ZOUCH Magazine’s Jeff Campagna interviews three major graffiti artists (REN, BOMBA, HOPE) that are featured in the new 484 page photo book “Toronto Graffiti – The Human Behind The Wall

ZOUCH – How old were you when you painted your first wall and what motivated you to do so?
HOPE – Think i was around 14 or 15. i had been studying tags throughout Toronto, writing my own tags for a couple of years and drawing graffiti even prior to actually tagging. i had always wanted to do a piece…i was just intimidated and kind of waiting till i felt ready.
i loved graffiti. i loved the lettering and the ‘styleisation’ of it. i wanted to see my drawing on the wall. i wanted to get to know how a spraycan worked. i deeply desired the ‘flow of graffiti’. What mean by that is the flow that accomplished painters had…i desired that flow because i wanted to put messages out with that flow imagining that people would see and wonder.

ZOUCH – Does graffiti have a cultural significance beyond that of the obvious artistic merit?
HOPE – ‘Graffiti’ is a huge huge movement. It is a field…Like Psychology is a field and within that field there are independent branches to that field. For example in ‘Graffiti’ some of the branches are – mural productions, wheat pasting, stencilling etc….Each one of these is its own field yet falls under the umbrella term ‘Graffiti’ There are writers all over the world. There are significantly evolved elements to graffiti – there are rules writers follow, it has its own language, there are gatherings of graffiti painters. It has invented and re-invented and evolved its elements….And continues to do so, like wildfire. These are the signs of a culture. It is its own thing. Just the very nature of these things makes this – Yes ! a culture with significance. I suspect more significance than we even are really aware of…

ZOUCH – What separates graffiti from vandalism?
HOPE – Graffiti has an ‘intent’ beyond destruction. Vandalism is destruction.

HOPE – For many reasons….1st – Read my passage ‘How ‘Hope’ has guided Graffiti Writer Hope’ in the book. My writing is abstract…but within there are some thoughts to have and….perhaps to reflect on.
2ndly..Thanks for asking. Here is a little ramble about ‘Hope’ for you:
i have always imagined that graffiti sends out a message. i write ‘Hope’ because I feel the act of ‘Hope’ing creates energy. In my opinion this seemingly simple energy is very powerful and overlooked. When we ‘Hope’ we start moving towards…It is the very beginning of action. This is not passive. This action is very active. When we ‘Hope’ we are using our mind – the most powerful tool we have. When we ‘Hope’ we time travel in our minds (a very special process we are capable of as humans-envisioning the future+reflecting on the past). While ‘Hope’ing often we are looking to the future – towards what we are inspired to move towards. This act of human nature is extraordinarily fascinating !!….And i think important for everyone to be aware of and observe in themselves. This is one of the reasons i chose to write ‘Hope’.

ZOUCH – As a graffiti artist, what are your views on censorship?
HOPE – i believe expression is a healthy act of human behaviour. It is my belief also that attempts to control expression will cause re-action. Censorship when it occurs is simply part of a cycle. It is an attempt to control that which can’t really be controlled and what follows can’t be controlled either. Everything changes everything evolves.

ZOUCH – Beyond other artists, what influences you and your work?
HOPE – Breathing, Loving, Living, Evidence of the spiritual in things, The East Indian Practice and Philosophy of Yoga. Beautifully Hand made objects out of natural materials. Being within the state of concentration.

ZOUCH – What gives you sudden inspiration to paint?
HOPE – The collision of 2 unrelated ideas that could create a visual question. A colour scheme that has an energy that is really visually powerful or evocative of a feeling. The desire to move my body – To be expressive with my motion and happen to have a spraycan or paint brush in my hand. The desire to make as many mistakes as i can till i discover something i never would have found.

Never before has such a coveted opportunity ever been made available to the general public! If education is power, then “Toronto Graffiti – The Human Behind The Wall” is powerful! This 484-page book of stories showcases 1000+ images which document 30 years of Graffiti in Toronto.

Zouch Magazine’s Jeff Campagna caught up with three major graffiti artists (REN, BOMBA, HOPE) that are featured in the book and asked them some personal and philosophical questions about art, vandalism, spray paint and dreams. Check out the exclusive interviews now.

Read Interviews:

HOPE – The Human Behind The Wall

REN – The Human Behind The Wall

BOMBA – The Human Behind The Wall