Interview with the Vancouver based street artist Sueme. The styles are dope. Freights, trucks, wood boards, Sueme throw his color everywhere.
The graffiti of Sueme from Vancouver, Canada.
FC: Where are you from Sueme? Tell us about your beginnings and your discovery of graffiti.
I am from Vancouver, British Columbia Canada. A beautiful canadian city on the west coast of Canada. Initially I discovered graffiti in high school. I lived on the east side of town, and my parents didn't want to send me to any of the schools in my area because there was a lot of gang violence and stuff like that going on in the area, so I enrolled in a school on the west side. This resulting in a long bus route where I saw graffiti in the streets and on the busses. the trip was always super entertaining because I would see what was running, getting buffed or who was beefin, ect.
FC: What's the meaning of your name?
The name Sueme refers to the saying or phrase "Sue Me". Our world today revolves around money. More specifically in graffiti or art, your either your selling artwork on canvases, or your bombing illegally, it doesn't matter, because either way your diggin’ in someone’s pockets. They pay to remove it, where others may pay for it. Sueme came to me because I wanted to say with out money, if i was sued to death for what I do, I would still have my creative self. You can take me from the game but not the game from me.
FC: What was your interest in art and what led you to create all those things?
Honestly I was never interested in art. Graffiti taught me to be creative and to embrace my inner artist.
FC: Who are the members of your crew NWK. And what does NWK mean?
North West Kings, Nation Wide Krew, Naturals With Kolour, I dunno, theres lots of different meanings.. but the bottom line is those that are in the crew are those iI learned from coming up in the game. Crew members include: ENSOE, DEMOS, GUTS, FES, WEBS, ASESR, DIFER, WAYS, HOSER and DUTCH
FC: Tell us about the graffiti scene from your Vancouver. Who are the more productive crews?
The graffiti scene here was crazy when I was first getting into it. The city was on smash. But for those that don't know our city recently hosted the olympics (Vancouver 2010) so from when we got the bid around 2003, the city was literally throwing money to get the streets cleaned. Mural programs were in effect to "beautify" the city, where they were hiring in most cases no name artists to paint walls to prevent graffiti. Tones of amazing piecing spots were taken away due to developments of new sky train transit lines, condos and many other things. Vancouver is not a huge city, so its hard to say who is productive, because often writers here put in work in waves. Some crews may be really up one year and chill out the next. The buff is pretty hard, and the detectives are not idiots either. so who ever you see up when you come visit, is just who is painting at the moment.
FC: How would you define your work and what inspires you?
Over the past few years I have been inspired by Classical NY styles, but i defiantly wouldn't put myself in a box, I always seem to go through different phases. I would define my graffiti as Classic influence with a West coast or new school twist. I am fascinated with the idea of timelessness through graffiti styles. It amazes me when I can look at a piece done in the 80's on NY subways that still burn 70 percent of what kids are painting today. Once I had this realization, it really encouraged me to start producing more work that would be still considered dope years and years later. I also have a background in fine art studies and abstract painting. I think that influences my work as well.
Style and Flow:
FC: You've got various styles, you can do sharp letters, 3D, widlstyle or bubble and many more funky styles. How did your style evolve? And where do you want to take it?
I think I have always been willing to experiment which helped shape my style. I think my style evolved through painting lots of freights. Basically if i can describe it, I was working with a piecing style and a freight style. They were completely different when I started, and slowly I started putting elements from my freight paintings into my piecing style and vice versa. And eventually they had a baby which is my style today. It's a boy!
FC: How do you organize your paintings? Do you do sketches before? Do you have any “gestures", characteristics or paint habits?
Most of the time I freestyle. i find it easier to adapt to unique spaces. I do most of my sketching on the wall itself, almost trying to sculpt letters out..I'll sometimes sketch letters out over and over again. My sketch outlines are always so messy and seemingly overworked. but I consider the sketching stage really important, because it's the last change you get to make major changes, once your fill is up your pretty much stuck with what you got.
FC: Do you need something particular to be creative?
I need the stars to be aligned.
FC: Haha, Tell us about the Paint Your faith Event. We knew that there were a wall with Indigo, Peeta Titi Freak and Faith47, but there was also an exhibition with you and Chor Boogie right ? (i think i'll use the picture from your blog to illustrate it if you are ok)
Paint Your Faith was an amazing event. International artists collaborations is a rare thing to see unfold in my city. It was great to meet the artists and have the opportunity to showcase my work in collaboration. The turn out for the gallery show was great. The mural that was painted turned out really great as well.
FC: There seems to have been a sudden surge of interest in graffiti and street art recently, why do you think this is?
I think a lot of it has to do with the nature of art history, impressionists were hated at first, and then they were loved! And the story is the same with pop art. We all know how much the public hated graffiti. It's the hate that breeds the desire.
FC: What makes a good piece?
I favor good letters, but above all its about good visual energy.
FC: What do you think about the European/american graffiti?
I love it. It's always great to see how other writers do their thing. As interesting and foreign it is for me to look at, i hope it's the same when Europeans see my work.
FC: How do you see street-art in 10 years?
I don't think it's in my position to say, but I do see it becoming more accepted into society over time.
FC: Do you practice other forms of art? (graphism, canvas paintings, sculpture ?)
Yes, I do graphic design, photography, abstract painting and mixed media fine art.
FC: What's coming up in the next few months? Show etc...
Hopefully traveling. I need to go check out what the world has to offer, there's not enough walls in vancouver to hold my attention!
FC: Any words of wisdom?
Break the right rules.
Thank you Sueme.