Everyone asks me when did I get involved with and become so passionate about street art. I know exactly when, where, and why. Bogota, Colombia, not so long ago…2012… because of Crisp, a Bogota-based Australian street artist. His passion, knowledge, and talent inspired me. Before I met him, my head was definitely turning towards all of the art I was seeing on the walls in Bogota. I was learning Spanish from translating the slogans, I was learning about the political climate in Colombia, and I was learning who the most prominent artists were. Because I was feeling so affected by the public displays of art, I knew that there was something deeper and more beautiful about graffiti and street art than most people accept or recognize. And Crisp was always available for commentary. I’ve already posted so much of his work, but here, I’m going to post a mural I was likely enough to document right here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC, plus a few Banker Vader stickers that have popped up in the city as well. Here’s more insight into this talented, generous artist:
TOKIDOKI: What’s the difference between street art and graffiti and what category would you place yours in? I know you’ve done commissioned, non-commissioned, stickers, paste-ups…Is it possible your work is one thing in Australia, Europe, the U.S. (graffiti)… but something different in Bogota where it is ‘essentially’ legal?
CRISP: Graffiti writing is stylised writing, letters and words. Street art is everything else. Though street art, urban art and graffiti can be used to describe anything on the streets these days I think. I’m definitely not a writer, so I do street or urban art. In Bogota urban art is prohibited not legal but def more tolerated than in other cities in the world.
TD: Do you remember the first time you put your work on the street? What was it? Where was it? I always ask this question because in my mind I’m thinking it has to be a pretty momentus occasion. But, maybe it’s not…?
C: Both my parents are artists, so I have created art ever since I could hold a crayon. Putting stuff up on the street though is quite a recent thing for me. I’d say about 3 years ago here in Bogota bombing small tribal face stencils was my first experience!
TD: How has your work evolved from Pre-Bogota (before I had the pleasure of an introduction to your work) to what you’re doing now in Bogota and also what you’re doing now in Mexico, the U.S. (NYC, Atlanta, Miami…)? Did you start off with anti-corporate sentiments or did that position evolve? In regards to images, I’m a huge fan of the trooper, vader, yoda, and monkey (that I only saw once…the piece with Miko.) And I like the Obama one with the Indigenes, as well as the new Julian Assange portrayal. Your current images are also compelling (the ones that are in this post…) afro-woman, native man, humpback whale, elephant, rat (forgive me if I haven’t identified them correctly, please correct)…what do they represent?
C: Before I came to Bogota I was doing “fine” art, so drawings on paper, paintings on canvas, sculptures and other traditional art forms. Whereas most my work now is on the street. I’m working predominately with stencils at the moment but also do stickers, street sculpture, and paste ups. I’ve always done a mix of socio-political artwork and solely aesthetic pieces. Many of my images are connected to nature, and humans interaction with it, also making points about current affairs and the distorted world we live in today.
TD: What are you saying with this particular mural? I realize that a large part of you wants people to interpret your work for themselves. Fair enough. But, if you HAD to say what it means to you, what would you say? I’m seeing a connectedness of the human spirit with nature…
C: Yes my recent murals in north america were about the connection between nature, animals, and humans. I wanted to emphasis how native people have a closer harmonious relationship with nature, and we should learn from them. Also I just thought it looked cool lol
TOKIDOKI: Your star is steadily rising, mostly due to the evident passion you possess for your art. It’s inspiring. It’s contagious. You’re a huge reason that I’m doing what I’m doing. What’s your ultimate goal to fulfill in regards to your art?
CRISP: Thank you for your kind words, I appreciate hearing my work inspires and effects others. My ultimate goal is to do art as long and as much as possible as long as it makes me and others happy. When I don’t do art I feel lost and it makes me feel like I’m not following my dream or passion.
TD: Do you like Banksy? Why/Why not?
C: I’ve always liked Banksy’s work, he has also helped bring not only stencils but urban art to the masses. His stencils are nicely done and he always has a clever message behind his work. He is able to push important issues and make many people think through his work. What I don’t like, is the fact he is the only urban artists that the general public can mention or knows about. That is a shame when there are so many other great artists out there. Saying that this is due to media rather than him.
TOKIDOKI: FAVE 5?
CRISP: Food – mango
Book: “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick
Music: Led Zeppelin
Artist: James Gleeson (Australian surrealist)
TD: Who are your Top 3 international street artists/graffiti writers and why?
C: Very difficult Question….BLU – Not only does he create powerful massive murals but his animation work on the streets of Buenos Aires are breath taking!
ROA – Awesome mix of realistic animals and anatomy.
DjLu – From huge technical and detailed stencilled murals to powerful socio-political bombing pictogram stencils! Plus very nice guy.
TOKIDOKI: In your opinion, what are the top 3 cities in the world for street art?
CRISP: Bogota, Colombia – Still quite unknown and underground to the general urban art world but the most prolifically covered city I have ever traveled through. Probably one of the best cities in the world for stencil art.
New York, USA – Not just because this is where it all began but the likes of 5 pointz and Buchwick/Brooklyn make this city an awesome eyeful!
London, UK – While I lived in the UK for over 10 years, this is where my love of urban art first started. And it brings so many talented and diverse urban artists to its streets.
TD: Then I consider myself very lucky to have closely documented two of the three! I named some, but what are all of the countries around the world that your work can be found in?
CRISP: UK (London), USA (New York, Atlanta, and Miami), Canada (Winnipeg), Mexico (Sayulita, Mexico city), Dominican Republic, and Colombia.
Thanks so much, Crisp, for taking the time to answer my questions and I will keep following you forever!