers have heard, or even told,

ten told in succession. Details go

of these stories; perhaps they have

he is jailed for four weeks under

something similar. Many writers

missing and get added, and the

heard another version. As has been

suspicion of property damage and

like to talk about their work, how

stories become harder to verify, es-

mentioned, their degree of truth is

using violence against an officer of

it is an expression of their creati-

pecially when several sources claim

hard to judge.

the law.

vity and artistic development. For

that their version is the correct one.

Stockholm, late 90s. An Italian

Minsk, 2008. A Ukrainian is ar-

most, the social side of graffiti is just

Many writers travel to different

writer is arrested and jailed for two

rested after writing on a subway car

as important as writing itself. Talk

countries and cities to write. Some

weeks. When the Stockholm police

and gets three months in jail.

about the latest piece, analyse and

choose to do it illicitly, and one of

call their colleagues in Milano, the

Japan, 2008. Three Europeans

respond to other people’s work. But

the first questions is what happens

Italian police reply that they have

are arrested under suspicion of ha-

most popular is perhaps discussing

to foreigners who are arrested for

more important things to do than

ving painted several of the country’s

when things didn’t go as planned.

illegal graffiti. Even though few

chase scribblers with cartoon elep-

subways. One of them manages

For those who choose to do their

writers expect severe punishments,

hant names.

to escape by boat to South Korea.

piece illicitly, the unexpected is of-

there are potential legal conse-

Munich, 2000. After painting the

ten factored into the risk analysis

quences of putting your name on a

city’s commuter trains, a Dutchman

beforehand. Some probably see

given wall or train car.

and an Australian are jailed for two

When the core of the Parisian

it as one of the reasons for writing

Generally speaking, local wri-

weeks before being deported to

graffiti scene was ringed in and pro-

graffiti in the first place. Getting into

ters risk the harshest punishments.

their respective home countries.

secuted in the early 00s, it echoed

deep water and, hopefully, making

It is harder to put a foreigner on

At Schiphol airport, the Dutchman

throughout Europe. Writers from

it back to land if the storm comes.

trial, and illegal graffiti is, after all, a

is welcomed home by a police of-

other cities started wondering if it

To be able to recount the fear,

crime of minor importance in most

ficer with the words: “Our German

was worth the risk of writing in Paris

happiness, adrenalin and come-

countries. It is not rare to hear the

colleagues called and told us what

in the first place. But it also entailed

down is one of the reasons that the

comment: “You’re a tourist. If you

you did in Munich. Now we’ve got

a greater challenge, just like in the

get caught here, it’s okay. Don’t wor-

our eyes on you.”

90s, when Stockholm turned from a

The above

story is not unusual; most

stories spread. With unexpected twists – mysterious people appearing, a police car with its blue light, the main character being chased at breakneck speed – a space is created for deeper discussion. Which rock did you hide behind?

32

The art of storytelling

The other two are jailed for three months before being given fines.

ry.” And there are certainly count-

Copenhagen, 2002. Three Swiss

relatively pleasant graffiti town into

less examples of visiting writers who

citizens are arrested and jailed after

one under the harsh supervision of

got away mildly, but there are also

painting on the red S-trains. Since

the Falck Security guards. The so-

examples to the contrary. These are

one of them is a promising handball

called “Falcks” became an imme-

the stories that spread like wildfire

player back home, the arrest soon

asurably popular challenge for visi-

through the world of graffiti.

makes the Swiss media.

ting writers. Several young, foreign

What did the policeman do? Did

One example is the 2008 Bonnie

New York, 2003. Two Swedes are

artists were arrested, and the Swe-

you have time to do highlights? The

& Clyde story about the American

arrested and charged with the pain-

dish press reacted with horror at the

questions arise partly to get a pic-

writers Ether and Utah, who on re-

ting of a number of subway trains.

fact that they, after causing dama-

ture of what happened and feel that

turning to the US after a European

As soon as they are released, they

ges worth hundreds of thousands

tickling sensation, partly for educa-

trip were picked up by the New York

flee the country while awaiting trial.

of Swedish kronas to swedish trains,

tional purposes. Writers listen, learn

City Vandal Squad. They were under

They are named and shamed in the

were released the following day.

and interpret the consequences of

the suspicion of damaging property

New York press, while the NY Vandal

But those who know the story

certain actions. If several writers are

both in the US and in several Euro-

Squad brags about having tricked

above also know that the car that

painting in the same location, it is of

pean cities.

the Swedes into confessing.

was painted was due to be scrap-

the greatest importance to find out

The following year, the Los Ang-

Copenhagen, 2003. A Swede is

ped. There was never any clea-

which direction the guards came

eles writer Revok was reported both

jailed for a month after being ar-

ning and no taxpayer’s money was

from, or which hole in the fence

in Australian and American media

rested under suspicion of painting a

spent.

has been mended. Anything to be

to have done several illegal pieces

wholecar. He is sentenced to heavy

able to plan ones own writing and

in Melbourne. Among the more

fines, deported and forbidden from

escape routes in future.

horrible stories is the one of two

visiting Denmark for years to come.

These tales also fill the function

Berlin writers who were arrested

Stockholm, 2004. A Spaniard

of building history. From them, le-

in South Africa, imprisoned, raped

is arrested under suspicion of ha-

gends are created, with kings, toys

and infected with HIV.

ving written on a subway car. After

Or how did the story go again?

# 42 | SUMMER 2010

lgium and Brussels, Be CITY: NYC, USA 2009 YEAR: 2005 and nadian Ca Y: LIT NA NATIO

“While I was in New York City in 2005, I was looking to buy paint at a paint store off of Canal street. The store was closed but outside I met a member of the DRT crew from Brussels. We hung out, did spots all over the L.E.S and Brooklyn area, chilled out and had drinks with local friends. At the time I was all depressed about some girl I was supposed to meet up with but

make a left where I hide behind a freight truck. The cop car rolls past me without notice. I’m safe and sound, but as I walk back some older homies are standing in the middle of the street waving their hands in the air flagging down the cops. The cop car turns around and the pursuit begins again. I then run back to the main street only to see too many cop cars to care anymore so I give up after about 45 minutes. Cruisers come from all corners and the cops pull their guns on me. They

say ’watch this’. The cop is trying to look discrete as I pretend to be drunk to the point that I can’t walk and stumble into the cop pushing him. The cop pushes me back and then runs away. Everyone is laughing and we continue to walk home. About 20 minutes later when me and my friend are alone, as we’ve just left our friends, two undercover cop cars pull up from different street corners. They grab and hand cuff us and takes us to the station. In the cop car I’m sitting on a beanie

They grab me and smash my head a few times into a metal grate. Then they pull me to the ground to hand cuff me and further smash my head into the concrete repeatedly, cutting my head up further. who ditched me while I was out there. Around 8 pm that same day, me and my Belgian friend catch the L train to Bushwick. I’m still whining about this girl not meeting me and decide to do a throw up at the corner of where I was staying in Brooklyn, while my friend is looking out for me. About a minute into the throw up a police car pulls up on the street, going the opposite way of traffic. I didn’t realize it and got spotted painting. The police pull up behind me on the sidewalk, and there’s no sign of the Belgian. As one of the officers opens the door and attempts to get out I slam the door on him and run through the court yard of the Marcy project buildings. I see another cop car on pursuit so I head in the opposite direction then double back to a street where there are cars parked and hide under one of them. While under the car I try to change my appearance, taking my hat and jacket off and stuffing it all in a bag with the paint. I roll up my pants to make it look like shorts. I get out from under the car and leave the bag behind. After 15- 20 minutes I return to one of the main streets to blend in. As I’m walking another cop car pulls up right beside me and tells me to stop. The pursuit begins again. I run to the end of the block and

# 42 | SUMMER 2010

grab me and smash my head a few times into a metal grate. Then they pull me to the ground to hand cuff me and further smash my head into the concrete repeatedly, cutting my head up further. I’m pretty paranoid because I’ve got other illicit things on me, hidden in my shoes. But in the end the police keep me over night and give me a fake summons, unsigned and without properly taking down my information. I guess they assaulted me so bad that they realized it would be a bad idea to pursue. I was let free but with scars to show for it. Four years later, in 2009, me and the Belgian reunite in Brussels. While out on my first night in the city we decide to go bar hopping. I’m getting drunker than usual stealing wine with strangers, drinking in the street with my Belgian friend and ending up in an Absinthe bar. After a few shots of Absinthe I’m out of my element. All throughout the evening my Belgian friend warns me about the amount of undercover police that exist in Brussels. As the night comes to an end we’re are walking home bombing a bit. My friend comments on how he thinks the guy across the street looking over at us is an undercover cop. I’m laughing and

belonging to one of the officers. Once we arrive to the station the officers accuse me of stealing their beanie and punch me in the face while in the garage. They first charge me with stealing and graffiti, and a day later they see my passport and say that I didn’t get it stamped correctly when I entered the EU, as I arrived through London, UK. This was all bullshit as I passed through a number of countries in the EU before Belgium and never had any problems with immigration there. When they brought me in for questioning I saw a big binder all being a file on DRT, with info on my friends crew. But they didn’t know anything about me and they didn’t even see my graffiti. They just knew I had a marker on me. Also the whole stealing thing was bullshit, though they where accusing me of actually stealing something. Long story short, me and my Belgian friend are separated by the law once again. He is let go but I’m sent to a jail for illegal immigrants in Bruges. Once I was there they forgot everything else and the main thing became the passport issue. Seven days later I’m deported back to Canada as if nothing ever happened.”

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Crock, Tems, WOL - Regina Train

42

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HFU - X2000 Train

Back - Freight Train

Dura - Krösa Train

Cars - Freight Train

HFU, WLC - Regional Train

HSF - Vätter Train

Cens - Freight Train

Sosw - Bridge Train

# 42 | SUMMER 2010

# 42 | SUMMER 2010

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Money makes you stupid Text: TBL Photo:

Copenhagen lean-over artists

Lean-overs have been the trend of the 00s. In Berlin, Paris, New York and Copenhagen people climb up on rooftops, lean over the edge and roll letters back-to-front and upside-down. In Copenhagen, the number of leanovers has exploded in later years. Mostly pieces and tags, but since the famous ”I feel like shoplifting”-piece on Nörrebrogade, the number of public messages has increased. If you raise your eyes, you can see messages like One man’s trash, another man’s treasure, Kontrol (Control), Penge gör dig dum (Money makes you stupid), Sandhed (Truth) and Politi er dumt (Police is stupid). UP spoke to one of Copenhagen’s most active lean-over artists:

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What’s the idea behind these giant roll paintings?

”I have no idea, really. They are reflections on my life, which is pretty messy.” How long does it take to do a piece like Jet Set?

”It took two nights for two people.” There’s no doubt that lean-overs are here to stay. Sky’s the limit!

# 42 | SUMMER 2010

# 42 | SUMMER 2010

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