Interview with Canada’s Keyes CBS!

January 6, 2015 at 4:20 pm
Keyes has been coming up strong! I’ve seen his graff game grow quick and with style and growth. I’m hoping he’s going to be around for a while and I’m hoping his work will keep stretching it’s limits! I’m hoping you will feel the same way about him and his work and I’m hoping you’ll enjoy this article as we chop it up with Keyes…
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Neighborhood Love
1.What neighborhood did you grow up in and what neighborhood do you live in and represent now?
I hail from Canada, grew up in a city called Kelowna. It’s in British Columbia, really nice spot and I was lucky to live there. Snowboarding paradise in the winter and a popping Beach town in the Summer. About 100,000 people lived there but it’s growing at a fast pace. Nice to visit, weird place to grow up.. In my later teens I became a bit mis-guided, and being a heavily influenced biker town I started hanging with the wrong people and having some bad role models directing my life into a dark place.  I got wrapped up pretty bad in some non-graffiti related charges being wild and young. They red-zoned me from all of Downtown Kelowna and my bail conditions were real strict, add that with some Family troubles and I transferred my probation to a city called Victoria, BC. It took 3 years and a good ass lawyer to become free again and I’ve been between Victoria and Vancouver ever since.

2. How did you first get into the graffiti game? Who were your early influences?

I was just getting into High School and hip hop was already the soundtrack to my life (and a little bit of punk music.) Where I lived there wasn’t too much in the open graffiti, but one cat was putting in work in my hood. He wrote “Made or Mader” and repped a small local crew with a cat named Koba, the crew was AC crew. I always saw these tags and it really sparked my curiosity. How anonymous it was, how it was everywhere. I felt as if his tag was a representation of him, and he was everywhere all at once – I wanted to get into it.  Shortly after doing some partying with kids from another neighbourhood someone introduced me to Made. I had my black book on me and me and him got down right away, and painted lots. He now writes Ntox – we’re not as close of friends anymore and live in different cities but we still stay in touch and give each other respect. Another big time influence who I still am close to this day was “ANSR” from POS crew. Also would like to shout out Remorse (RMRS) too for guiding me and being humble even when I had some beef with his crew.
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3. Are you the kind of painter who has no plans of where you want to go, or are you the kind of painter who has set goals of where you want to get in your graffiti career?
I definitely have goals for sure. Painting is my life, not just lifestyle. They’re not specific either than always paint something more challenging then last and try to improve every time. Progression is so important, I’m never happy with what I paint so it makes me want to get out and try it again and again and again. In the future I want to just do more travelling and painting, maybe relocate to bigger metro area, or help build a strong scene wherever I’m at.

 4. Do you see a difference in Canadian graffiti compared to American and European graffiti, and what country would you like to paint in next?
Style wise we all have influences from different places. Canada is a huge country, I’ve never even been to the east coast so I can’t speak for their behalf but on the west coast we definitly were on the LA tip for awhile in the 90’s and early 2000s. Now with crews like VTS and WCB pushing the change of style to a more east coast funk from a sharp west coast one.  As far as politics and what not, I find people very opinionated but rarely will do anything about it.  I’ve always had hardcore beef, kept shit real and don’t EVER get down with fakes so that’s why I find myself more connected with my boys that do real work in America.  We have a lot less writers in Canada but I’ll be honest and say most of them are really good, so it’s cut throat to stand out and be somebody sometimes. I really feel I need to make a strong all-Canada trip or two because there’s so much to do in my own Country. Recently I’ve become eligible for a Dutch Dual Citizenship so you might see me doing some Netherlands/Europe trips in the near future!
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5. Can you name some graph writers or maybe just styles that you are feeling these days?
Anyone from CBS crew, we have such a diverse group of talent. More specifically I love shit like Xaust paints, what Haste is into, the art of Mear and so forth.  But for more of influencing my style I have to say Ryno, 7seas and some of those Bay area boys get me going!
 6. When we talked the other day we said that there’s so many talented graffiti painters out there these days it’s hard to stand out, what do you plan on doing your career to stand out?
Always keep it real. People may talk about me, but they’ve never met me. The ones who meet the real me know I take no bullshit and will always put action behind my words. My personality as a writer is something people know me by, and of course my art as well.  Lots of cats think you have to be a train king to be a true canadian writer, but I live on a train-less Island. It’s kinda the who you know type of industry and I know some really cool people. Standing out is important but if you focus on that you might get caught up in politics. I just try to have burners at all the spots and paint daily for myself, and it pays off.
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 7. I know you got put on the CBS recently, how do you feel about moving up into a world-class crew,and what part do you want to play in that crew ?
At first it didn’t feel real, the whole, “pinch me?” sort of feeling.  But the dude who recruited me and then the homies I got down with were the real deal, this was no joke. I’ve never asked or demanded anything from anyone in this game, and I have so much heart (too much at times.) So now that I have painted or partied and met most of the crew personally the dream feeling is gone and it’s all reality. I love how much the crew supports me and my weird attitude we really are family.  The role I want to play in the crew is huge, I don’t want to say I’m the future or anything like that, but realistically when I grow up and the crew evolves I will be the older guys in the crew, and I need to make sure we take care of it for longevity. I’m a very business/management minded person and would love to see myself building a more administrative role in the crew to help keep it organized and tight.
 8. Okay hit me with your dream city dream wall dream project dream line up to paint with if you could make all that happen with the snap of the finger,who,what,where,and when would be? That’s a big one, no pressure!
Sounds silly because I could paint anywhere with this wish, but my dream would be have the homies from American be able to cross into Canada and paint a spot with me in BC somewhere. I want to share my community and show the fam around. I can’t pin point what the line up would be, but definitely the heavy hitters from our crew.  I also would love to paint with some Canadian legends like BSM crew or even AA, but hell who wouldn’t?
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 9. Do you have any upcoming plans or projects that you’d like to put some shine on?
In the near future nothing major, I have some musical performances and commision paint projects to do but nothing I’m trying to hype up. I just made a nice run of limited prints so if anyone wants to buy or trade for one I’m game.  I really just need to dedicate more time to sketching and working in my studio.  Oh, I did get word that there might be a NYC jam in the future, that’s got me stoked.

 10 I would like to say a big thank you and respect to you from neighborhood love! Thank you for taking the time to chop it up with us, and last is there any shout out you’d like to give?
Shouts to my Mom for being open-minded, and anyone who is on their grind.  Would like to big up NEVR CFW, RELFY, Shouts to my whole HRT family, and of course my old school TCK heads who pushed through and were there for me in thick and thin.
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