ARTY GRAS: BASIK Q&A

October 7, 2014.

BASIK on the right with GOLA climbing the scaffold in Wynwood.


What do you write? Are you in a crew?

My alias is Basik. I am not in a crew at the moment. I think that’s something more common within the writing movement than with muralism. I was in a few crews when I wrote my name during the Nineties though.

 

 In what city did you start painting in the streets? Do you feel your work has influenced the community in return? If so, how? Is there a relationship between the artist and the community in which they work?

I started in my hometown. I'm from Rimini, Italy. I traveled a lot to paint all around Italy and Europe. I’d say I probably made the majority of my art outside of my town. I guess I didn’t influence my community apart from the fact that average people probably hated my tags and burners, ha ha!

I think that the relationship between an artist and the community in which he works depends primarily on the artist’s work and attitude. I know artists deeply embedded with the environment in which they make art. In addition, I know other people that could easily go on with their artistic concepts in every random city around the globe and they would be absolutely fine with it.

 

Did you go to school or are you self taught? 

I attended art school which gave me the basis. I also learned a lot of things by having my own experiences as well. My talented friends helped a lot in this self taught process too!

 

How did you get started in the arts and why?

I always loved to draw ever since I was a child. The real fire starter was when I first saw graffiti at the age of 12 and fell in love immediately with that artistic expression.

 

How long have you been working in the streets?

I started painting graffiti in 1991-92. More than a decade later I moved progressively to muralism and studio work, leaving letterings behind to focus on the figurative.

 

Who or What inspires you the most?

I owe a lot to Italian masters from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and onward. I also find true inspiration from several European movements at the end of the 19th century to contemporary. Symbolism, Preraffaellites, Vienna Secessionism, Transavantgarde and german Neo-expressionism, just to name a few.

What should the general public know about street art? What stereotype about street art/graffiti do you hate the most?

The word “street art” means nothing at all. It’s just an easy and superficial way to catalogue a wide and heterogeneous range of outdoor contemporary art.

 Are you a full time artist? Do you have a day job? Is it best to be full time artist or not worry about it and make your $$$ elsewhere, that way you can paint what and how you want, which one offers a more creative outlook?

I currently work with both fine art and commercial illustrations (which are quite different from what I do on canvas), but as long as I use my hands to create something I’m a happy person. I worked for years in an advertising agency and after that experience I realised that I’d prefer to work with my art all the time then being employed and doing random jobs. I’m not limited or compromised by being an artist working with my art.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on a commission for a big brand.

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish by putting your work in the street?

My paintings do not carry any particular social meaning or criticism. I think that if I can make a bunch of people happy with my works then my mission is complete. I’m a satisfied person myself. I like to focus on canvases and found objects in a studio environment but I think I will always love painting in the streets first.

Go check out more of BASIK'S work... http://www.basik.it

I'M IN MIAMI BITCH! JUNK ROXXX Q&A

AK: What should the general public know about street art? What stereotype about street art/graffiti do you hate the most?

JR: Graffiti and street art are two different things. I don’t like merging the two. I think street art is legal. Or if you want to consider stenciling and all that into the street art category you can. But I don’t consider that stuff at all near graffiti. Graffiti is illegal. Graffiti is letters. Graffiti is style. Graffiti is stylized destruction, if you dont have good letters then you dont have good graffiti.

Read More

I'M IN MIAMI BITCH! The Final Color Proofs.

     Soon all the hard work will pay off. The final proofs have arrived and the color looks great. What does that mean? All the hours in front of the computer converting files, photoshopping, calibrating have been worthwhile. In this process each page needs to be approved. The next step will be to hold a finished book in my hands, how about you? Order your book now!


Read More

I'M IN MIAMI BITCH! RUBY9 Q&A

July 23, 2013.

Next in the series of artist Q&A's is Ruby9. 

One day during the run up to Art Basel Miami Beach 2012, I was walking around Wynwood. Camera in hand and just seeing what was going up. There were artists everywhere. I walked into the back of a fenced in parking lot. The ground was just dirt and rocks and the lot was strewn with trash and pallets and some small shipping containers that had been tagged. There were about a half dozen artists doing pieces there. From one end of the lot to the other is maybe fifty yards. As I am walking around behind a corner of the building that you can't quite see from the street is a striking young lady covered in paint with her hair up. I say hello, what is your name? I'm Ruby! came the reply. Startled would be a good description. I couldn't imagine there was someone painting in the corner of the warehouse let alone an attractive young woman. The questions were fast and furious. Who are you? I'm AK Foto. What camera is that? A Polaroid. Oh, take my picture! I couldn't refuse. So sit tight for a dose from the Great White North, Ruby9! 

Ms. Ruby9

AK: What do you write? Are you in a crew?

R9: Hey! I write Ruby Nine! My birthday is July 9th so I picked Ruby after my birthstone. My best friend and I have our own crew called Les Graffilles because we are graffiti girls from Montreal, Canada! 

AK: In what city did you start painting in the streets? Do you feel your work has influenced the community in return? If so, how? Is there a relationship between the artist and the community in which they work?       

R9: I started painting in Montreal, Canada! I think I showed that girls can do letters just like the boys but I add Girly colors to prove I'm a girl. I also do girl characters that look like me but are more like the standard b-boy characters from New York with a more modern look! My goal is to portray today's fashion into graffiti. I think Montreal is similar to Europe but alot like New York so my style is an influence of both cities! 

AK: Did you go to school or are you self taught? 

R9: I went to fashion design school which gave me alot of time to sketch characters and practice my throw ups in textile class. I failed one class once because I never took notes I just drew! I think with graffiti it's just time and practice and once you have a good sketch, pow, you can throw it up! 

AK: How did you get started in the arts and why?

R9: I started in boarding school. I had alot of energy and I felt like I wanted to do something and I was bored all my friends started drinking doing drugs I knew my life had more meaning then that so I asked my parents to send me to boarding school to figure out what I wanted to do. I had this cool art teacher that looked like Rob Williams and he told me I could draw any theme, so I picked graffiti! I fell in love with it never looked back! I sketched from 2006 to 2009 and I started painting in 2009! 

AK: How long have you been working in the streets?

R9: I'm a 5th year. I'm from Canada so our seasons are very short 3 or 4 painting months... So 5 summers! 

AK: Who or What inspires you the most? 

R9: Fashion inspires me the most, real hip hop. Lil’ Kim inspires me alot! She’s a Cancer like me and shes a mix of street and high fashion. I kinda want to be the Lil’ Kim in the graff game. I really want to be a well rounded girl graff artist so I’d like to do pieces like Kem5 but with Girly colors. I would die to be at his level! Also he is constantly grinding and painting that's inspiring! I want my characters to be at the level of SOFLES in Australia! Throw ups like SEEN and ground ups like REVOK! I don't want to be known for doing one thing I want to be able to do many things and do them the best I can! 

AK: What should the general public know about street art? What stereotype about street art/graffiti do you hate the most?

R9: That were not in gangs and were just trying to bring light into your days and make the city prettier. I don't like tags on nice surfaces tags belong on Rugged walls and abandon stores that's alright but not homes and new buildings I'm with you guys on that one! 

AK: Are you a full time artist? Do you have a day job? Is it best to be full time artist or not worry about it and make your $$$ elsewhere, that way you can paint what and how you want, which one offers a more creative outlook?

R9: I'm a graphic designer for my boyfriend’s social media company and the site iget.it My boyfriend over pays me and buys all my paint. He really thinks it’s great that I dont smoke and drink and that I put my energy into something positive. Every artist girl needs to marry a business man that believes in her and is her biggest fan so that she only needs to work on her art and not worry about bills! He has to be cool though and love art not just a standard business guy, lol! 

AK: What are you working on now? 

R9: Wow, so much this month I’m doing a geisha on a Chinese restaurant backdoor! I’m painting a Iggy Azalea fashion illustration in an alley! Then going to New York to paint a mural for shake shack at tuff city styles. It’s so exciting I met one of the owners in an airport line up so he is sponsoring the mural! I also have to get 2 wild style pieces in. Wow, so much to do so little time!!! I'm going to Bahamas next week hoping to do some throw ups beside palm trees or ocean views! 

AK: What do you hope to achieve or accomplish by putting your work in the street?

R9: Just to make people stop worrying about their problems and smile. Clean up the city a bit. I'd love to go to Nicaragua and clean up schools and maybe give hope to young kids to not go into drugs and gangs and take the artist journey cause it’s so beautiful and really more productive then destructive! I just want to help people forget about the bad that's going on in the world if I didn't have art in my life I'd be a raging environmentalist! Much love and stay up! 

THANKS! 

follow her on Instagram @Jasnine09


I'M IN MIAMI BITCH! MARMER Q&A

July 16, 2013.

  This is the first in a series of artist interviews. I'M IN MIAMI BITCH! wants to educate the world on street art from the artists themselves. It will be a chance to gain some insight into what makes these artists tick.  So stay tuned!

I looked up and there he was. I'm not quite sure who introduced us? Marmer was in Miami working on a few pieces for Art Basel. He was hanging with the guys from the FDC crew.  This unassuming young man from Detroit impressed me. We keep bumping into each other on the streets and soon were trading info and stories about what we were seeing. One day he wore a t-shirt Longboard is the Wrong Board he got from a friend. He had a skateboard in one hand, spray paint in the other and a camera over his shoulder. Noah's resume is impressive, at the moment he is currently a designer at House of Marley and formerly an artist rep at 1xRun.  

     I'M IN MIAMI BITCH! and AK FOTO want to give Marmer a big pat on the back as he was instrumental in helping to create the design for the IIMB! website. So sit back and enjoy! 

AK: What do you write? 

MA: Marm, Marmalade, Metal Arm, Marms, Clint Marmwood. 

AK: How did you come about your name?

MA: I was involved in a bad accident when I was 18 that left my right arm completely shattered. I had to get reconstructive surgery. There are 2, 6 inch plates and 12 screws in my arm. My friends started calling me "metal arm" and I eventually shortened it to Marm. 

 AK: In what city did you start painting in the streets? Do you feel your work has influenced the community in return? If so, how? Is there a relationship between the street artist and the community in which they work?

MA: I started painting in Detroit. I was about 15 years old. My friend Mozik and I would take his car to the city after school. I don't believe either of us were old enough to drive. He knew of a place called "The Graveyard," it was a few miles of abandoned rail road track below street level. It was filled with bums, drug addicts, and your typical jail birds. Not the place a 15 year old should be hanging out. In addition, almost every square inch of wall space that lined the tracks was covered with graffiti. We were amazed by the pieces and immediately bought some paint to start practicing our new obsession.  

AK: Did you go to school or are you self taught? 

MA: Graffiti was self-taught. I took art classes in high school and all of my friends told me I should go to art college. I eventually enrolled and quickly learned the curriculum was not for me. During my short stay at art school, my friends and I would explore the vacant buildings of the city. We were not 21 yet which meant there was not much else to do on the weekends. We were weirdos too, never wanting to hang out with other kids from school. The practice of exploring abandoned buildings reignited the passion to do graffiti. It was suddenly fun again.  

AK: How did you get started in the street and why?

MA: Painting where no one could see was not enough.  My friends and I wanted to be recognized.  We started painting freeway spots and other highly visible areas. 

AK: How long have you been working in the streets?

MA: 8 years.

AK: Who or What inspires you the most?

MA: Other writers. Guys who are painting more visible, high-profile spots. Also, the guys who are artists, the ones who are truly inspired.  

AK: What should the general public know about street art? 

MA: It's not for everybody. 

AK: Are you a full time artist? Do you have a day job? Is it best to be full time artist or not worry about it and make your $$$ elsewhere, that way you can paint what and how you want, which one offers a more creative outlook?

MA: I am a full-time appreciator of well-crafted things and maker of stuff. I like making stuff and seeing others make stuff. I respect the guys who can make money at graffiti and who are multi-dimensional artists. I also respect the guys who live to paint graffiti. That's it, the guys who just like to write their names over and over again. There is something poetic about it. 

AK: What are you working on now? 

MA: I am working on a few different photography projects that I will self-publish as zines. They are a mixture of illustrations, photography, and mementos that I have been collecting over the past few months. One is loosely inspired by Southern California beach cities.  A lot of these places haven't changed in years and others are the complete opposite. These parallels interest me and I plan on showing how in the zine.  

AK: What do you hope to achieve or accomplish by putting your work in the street?

MA: Nothing, I don't paint in the streets for the same reasons I did when I was 18. The outside arena is just a place to have fun. When I go paint the streets with friends, I am just looking to have fun. 

 AK: Thanks for your time!

I'M IN MIAMI BITCH! A Design Perspective

July 13, 2013.

By Andrew Kaufman

     It has been a busy week here at the AK FOTO studio. The website launched http://www.ImInMiamiBitch.Net and the public got it's first look at IIMB! Here is an image of the prototype. 

IIMB! The prototype.

IIMB! The prototype.

 But before this was possible there were many months of editing, adjusting, proofing and correcting. Here is a pile of the color xeroxes from a the project in progress.  

IIMB! design in progress.

IIMB! design in progress.

  Each version above represents many, many hours of design, sketching, working, re-working and evolution to the project. I spent time looking at the pages, making sketches, notes and brainstorming ideas about the look of the project. My journals are filled with the images and ideas from the project. This book is my black book. It is where my ideas have a chance to percolate. I am continually inspired by the work I see populating Miami's streets. 

     In the coming weeks I will have a series of Q & A's with the artists involved in the project. So stay tuned!

IIMB!

AK