BASELGEDDON: FIVE8 Q&A
All the way from Montreal to Wynwood is FiVE8.
What do you write? Are you in a crew?
I write FIVE EIGHT and am in the FAM CREW.
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 painting in Montreal, where I’m from. The only community I may have influenced would be the local graffiti community, if that. I haven’t done enough large-scale outdoor work for the general population to really know about me.
Did you go to school or are you self-taught?
I did some school but never finished anything. I learned a lot from other artists that I painted with. I wouldn’t say I’m self-taught, I will forever be self-learning. If anything, the previous 13 years were just spent learning the foundational skills. I’m just starting to discover how to paint.
How did you get started in the arts and why?
My introduction into “the arts” was through graffiti. Painting just became what my life was about like so many of my friends at the time. It’s just all we ever did, constantly talking about other artists and their work. Researching work being produced in other countries and just being really active in producing work on a regular basis. It’s a lifestyle that continues on.
How long have you been working in the streets?
For 3 years.
Who or what inspires you the most?
Lately, I have been very interested in outer space and geometric themes as well as 80’s electro and neon signs. I’m also inspired by artists doing things outside the standard graffiti aesthetic.
What should the general public know about street art? What stereotype about street art/graffiti do you hate the most?
If I had only one short paragraph to tell the general public something about street art, it would be this. Forget the whole street art vs. graffiti debate. The real issue is talent vs. mediocrity. There are a lot of artists in this genre of art whatever you call it, street art, graffiti, post-modern expressionism, some have skill and are innovative while others produce mediocre work. Some actually contribute to and influence the culture while others are non-relevant yet feel entitled to the recognition. It’s a shame to see talented, influential artists struggle and slip through the cracks while posers get written into the history books because their online marketing game is strong. Or that they use a gimmick like tattooing a mustache on their face.
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?
Making a living as an artist is a full time job, but sometimes the revenue stream dries up. In those cases, I look for temporary part-time work. The commissions I get are things I don’t even include on my portfolio because they don’t follow the direction I envision my work taking. The work that makes it into my portfolio is created between the paying jobs. Eventually, I plan to only take commissions solely based on my vision and direction.
What are you working on now?
Winter is fast approaching here in Quebec. Right now I’m gathering and storing nuts for the hibernation. It’s about 5-6 months where exterior murals are not an option unless I travel to warmer climate. I’ve been sitting on an acrylic portrait series I would like to get back to. I’m also starting work on a neon sign project, which is still in the research phase.
What do you hope to achieve or accomplish by putting your work in the street?
Simply be to let my peers know I’m out here and to showcase the style I’m bringing to the culture. I think of graffiti and painting in general like a B-boy battle. It’s a competition of style. You come into the circle, throw down and invite others to test your skills. My introduction to art in general was through graffiti, where painting in the streets is the only way to go about it. Painting in the streets isn’t so much about accomplishing something, but more of a natural intuition. I enjoy painting in my studio but only in harmony with painting outside.
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