Graffiti Life - Interview

Having seen some of the amazing original graffiti artwork we caught up with Graffiti Life in London to fund out more about their work and what insprires them with their art. We were amazed by the variety of work in terms of design and composition and having seen their retro game, movie, TV and cartoon related work we wanted to know more. 

01

GYL. In a sentence what is graffiti life?

Graffiti Life is a collective of artists that decided to get organised and turn their passion into a career. 

GYL. Whats your role and responsibility?

We like beautifying spaces, forwarding public art and promoting graffiti as a positive artform. This artform has changed our lives, its such a powerful medium and form of expression.

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GYL. Tell people who don't know you what you do and why you do it?

So we were stuck in dead end jobs a few years back, hating what we did and painting at the weekend. We wondered what it would be like, and if it would be possible, to paint all the time, like, as a job! I don't think we expected it to become what it has. We were lucky with timing as we started out when the street art boom was just beginning, we started on a small scale but now we work with some of the biggest brands in the world. 

GYL. . How important is community in what you do?

It's important. We find that when we work on regeneration programmes art can help bring communities together. It's amazing how attached and proud people become to murals in their area. In another sense there is the street art community, amazing artists that keep us competitively upping our game. We have a small gallery in East London that allows us to help showcase street artists that the public might not know and grow the scene in that way also.
12

GYL. What services do you provide - we notice you offer team building?

Yeah, team building is really fun. We teach people the basic techniques and some tricks of the trade and in a short amount of time get them to produce a piece of work they can be proud of, it's really cool to see that progression in a short space of time. We paint murals, in homes, offices and as advertising in the streets. We also do a lot of live art, at anything from conferences to festivals. This job has taken us all over the world and presented so many opportunities, it's crazy to think that painting on walls could turn into this!
10

GYL. What art pieces (name a few - as many as you like) are you most proud of?

I would say the giant Halo wall in Xbox's London office or maybe our massive mural for the band Foster The People... But that's a tough question as we're all super critical of our work and feel that there is always room for improvement! 
15

GYL. What game and movie themes would you like work on and develop?

We've been lucky enough to work on a few cool game / movie projects.. We have some work in the final scene of the upcoming 'Dracula Untold' movie, we've painted and built a lifesize Minecraft castle and we've got a project soon promoting the movie 'Chappie'. It's projects like these that make us think that we have the best job in the world! As fans of particular franchises sometimes you get to work on dream projects and paint characters that you've been fans of for years..

I've always wanted to paint a giant building side completely with pokemon, or a long Mario wall with an entire level stretched like 50 metres long.. Nintendo need to make this happen! I'd also be happy just painting Star Wars stuff every day....

I'd also love to paint something for a video game, that was actually used in the game. Often any graffiti that appears in games is really bad, we could do something awesome!
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GYL. Have you ever considered a gaming themed installation or gallery? Something we and our audience would be very interested in!

Yeah, we're talking about doing a show on old game cartridges, would be interesting to see what our artists came up with. Thinking about it, a show of custom consoles would be pretty cool too..

GYL. Have you worked with any famous names as part of what you do?

A few celebs have asked us for artwork and we've worked on certain projects that have allowed us access to meet some well known people. Most recently the lead singer of the Bare Naked Ladies has purchased a Star Wars painting we made!

GYL.  How would you like graffiti to be perceived by the public and media going forward?

The perception is mostly positive nowadays, very different to when we first stared our painting careers. The public and media understand graffiti, so they're not afraid of it. There will always be detractors to the artform, but we don't really let that bother us.. As long as we're still producing powerful artwork, we're good.

GYL. How do you use social media in getting the artwork out there?

We're lucky in that the work produce seems to get shared quite naturally, so we have quite a strong following on platforms like instagram and vine. We often leave a @Graffiti_Life tag on our pieces and it encourages interaction with the public. We got sent some wicked pictures of people posing with our latest Christmas wall!

GYL. Why London and Shoreditch?

We work globally, but our base is here in London. The street art scene in Shoreditch is vibrant so it's a good fit. It's an inspiring walk to work each day.
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GYL. Do you have any ambitions for 2015 you can reveal?

I think 2015 is going to be a great year. Our ambition is to grow as artists and spread our art to as many places as possible.

GYL. Can anyone do graffiti - is it just for creative artistic people?

Anyone can paint, draw or do graffiti. To excel at anything takes time and practice, graffiti is no different, I truly believe that!

Thanks to David of @Graffiti_Life for taking time out to answer our questions.
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