SKAEL is a graffiti writer originally from Sydney. He has serious style and skill that only comes with passion and dedication. Over the years he has travelled and painted pieces, panels, tracksides and now massive murals several storeys high. We caught up with him and asked for his favourite five flicks.
1. What got you into graffiti?
My mate Snow and I were already in the habit of sneaking out at night to blow shit up with home made explosives, so I guess doing something slightly creative was a logical step. In year 10 I moved a few more suburbs away from school and started catching the train everyday, I was blown away with what I saw and had to try it. We didn’t know any writers, a few older kids at our schools tagged but nothing serious.
I remember finding a centre page from a hype mag in a car park we used to skate, it was the first piece of graff I got my hands on and I could actually start practicing outlines. Then riding a train I saw Marv and Urge jumping in and out at stations flicking their panels. From there it was all about collecting a bunch of Dulux and plastis and attempting it ourselves.
The first piece I did was in a little known bush spot on the harbour a kid at school knew about. From memory we painted over a Pso by Perso, maybe a Sach and because I liked the Jiesk so much, found something to stand on and painted above it. Toys will be toys. From there it was just a lot more trial and error.
2. How would you describe your style?
I don’t know, Ive always tried to keep it changing and evolving over the years and not to get to caught up in any trend. Its also always been the aim to paint with whatever is at hand rather than relying on nice paint, that often dictates the style on the day. I think letter structure/style and placement in its environment is always the most important aspect of good graffiti.
3. What is the biggest or most challenging mural you have painted?
A 7 story tall portrait mural was definitely the most daunting. It was the first time i had undertaken anything that size and was doing all the planning and organisation. Getting all the proportion right, and dealing with the wind and weather were the most challenging parts to it. But its much like piecing, once you have your mark up right, its gets easier.
4. Do you have a good chase story?
Definitely a few. Bolting under the train, across an autobahn and blindly through cornfields after what we expected to be a fly through turned out to be a flood lit engine with a bunch angry german trackworkers hanging off it was a good one.
Another would be my lanky adolescent self performing my best Jonah Lomu “sidestep” impersonation over the top of the smaller of two very angry, then suddenly confused seccis.
Making it back to the car to find it gone, 3:30am middle of nowhere, 2 degrees.Legging it back to the servo in view of the layup asking to use his phone because id been “robbed”, convincing him not to call the cops, running back to the side street, only to see the VK break lights come on and the car start to move off, Sprinting up the road screaming STOP! diving in and it pulling out along the one main road to get the fuck outta dodge just in time for the blue n reds to fly past would be another fond memory.
5. What motivates you to keep painting?
Artwork is pretty much life now, and its about using those skills to make a living. I’m lucky to have been in the right place at the right time but I think its that initial drive to keep learning and evolving that keeps things fun and challenging. If it wasn’t difficult it wouldn’t be worth it.