Writer Interviews




Can you tell us a bit about your background?

Hello, people call me Vans as it is the name I choose to paint as an alias within the world of graffiti which is part of my birth name & my father's first name (Van) so in a way it is honouring my father & where I come from.


The crews that I paint with & rep for are TNB- The Nasty Boys founded by T-Kid170, 1SA- One Step Ahead & F1- Formula One Crew. I only have great memories of childhood & I was a real mother's boy. Mum couldn't go anywhere without me being by her side! I never went without anything & most importantly received great support & love from my family even though we were poor to the point that our fridge was an esky that dad would refill with ice every day. Wooden toys, hand me downs & recycled bikes were a normal part of my childhood which wasn't of concern as I had all that's needed.


In the early years I was an alter boy at church & this shaped my experience & relationship with my God or the creative universe which plays a very important role in my daily life & general outlook towards humanity. My beliefs aren't of any particular religion, rather a mixture of truths that match the direction I wish to take in this life.


How did you get in to graffiti?

Since I can remember I always loved Hieroglyphics & ancient letter forms. Riding the tram or train I saw colourful letters not knowing anything about the world of graffiti or its name. When I would learn a new word in primary school I would draw it as a piece, all in led pencil ( bubble letters a small fade, highlights & stars). Sahara was the first word I drew as a piece back around 84. For years I just drew my family member's names & enjoyed drawing elaborate words especially on school assignment titles!! I remember making my own stickers of skateboard labels & doing my own skateboard graphics replacing the name of a pro skater for my own. Really it was a totally innocent start to it all as I wasn't in anyway trying to get up to mischief.


Around 1988 I would put up a couple of tags here & there with those pastel crayon things we used to have at school along with chalk & small markers. Later in 1990 I was using solids, 20mm & can's for bombing after joining a coupleĀ  lads in my first year of high school. The burgundy vinyl seats on STA transport got a thrashing from yellow solids that year! In September 1990 I did my first piece-(TNE) chromey standing for Tune. From there on I haven't stopped doing what I love to do.


What is it that you love about graffiti that keeps you writing?

Graff is a way for me to try & reach human perfection. I look at it as a passion in which I can always progress, just like living in general. The action of painting & moving close to a wall is a challenge & I really like a challenge that I can learn from. People that I meet through painting are always an incredible part of painting & leaving a positive mark on the world is a big thing for me.


Tell us about your style and how it has developed over the years.

Generally what I do is a product of how I feel at the time then you become known for certain elements that seem to continue through your work. Bit by bit we add & subtract what we prefer or dislike from colour to style & go back through this continual cycle over many years until we become known for a trade mark style which inevitably moves on again at some stage.


Who have been your major influences?

Masica, Kab, Manet-TDC, NA crew, RCF, WCA, RDC, Unique, Kade & a whole bunch of oldschool NYC writers especially in my younger years. After travelling overseas in 2000, I got in contact with a bunch of cats who were doing amazing things who pushed me to reach a little higher & finally my biggest influence without a doubt was toast who introduced swing into my letters, something that I basically had no idea about what so ever until I spent more time with him in the years to come. He did a different tag each week to stay undercover which allowed him to try anything & everything. To me he is the most incredible painter & on a personal level he is a dear friend. Shem, Jors over the past 9 years have inspired me greatly & without a doubt they are 2 kings in Aust!!! Over the past 18 months I have met a whole lot of incredible Aussie painters that have inspired me a whole lot as well & they are my F1 brothers in Melbourne.


Paint brand of choice

Ironlak all the way.


Cap of choice

New York Fat cap.


What music motivates you to paint?

No music motivates me to paint the motivation all ready exists.


Memorable mission moment

NY Cleans, Yard chase in Rome & Getting stuck on barb in London. The stories are all too long but imagine for yourselves as you would have been in a similar situation I am sure.


Any tips you're willing to share to the next generation of writers?

Be who you are. It isn't a race & longevity goes a long way. Don't let anyone tell you that your creativity will amount to nothing as this art can be taken to the very limits you can dream of. Respect the generations that paved a path for you including your parents & family members.


Anything else to add?

Treat others as you would ultimately like & appreciate being treated. Thanks to every person in my life for showing me something I can take with me in day to day life. Love will always conquer!!!!!


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