ASKEM is a graffiti writer from Melbourne. He started painting back in 96 & is a member of the well known SDM CREW, his pieces are public and readable with style and funk that has been developed over years of dedication. We caught up to find out a bit more about him and asked for his favourite five flicks.
1. What got you into graffiti?
Just travelling on the train with my mum when I was young, going into the city or various places via public transport we were always on public transport. I can always remember being very excited seeing something new from the train. Also part of that journey for me was discovering hip hop through Run DMC, I had no interest in music what so ever until I heard "Its Tricky", this song blew me away, I was instantly excited & knew this culture and music was for me.
2. How would you describe your style?
I guess what i hear from most people is Bold so yeah I guess thats it. When i first started painting, my letters where never that great but my thought was at least i could make them neat and over the years that has stuck to some degree.
3. Do you have a good chase story?
There has been a few over the years, not many at all these days, but a memorable one was at my local station doing "jump downs" and i noticed the train stayed at the platform for that little bit too long, I started to feel a little uneasy, next thing I saw was 2 undercovers jumping off the end of the platform heading straight for me .
Needless to say i was off, I didn't look or acknowledge my girlfriend (now wife) as I just left her sitting on the other platform and took off across the carpark into a side street then through a series of little alleyways behind some houses, I actually thought I had lost them, so I took off my hat & jacket threw it into a backyard and proceeded to walk back, literally 5 seconds later these two undercovers come bolting around the corner and asked me if I know where the train station was,
keeping as calm as i could I told them I was actually headed down that way to catch the bus and and I could take them there if they liked, after giving me the hard stare for what felt like an eternity they said not to worry and kept running..
4. How has the Melbourne graff scene changed over the last 10 years & what do you think of the current scene?
I think the main thing is the acceptance of graffiti as a whole, I mean its gone from the general public looking down and often abusing you for painting a wall to people showing a genuine interest and asking questions and trying to understand the artform. However this is not always a good thing & can actually get pretty annoying at times because people only hear what they wanna hear, you can tell them again & again that tagging is a crucial part of the movement but they just don't want to hear that.
I have always been pretty open to the progression of the scene & various styles coming & going, generally I think the current scene is pretty healthy, however i do miss seeing more classic styles that traditional Melbourne graffiti was based on..
5. What motivates you to keep painting?
Motivation changes as you get older I think, but its always good times painting with crew, meeting good people & always trying to push your style forward..