Well it all comes down to money. Graffiti has always, and still does, bring in the bucks. However in terms of graffiti culture, what really drives most of this is the financial investment. Graffiti, with its ability to be very profitable, is a huge money maker.
And so people like me would never be a part of any art that didn’t have that element.
What, specifically, have happened to graffiti?
I could go with a million or three hundred thousand things that have happened to me and it just goes to show you I’m an expert in what I do.
But here’s the bottom line, a lot of this stuff I started back in 1992 and from then it just took off as a major art movement and, in my opinion, the biggest arts festival in Canada. (laughs)
One of the most iconic figures in the history of Canada’s art scene.
Yeah. The Canadian Festival of Graffiti in 1987 and 1988 was actually the first in Canada dedicated to it.
But, in 1989, in ’91, you guys got the first real blowout, what did that say?
That was the real beginning of it. It was actually my friend, a Canadian named John Paul Johnson, when he moved to Vancouver and started a business called The House of Gold.
Then of course the Vancouver Graffiti Festival in 1992 started and that went and got so big and so big it was the only art festival in the province of British Columbia and just exploded and made it look much bigger. (audience laughs)
Who are the members of the Graffiti artists?
The most famous and powerful, well, most influential and successful, is I think it’s called Rufino (Emanueli).
He was my roommate in college and then later he came back, went to art school and then went and worked at the House of Gold, which is what is currently called House of Gold.
He’s known to me as a very big influence in that field and all of those artists – Paul White, Paul Smith, Michael Smithson – they’re all very significant to what we do.
I think most importantly, a lot of us in the art world are from other parts of the world.
Some of us grew up in the USA and some of us grew up in Canada.
So it doesn’t take two to tango, it takes one to tango! (aud
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