Interview with OUTLET Sept 17, 2011, 4pm 49th and Ashland:
I ran into OUTLET at the 30th and Kedzie wall– she asked if I was a writer and I said no. She said “I’m just taking photos too.” I mentioned that I was heading over to the 49th and Ashland wall in a little while, taking a couple buses, if she wanted to come with. Without a second thought she told me she had a car, could give me a ride, and gave me her number. Little did I know that I had met one of the coolest and reflective folks ever, and that through OUTLET and her friends I would be able to see the intensely loyal, funny, friendly and caring aspects of graffiti culture, just through hanging out. by hanging out with OUTLET I learned that graffiti is an art but its also a form of community and a way of sharing time and space with others: it can be an extended family. OUTLET is not currently writing, but she offers the perspective of someone who knows the world of graffiti, but also is a supporter and an audience member. Her thoughts on MOS might help us think about what it means as a thing for communities. Thank you OUTLET for your thoughts and kindness in helping me get around to do the rest of these interviews!
CB: When did you start painting?
O: I want to say that it was in 2002 I believe and I stopped around 2004.
CB: What got you into it?
O: I guess it started when I started doing murals with an art organization and then turns out a lot of people that were into the murals also did some graffiti so it just went from there, it was just something I wanted to do. It wasn’t as easy to get a mural as easy as it was to do graffiti.
CB: Because of funding or wall space?
O: Because of time and effort. Kind of thing. The paint was kind of another thing. It was kind of easier to go look for the colors that I want and not worry about how expensive it is sure its just about the same price but I mean I don’t know some how it was just availability of it that made it more intriguing, like “If I go get this can, then I can go paint on a wall.” Instead of, I gotta get brushes, I gotta look for all these other materials, then I gotta come up with an idea, then I have to come up with a design. And most of the time before I went to paint I had an idea but it was very lackluster, not sure, just unsure and when I got there it just kind of came out.
CB: Where or from who did you learn?
O: I didn’t really learn. I wouldn’t say I learned. There is a lot to learn. I have a lot to learn.
CB: Do you have any favorite graffiti artists?
O: Uh, jeez. So many. I don’t really know. Favorite favorite? Its really hard to say.
CB: Just some people you admire.
O: Dime…I’ve been out of it for so long I cant even recall..a lot of European graffiti artists are beyond dope. Here in Chicago theres not too many that I know personally but I see their stuff up all over. Like RISK, ZORE, SUPHER from Texas, theres a lot of good graffiti artists in Texas too. A lot.
CB: Have you gone to Meeting of Styles before?
CB: Just in Chicago?
CB: How many have you gone to?
O: Three and then in San Antonio they have this event called Clogged Caps and I think they haven’t done it for a couple years but back when I was there they did it like twice and that was awesome, it was pretty much similar I guess like the people and the styles always changed depending.
CB: In Chicago have you noticed any changes in the festival over the past few years?
O: Not much ahs changed. Its about the same. The community is about the same. When you actually get to know somebody you realize that its just it’s like having a block party only you are painting together instead of having the kids around—its like a big party for adults that love to paint.
CB: How would you feel if there were no more Meeting of Styles?
O: this year like I said I haven’t been back into art for three years about, I’ve been doing my own thing quietly in my room, you know but nothing that brought me out, and when I did come out first person I met was in graffiti and its just like a community you cant get away from it—everyone knows somebody who is into graffiti. Anywhere and everywhere you go. Its just like the from the ground up venture back into art, and that’s always just been the way it is, I don’t know why that is. It all comes from somewhere and yeah it would really suck if there were no Clogged Caps or Meeting of Styles or any kind of graffiti events because I wouldn’t even know what to do with myself. I wouldn’t know where to start again. I couldn’t just go back into a gallery and be like oh wow I love this art because you don’t know what to look for, you know what I mean?
CB: So its like an entry point kind of?
O: Yeah, absolutely. A gateway. A gateway graffiti.
CB: That’s great, Meeting of Styles the Gateway Graffiti. But it sort ofi s though – do you think the festival is just for graffiti artists or are they communicating with some other people?
O: Absolutely not. There’s music, there is hip hop, all kinds of elements of hip hop involved there’s writers there is not just graffiti writers people that sing people that dance, all kinds of people. Awesome. Awesomeness. And just like in any art culture you are going to find all of that: poetry, and spoken word and all of that kind of similarity. Its just like a great kidn of a-b-c-d-e kind of a grade category.
CB: When you did write how did you document your work?
O: Photos, mostly. Some sketches I never ended up doing the sketches.
CB: Did you use facebook?
O: I didn’t never for graffiti no, uh uh. Haha. There are a lot that do but I don’t .
CB: Did you ever try to network with other writers, other artists that weren’t in Texas?
O: Um, I guess sort of kind of. I just knew people that I knew. I didn’t meant to meet them and I wasn’t like ‘hey I need to go talk to that person because they are into graffiti’ but people just said I know this guy up there and you should meet him. And I said okay, if, if, maybe we will be at the same place at one time. And that’s pretty much how it has happened. Like meeting of styles.
CB: what do you think the importance of- well this wall is a good example- having like an Austin writer next to a San Antonio writer next to Chicago writers – what do you think the importance of that is, sort of bringing people from different places together?
O: relativity, I guess. The relationship that brings everyone together. Like unity. Like an unspoken word like anything and everything that you want to say all together. And its awesome because you see one piece next to another piece, and those people may or may not know each other. They may or may not be form the same area or anything like that and they are speaking they are next to one another and they are speaking, so its awesome.
CB: Do you have any concerns about the future of graffiti?
O: You know politics always plays a part, so I odnt know im more concerned with the economy I guess because the way I see it is there is always gonna be graffiti where there is people. You don’t have to say what they are thinking all the time, and if they don’t get to say it then they’ll spray it.
CB: well thanks for your thought provoking answers.
O: You’re welcome.