Interview with London artist Cute

May 24, 2013 at 10:22 pm

securedownload-1

I was first contacted by artist Cute to be apart of his book “MONOKROME 2”. When we first started emailing and talking about what he needed, I was under the impression it was a UK graffiti magazine. Now I know that I may not be the smartest person out there but I was WAY OFF on this one. Cute is a talented and established artist, but he is also a man putting forth what I think is one of the best graffiti books out there. Now I say this with humility, because there are so many talented people in this book that I put myself in as one of the bottom rung artists in the line up. There is a lot of talented people in this book! It’s a must have for serious book collecters.

Back on track though, Cute also puts together events and has a good solid team of artists he works with. He is very easy to get along with and talk to, sort of person. I’ve talked with CUTE about future projects and trust me you will want to see what he is up too. But until then, do yourself a favor and cop the MONOKROME 2 book now and support this homegrown London artist!

PLEASE CLICK READ MORE BELOW FOR REST OF ARTICLE

NEIGHBORHOOD LOVE

What neighborhood did you grow up in and what neighborhood do you represent now?

CUTE

We moved around a lot when I was a kid. I’ve lived the majority of my life in London but my formative years were spent going to school in Nottingham. I’ve lived in south east London for years and my family dates back to the early 19th century in this city, so this is home.

CUTE and HUSHfarting_rabbit_

NEIGHBORHOOD LOVE 

What got you into graffiti, what were your influences, what years did you start and how did you spend your time on the streets?

CUTE

I got into graff in 1987 and I was toyer than GI Joe! By 1988 I had the beginnings of style but only the beginnings. It took me a long time to get any good. I was exposed to artists like The Artful Dodger, POPZ100, REKA, CRASE, ALERT and PULSE in Nottingham and later The Chrome Angelz, Essex Rockerz and loads of writers on the London scene: from RemiRough, TIZER and SNUG to Non Stop, State of Art and The London Giants.

From the age of 15 I came alive at midnight, when I’d go out on the streets. I mostly tagged and bombed alone, or with my old friend ICON who I trusted 100%. Later, I ventured into the trainyards with members of AMP syndicate but never joined their crew. I was still finding my feet. My days were spent doing endless blackbook sketches and writing to other writers from other countries and swapping photos. There wasn’t much graffiti media in those days- hardly any graf mags and no internet, so we’d all physically meet up, show photo albums and compare sketches and outlines. They were happy days, but they came to an end after I got busted by the police and had to decide between a life as a bomber or a media career. I chose the latter and accepted that my graffiti would have to be legal from here on in.

Picture 2Picture 6

inserts from MONOKROME book 1 

 NEIGHBORHOOD LOVE 

The MONOKROME books are really high-quality, what brought on the idea of wanting to put the MONOKROME books together?

CUTE

The idea came about because I LOVE blackbook drawings. The tradition we have of doing sketches in each other’s books is one that dates back to the very beginnings of subway graf. To see the original concept sketch for a wall is something I find exciting in the extreme.

I’d tried to get hold of books that contained blackbook work from writers and I’d found a few, like ‘Schwarz auf Weiss’ and ‘Backjumps Sketchbook’ but I couldn’t find anymore. So I decided to make my own, which is what the first MONOKROME book was all about- graffiti design on the page in simple black, white and grey.

The quality of our books is premium. We could have saved a lot of money making something cheaper, but if I make something I want it to be of superb, high quality. Life has to be about creating excellence and helping others to do so, otherwise why bother?

liquid_incarceration_534586_10151511937348625_1012973798_n

NEIGHBORHOOD LOVE
Was it hard coordinating all the different artists from all the different parts of the world together, Cause I know for fact artist can be tough to deal with especially graffiti artist.

CUTE

Graffiti artists are infamously creatures of chaos. Trying to coordinate 33 at a time in conjunction with publishing deadlines is like trying to herd lions- not only do they work to their own schedules, but if you push them too hard you might get bitten. Luckily, being a writer myself, I identify strongly with this mindset from the inside, so I give them as much room as I can to do what they do. I know they’ll come up with their best stuff if I don’t hassle them too much.

Monokromebook1Monokrome2_Sampler-13

Insert from MONOKROME 2 Book

NEIGHBORHOOD LOVE 
What kind of shows are you doing these days? What are you putting together? What’s your future plans?

CUTE

I’ve always been a very shy public painter- I think it goes back to my days of bombing alone. To me it’s a solitary experience which has me competing against myself, not anybody outside of me. For this reason, I don’t paint at shows but prefer to do walls with friends when there’s not many people around.

Over the past couple of years I’ve placed more emphasis on creating platforms for other writers that I believe in. I co-organised my first small graf jam last summer at the Strawberry Fields festival in Leicestershire, UK and did a launch party for the second MONOKROME book in Shoreditch, London which doubled as a showcase for the talent in the book.

We’re planning our next moves at the moment and it looks like we’ll put together a graf jam, an exhibition and maybe another big event. I’ve also promised a lot of artists that I’ll do more on the wall this year. It always takes second place to creating the events but I’m hungry to paint at the moment. As soon as it warms up here in the UK (I don’t do the cold, my fingers are 41 years old now) I’ll be out there chucking it on the bricks.

NEIGHBORHOOD LOVE 
Do you want to do more book projects in the future or do you have more ideas set on wall based projects, or on art shows, or all?

CUTE

We are tentatively planning our third book. We’re still in the very preliminary stages where we’re looking at concept. What we want to avoid is doing the same thing again. We have some ideas but nothing quite solid enough yet. I’d also love to do a worldwide blackbook exhibition which will take a bit of planning. I’m really hoping that I can balance this with doing a few more walls this year. Last year I only managed to do a few.

NEIGHBORHOOD LOVE 
What do you want to get accomplished before your career is over?

CUTE

I don’t think my career will ever be over, I think it’ll blend into another form and become something else. I’ll go to my grave being creative, it’s what I do. But as for accomplishments, the thing I really love is to continue to collaborate with artists that I admire and whose work makes me feel like an excited kid on Christmas day again when I look at it.

monokrome_mash941228_10151655984868255_334565670_n[Cute and Hush]

NEIGHBORHOOD LOVE 
How do you think the neighborhood that you grew up in influenced the style of what you do now?

CUTE

The first neighbourhood that I grew up in was quite suburban, right on the edge of the city, so at first my work was a counterpoint to that- B Boys with guns, angry, intense characters and macho posturing. As I grew into an adult and moved into the big, bad city, my work ironically became softer, which you can still see now- rainbow colours, cute little characters, clouds, bubbles and flowers. What is interesting to me is the juxtaposition of things. Angry and peaceful, soft and hard, cerebral and visceral, all living together in harmony.

NEIGHBORHOOD LOVE 

What do you hate about graffiti?

CUTE

I hate the beef. Hate it. Because we’re artists we’re of a certain temperament and that tends to spill out sometimes. But it can ruin things very quickly.

Early on our scene was about battling and competition with each other, because that’s how the Hip-Hop movement evolved from an impossibly. But in order to continue to evolve we have to stop fighting each other and unite more. There is strength in unity but chaos engenders entropy. We lack togetherness because of individual agendas.

monokrome_train_by_eukee-d39xkbf74201_490555418254_7565997_n

NEIGHBORHOOD LOVE 
What do you love about graffiti?

CUTE

Graffiti is anarchic and uncontrollable. It creates a fantasy world of characters and letters that I’d rather live in. Great graffiti is always dynamic and exciting, full of passion and movement. It’s unpretentious, impermanent and you have to get your hands dirty to do it. From the cavemen of the Neolithic to the teenagers of today, painting on walls as an expression of yourself within your environment is part of being human. Graffiti loves life.

We’re proud to say we’ll be caring MONOKROME when our webstore opens.