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Friday, 28 March 2008

Interview with The Krah

Fresh from another midnight graffiti run (probably) Laura Martin got hold of The Krah - Greece’s best export since Ouzo - who tells the story of the night he had to swallow his memory card, introduces us to Krahotherapy and explains why spitting at him at his new exhibition is to be encouraged.

Artwork from The Krah is available exclusively through LAB

What are the inspiration for your characters? Do you dream in graffiti?

Being a mentalist is what I do best. I wouldn’t say I dream graffiti, ok some times I do. But seriously folks, I ponder on current affairs and despair at the state of the world around me constantly, except when I am living in my own little world (which thankfully is most of the time). My every waking moment I try to jazz up the monotony around me by imagining animated stories where my characters do extremely rude things. Really the only way to get any peace these days is to attempt to get all these characters out of my head by applying them to the real world around me. I call this Krahotherapy and it involves going out and putting all these little ideas in other peoples heads by exposing them to the illness that is the krah and secretly hoping that this will somehow make things better. Well, for me at least.

A lot of your work features on transport such as trains and subway lines – have you had any close calls? What was your most adventurous tag?

When I was a young lad waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the day, I liked drawing on things like every other teenage kid (well some of them anyway). But with me it just wasn’t enough to scribble things on toilet walls. So I thought, I know, why not draw my pretty pictures on all over the city. That’s bound to annoy someone! What started as an innocent underground urban hard core game, ended as a never ending downward spiral (which was fun by the way) and involved a lot of falling from fences on to rocks and running away from the sound of sirens coming closer and the countless attempts to explain to my parents how having stitches was part of a normal night out…... It was all fun and games back then with plenty of close calls and non-stop adventure (I wont bore you with the details). Somehow I never fell into the hands of the law, im still not quite sure how I managed that. Well maybe once or twice…. The last time infact I had to eat the memory card from my camera while in the back of a police van. To this day it hasn’t reappeared, I miss that memory card, there where some good photos on it…….. But to be honest, now I am far too mature (old) for that kind of strenuous activity, so I stick to creating casual chaos in the streets instead.

Would you recommend trains and public transport as a good canvas for art?

Not really it’s a bit difficult to hang up on your living room wall! Ha! See what I did there…….no but seriously if you want to get up and you want to make a bajillion people nauseous at the sight of your scribbles every day, it’s definitely the way forward! The adrenalin is nice too.

You tag all over the world – does your art reflect each city’s personality?

I find that when I travel I become somewhat akin to a cultural sponge. I just absorb everything around me and then that inspiration just eeks out in my work. All the different cultures, people and places I have experienced drive the creative machine that is Krah. However by far the most inspiring trip I have taken was to Tokyo, it was like a different planet, I loved it and I definitely want to go and paint there again. But I still hate sushi.

What kind of reaction do you want to evoke from your art?

CAUTION VIEWING MAY CAUSE: swelling, itchiness, defecation, hang over-like effects, ring-sting, ingrown toenails, the desire to tear off all your clothes and run down the street singing “we all live in a yellow submarine” (hopefully this will affect mostly the females of the species), anger, rebellious tendencies from the waist down, vegetarianism, procreation, and a deep disconcerting desire to take up some ridiculous sport like under water golf.

Much of your work contains cyborg-like creatures – would you cryogenically freeze yourself in the hope of becoming half man half human in the future? Or perhaps a bionic man – which part of your body would you bionofy?

I used to know a girl who made me want to freeze myself. I tried some diy cryogenics in the refrigerator at home but my girl friend eventually found me and following a vigorous defrost I was ok. I think. But I still get an erection whenever I see penguins on tv…... So I guess I missed my chance to see the future, but if I was a cyborg-like creature I would be the bastard son of Tetsuo from Akira and those sexy Gigger bitches with bionic wrists because repetitive strain syndrome isn’t a joke people it’s the doom of all truly talented artists.

Some of your stuff’s up on youtube – do you think this is the future of street art, so the public see the process and the creation of the piece, rather than just the finished article?

No, I don’t think the revolution will be televised and neither is the future of street-art going to be video documentaries of street actions on poo-tube. I truly believe the next step is “graff-happy slapping” recorded on mobile phones, there will come a day when gangs of street artists will roam the streets pouncing on innocent citizens and paint them to create living street art. Sadly this is a bit reminiscent of what the hippies use to do back in the day spraying paint on women that wore fur coats! What is this world coming to when the generation of today cant come up with any original ideas ay? Still…… it would be fun wouldn’t it?

Where would be your dream place in London to tag, no holds barred?

I would like to hack into the Piccadilly circus animated advert screens and show animated anti-establishment videos, however my hacking abilities border on dysfunctional so I don’t think I will manage that. It would be cool to get remote controlled helicopters big spray cans attached and paint the Gerkin tower, or just to crash them into the queens palace, that would be strangely fulfilling I think.

You’ve got an exhibition opening at the Pure Evil gallery in May – is this your first gallery show? How do you feel having your work shown in a gallery space as opposed to the streets? Does it change the context of your work or how it is received/viewed?

The space is a part of the gallery 3 rooms in the basement, it hasn’t got freshly painted white walls like a normal gallery, it has an underground feel to it, it looks more like a dungeon. It strangely has an open air bit that is exposed to the elements that gives it that out-side feel. The pure evil gallery shows work of street-artists from all over the globe so I am proud to show my work there. This will be my first solo show in the East End, I have previously exhibited in Tokyo Japan, Athens Greece and in the UK. I don’t think exhibiting in a gallery changes my work the only difference is that its legal and its on sale (horray!), the work that I do in the streets is aimed at the everyday type of person that is just passing by that spot and I do it for free! its like little surprises that pop up all over the city to brake the monotony of day to day routine. I am hoping that people by seeing my work at the show, will come to truly hate Krah and then through reverse psychology I shall become rich and infamous. But the best way is to see it for your self, come along on the 22nd of May and get a bit tipsy, please don’t hurt me. Spitting is ok.

Is your move to sculpture recent? Is this something you think you’ll work more with? What other mediums would you like to work in?

Its something I wanted to do for a log time, I like to experiment with different materials, however most of the materials at my disposal at the moment can be described using the words “cheap and cheerful”. Working in 3d is very effective and it’s easier for the viewer to relate to it. I want to evolve my style and try making sculptures with plastic and vinyl in the near future. I love the shiny plastic surfaces with the vector like curves a bit like huge toys. I also want to start making installations with projections for lighting, and maybe even making metal sculptures and welding them in the street.

Do you think Banksy killed or raised the appeal of street art – has it killed the underground quality?

I remember seeing Banksy’s work before he was blown up in the media, I like his work and love his ideas. But who cares really, so what if he’s rich and famous …… I’m a lover not a hater! I think the man brought the worlds attention to a fresh politically and socially stimulating style of graffiti and happened to cash in on the way. But he wasn’t the first and I hope he won’t be the last! So lets keep Graffiti today as an urban underground art movement, lets try and retain what little street cred we have left and then sell out when the price is right because to be perfectly honest I’m tired of beans on toast for dinner every night.

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