Knock Knock magazine profiles street level emerging and established Australian and international creatives doing their thing, and doing it well. The magazine is free and available to read online here. The following interview has been taken from issue one, released 6th November, 2011.

How would you describe your artistic practice?

I paint little pictographic figures and animals, breathing life into their small world.

What motivates you to produce your work?

There has always been an inherent passion for creative expression in me and it manifests itself through street art, stencil work, film, photography and animation. I’m not out with the intention of ‘changing the world’ and I believe if I’m going to spend my time working on something, it should be positive, that it should be uplifting.

It’s about creating a feedback loop that will make me a happier person than I am now, so I suppose in that sense, I am driven by a certain element of catharsis. As a very fortunate (and large) side effect, those that come across my work are welcomed into the world I create too.

First and foremost, I create for myself and I believe any artist seeking sincerity should do the same for themselves.

How long have you been producing work and how did you get started?

I first got into stenciling in 2003 but it wasn’t for another three years (out of intimidation and out of the desire to do something different) that I got my first piece up on the street.

I didn’t immediately land into the style that I’m known for these days, although the motif of cats and dogs have been there since the start. Once I started to integrate pictograms and symbols into my work, that theme was soon translated into what you see today.

What attracts you to the stencil medium?

I’m not an impulsive painter, I envy those that can throw something up freehand on the spot without any prior planning. That sort of freedom is what I’m striving for more in my work, atleast in terms of on street stuff. So being able to refine a design on the computer, cut it and then paint it relatively quickly appeals to me.

The focus of my ‘off street’ work is about pushing the aesthetic of stencils as far as I can, since the fact you’re not rushing to paint something affords you to take your time and use as many stencil layers as you like.

However, ‘on street’ work is the more fun of the two categories. You can’t play with ‘space’ and the city on a canvas or how people (usually unexpectedly) encounter your work. That’s where the beauty of stencils lie.

What is the best thing about working on the street?

It gets me out of the house…it’s the earliest form of expression and, as such, is alive in all of us…it’s fun to create this ‘smaller world’ out in public…and the massive opportunity for collaboration with the city and with other people, whether they‘re self proclaimed artists or not.

What is the worst thing about working on the street?

Rain, police, CCTV.

Do you have any formal education in art?

I studied and work as a graphic designer, which is plain to see in my stuff, hah.

You get out of education what you put in but I don’t think university is the only way to go about things and it can be counterproductive.

What things influence you in your creative endeavors?

Friends, books, the net, urban spaces…I am the sum of all that interests me and that is something impossible to put entirely into words.

Do you think living in the UK has an influence on your art?

Certainly. There’s a lot of humour in my work, albeit with an undercurrent of pessimism, and I think that goes some way to describe the English psyche. I’m not explicitly patriotic or anything like that, afterall, I’m half Russian too. Throw the world wide web into that mix and it’s difficult not to hold the view that this planet is in it together….what unites us is far greater than what divides us.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I aim to be established and supporting myself entirely from my art. For the timebeing, I support myself through a combination of graphic design as well as selling my work through galleries and online.

Either way, in five years, I want to be able to look back at the work I’m doing now and see the mistakes I was making clear as day but also to be able to see the origins of my progress. I have a lot more developing to go and I’m here to remain hungry for the next level and the next and next…

What are you working on at the moment and where can we see more of your work?

There are a dozen of projects in progress at any one time but I’m interested in developing a technique that’ll allow me to paint more impulsively, whether it’s with a system of stencils or getting my freehand skills up to scratch but I think that second option is unlikely; my work hinges on flawlessly geometric shapes and straight edges…but who knows, things adapt, things change.

As for catching my work, there’s stuff all around England, particularly Oxford (my hometown), but I’m dying to get down to Melbourne within the next year or two and hook up with the local greats.

Posted 5th March, 2014

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