A C H O E
I have been meaning to do an interview with my dude ACHOE for a while now, but somehow always ended up having to prioritize other business, family and work endeavours.
Well now, at last, I am very excited to be able to offer an extensive piece of this outstanding young man’s mind and work exclusively for Tarestyles.com. Having really blown up and propelled his styles to another level in recent years, I look forward to seeing alot more from him!
Here is the interview; flics at the bottom of the page.
- Please introduce yourself.
Hello! I write ACHOE, and represent the British-South African-Australian, and now Norwegian crew 40HK, as well as the Norwegian crews AM-DVL-STS.
- How and when did you start painting?
I got into graffiti in 1998 after my brother and some friends had racked some paint, and wondered if I wanted to join. I got super serious about it, started sketching like crazy and absorbed everything I would come across. My brother and my friends all gave up graff within the year, but I just kept going!
- What is the Norwegian graffiti scene like? And how does it compare with the British scene…?
After living in London for a couple of years it all cooks down to the size more or less. Graffiti is graffiti both here and there. Of course there are some differences; Oslo is more bombed I reckon, but London’s got the big scale halls of fame. And you won’t get hassled by writers trying to fuck you over for your paint in Oslo.
- What are your personal goals in graffiti?
I did have a strong personal goal this year (2012) and that was to paint 100 pieces. I was three pieces shy of a hundred in 2011, but I didn’t realize that until 2012, so there was nothing I could do, but get in there and put in work work work for this year. And that I did. I got to a hundred pieces the first weekend in September, but this was also a sort of anticlimax, as I haven’t painted much since. Apart from that, my personal goal is to push my style, trying to figure out new ways of doing my five letters each time I paint a piece. It’s alot of hard work, but I feel that it has eventually paid off.
- What are your views on street-art?
My views on streetart are very diverse. As the streetart itself. It’s such a broad term, it’s art on the streets, but it’s not graffiti. So it’s practically anything. Streetart and graff also go hand in hand, but then again they don’t. What I really like with streetart, is the original work and the new ways of taking up space. Site specific works, using what’s already there and tweaking it in a fashion that’s favourable to the one doing it. Clever stuff. I’m a big fan of Dave the Chimp and the works displayed in his Part of Rebellion-book. Erosie is also someone I really like. I remember seeing his pieces and characters in magazines over ten years ago, and I instantly took a liking towards it. What I’m NOT a fan of, is the stencils. I find them boring and trifling, uninspiring and unoriginal. You’re not a revolutionary just by wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt. But then again, who am I to judge? As long as there is a mutual respect and people are aware of the differences between graffiti and street art, everybody’s entitled an opinion and to do whatever they want.
- Interrail stories? Hairy missions? Crazy experiences…?
I don’t have that many crazy travel experiences, but one thing that comes to mind, that is a bit out of the ordinary, is when I was in France some years back together with Krek AM-GS. After a night of heavy drinking and extensive tagging in the city center, we went back to the motel to get some sleep. But on our way there we noticed a yard, which we figured we could paint, right there and then, as we were leaving the next day. So we went to our room, picked up some cans and went to the yard. After stumbling about for a while, 12 beers down and no more paint after doing some God-awful drunken pieces on a freight and a commuter train, we decided to head back. But, when we got back to the motel our keycard to the room didn’t work, as it had been demagnetized by Krek’s video camera! Both of us cursing, we went to the reception, hoping to get some help there, but no. There was no one working the reception between 22.00 and 07.00 (or something like that) so we had to use this phone hanging in the reception to get a hold of the night shift somewhere. After explaining our problem to the guy on the other end, whose english was very poor, we finally learned that the guy on the phone were just some kind of clerk or a phone operator, so he had to call another guy. But that guy was asleep, so there was nothing he could do to help us. So, when I asked what to do, the dude on the phone just said “I don’t know” and that was it. Krek and me just had to sleep on the tiled floor in the reception until the morning shift arrived. After the resecptionist had fixed our key card, in no seconds flat, we went back to our room, hungover, tired and sore from sleeping on the floor, to catch a couple of hours sleep before catching the train to the next city for more drinking and mischief. An excellent trip!
- Style influences…?
That’s a really hard question. I like all kinds of graffiti, as long as it’s good. The LETTERS have to be good. For me, that’s what it’s all about. Good, strong and original letter structure. But I like everything from classic New York style mastery, American West Coast graffiti, fatcap flares and netching in New Zealand and Australia, anti styles from Spain, handstyles from France, angles and straight lines from Germany, dubs from England and backjumps from Scandinavia. But the guys that catch my attention most these days are guys like Jurne, Jick, Omens, Amuse, Bolts, Vibes, Rels, Rotas, Ponk, Rime, Pose, Sofles, Jimboe and the list goes on…
- What are your motivations?
Graffiti is my motivation. Seeing other people doing crazy and inspiring stuff, watching crew mates get up on steel, streets and halls of fame, witnessing the immense evolution that’s going on in graffiti nowadays; talking with fellow writers about things we like and dislike; painting in itself. The more I paint, the more motivated I get. Seeing the fruits of my labour. For me, graffiti keeps graffiti alive. The only thing where I don’t get inspired through graff, is my colour schemes. I can get ideas for colour schemes from how people dress and the food in my fridge to an episode of Archer.
- What do you see yourself doing in ten years?
Still painting, that’s for sure. I know it’s a cliché..”I’ll never stop doing graffiti!” is something a 15 year old kid who’s been writing for five months would say, but I’ve painted graff for almost 15 years now, and I can’t see a good reason for me to stop. Of course, I probably won’t be painting as much as I’m doing these days, but just to get out every once in a while won’t be impossible.
- Could you give us a “definition” of your style?
That’s up to others to decide. I have no idea! My first priority is the letters. Strong, swinging letters with an original, weird and sometimes illogical touch is what I try to achieve. I’m trying to tweak bars and connections, adding serifs, exaggerating the negative space or negating it. But I still want to keep the letters legible. I enjoy watching graffiti with tons of effects and techniques, but I’m not a good enough writer to come up with crazy effects, so I avoid doing it. I do pick up on some trends here and there, like no outlines or colour switch-ups in the outline and stuff like that, but I try to avoid over-using it. I’d rather incorporate it in a sensible way that goes with my way of doing a piece. I do a lot of thinking when it comes to colour schemes. I like all kinds of colours, and I usually base my schemes around the contrasts, but I might use a dark orange, and a pastel purple with an olive green, and then top it off with a strong yellow, or something like that to pop it off. But I’m convinced that more or less all colours go together, you just have to use them in a coherent way.
- Favorite food, favorite color, favorite movies/series/books…?
Favourite food, I don’t know. I like a lot of food, but I’m not too keen on Indian though. But the food has to be fresh. Canned vegetables are a disgrace.
Man, I like all colours! Of course, some colours are uglier than others, but the trick is to find a good contrasting colour to make that ugly one look good.
When it comes to movies, I really enjoy Quentin Tarantino’s work, the latest Marvel super hero-films and these days I’m on a John Carpenter-vibe. I watch a lot of series too. Some of my favourites are The Wire, Treme, Game of Thrones, Trailer Park Boys, Arrested Development and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. My favourite books right now, must be Abo Rasul’s trilogy “Scandinavian Misanthropy”. Fantastic reading!
- Final words?
Thanks to Tare for approaching me for this interview. Big hello’s go out to my friends and crew mates worldwide. Stay up!