Hello Falko One, how would you describe your latest production?
Would that be the last thing I painted? Well, then.. its would be the `Self Defense` piece I did.
I think the piece speaks for itself. I always had this idea but it had so many different versions that it took me a year to commit to a design.
Hundreds of artists out there make pieces every day. How do you think could be your style defined?
I think thousands and thousands of new art gets posted online everyday. It’s a congested pipe line with so few coming out the other side to see the light. It’s never for me to say what my style is or self-describe it. If I wanted to I could make it sound like the most amazing artwork that has ever existed. So I don’t want to `kanye` about it… and leave it in the hands of others. From what I’ve heard, people are of the opinion that my work straddles between the realms of fantasy and reality. I preferably don’t want to know how people see it. In fact, its better if with 1000 people there`s 500 opinions and also for interest sake some people who don`t like it.
What are your main influences – art and otherwise?
When I want to start over with any creative process I watch tv- a lot of tv!!! I never really give my ideas a lot of thought but then I drive around a lot. That`s when I think! Long drives into the rural lands. Just looking at the land scapes. I like folk, indie folk and 70`s and 80`s pop- that with the driving makes the recipe for most of the ideas I come up with. Most of my art influences are graffiti artists like Mode2, Bando, Skki, Lokkis, Kson… these are people that influenced me in the 1990`s- in a hip hop graffiti sense. Even though my art is not `hip hop graffiti` per say anymore, they have laid a strong foundation in me.
A lot of artists want to be published on art blogs. It seems that in these days a painted wall does not exists without re-blogging. What’s your Pov?
I think we can also say `if a tree falls and no one posted a video of it on Youtube did it really happen?`
Someone said: “a wall is a very big weapon”. Do you find the same nowadays, while we’re surrounded by millions of billboards? I mean, don’t you find even thinner the line between art and ads?
Many graffiti artists and street artists – who start out as youths- in some way end up in the ad world in one way or another. The street art and graffiti world is the talent pool that ad agencies siphon from. That’s the companies/brands way of staying relevant.
In a society where ads are dominant murals blend it with them they compete for attention. Both are selling something. The idea of graffiti is no different from the way Coke spams us – everything is connected. Its only a weapon if someone actually takes the time to be offended or be enlightened. Back in the days of apartheid walls were used as weapons.
I would say that most places were there is political strife walls are in the forefront of gorilla tactics. Often in these places advertising is secondary and the word on the walls are more prominent.
What role do you find galleries can play in helping an artist to emerge from the streets?
How has your work evolved over the years from when you were beginning, when you look back, how do you feel about your beginnings?
I can’t speak for artists and galleries. I am not a product of it or really do much shows ( but I’m looking to change that). In Cape Town the artists vs gallery is a flatline. I personally know artists who sadly think that they made into a gallery and that now they have made it. Sometimes its shitty fly-by-night spaces that don’t affect anything. But yeah, I think lots of street artists want that recognition. By hook or crook we are all out to get `recognition` and with it the cash. We shouldn`t let galleries dictate what’s happening on the streets.
Of course I changed- many times! Ye who hasn’t changed hasn’t grown.
Im my beginnings I was heavily influenced by Hip Hop. Nothing else. That’s all I knew. As a sheltered country because of apartheid we did not have idea what we were doing. So all we did was `copy and paste`. We were clones of Beat Street and Style Wars and copy of Spray Can Art in hand. That was almost the first ten years of my graff life. When I started travelling to Europe then that influence became the next ten years.. basically still no artistic identity. There was so much to see and so much to take in. The influences were over shadowing what I should`ve been concentrating on- our own African style. As I developed, matured and started finding myself as person that’s when the animals , especially the elephants became me. I’ve been doing animals for more than 15 years but thought nothing of it. But now I`ve found my groove. For now its my style and my identity and im happy with it… for now!
Do you remember the very first piece of art that you worked up?
Yes, I do remember. I was in Grade R and my teacher asked who wants to draw a chart for her. I had to take it home and do it over the weekend. As a 6 year old I was very proud that I could be the artist in the class. Unofficially, it was my first commission.
When you were 13, what did you want to be?
When I was 13 I was a big fan or Airwolf and Knight Rider… so I think I either wanted to be helicopter pilot or someone who designs car that can fly or jump or shoot or some crazy shit! Oooh, now that I think back , I still wanted to create stuff. I would never make it as a pilot though…
What would your dream project be? I mean theme, location, size…
I`m doing the Once Upon A Town project now… ideally I`d want to do this world wide. Go to little towns in Australia, Asia ( perhaps India) ,South America and even little places in Alaska. That would be life changing.
What’s next for you? What shows or projects do you have planned?
I’m currently busy with the 2016 leg of Once Upon A Town. Doing another 10 towns across South Africa. Got some international travels for the northern hemisphere summer… just getting the elephants out there! Also, doing a 2 shows later this year with one it being at Red Bull Studios showing photographs of 2015’s OUATown by Luke Daniel. Its best I concentrate on one project at time… being a one man show is tricky.
Falko One on Instagram.