PUZLE is a graffiti writer from Melbourne. He started painting in the 80's and even as a youngster had incredible style and a unique approach. Over the last 30 odd years he's painted countless burners across the country and world. Puzle's early work as a rogue Melbourne teenager has recently been published in an amazing hard cover book, Puzle - 'Running Wild'. We caught up to find out more about him and what keeps him motivated today.
I got swept up in the whole mid 80s fad when it was shipped here from NYC through the media. Seeing works appear locally made me think shit it’s happening here too. I took note, matured and when it was my turn I made my mark. I was a late bloomer and have never considered myself ‘old school’.
2. How would you describe your style?
I like to think of working in genres of style – not contained to one. Early on I learnt concept was king. It was important to leave people surprised when they found your piece. In a way keeping them puzzled as to what to expect next. Keep em’ guessing, all of the time, even if that meant making some horrible style bloopers. If I painted the same style over and over, I’d be quietly asleep now – bored to death.
3. What was it like painting the yards in Melbourne in the late 80's and early 90's?
Over the years I’ve heard alot of people say it must have been a breeze back in the day. It was far from such, and I would argue it was a breeze when The Met actually privatised post this period, when it became a free for all with limited security. Back then you still had to do your homework, plan each mission with more often than not the transits on your tail or knocking on your door the next day.
4. What do you think of the current graf scene in Melbourne?
It’s been disjointed for a long time now and very commercialised. Much of the lingo and terminology has morphed and changed. I always look at it as groups of styles and types/generations of writers. Not all writers are the same. That’s both a good and bad thing depending on where you sit on the fence with your views to progressive stylism or nonsensical crime and egotism. Also your level of hardcore–ism’ and whether you just paint legals or actually do the hard yards, literally. To me graffiti has always been art and I know many writers don’t have the same view.
5. Do you have a good chase story?
Yes, read the book :)
6. What motivates you to keep painting?
To me it’s still a creative outlet and genuine form of self expression. It offers escapism from all the crap of life especially when you enter the zone. It also still offers a sense of adventure, fun, time and freedom – all key ingredients to keeping us young no matter how old you become and how much your life is wearing you down.
7. Why did you make a book?
I knew I had a story to tell and the images to help bring it to life. It’s an old tale now, some thirty years old, my childhood, a shared childhood with many other kids from the time. To me it was still relevant to share and more than anything else get it off my chest. They were the years that formed the notoriety of Puzle’. I’m not claiming I was ever the best, alot of peeps built me up to be that. I was good, I did the trains and the trains were the holy grail – that was the difference, and that’s what the book attempts to articulate in the most positive way without being turned by the noise of negativity and all the crap that went along with it.