TUES’ particular history of Brisbane graffiti is a credible one. He’s old school, humble, and hasn’t stopped pushing his art form. TUES is spawned from an era of Australian culture with ethics that are all-too-often forgotten; he’s not overstated, means what he says and doesn’t tend to mince words. His voice not only rings out now but I believe he will offer insight to younger generations in years to come. It’d be great to have ‘The Brissy Times’ according to TUES documented somewhere someday, but for now let’s get the ball rolling with an exclusive scoop for Arteezy Magazine. –Jamfingers.
Let’s start by recapping the early years. Give us the low-down on when you started writing; do you remember how old you were when you first noticed the writing on the wall? What was it about graffiti that caught your attention?
I lived in the country in a very small town (west of Ipswich) until I was twelve. At the newsagent they had these chewing gum sticker packs with graffiti on them, (I have no idea who the writer was?) that is probably my earliest memory. I remember walking back from the shop thinking this stuff is pretty cool. It wasn’t until I got to Brisbane and started to ride the trains that I noticed real graffiti. It wasn’t until 1989 that I caught the bug.
What inspired you to first pick up a spray can?
I used to give my brother shit for being a ‘homeboy’ until one night I went along and dropped some marker tags with him. The rush of being caught got me hooked instantly. For the next few years we simply bombed everything we could. It seemed like the right thing to do.
Tell us more about your formative years coming up on the C-Line. Any notable crews or individuals to mention?
I’m not sure if all these guys lived on the line but I definitely was inspired by the pieces I saw locally. ODIE, CRUEL, JELOUS, DIABLO, KASINO, HAMS, BROKE and SEIZ come to mind. I’m sure there are countless others who made an impact. For much of what you call ‘the formative years’ I spent away from Brisbane so when I would return to hang with crew etc it was always a party. Actually most of the time Graffiti came second to partying which probably explains why it has taken me so long to achieve any level of competency on a wall, ha ha. DIEKS, SKELT, ACIDS, IVO, FEAR, FONS, BERKS, DORPS and PUBES definitely got me motivated to paint more in the early 2000’s and from there I started to take the game a little more seriously.
To me you have a pretty classic graffiti style, with your own twist of course. What are your thoughts on style and whom would you credit as shaping your style during its development?
Have you seen how I dress? Style eludes me in all arenas hahaha. In terms of graffiti I still don’t consider myself as having style, like most things in life though if you work hard enough at it you can achieve a decent result. Just as some people are naturally gifted athletically, I believe true stylists are born with it. People that have influenced me, wow thats just about everyone from SEEN through to DOES. I love seeing how different people bend their letters, but if I had to pick three I would say DARE (RIP), BATES and SWET. It’s pretty rare that I take a sketch when I paint these days, I have been enjoying just painting what comes to mind and tweaking it as I go.
I recall you once saying, “I’m a bit too long in the tooth to be doing anything new,” which clearly isn’t the case. What keeps you pushing your style these days?
The challenge of making the letters sit well together is the most enjoyable part of a piece and I guess this is where style comes into play. I use up to five different colours to sketch/mark up to get the letters I’m happy with, and it takes up approximately a third of the entire time I’m painting. For some style is generated in a black book, for me it’s at the spot, on site. I will never be a master at it, but it’s something I aspire too. I don’t really get too creative with fills, it’s all about the flow of the letters for me.
A few years ago I read somewhere that you were ready to quit graffiti before you met the owner of Ironlak and sparked a friendship, which led to a sponsorship later when Ironlak actually got moving. Why were you ready to give up on graff? And what impact has being involved in Ironlak had on your life?
Yes that’s true, I had gotten to a point where I didn’t rack paint anymore, was painting the same old spots and just in a bit of an all round rut. Through a mutual friend, DAHNS MRS, I got talking to a bloke who said he wanted to make some spray paint. Fast forward to 2005 and the same guy offered me a sponsorship, it really isn’t what you know but who… As for the impact Ironlak has had on my life well it pretty much changed everything. A few years after the team was created I was offered a job with the company, which I jumped at. The chance to work with mates, travel and do something that you love for an occupation is more valuable than any paycheque out there, period.
I’ve seen you at walls banging it out quicker than everyone else and then bouncing to handle your commitments. What impact has your family life had on your graffiti career? And vice versa?
Like everything in life it’s about balance, you cant have one without the other. If I spent all my time painting my family would reject me, if I spent all my time with my family I would probably go insane. Of course sometimes you have to draw a line for one or the other, and when you have children they definitely come first. So yes, family has restricted me somewhat but then I dicked around for years prior to starting one so it’s my own fault and I have definitely learned how to ‘trim the fat’ of the process as a result ha ha.
I heard you caught the Brissy leg of KRS One’s recent tour of Australia, no doubt some reminiscing to be had that night! Did the other elements play an influence in your development?
Best show I have ever been to, KRS is still the ‘teacha’! The other elements had very little to do with my development, other than of course way too much early 90’s gangsta rap which made me beat women and sell crack cocaine.
In graffiti terms, what does “keeping it real” mean to you?
Trains. I take my hat off to the guys that put in work day in day out.
Do you think there’s a lack of fundamentalists in the game these days?
Each to his own, I know I personally admire a well executed back jump over a billion colour wall burner any day. Someone’s got to keep the cops on their toes.
You’re very much a roll-your-sleeves-up, hardworking Australian bloke who has been around for a minute. What pisses you off about the world we live in today?
Mostly not having enough time in the day to get my job done, spend time with my kids, walk my dog and relax. That and people that don’t drink beer, everyone is so fucking health conscious these days.
The age of accessibility is certainly upon us; I’m sure you’re even guilty of battering that palm-sized touchpad from time to time. What are your thoughts on the internet and how the availability of information has effected the movement?
There are obviously massive advantages to it with file sharing etc, but it seems to have really sucked the soul, or mystery, out of the graffiti world. I remember travelling to Melbourne in my early teens and walking the lines around Clifton Hill, catching flicks of pieces by REACH and PUZLE etc, they were like gold and stored safely in a photo album. Unless you bought a magazine the only way to experience other cities and countries was to go there yourself. It’s all at the click of a mouse now. People become experts so quickly now without any real life experience, it’s just a little false is all. One other thing is that information at your finger tips is great if your the one seeking it, not so great if it’s your personal info that’s being sought.
In your opinion, how will graffiti survive in generations to come?
It’s been around since the first fellas drew pictures of themselves stabbing T-Rexes on the walls of their huts so I guess it ain’t going anywhere soon.
Now for a few short Q&As… What are your thoughts on:
Fresh seafood is a good start.
Makes painting legal walls fun, although some seem to have created an occupation out of this bad habit.
Way too heavy, can barely lift a shopping trolley.
Where has this been all my life?
Might as well hoff STD-ridden dong.
Stockmans at Bulimba will not disappoint.
Time for an upgrade, my man in Boston will hopefully help cover this magnificent chrome dome.
Best meat pie in Brisbane?
Back in ya chair Jub…
Hahaha… Thanks for turning back the page with us TUES. I hope we’ll pick this up again someday. Cheers!
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