‘Surface Tension’ – Silk Roy

Celebrating over a decade of creativity, Melbourne artist Silk Roy brings his debut solo show ‘Surface Tension’ to Melbourne. In the lead up to the show (opening this Friday), Silky was kind enough to chat with us.

How and when did you get into art and why?

I always enjoyed drawing when I was a kid, but it wasn’t ever something I thought I’d pursue until I moved to Melbourne in ’98. I’d never seen graffiti before having come over from Singapore, which in comparison was/still is a spotless city. I’d take the train to school and back everyday and it was hard not to notice the smashed insides and the walls on the line changing nightly. For a 13 year old, the idea of having an alias that people identified you by and going out on missions was pretty appealing. It wasn’t until years later that I’d realize this daydream, but of course now being an active writer, artist, creative is much more that, it’s given me a sense of ‘self’, and outlet to express my ideas and thoughts and a platform to continue my creative journey.


You run two identities, Kid Silk and Silk Roy, How did this come about?

Basically I arrived at a point where I needed to let my graffiti and studio practise have their own shine as trying to put all my work under one name was confusing and felt forced. Silk is an old nickname I was given a long time ago so it was a no-brainer as far as putting it up as a writer.

‘Kid Silk’ came about because of my insta handle, other writers would meet me and ask who I was, I’d reply ‘Silk’ and they’d ask ‘Like Kid Silk?” It also works in terms of me keeping graffiti for myself, I don’t intend to profit from it or ever make it feel like work, it’s fun and I get to go out and essentially be a kid.

Silk Roy on the other hand is the name I work under when I’m showing / producing studio work. Two identities works for me now as I’ve started getting opportunities for both which is cool as far as keeping things varied creatively.


Where do you draw inspiration, who did / do you look up? Was there a particular style you admired as a beginner?

I draw inspiration from a lot of stuff, music, the places I paint, the places I visit. For me it’s all about the vibe in the moment, which heavily dictates my creativity.

When I was growing up watching the lines, stylistically I was mostly inspired by pieces on the Frankston line, being a Southside head… now with abstraction being a driving force
behind my style, I’m into work by other artists who like me have made a transition from the street to the studio/gallery. Guys like Smash 137 and Jose Parla come to mind in that respect.


Favourite place to paint? In Melbourne and national/world wide? Why?

I like painting everywhere, but I was lucky enough to paint in NYC and then in LA a couple of years ago, that experience was a turning point for me as I came home feeling validated as an artist and confident in my path. It also pushed me back into painting letters again after a long break only painting charos.

Do you prefer a particular medium? Why / why not?

Not really, of course I love aerosol, but then my studio work is all mixed media. I enjoy experimenting with different mediums and figuring out what works with what, so abstraction is perfect for that.


Can you tell us a little about your upcoming show? It’s your first in ten years – why now? What’s changed? Why the delay?

My upcoming solo show ‘Surface Tension’ is a culmination of everything I’ve learnt so far as an artist who started in graffiti and is now transitioning to the studio.

I’ve been in numerous group shows over the years, but I’ve only felt comfortable enough with my style in more recent times to commit to showing a body of work by myself. I’m incredibly critical of my work too, which is good and bad, but necessary for my ongoing development. Also living in a city like Melbourne, where there’s a show every other day, and the idea of a solo show is such a deal, I’ve really felt the pressure of doing one to do one.. I’ve always done things at my own pace and yeah, it felt right and that why it’s happening now.


What do you hope people will take away from the show?

I want people to leave with a strong impression of who I am as an artist. I’d much rather have five people who love it, and five people who hate it, than have 10 people who are only there for the drinks. That and I want people to feel that I care about what I do.


Join Silk Roy at the opening of Surface Tension at BSIDE Gallery, 121 Brunswick St, Fitzroy. The exhibition opens Friday 23rd June from 6-9pm, and runs until 2nd July 2017.