SWAZE is a graffiti writer from Sydney's South West. He's been painting since 99 and since then has travelled the world painting pieces and murals and now makes a living off his graffiti and art. He paints all forms of graff from wild style pieces to a portrait and can rock a mad throwie. We caught up with him for a quick chat and asked for his favourite five flicks.
1. How many cities around the world have u bombed & painted in?
Roughly 40 cities now including in the USA, Central & South America, all over Europe, Australia, North & South Asia.
2. Negative things about graffiti these days?
The fact that some one who recycles a style gets more props then some1 who innovates & comes original, back in the day that was called biting, there was more variety in styles b4 the internet. but kids care more about ''likes'' on social media than respect, so they copy wateva style is hot around the world.
how we gona evolve graffiti if we just copy our favorite writer, if ur 'S' looks like the other persons 'S' wel its not really ur 'S' now is it, just another recycle, when some 1 shows me a stylish letter i havnt seen b4 i can say ok ur original u innovate, i wana look at my piece & be able to say yes that's my finger print on the wall, self expressing my soul.. having said that im just being harsh for interesting opinions, i love most styles (xcept 3D) lol, i dig the oldskool syd style but always wanted to paint something different. as long as we have fun at the wall & show each other mutual respect im cool.
also to many internet hoes & not enuf street cred writers call them selves a graffiti writer but won't do anythin illegal, shook ones.. Graffiti is not about painting with a spray can its more about what u paint, a lot of people are forgetting what graffiti is, its all about letters, nothing more nothing less. characters & nice back grounds compliment graffiti. having said that i love painting anything these days, but if it ain't illegal letters i ain't calling it graffiti, i'm just having fun painting art witch i don't mind from time to time to broaden my horizons & talents.
3. Do many people call u a sell out for making money from ur art?
Surprisingly no lol i mean everybody has made some money from there graffiti one way or an other, i've just been fortunate enough to b doin it full time, best job i've ever had, witch writer is gona pass up on free travel, paint & hotels around the world. anybody who wana call some1 a sell out just because there making money from there art is in the wrong, every writer will eventually do a canvas or skate board etc & sell it, even the hardest bombers from the bronx have done galleries back in the day.
in my ''harsh'' opinion for conversation sake is that a sell out is closer to some 1 who doesnt do illegal graffiti anymore & only does legals & jobs, no disrespect to them i have plenty of artist friends who don't do anything illegal anymore due to older age, family, job, risk of getting charged or locked up while u have ur own family at home is not the smartest move i get that. as long as people have experienced the illegal adrenaline rush when they was younger
I'm friends with artists because of the person they are & not because there a famous graffiti writer or artist. in then end its each to there own i'm not the boss of graffiti so don't take it personal lol just don't confuse the term sell out.. il b doin throw ups & illegal pieces till the last day regardless of how much money i make from my art. Graffiti is 1 thing & making money from graffiti style paintings is an other thing its not graff anymore its just art.
4. How would u describe your style?
semi wild, some times semi symmetrical, my letters, original, evolving, same same but different lol. got a few styles up my sleeve nowadays.
5. Do u have a good chase story?
a good chase story is a must for all writers, i personally love a good chase, mostly cause i get away 9 out of 10 times lol.. while i was in Barcelona some locals invited me out to France for some panels, there was around 7 of us in a massive yard, we were in there for a couple of hours, we seen guards coming so we had to start running out, i wasnt gona leave the yard without takin pix of my panels first so as i was running i grabbed my camera & put it on flash mode knowing i was gona pass a couple of my panels on the way out, as i approached a panel i would just stop, get down on 1 knee to angle the camera from low so the flash doesn't bounce back, shot it then up & run! all done within 1 second while the toy cops were running up to me, my pix could not have turned out better if i tried! lol (foto shown below).
now while i'm running out i'm tryn to catch up with the boys in front as the guards were close behind me, as we was running i could see a massive lot of cans around 100 cans spread out & the only way around it was to jump over them, they guy b4 me tryed jumping them & didn't make it falling into the cans making my task much harder, now i had to clear the cans & my new found friend lying on the floor, i went full throttle & took the leap of faith, till today i don't know how i cleared it, i do remember while i was in the air time stood still, as i jumped over it felt like slow motion i could almost read the color codes on the cans while flying over them lol no joke tho the adrenaline was carrying me out of there, so here i am a 33 year old dude running my lungs out, the other guys were 18-20 young puppies yet i caught up to them, flew past them yelling ''step on it chicos!'' with a slight chuckle lol we got out & eventually found a spot to hide & crash for a few hours waiting for our first train out back to Barcelona in the morning.
we get to the train station & cops pull us all up interviewing us 1 by 1, i stash my memory card & throw the battery out, they asked for ID & stupid me forgot my passport at the hostel in Barcelona, they said we cant let u go anywhere without ur passport, i had to call my hostel to speak to the cops & give them my passport number to let me go, they never ended up chekn my bag full of paint. i started heading back to Barcelona with a big smiling on face, suckers lol
peace out SFX NSO SWB ZNC!