“I was super anti-change. Back then I was like, I don’t have any talents. Tagging is only a talent appreciated by so many people. But it’s still the only thing I had, so I was like, I’ll do that; cos then it will impress at least those people. When I first started out I was only interested in the vandalism side. The mural work – especially the new street art that’s around now – you know I wouldn’t have had any time at all for that.

A lot of the stuff I paint now is traditionally graffiti based. A lot of my crew, they were artistic dudes before graffiti and graffiti turned out to be the platform of art that they fell into or they gravitated towards, whereas I was just a vandal kid. The only reason my life is ok now, and I can make money from it, is because I came through all the shitty parts of tagging and getting in trouble with the law. At first it was funny to me. To be into vandalism, but to get paid by the council to ‘pretend’ to be an artist.

Around the year 2000 was when I started doing any sort of mentoring stuff, the first project was painting some Orion power boxes. I was working with two younger guys, basically like a step by step showing them the process and teaching them can control skills and stuff. Over the years doing the mentoring I’ve seen a lot of young dudes really change. Even just having the first thing they’re actually good at, the first positive reinforcement, that changes people’s personalities so much in itself.

It took this 20 year road of having a bad attitude about it. Without me going that hard road and finding that path, this future is better than the futures in my alternate timeline for sure. You know the way I was headed when I was younger, those alternate timelines went bad places, they weren’t positive. Hearing those kinda words though when I was young, I’d go ‘that’s corny man’, you know talking about growth and how graffiti saved me, it’s kinda cheesy, but the reason things are cliche are because they’re f***ing true.

It’s really important to me that people see the traditional roots of graffiti and because the people that mean the most to me, as far as people that are interested in my work, are the people that come from my background.”

– Ikarus

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