WOTIFS is a graffiti writer from Canberra. He first discovered graffiti at a young age in grade 6 and has done his fair share of travelling and painting since then. His style is fresh and always with great colour schemes. We caught up to find out a bit more about him and asked for his favourite five flicks.
1. What got u into graffiti?
I got into graffiti in 1996, I was in grade 6 and my older brother and his friends were skating, bombing, smoking weed and racking a lot. So I decided to follow the leader and started. My first piece I did said NME and was all Solarsrtream's I'd inched from Woolworths. It wasn't too bad, really (haha). I embarrassed my brother rapidly, by chucking him and his friends up when I did tags, and other toy shit, haha!! I remember one bad move that stitched him up was when I found some bags of Tana that belonged to my brothers friend - Takle ASN. He had stashed them in bushes near our house.
I figured finders keepers, and didn't know they were his when I picked them up, but he thought different. My brother said I had to give them back and I remember saying something like "fuck him, he's a dumb cunt for not stashing them at his house like a normal person" (haha). My brother wanted to work me. He took the tins off me and gave them back to him. Every time I saw Takle from then on he would give me the evil eye, and he nearly ashed me at Spot X one afternoon in 1997 (hahaha if you're from Canberra, you'll know Spot X). I loved that guys graf though, I wished I had styles like him. But really, in Canberra there was just so much good gaffiti everywhere. Seth, Tron, Ayre, Dins, Deft, Rvets, Bose, Rkoe, Prowla, Faroe, Sinch, Smart, Fluke and so many more dudes had crazy style and always blew my mind (the Tron on Hindmarsh Drive was so fresh - and the Airetight at Kambah High School!!).
Bombers would always thrash my primary school (and High School too), it was on the tables and in the study books in my high school, I even remember being about 13 and borrowing Don't Be A Menace To South Central on VHS from the local Video 2000, and the reverse side of the cover was bombed hard by Sorte, so I had a crack at it too! It was in my face no matter where I went. In grade 9 a new kid came to the High School from Melbourne - he wrote Braze, Prek, Der, Piker and a bunch of other names, he was in FMC and he taught me so much about graf, mainly tags and throw ups. Connecting letters and going little to big with your handstyles, he drew me an alphabet, that kind of dedicated teaching. We are still good friends today too. Seppy aka Kruse / Drucks influenced me the most - RIP BRO. Floer always had mad handstyles too, if you were around 2902 back then, you'd know Floer had mad skill with the marker. Toro also did some cool throw ups. It was a great moment in time in the 90's!
2. How would you describe your style?
I don't really know how to. I guess less is more? I love traditional graffiti, and fat, public styles the most. My style varies a lot as I'm inspired by so many friends and their styles. The styles and unusual colour schemes from all over the world too. As long as I like what I'm putting out, then I'm not phased. I hope people love and hate my shit equally tbh, because it means I've got an audience (either way,) and if I'm feeling it - that's all that matters. I only sketch a little bit these days, and just freestyle my pieces, or try new and old ideas to keep things as interesting and different as possible, also to make certain techniques and do dads more of a habit, so that I can use them under pressure.
I guess, I like to think my best pieces have been in a traditional Sydney influenced/Canberra style from the mid 90's to early 2000's, as it was that style that I was so influenced by, and it's heaps of fun to paint. I think as long as you like what you're doing with your paint, and it's completely unforced, breezy for yourself as you're painting, then that's all that matters, because it feels natural.
3. Do you have a good chase story?
I've had some pretty full on chases, but the craziest, most recent ones were in Berlin. I had been painting about 15 minutes at the spot , the fumes were so bad, and I was on my own. I heard a whistle while doing my outline and could hear some movement not too far off. I finished my panel shot flicks and climbed up from the spot and onto the bridge, I had left a water bottle where I'd climbed down, so I grabbed it as I climbed over, and a security guard appeared and started to speak to me (presumably telling me that I was done for). He grabbed me as I started to run away from him.
I told him to let me go or I would hit him and he held me in such a way that even with a long reach on me I couldn't chin him, so the only way I could get him to let go, was to hit him with my water bottle. I hammered the base of it into his face a few times. I broke his glasses, and it dropped him proper (poor bastard), as soon as he released me I hit the legs, the police arrived almost immediately after he hit the ground, they ran to his assistance and then followed me. Because of that, I had almost 50m on them and I lost them. But I could hear their footsteps behind me. By this point I was running so fast my bag had opened and my empty tins were flying out of it, I found a good spot to hide in some bushes at a block of apartments, and stashed my remaining shit about 10 meters from where I was going to hide.
I was lying face down, I was that wrecked from running for so long my asthma was worrying me and I was close to vomiting. I was trying to keep my breathing quiet watching the police drive up and down the street constantly. I heard the sound of cans rattling and voices nearby, so I knew it was them. A mosquito was biting my hand and I had to watch it do me a few times, because if I had of made one sound they'd have found me, they were that close but I couldn't see them. They moved on after what seemed like 30 minutes but was probably less than 5. The police cars continued to patrol slowly for the next hour or, so I stayed put. After some time, I decided to make a move and flagged a taxi down soon after (luckily), and got the fuck outta there and a lift to a bottle shop. Once I got a bag full of John Deers I got back to the hostel, rolled a nice big victory zoot and shared it with some other travellers. Go Germany!
4. Looks like you've done a lot of travelling, what's your favourite city to visit and paint, and why?
I think of all the overseas countries and cities I've been to, it would be Berlin in Germany. It's just such a dope place, heaps of fun to kick it around the city and smoke zoots and drink, ample places to paint, check it out! Copenhagen Denmark is also great fun, great people, killer ganja, hash, free bikes, free food, etc. Good times.
5. What motivates you to keep painting?
Music, movies, reading, travelling and seeing my friends and other Aussie's going in all over the world is what helps motivate me. The new and old styles that kids are running these days is also a big source. Also, how backwards this world continues to become helps me want to draw on the shit.
Shout outs and big thanks to LSK, SH, OG'S, TMR, DB, GDS, AWK, T1'S, 53G, TKC, KOS, TKP, KOA, CREEP SHOW & all the boys in JKS, TFS, DIAS, Sly Crew Worldwide. Cheers to all my real day one friends (you know who you are) and everyone in Canberra who's out racking and painting hard! Rest In Peace Bhave, Voter and Drucks. Peacex