Hello My Name Is: Relay 415


Name: Relay 415
Crew: ID, COM & HA’s
City/Country: Hamburg/London

When did you start writing?
A long time ago, it was the early 90s. During my teenage years graf was something that I would do for a while then take a break and then pick up again. In the mid-late 90’s I really got into it, crews formed and paintings were happening at a rapidly gaining rate to the point that I knew I was in.

What’s graffiti for you?
An opportunity for me to create and express myself as well as spending quality time with friends etc. If the general public had more opportunity to be creative the world would probably be a happier place. But I’ve been painting for 20 odd years now and and have felt different about the culture at various times. I would have said ‘Pure Vandalism’ at one point, ‘Freedom’ at others and now as I’m older it’s a time to still be creative and hang with people that are really good friends along with the chance of meeting new people.

60s and 70s design and art, I really like the use of garish colours in that era. On the flipside a lot of the early graff that influenced me was painted in a lot of pastel colours and has a unique effect of its own. The magazines that I used to read in the early years were photocopied copies of Beastie Boys and UP which had a big influence on me then and still do.

Tell us about your city, how is life and graffiti there?
It’s a city with many spots to paint. While it’s a city that is always on the move the style stayed traditional for a long time, at the moment it seems a few of the kids coming up are trying new styles. This blend of traditional and new should make for an interesting future. Now that painting steel here not only can send you to prison but also takes a lot of homework the focus on street stuff has increased considerably which is then reflected in style too. London’s changed though, like many cities worldwide gentrification is running threw it and over the last few years we’ve lost quite a few of Halls of Fame for the wall painters with a few more earmarked to go soon but its made us more adventurous though and we are constantly finding nice spots for a full days painting.

What keeps you still writing?
The need to create things, graffiti is a world away from trials and tribulations of everyday life. Culture is a great thing and graffiti is one of the best, it seems age has nothing to do with it as we can see from the elder writers still at it so yeah for sure, keeps your soul alive whilst dealing with real life.

What first made you interested in graffiti and how did you end up on that track?
As a kid I was always intrested in art and drawing etc, so when I saw pieces and panels that started to appear everywhere all of a sudden it blew my mind. The once boring train rides to school in Hamburg or London and long journeys in the car became something to look forward to. My dad used to drive us to Denmark a lot and I remember seeing the graffiti in Sonderborg and Copenhagen, I remember being surprised as I always thought that graffiti was something that was only done in my city. The different letter and handstyles were amazing to me. I only saw spraycan and subway art until years later and remembered seeing some of the Copenhagen pieces in the spraycan art book in the flesh.

What trends are you seeing now in the graffiti world that you don’t like?
Im not a big fan of stuff that looks too far removed from my idea of graffiti. While a photorealistic eagle or bear takes talent to execute I don’t really see it as graffiti.

What do you do when you’re not painting?
Trying to entertain myself with stuff other than graffiti while thinking about graffiti.

How would you describe your style?
It’s a difficult question to answer, I suppose you could say its neo classical graffiti with a psychedelic twist. I am trying to maintain the classic graffiti aesthetic with psychedelic patterns and colours with loads of doo dads layered over it whilst showing elements of the city I come from. Underground productions was the most predominant magazine in my collection as a kid and I like to think a bit of that Scandinavian flavour comes out in my pieces. I like having 2 different colourways in my pieces, generally warm colours on one side and cold on the other, it also gives me the opportunity to experiment with colours which I would otherwise have to wait until my next piece to try out.

Can you remember the first piece you did?
Yes, it was the middle of the day Id racked a white and black sparvar and went to the old second world war bunker at the end of my road. I painted a big white box with “UZI” carved out of it in black, I was approached by an angry old man who asked me what I was doing to which I replied “painting.” I was still really young and don’t think I was completely aware of the fact that what I was doing was illegal.

Future plans?
Travel more and tick some places and things I want to paint off the list. There are still a lot of colourways and patterns I want to incorporate in my pieces.

Do you adapt your pieces and tags to the spot/surface?
I suppose you have to in some cases but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it to be honest.

What do you think about the new generation of writers in your city?
I respect what a lot of them are doing, while getting good paint, photos, spots, magazines etc were much harder when I started a lot of the fun things that were a little easier in my day are a bit harder now.

What are the best and worst aspects of graffiti?
Best: The creative aspect of it. Worst: The Buff, Jail & fines.

Who do you paint for?
For myself as I value the memory and experience. Unless you paint the same outline all the time painting is a bit of a challenge, you can either come away from it thinking you managed execute what you had in mind or you’ve failed miserably. One of my favourite things is when I’ve started a piece terribly and somehow manage to walk away from it feeling that I succeeded in improving it.

What writers have inspired you? OZSkenaPotaRazor, etc are the reason I started writing.

Can you ever feel tired of graffiti?
Not really, but if Ive been travelling and have painted everyday I look forward to getting home and not painting for a bit.

What do you hope people will think and feel when they see your stuff?
I hope that they see that some colours they thought didn’t work together do, I want it to be a bit a visual “trip.”

Spray Paint:
 German Montana & Ironlak
City: Hamburg
Markers/pens: Silver uni paint px30
Surface: Steel
Cap: Belton standard cap & NY fat

Instagram: @relay_ha_id

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