- New Zealand
- TMD MSK SUK
ASKEW ONE is recognised worldwide for his unique approach to graffiti art and remains at the forefront of the international art scene, through constantly exploring new and exciting styles in a world of imitators. With over 20 years of experience and the need to reach out to the world from his home in remote New Zealand, Askew is self-taught in graphic design, illustration, photography, publishing, directing and editing music videos and moving images.
Ironlak Signature Colour: Askew’s Olivia
An interview with ASKEW1 TMD MSK SUK.
Questions by Luke Shirlaw for Ironlak.com
For those who don’t know, it’s always best to start at the beginning. Tell us how, and when, you first got involved in graffiti – what attracted you to the movement?
ASKEW TMD MSK SUK: I started doing graffiti in 1993 – growing up in Central Auckland at that time it seemed everyone was doing it. I initially just did it to be cool and fit in.
Let’s get situational. Describe your ideal graffiti scenario? What’s your fave painting environment/surface?
I believe in maintaining a balanced diet. Variety is good.
It’s time for some name dropping. Who is producing creative work that gets you excited? Who’s really pushing it?
I hate to be biased, but I’m inspired by my friends, mostly – everyone from my crews are really doing such interesting things right now in graffiti and beyond.
You’ve been down with Ironlak for a minute. What year did you get down?
I think it was 2007 from memory. SIRUM really pushed to get me on board and did the introductions. I’m so grateful for that opportunity, it enabled me to really be ambitious.
I like that it’s an independent company started by young people actually from the graffiti scene. It’s also my preferred paint – it works best with my way of painting.
Tell us a killer colour combo.
EWOK’s Froggy, ASKEW’s Olivia, VANS Kryptonite, Dieci DOES, TUES Afterburn and Butter. That’s my classic combo.
What is the current direction of your artwork? What gets your juices flowing these days?
“I’m more interested in having a broader conversation than what writing my name only can give me.”
I’ve become much more focused on large murals and my studio work than graffiti, but I’ve been doing a few pieces again lately. I’ve changed a lot as a person in the past few years and realised I’m more interested in having a broader conversation than what writing my name only can give me.
Travel is crucial these days. Where have you visited that had some kind of impact on you? What made it special?
It’s all a blur. I’m almost always somewhere else. Tahiti is still one of my favourite places, Detroit also. Right now I’m in New York and really getting to explore this place and soak it all in.
Favourite city to paint in?
All the aforementioned.
Show me the best piece you’ve ever painted:
I really don’t have a personal favourite of my own. So many things are favourites for different reasons, but mostly for the experiences involved – the things you can’t see in the photo.
Now show me one of your favourite pieces of artwork that another human created.
Once again, so many to think of, but all of Shane Cotton’s work is incredible!
When you’re lurking around places you shouldn’t be, it’s inevitable to run into interesting characters or some kind of trouble. Tell me a story of something ridiculous that’s happened to you, while painting, over the years.
“We yelled and threw track rocks and he disappeared, briefly, but as we were finishing our pieces he came back and did it again.”
Still hard to top the huge Tongan guy that jumped out of the bushes, of this famous cruising spot, beside the main freight spot in Auckland and was jerking off while watching us paint. We yelled and threw track rocks and he disappeared, briefly, but as we were finishing our pieces he came back and did it again.
‘A’ of course.
What’s bumping in your headphones/ studio speakers at the moment?
It’s been hard not to listen to Frank Ocean’s ‘Blonde’ album on repeat. Also Schoolboy Q’s ‘Blank Face’ LP is great.
We’ve all got “Damn Daniel distracting us on Instagram”, what YouTube clip have you obsessed over lately?
It’s hard not to rep the home town: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pJ_DlSywR8
SWIDT – 312
Dead or alive, who is the historical figure that you most admire, and why?
I don’t know why I find this one so hard to answer. Maybe it’s just narrowing them down – I don’t know.
Who shot Tupac?
I tend to believe the theories that Suge Knight orchestrated it.
Action Bronson or Ghostface?
The world is small bro. Too few degrees of separation for me to weigh in on this one. I like them both.
We’re at a bar and I’m buying. What you drinking?
Right now just vodka or gin. Doctor’s orders.
What’s the last movie you watched, or book you read?
The last movie was Room. It was super depressing.
Okay, nearly done! Give some advice to the kids. What do you know now, that you wish you knew then?
Just do you. Don’t let the opinions of others shake you from your own vision.
How do you push through creative blocks – whatchudo when you C.B.F (can’t be bothered)?
“Lighten up and enjoy the process. Good things come from making mistakes.”
You break free by simply doing – all the time. Don’t put expectations on yourself that everything you do will be incredible. Lighten up and enjoy the process. Good things come from making mistakes.
What can we expect from you in 2017 and beyond?
I’ve been going through some kind of weird existential crisis over the past year but I guess I’m out the other side of that now and the work is about to change a lot. Maybe even expect some graffiti from me again.
Re-up. Get up. Get fame.
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