March 26th, 2010

Old/funny/naive interiview for Pigeon Mag.#2, 2006 (…sounds more like manifesto but I reminisce about this early years of Cap)

1. Ok, I have become familiar with your graffiti through downloadable pdf zines like Sketches of Shame and Upstream, but mainly through seeing your stuff on fotolog. I quickly realised that when you first started posting, some of the photos were older and some newer. I was able to see some kind of progression in your style, going from a more loose euro style (what some people might call it over here in the UK. Excuse the expression) to a far more playful, expressive and thoughtful style, but still keeping it very much within ideas of graffiti writing. How did this change in your style happen? Was the progression very slow, gradual or sudden?

I would like to notice right away that the basic problem of graffiti is this “style” or, more likely, certain affection of “graffiti writers” for a kind of ,as they believe it to be, specific and original form. The moment which hampers is a foundation of movement that set on formal games. In other words, idea of graffiti lies just in development of aesthetic features and skill, what has rest against its own horizon a long time ago. At the same time, visualization must work only as instrument, as flexible additional factor. It means, that it is necessary to reflect on adequacy of concrete “style” in a concrete situation, instead of seting oneself the search of new formal and technological ways as the main goal. In my case, the development was certainly gradual from view of duration of my presence in graffiti scene (i’ve been engaged in it since 2002), but the main advance happened for last two years when I have started to be interested in other cultural spheres, has started to try to perceive this “subculture” in a context of official art. I.e. that is after unsuccessful attempts to find out new formal solutions I began to think more about the ideologic contribution. But still, graffiti is tightly isolated, elite community. Because of huge quantity of “graffiti dust” in the streets, graffiti has turned into some urbanistic decor, it became something, that is already needless to say about. In that way graffiti has paradoxically disarmed itself. It became invisible. Because of this particular reason, integration of graffitiideas in masses is practically impossible here in Europe. Starting from these reasons, all my energy has been directed inside graffiti scene for last two years. For the same reasons I tried to keep in my works certain features, which inherent in graffiti, for greaterobviousness and competitiveness in graffiti environment. Thus I tried to enrich my “graffiti” with new, exactly ideological moves.

2. Would you ever stop writing under a name (for example, blez/cap/putin or other) or is it fundermental to your ideas of graffiti?

Name or graffiti nickname doesn’t mean anything to me. When I thought out a name to myself, I chose it, being guided purely by my compositional predilections. In other words, I chose on beauty of letters. It has turned out as BLEZE. It is an empty phrase. Recently I have decided, that I don’t want to use it anymore. I am Alexey Klyuykov. The only graffiti name made by me and which is still functioning is CAP. CAP is a word that during a year has been joined a group of people from Prague and Moscow with similar intentions in the field of graffiti and arts.

3. Often you choose to paint with a brush and roller giving your pieces a very different quality more similar to your sketches. How did this movement from spay can to brush happen? Was it a considered move to change the quality of the line or was it due to other issues, for exmple it’s maybe easier to find buckets of paint than good quality spray cans?

Simply, technique of a spray no longer a necessity to me. Firstly, I try not to support producers of professional graffiti materials. Secondly, to paint with colours and rollers in many cases is simply more comfortable and, what is the most important, cheaper. Though and ideologically this transition to rollers and brushes has played an important role. The majority of people from local graffiti environments till now are outraged by my technological approach to graffiti. But it’s only a question of their narrow-mindedness and dullness.

4.Ninja Turtles, Robocop, Ballet Dancers, Kinder eggs, Kung-Fu, Wildlife and Pets. So many of these different elements keep re-appearing in your graff. What’s all the crazyness about!? childhood obssesions? Nostalgia?

Yes, a certain infantilism in themes which I choose is surely present. And seems to be that nostalgia and memories connected with my childhood really has its effect on me. Heroes of comics, cartoon films or action movies, a similar sort of characters always have beenpresented in graffiti, and by this particular things mass media has been attacking the young people. But in my situation these symbols have absolutely contrary structure. As for the person who was born and has grown in Russia, in the socialistic block (though and after disintegration of the Soviet Union, but the situation remained similar), these foreign fetishes were a symbols of something inaccessible and impossible, therefore any information, which somehow mentioned similar themes, was worth its weight in gold. Clearly, what price for me had, let’s suppose, a wrapper from a cud with the image of a turtle-ninjia in conditions of such an acute informational shortage. But also such ideological approach is already in the past for me. Now I try to choose more non-standard themes for graffiti, or to react to a concrete situation and a place, or to polemize somehow about graffiti as such.

5.In the Uk, Graffiti almost always comes hand-in-hand with Hip Hop. Is this the same in Prague and the surrounding cities/countries, or does Punk/Hardcore/Metal have much of a place with in European Graffiti scenes?

Here in Prague, I think, as well as in most of cases, graffiti always was a part of hip-hop cultures and, unfortunately, it was perceived as its indivisible component. Actually, it is a sad situation when young men, coming in graffiti and joining a process, are guided by some cliches and, as a matter of fact, automatically become a part of hip-hop movement,which in turn dictates them manners, ways, styles etc. Unfortunately, under the pressure of moronic “traditions”, at present graffiti simply doesn’t have an opportunity to become separated from this movement. The interesting situation was in Moscow. In second half of 90-s’, when graffiti has started to to develop actively at a professional level there, it was not a part of any cultural-musical movement at all. Or at least was not a part of hip-hop. People who were engaged in graffiti, in the most part, were rather or anarchists, or skinheads, they went on hard-core concerts. When I have arrived to Moscow in 2001, I was amazed by these people and the way of perception of graffiti by them. Simply, there was kind of time advance. Graffiti has come there with 25-30 years delay, in that way all those “traditions”, existing in European and American graffiti, were simply unnoticed. At that time graffiti in the world was not so dogmatic any more, any special skills and knowledge were not necessary, therefore people have adopted only the way – a manner to write the name on a wall, and somehow have started from nothing. At that time graffiti scene in Moscow was very interesting. There was an impression, that those people simply didn’t want to copy. And they really managed to do so. And they really didn’t. Now there is more likely a process of degradation. The reference point is directed toward Europe and everything is led to the world standards.

6.How do other graffiti writers react to your style/ideas, do you expect them to react in this way or does it surprise you?

As for Prague, I think that local graffiti situation experiences crisis. People are very conservative-minded here and also absolutely not capable to perceive new or something a little bit non-standard. Besides, the problem still lies in those strange “traditions” and patterns, which I mentioned above. As a matter of fact, it should be expected, but sometimes narrow-mindedness of some people surprises me. Anyway, there are many positive responses, but they come not from the Prague environment.

7.Do you use your graffiti style within your studying? If so, what do your teachers/lecturers feel about your work and ideas?

Actually it’s not easy to combine one with another. I study in the Academy of arts and design in Prague, on course of conceptual art, so certainly all my creativity connects with graffiti in any event and on the contrary – graffiti is filtered through norms of the modern art. But, as well-known, within the limits of actual art graffiti represents rather problematic constituent. Because of its formal priorities and commonness, graffiti just isn’t capable to compete in sphere of art, it doesn’t represent interest as such, simply doesn’t pass criteria of selection. So that graffiti, which I do now ,as I already said, is done only for graffiti artists.

8.What other Art/Design are you influenced by and how does it influence your own Art/Design and mainly Graffiti?

I try to keep an eye on everything what is goin on in the cultural environment and, the main thing, on the field of actual art. All is correlated. Everything needs to be assimilated in a context. Not long ago I have started to take part in exhibition activity which is very seldom crossed with my graffiti practice and, as a matter of fact, has nothing in common with this street pseudo-culture, but exists within the limits of official art course.

9.What are you’re ambitions? What are your plans for when you finish at AAAD?

I would like to continue to function in the sphere of the contemporary art. The beginning has been initiated. But how strong it’s going to be connected with graffiti I hardly can predict.

1 Comment »

  1. you just have to get used to modern art to appreciate the beauty of it *-,

    Comment by Sleep Better — 02/12/2010 @ 8:15 pm

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