Monday, July 12, 2010

ROBBO interview from @149st


What year did you start writing?

Started writing late seventies writing on walls following skinhead and punk movements in London.

How did you get your name?
It's a family name (surname).

What inspired you to write?

Inspired to write by the progression from writing names of bands, etc, was then inspired by TV programmes showing graffiti in New York, ie The Warriors, The Equalizer...etc.

Did New York influence you at all?

Yes, very much so, from the days of TV and films to documentary films etc like Wild Style, Beat Street, Style Wars and of course Subway Art.

Describe your writing career in London.

My writing career started with street bombing, progressing onto pieces on walls and eventually all out trains, stations and tracksides.

What is more important to you as a writer, bombing or style?

Real graffiti writers bomb and piece with style.

What crews were you down with?

I was and am still down with WRH. PFB. WD. KAOS INC NYC. KOA AUSTRALIA.

Who were your best partners?

My best partners were/are WRH, DOZE, PRIME, P.I.C., MR. CHOC LA ROC, DRAK, WD.

When did you quit writing?

I quit writing around '95, done bits and pieces but not living it like I used to.

Tell us about the history of your piece on the canal and how did you find out that BANKSY dissed your work?

The piece was painted on a Saturday afternoon in 1985 on a ledge which was very difficult to get to because it was trendy Camden, people thought it was legal, I got away with it because of that. I found out it had been dissed via a phone call from DOZE the weekend before Christmas.

As a retired writer what was your reaction?

At first, very annoyed that the oldest piece in London had been used and abused by BANKSY. The guy's ego must be so large that he thinks he can just go over graff history in London. I had offers from writers to go and bomb it, fire extinguishers etc. I declined, because I wanted to do it myself and turn the tables on him. He used my piece so I wanted to humiliate him by using his stencil and calling myself a king.

Did you have any encounters with BANKSY back in the day?

I had an encounter personally with him, and gave him a slap because he was an arrogant, cocksure toy. He also dogged me before in the mid nineties....showing very little respect.

How was TEAM ROBBO formed?

TEAM ROBBO was formed to show the world that there is a difference between graffiti artists and 
street artists.

In traditional graffiti wars, opponents will generally completely destroy all of their adversary's work. You have not taken this approach. This leads me to believe that war does not seemed to be based on genuine hostility. It seems to be more of a game of wit rather than an actual war. Please explain the reasoning behind your approach.

You're spot on with your assumption regarding the war, it is fun but on a serious note I'm trying to show the world that us graffiti artists are intelligent, witty, creative artists. Because we prefer to write our names etc instead of catchy gimmicks, it doesn't mean we are spotty kids writing our names on bus stops.

How do you think the war with BANKSY might be resolved?

The war with BANKSY will be resolved by him getting down on his knees and kissing my ring piece, LOL, seriously speaking when I'm done it's done.

What are your artistic plans for the future?

My artistic plans for the future are hit a train again, carry on piecing and do a gallery show and create a graffiti website purely for graffiti writers. Nahm sayin’. Peace! ROBBO 484. Thanks for taking the time to interview me. Shouts out to REAS, WANE, WEB, CHINO, SWATCH, JA, SKUF.