|Far and Few Collective Interview:: Toofly, Reds and Ksera
1. How would you best describe who you are and what you do?
TOOFLY I am an artist, designer, and entrepreneur. I make street art, fine art, and fashion items based on my signature style. I also organize events, educate youth, and empower women through my work.
REDS Who I am is a happy, always smiling & trying to make others laugh kind of person! No dry sense of humor here! My art reflects my attitude & the way I carry myself... COLORFUL! I am a bold person. Anyone that has met me can tell you off the bat i carry a smile at all times (unless I'm painting i have my game face on, in which people have mistaken me for looking "intimidating" & "snotty")
KSERA I am a motivated, constantly evolving artist, with a great fear of becoming stale or stagnant. Currently, I am working with Seattle's inner city youth creating public murals.
2. How do you feel your work effects peoples perception of graffiti?
TOOFLY When people look at my work they see that its not just graffiti tags, and letters they see beautiful images and designs painted with aerosol paint. They see my characters, and my fine art works in galleries. They also see that I have taken my ideas on plastic, metal, wood, and fabric to create a designer line. They see that my work, and talent has allowed me to do an array of positive things to improve my life, and give back to my community. This makes them wonder how something that started illegal can get to this point. A true artist grows and he or shes gotta start somewhere right?
REDS Some people feel my graffiti is too artsy. And really, who is anyone to claim what is & isnt graffiti? If theres letters combined together spelling something or stating someones tag... ITS GRAFFITI. Correct me if I am wrong, but the correct term is graffiti ARTIST no? Times have changed, we evolve with time, we now have spray paint ranging in every color on the spectrum, tips that go from super fat to super thin. So why not take advantage of it?
KSERA A few years ago, I was just a kid determined to paint, let alone the only girl around. I hope people realize, that it doesnt matter who you are, but with heart and practice, anything can be accomplished.
3. What do you feel are your weaknesses are as an artist? What are your assets?
TOOFLY I am not a hardcore artist that paints, and draws every single day. Art is a big part of who I am but its not all I am. I love and do so many other things, so maybe not doing art all the time is a weakness? Blah...
Having a natural ability to draw I think is a huge asset. Theres many people out there who dont know how to draw and cheat their way to make art. Its all good do what you gotta do to make art, but I am specially fond of people who can actually illustrate. Its a special gift to have, and Im a sucker for it. I can tell a mile away who has the special gift, its kind of like who has the "force" you know?
REDS LOL oh man, i have 3 weaknesses... hi-lites, 3D, & background. Tho i have gotten better at them, i still get confused on where hi-lites are supposed to correctly be placed... and well the perspectives of 3D puzzle me at times & i tend to forget certain spots. Background theme, i will say is my BIGGEST weakness, i never know what to do :( A definite asset must be my color schemes. People always give me props for the colors i choose, & its something I'm usually recognized for.
KSERA I guess being my own biggest critic would have to be an asset and a weakness in one. The weakness being that I dont appreciate anything I create, and I find problems in the smallest detail. But an asset, because it pushes me to do something nicer the next time around.
4. Do you remember your most innovative wall you have done? You know the one where you have stepped back and feel you have stepped forward a great deal in your art?
TOOFLY Had to be the ARCHIV in Berlin. I think getting a bunch of women from various countries to do a 8 story building was pretty amazing. I enjoyed painting super big, super high, and with a wonderful group of talented women artists like Faith 47, Mad C, Shiro, and others.
REDS I definitely do... it was a wall where I gathered a bunch of different languages that all read, RED. I thought it was a great idea, so i put them in my little signature caption boxes. It was also the first time me pulling off a black fill with a white outline, what a pain in my butt that was... Im a perfectionist, and cleaning all that white over spray over the black was a hassle. But I got the job done! and was very pleased with the final product.
KSERA I had just moved to the northwest, when Foes, Chek, Pubs and I got together to do an Alice in Wonderland wall. I had never really been into characters, but I dove head first into the project, and something in my brain clicked. It took a minute to complete, battling the February weather, but when we finished the background, I could not believe what I had done. Since then, Ive felt like there is nothing I can't do!
5. How did you hear about this event?
TOOFLY Few & Far. I got hit up one day by e-mail by Memes to ask if I would be downâ€¦
REDS Luckily thanks to the internet & flickr, I was contacted by a kick-ass chick, MEME. Who I then became flickr buddies with, & she made her way over to Art Basel 2010 in Miami, where I had the opportunity to link up on a wall with. After that we stayed in contact, and she had this wonderful idea of creating this event in which she then asked me if Id be interested in participating...and my answer didnt even let her finish her question with a HELL YEAH! (either way, it gives me a chance to check out california, Ive never been there lol).
KSERA Meme called me up with the great idea of getting a wall, and bringing some ladies together to get down. Next thing I knew, she had a whole event lined up!
6. Have you painted with anyone of the other artists here prior?
TOOFLY Yes. With Siloette back at the B-Girl Be eventâ€¦I think 05? I dont remember. We were too busy painting to get acquainted.
REDS Only one of them, MEME.. So I am really looking forward to meeting & painting with all the other chicks. Im intrigued into what this wall will look like in the end (in no way am i doubting the outcome, cause all these ladies got style & are capable of creating wonderful pieces!!!)
KSERA Meme and I have painted several times together in Atlanta and in California. She was the first other female writer I got up with, and we have stayed close friends since. I havent met the others yet, but Ive followed their work for years, and each of them have greatly inspired me in their own ways.
7. What is your number one goal for this weekend, or what do you hope to come of this project?
TOOFLY To rock a large, and new colorful piece with many of the indigenous designs I have been messing with lately. I also want to have a chance to build with the rest of the women painting as this will be my first time meeting them.
REDS My main goal is to have fun & make memories. Nothing is better than having the chance to paint with amazing artists, have some good laughs & make new friends. And by having this opportunity of having us all link up on this wall, is just opening doors & chances to link up on many more projects in the future! So, I am sure it wont stop here! Stay tuned for more collaborations with these ladies!
KSERA Other than us rockin this wall? I hope this is the first of several opportunities for us to get together and paint. Also, I hope this inspires other writers, and the next generation, to hold events like this, and link up and work together.
8. Since you have had the opportunity to paint in several different places, how to you feel the United States treats public art and graffiti?
TOOFLY The US is not as open to it as every other country I have painted. There are too many rules, and laws to keep aerosol art, graffiti, street art from invading public property because they are scared it may get out of control. I think its too late, but then again with all these clean up laws, and high bails, it may be just a matter of time before its all regulated. This country is all about control, the freedom to be, do, and say what we want has died in the US. Its sure as hell flourishing in others!
REDS Hmmm.. Well I will say in some cases it is accepted, but not as much as Cenrtal/South American countries. They have such an appreciation for public art, specially graffiti. Its incredible the support they give when they spot an artist on the street creating a work of art. Out here in the U.S its like a 50/50 chance you are going to be screamed at "YOU KNOW WHAT YOURE DOING IS WRONG! GRAFFITI IS UGLY!".
KSERA Certain cities in the U.S. tend to be more lenient towards public art created with a spray paint. For the most part, the U.S. still holds a strong negative approach towards "graffiti art". If you're holding a can, you must be doing something illegal. I see it slowly becoming more accepted in cities with strong artist communities.
9. There are a lot of youth with aspirations of being artists; what advice would you have for them in pursuing their art?
TOOFLY Just stick to what you love no matter what. Find a way to keep that fire alive, because with it you will always know who you really are.
REDS I get happy when im contacted by young artists. I do take my time & try to spread some knowledge & advice to them. It is all about pursuing what YOU want. Practice, Motivation & Dedication are keys to success. Dont let anyone put you down & try to tell you what you can & can't do. You will come across many haters, & even tho its hard to disregard what people have to say, just do you! If you put your heart into it & work hard for what you want, than you will get it. No one can do the work for you. Oh and i encourage being persistant, but not annoying! LOL
KSERA Set small, realistic goals. If you want to be good at something, you are going to have to work towards it. And if the critics are hounding you, you must be doing something right to get their attention!
10. In helping to educate this coming up generation, can you recommend some movies and books they can look up to be one step ahead of the game?
TOOFLY Well Style Wars is a favorite of our generation, especially if you want to see where and how it all began. Theres so many books these days they are all pretty good because if its visuals you want to get you motivated all you have to do is go to the urban arts section or arts section in a book store and you will find them. Just look at all of it, educate yourself. Find what you are inspired by and flip it. Its important to find your own voice, and carve out your own world to stand out among the crowds of so many who want to be artists these days.
REDS MOVIES: Style Wars, Infamy, Write & Unite, Wildstyle, Piece by Piece, Bombing LA.. BOOKS: Spraycan art, Subway art, History of American Graffiti
KSERA Style Wars is a must-see for any one interested in graffiti, along with Wildstyle. I also strongly encourage studying calligraphy and typography books to beginners. Having a strong letter structure is everything in graffiti.
For more information on these amazing ladies, please check their sites;
These three women including Siloette, Myla, Acet, Lady Mags and Meme will be painting a large production all day June 4th. If you are in Oakland, please give them loves for us!
Along with painting a wall together there will be 3 brush artists painting as well. Be sure to check out Beth Emmrich, Rachel Pelican and our very own 179.