Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Interview - Lyken

Give me your name, crew(s), and how long have you been painting?

Hello, my name is Lyken Love and I rep the crew Voigt kampff, (VK for short) - original Dundee stylistic renegades. Im also down with Dundee Super Crew, MAS. I've been painting since 1987, I was particularly active in the 90's, slept on graff for a bit in the early naughties. Been back on the scene for the last couple of years kicking proverbial bottom.

What was it that made you get into graffiti, what was it that made you go, fuck I want to do that?

My mum reminded me of this the other day but I was actually into murals & customisation before graff.
I had a couple of american airbrush magazies in 1982 or so that showed customised vans, bedrooms etc, whole walls as surfing scenes or as galaxies. My folks let me paint an E.T. mural on my wall and an incredible hulk on my door, in emulsion & poster paint.
When hip hop appeared and 1984 it seemed like the same thing but with spray paint.

Who were your early influences and who/what influences you now?

Locally Raiz and TC (synk). Both up with full colour illegals.
You guys were a couple of years older & your stuff seemed really advanced
Internationally, Kase2/futura/shoe/bando/non stop crew/3d/skeme/justice/skam/krayone/reaevyn. Its weird, these days there is so much graff out there that I find it difficult to focus, I get Cartoon "ba-doing" eyes when looking thru mags, its amazing but it can be visual overload. At the moment dirty, drippy handstyles & tags are floating my boat.
I can't get enough of original New York 1970's writing, just before the tags became full pieces , trains covered in scrawls...amazing.

Describe your style?

Kind of mechanical, symetrical, sometimes organic.
Im not a fluid writer, I have to squeeze my letters out like a particularly painfull jobbies.
They brings tears to my eyes.

You, like me, started painting in the mid Eighties. What are the main differences now from when you first started out?

Well originally you could spend ages in the city centre writing without getting caught, the streets were dead after 11pm and there was no cctv. Now its a different ball game, graff is such a harder sport, the penalties are insnane! The paint is much better, caps are briliant.
As a writer in this day and age, the world is your lobster!

Whats your opinion on how the internet has impacted on the world of graffiti?

Its great to have access to all the graff you can eat. I think there's a bit too much loose talk on public forums though, kids organising sessions online for all to see!
Plus the beef & armchair criticising that goes on is pretty lame. Its the equivalent of acting hard upstairs on a bus as it pulls away and takes you to safety. I think the net rules but its only a matter of time before the first IP killer strikes! Know what I mean? Talk shit online and run the risk of being tracked to your home & the hamster getting it!
The interweb has made it so easy to hook up with heads & to travel & paint and to be honest I can't imagine how we managed before!

What inspired you to produce the mag and then open the shop?

I had stated the mag and once I began trading my mag for other mags, i realised I pretty much had stock to sell so I began thinking about a website. The website and shop were really started on the back of the mag. The catalyst for the shop was getting fired from my real job which made me get the finger out to start the shop as I had no desire to work for someone else again! Its the harest Ive ever worked but its well worth it, maybe not financially but spiritually!

How have you found juggling the business side of things with the serious side of getting out there and painting?

Its quite difficult as even a small business like skinnycap takes up a lot of time & involves a lot of paperwork. Sometimes I can be painting every day for a week but its all commissions but I try and make sure I get out there to do a proper piece once a week. Im traveling a wee bit more again now which is always good.

Every writer has a story that they like to tell whether it’s the time they met and painted with someone, some beef or a chase story. Whats yours?

Painting at Graffiti Land in the mid 80's, hearing music coming towards me then Mr Synk appearing with his mate, "Tour De France" by Kraftwerk blasting out a ghetto (I shit you not!) Nothing like doing things on the sneak tip!
Me & Synk getting chased, one of synk's trainers falling of as he wore them without laces, him doubling back to get it as they were adidas run dmc's & he loved em!

Iz said in Style Wars that he couldn’t imagine that he would continue to paint once he was “livin the life” and had commitments, etc. Will you ever stop painting?

I think Im maybe getting worse as I get older, apparently being 30 (odd) is the new 20!
I cant imagine stopping as my days are pretty much saturated with graff in one way or another because it my business also, quitting would mean having to get a real job again and Im not particularly keen to do that any time soon. I think once you start graff your pretty much fucked for life. I think retired writers are like recovering alcaholics, one sip and before you know it your hurting yourself on fences crawling around in the dirt.

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