CONTEMPORARY URBAN ART
We are a contemporary urban art gallery specialising in selling limited edition prints, originals and vinyl toys by some of the
UK's freshest street artists, graffiti artists, illustrators and graphic designers.
exclusive interview with snik
Just before Christmas (that seems so long ago now) we had the pleasure of catching up with the impressive and almightly stencilist known on the streets as SNIK for a quick chinwag about the ins and outs of his beloved artform and life in general. We thought now the January blues are over with, it would be a good time to share this exclusive interview with you so take a gander below...
For those who've not heard of you can you shine a little light on who is Snik?
Im a stencil artist from the small county of rutland, middle of nowhere, no street art, no graffiti, no nothing. Ive tried to get a scene going round here a few times, but due to the small size of it, the police lock onto anything that happens, so its really not worth it.
I'm sure your parents didn't call you Snik so where does the name come from?
I got called snickers by some friends, maybe cos I like the chocolate bar, maybe cos they just thought they were funny to take the piss, who knows…
Where do you call home?
Anywhere I can feel relaxed, currently it’s a little town called Stamford, not the most inspiring place, but I like the calm nature of it, it helps me focus.
How long have you been putting ink to paper... Or paint to walls?
I cut my first stencil at college, which was about 2001, back then it was just a little hobby, never really took it much further. I messed about with graffiti at school, but I sucked, and as I said there is zero scene where I’m from, so there was never anyone to get involved with. Around 2004 I got more into it, back when the website StencilRevolution was really rocking, it was crazy to see what some of the pioneers were doing.
How would you describe your work to someone who's never seen it?
I try to aim for a photo real effect, people associate stencils with banksy, so I want to try to show people its not all one style, there is a million different methods you can use, and everyone can have a different outlook on it, which I think is what draws me. I want someone to do a double take on my work, try to figure out how its done, and hopefully walk away a bit happier than before.
You seem to like ladys in colours (red, green etc). Is that because you have a dress fetish or are you a closet Chris De Burgh fan?
God damn I hate chris de burgh (no offence to his fans) I’ve always found girls work so well with art, they come across as so beautiful in images, and can convey a lot of emotion with expressions. I’m currently working on new works to try and distance myself from the usual female stencils I’ve been doing, I don’t want to pigeonhole myself.
You like to layer things in your work? Is that a texture thing or some insight into the inner most depths of Snik’s soul?
Like I said I like to try and make the image look as far away from a stencil as you can get, the more depth in a piece, the more I feel I’ve done my job. I don’t have much of a soul I’m afraid, I think the paints rotted most of it away. My new work is definitely going to have a lot more texture and experimentation in it tho, I think im starting to feel a bit more confident as an artist.
When working on street work and larger scale stuff how long does it take you from the prepping and cutting of stencils to producing the final piece?
The prep is where most of the work is, I’ve spent 2 months doing a piece, and had it up and sprayed in 5 hours or so. For me the prep is where the real work and heart goes into the piece. Making your hand feel so numb from cutting that you can you’re your fingers, that’s when you’ve really got to be into what your doing. Sometimes you don’t know what the wall will be like when you get to it, so if you’ve planned right, you can be ready for most things.
You use stencils in your work, then throw them away. Do you get any pangs of guilt or remorse afterward?
Not really, sometimes its tough to rip up a piece that you’ve spent everynight for a month looking at, but I always look forward to the next piece. I find once I’ve painted a piece, the challenge of that particular one is done, so its time for another, tougher challenge. Always moving forwards.
So, who and/or what do you gather your main influences from?
Ive always had a big inspiration from large scale graff portraits, I love the fact that you can go huge as you like with stencils (within reason). I mainly get inspiration from my friends who I paint with, there is such a tight scene, and everyone is really pushing themselves to get better and better, that’s all the inspiration ill ever need.
You’ve done a few collaborations (inc. Mr Penfold) do you like the collaborative process?
Sometimes its good to have a chat before hand, discuss colour scheme, themes and locations, othertimes you just trust that the other artist will pull it out the bag, and it works when you get to the spot. Penfold was a prime example, we had a chat about what I’d bring, and he just worked around it, the guy is a top notch artist, and hugely underated.
Anyone else you’d like to collaborate with?
A ton of people, ive got some big collabs lined up for 2011 in the run up to my first solo show in london, but theyre under wraps right now ;) One of my favourite collabs to date has been on my berlin trip in October, with a dope artist called M2THEA, he has a really abstract style, and it worked so well with the tightness of a stencil, definitely gonna be hooking some more work with him.
You recently did some work with The Royal Albert Hall. Sounds interesting if not slightly strange. How was it working with such an established organisation?
It was surreal, really really surreal. When I first got into the space (late cos of the fucking trains) everyone had already started, so it was an awesome vibe, just really daunting cos the walls were so huge. Once we’d done painting we would just walk round the whole place at night drinking the champagne bottles people had forgotten about, its definitely stuck in my mind, not to mention the smell of ben slows feet after 4 days…
What does the future hold for Snik?
A lot of work. Ive got my first solo show in London on 1st November 2011, so ive got a whole body of work to get done, as well as a lot of street work. Plenty of travelling across Europe and seeing friends ive not seen in too long. I want to push myself harder, its easy to continue doing what you’ve already tried, but you wont get anywhere as an artist or person.
Well, the kettle is whistling so time to go and make a brew, but we have one final, yet most important, question: tea or coffee?
Coffee first thing, just to give me a kick, but you can beat a good cuppa and a biscuit.