As part of ‘Post-Graffiti Pacific’ currently on show at aMBUSH Gallery in Sydney’s Central Park we have been lucky enough to have a quick Q&A with some of the contributing artists. To begin this ongoing series we present to you, Askew One.
With a strong self-taught background in graffiti, graphic design and videography, Askew One’s geographical isolation of Auckland, New Zealand, hasn’t held him back from presenting his work to the world and he is now considered to be one of the leading figures of graffiti and urban contemporary art from the Pacific region.
Using skills in photography, graphic design, graffiti and traditional painting, Askew One captures his audience with visually complex and pleasing paintings whilst drawing attention to the economic and environmental issues affecting the smaller Pacific nations of Oceania.
Damo: What does it mean to you to be part of Post-Graffiti Pacific?
Askew One: I’m stoked to see this show come to fruition. From many late night debates amongst my friends over drinks, trying to define who we are as artists to first connecting with the aMBUSH guys and them giving this chance to share this revelation.
Damo: Can you talk us through your piece, and how you responded to the brief from conception to finalisation?
Askew One: There was no real brief per se other than each artist expressing themselves at the highest achievable level. I’m so blown away by what everyone has produced, I think each artist has really evolved during the production of the show. My work is a culmination of several streams I’ve been working on over the past 4 years, I feel it’s the most refined work I’ve made yet.
Damo: How does your piece reflect the ‘dawn of a new movement in art’?
Askew One: My work is about highlighting issues that are immediately pertinent within the Pacific but ultimately they are world issues. I’m interested in identity and how it is defined within diasporas and it’s relationship to food cultures and food systems and how that links to many other issues like economics and the environment. I think the fact we are trying to bring awareness to these concepts using post-graffiti as our vehicle is new.
Damo: How do you define street art? Has your inclusion in Post-Graffiti Pacific changed your view on this?
Askew One: I’ve always hated being called a street artist, it’s a mainstream word that doesn’t explain the movement my peers and I came from. Our experience was one immersed in graffiti writing in the traditional sense. Now that we are getting a bit older, perhaps we aren’t producing art that can be classed as graffiti in the strictest sense and it’s work that is inspired by or refers to Pacific phenomena we feel like we’ve found a niche.
Damo: How does it feel to be included in an exhibition among several of your contemporaries?
Askew One: I grew up doing graffiti with all the other artists, they are more than my contemporaries, they are my family.
Damo: Did this influence you in any way?
Askew One: I think we do influence each other a lot because art is an educational experience for us all & we always share what we learn with each other. I don’t think there is much common aesthetic stuff but the ideologies and interests are very similar.