Artist Interview – Taske
Firstly who are you and where are you from?
Taske MIA I’m from the Eastside of Sydney but currently live in Newcastle.
What is graffiti to you?
Letters… bending and flexing them to create style. Sharing your love of letters and graffiti with others. Not conforming to parameters but stretching boundaries and inventing. Hand styles, throw ups, wild style and straight letters.
How do you think this affected you on your journey towards being a graffiti artist?
Some aspects were more helpful than others, I mean if I hadn’t followed some basic framework for style then I may have ended up blurring the lines between graffiti and some sort of contemporary street Art.
Graffiti is about letters for mostly, everything else is added to create the full composition of a master piece i.e. characters, backgrounds, effects etc… I can throw as much of that stuff at a piece but my letters will intimately dominate what my artwork is and how my message is delivered.
When/How did you know you wanted to be a graffiti writer?
I think I wanted to be out in the streets to begin with and graffiti just came with that, hanging out with the other kids who were allowed out whenever to do whatever… marker pens and solids were around, in the east there was a lot of graffiti. But when I was first told that hands weren’t gonna get me the street respect I desired I soon moved onto pieces and after I nailed my first highlight I think I was hooked.
Your favourite or most inspirational place/spot you have painted at?
Man I still love abandos… the power station in Fremantle at sunset… amazing!!! I went to another one recently same feeling. But any abando really, I find the whole post apocalyptic eeriness complements graffiti… That type of space feels like home to me… maybe when the ass falls out of it all I’ll just camp out in one like so many randoms I’ve met along the way in abandos.
What/Who are some of the inspirations that drive you to paint?
Other painters, as soon as I see it in action I want in. I love a letter scientists, seeing what others do with there letters really gets me excited. Older writers that posses the funk and the message of our culture. Getting to paint with og’s allows me to experience times i missed out on and grasp a better understand of style.
Did this help guide you to where you are today?
Honestly I don’t really know where I am though. Progressing style wise I guess.
Tell us a do you have any memorable moments/stories/chases you could share from a painting mission?
Yeah I’ve got stories and missions successful and not successful, but id rather talk about me and my boy Dboe in uluwatu last year. Old mate sent us to this spot where we had seen heaps of monkeys. So we rocked up and tried to paint a bit further up from them but as soon as we started they all come for a look… like about 50 and a couple decent alpha males… one of the local lads said there mean as and not to mess with them. This big male stared us down from on top of the wall a showed his teeth, they were like 2 inches long. I looked at Dboe and he looked at me, but it was to late we had started painting and id had a couple bintangs, just enough to be a little crazy. So we painted on, it soon became evident that we would need to keep all our tins beers and water bottles together as the monkeys wanted anything they could get there hands on. Eventually I threw one an empty tin, he was amazed with it, first he tried to drink from it then when he realised it rattled began rolling it down the street. So we worked out if we gave the monkeys our empty cans they would basically race them down the street for hours essentially leaving us alone to paint. Accept this one monkey who was a little male and he was obsessed with me painting, watching and following me on top of the wall trying to emulate my movements with an empty can, this monkey was getting schooled in Graff… it was a trip. We finished just on dark and just as all the monkeys were starting to hang around again so we bailed and got flick the next day.
What direction do you feel graffiti is going these days with style?
Basically every direction… the internet has broken down all the boarders of style… style is now shared globally… for those who are looking to develop and expand style its all out there… however should our culture take a turn away from letters as a few niche pockets have, I ain’t buying that. No way…
What is your opinion on letter structure versus fancy effects?
As I said earlier letters letters letters, if i cant do a one colour piece then what do i have but a bunch of tricks hiding some weak style.
What’s the biggest misconception the general public have of graffiti artists?
That they paying $30’000’000 a year in tax payers dollars to buff trains… be real!!! And that if there weren’t these subcultures, then where would alot of the truth come from???
What are your thoughts on the whole graffiti vs street art?
Do whatever you want as best as you can, just be careful not to step on toes.
What direction do you see graffiti heading in the future?
It won’t disappear, but media and technology will change it up… social acceptance will effect it more… in fact the money rolling in from mainstream exposure might just be the blade to slice graffitis throat… who knows and I’ll be old and waffling on about back in my day…
If you could share a message with the next generation of graffiti artists, what would it be?
Study your history properly. Don’t surf the net for the flashy effects look for the original style and you will find the lineage as it passes down in every country its there. NYC subway graffiti start there.
There any up and coming artists that we should keep an eye out for?
Yeah I know a few young blokes giving it a solid crack but Im not gonna balloon that shit out of proportion on them.
Any shouts out you would like to give?
All my MIA Jacaranda swilling high style flyers!!! And all of you! And all that don’t wanna shout, ya get one anyway… I’m not perfect just another rat in the rat race
Thank you very much for your time and we look forward to seeing more of your amazing work.
You can find more of Taske work at: