INTERVIEW with OUTLINE MAGAZINE, Slovakia
1. When did you start with graffiti? Please tell us something about your beginning!
I discovered graff in ‘92 and painted my first piece in ´93. After ´96 I really got infected and started to paint constantly!
A friend of mine was it, he had a marker in his pocket and did a tag on the next wall. I was a little afraid at first but then i tried also. From that moment on, the flame arose to burn!
2. Can you tell us which crew you have?
I founded the NEM – Nothing Else Matters
Crew around 2003, which consisted of three people; Kiam77, Koner and Me.
But around ´98, I already started BTB-Back To Basic. First, it was just a slogan, which I simply painted beside my style. It was nothing that could be labeleld a crew or so. My idea here was just to occupy myself with the basic of lettering history; the Typography. Later I had a nice conversation with Sean2 about Type etc. After that, I asked him if he wanted to do that as well and since then, we were two in BTB. In 2006, I was included in the LL-Crew: My brother Nash told me a while before about his idea and what I would think about becoming a member: I found that a great idea but due to the fact that we didn’t live in the same city, it took another half a year before I became a LoveLetters Member.
3. What does the LoveLetters-Crew mean to you?
For me, it’s also important to stay in touch besides graff things. It is a important thing for me. We are like a global family because we are made up of ten international writers. Some of us have been active from the first hour on. I know each other pretty well and spend some time together. Within a crew, the exchange of ideas and the mutual inspiration is very intensive, as it should be, in order to keep the culture alive. This doesn’t mean that you always agree, but you have to make common decisions which many members are involved in. This is the difference compared to working only on your own or in small groups. At the beginning, though, I wasn’t really used to it as the maximum number of members I had worked with before was only four.
Even if you do not see each other every day, there is still a very special commitment to the single crew members and the crew as a whole. On the one hand, you can share certain moments with your crew, learn from it and contribute your own ideas and experiences. On the other hand, I think I also need my own creative space, make certain discoveries on my own and experimentalize with new stuff and fresh things. I need this time to keep my own spirit alive, improve my individuality and develop my style as well as details by permanently asking myself how to do them and why!
A new environment gives you the chance to learn more about you, about your work and other artists. Therefore, I love both: The crew moments and my very personal moments with the rest of the universe! I believe that everything you learn, you primarily have to learn on your own. Even things you learn in a group context, e.g. to step back and make compromises within your crew, it is something you have to learn on your own, no one can help you with that, it is just about you.
4. What are your biggest artistic influences? Three names of writers who had influenced you in your life as a writer. What keeps you inspired?
There are a lot of things which inspired me in the past and are still inspiring me. This could be everyone and everything: You, others, friends, places, of course magazines and nowadays the internet or writers I saw inspired me in a certain way! But the most important thing for me within this process was and still is to recognize the inspiration and start to make up own things!
In the beginning these were definitely artists from southern Germany and Switzerland; for example “Kane”-TPM crew from Heidelberg, “Dare & Dream”-TWS crew from Basel or “Cowboy69”-ABC crew from Munich are still some important style leaders for me, they influenced the writing scene in europe. But these are just 3 names of so many other good writers from the 90ies, and ofcourse not to forget the bible – SUBWAYART!!
5. Did you have an artistic education or design education?
Yes, I’ve visited an art school and completed it. I am certified as a Graphic-Designer but I am currently taking courses in communications design and on the way to get a Bachelors degree. Beside my studies, I still work as a freelancer for several agencies and clients.
6. What is your inspiration in graff and what is your motivation to do graffiti, art and design?
I am getting inspired more than just by graffiti, art or design. There are lots of things that inspire me. Everything I realize inspires me in a way! But i think the difficulty, as I said, is to recognize such kind of inspiration and start to work with them and create new things!
7. Did the fact that designers work a lot with computers change your style and your way of painting?
I think there’s a true point in it. You automatically start to think in a clear and structured way. Your visual perception and your creativity change, even if it’s just the way of creating letters, characters or architectural things etc.. Your sight becomes brighter than ever if you think and start to practize the slogan “Less is more!”.
8. Everybody that looks at your pieces can discover nice details and other nice effects especially with transparent colors. You´re doing really interesting effects, how important is “detailism” in your pieces?
I love details and to experimentalize with them. But before thinking about details, I firstly think about my style. Later on, its pretty easy to be creative with the details. But I reckon that style has to work in its rawest form, e.g. just using two colors would be the best. For me, it’s important to see my personality in every single letter and of course in the details, too.
9. Then tell us something about your styleism: Which letter in your name is your favorite and what part of your piece is your favorite part?
As I said, I am constantly experimenting with many different things and not just in one specific way. Now I painted the basic classical semiwildstyle pieces for many years and since 2003, I started also an experimental piece series, in which I tried to combine really different things like triangles, squares etc. to function also semantic markers. In 2009 i developed the RUSLAVA styles. I think this pieces are showing exactly that what I am currently thinking of new way of styleism and the detailism thing. I love to work in a clear, clean and structured way. Sometimes, though, I also like to be work roughly on the surface but this depends on what I want to do! Even a fuzzy letter can look like burner if the technique suits the style!
10. Lets talk about sponsoring in graffiti, what do you think about this? Do you think that’s the future?
That’s a good and a difficult question, because a couple of weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with some friends. The odd thing about sponsoring, and most of the people I have discussed this issue with share this opinion, is that most of the writers who get sponsored are not “well” known. I think sponsors can definitely be a great support for a writer and I think it’s time that the industry starts to give something back to those who have been doing graff for such a long time. I believe that writers have to be supported by the brands. It’s important for each of us, and as long as the producers / sponsors leave you with the choice as to which spray can you use for painting, you can still decide, which can brand suits you and your style best.
11. What do you think about classical painted NYC styles, with standard caps like from the late ´70ies?
I think classical graff like the original NYC style will always exist and I still like pieces which are painted that way. Hatched or old school faded fillings, they´re “in” constant requisition by the writers. Nowadays, we still have writers who just paint their pieces like that. And sometimes it looks really fresh.
12. We count 15 countries on your flickr. It seems you like traveling a lot, can you tell us which city you visited was your favorite one and why?
I did 16 countries in Europe. And I still would love to do more really! I love to travel and meet other people and if there is a chance to paint or spend time with local, people I would love to do this. One of my favorite cities was Seville (Spain), because of the nice culture, music and graff scene. And the other city was Adana (Turkey) because it was so untouched with graff. I guess I’ve been one of the first graff artists to work there and that definitely was a gorgeous experience.
13. Tell us something about your plans for the future?
I am still working on some type fonts project, which I will load upon my webside asap. Beyond this, I will keep on focusing myself rather on graphic work. And I certainly want to travel and paint a lot of pieces in the middle-term future.
Behind some other art projects, I also want to travel again this year. Maybe to Australia, to the States or Russia would be cool. Some of them going to be posted on my ilovegraffiti.de/rusl blog or on the www.rusl1.de webside.
14. Anything else to say?
ONE LOVE to all my friends and to all lovers and haters. Keep loving letters and be open minded.