As a result of Basco Paint’s Spray for Change initiative, one of the participants has won a coveted chance to participate in a global graffiti festival. The artist, who goes by the name of Wise 2, met Kenya Yetu
How did you learn about Spray for Change and how did you get involved?
A friend of mine helped to put together the concept for Spray for Change (which brings together top Kenyan graffiti artists to create images of a new Kenya). Being one of the graffiti art pioneers in East and Central Africa, the initiative was bound to find me in my element and it allowed me to express my artistic style the way I know best.
What have you learnt from interacting with other artists?
When I first got involved with graffiti art it was on a very small scale, because I was still discovering and harnessing my interests in different artistic styles within the graffiti world. If it wasn’t for the other graffiti artists I wouldn’t have been able to push my talent as far as I am doing today. My interaction with them has made me an even better artist, and I have picked up a plethora of new skills, ideas and thought patterns.
You have been selected to attend the WALL\THERAPY festival in New York. What do you anticipate learning from this trip?
WALL\THERAPY is a community-level intervention using mural art as a vehicle to address our collective need for inspiration. During this week-long festival, street artists (‘therapists’) from across the globe will paint (‘rehabilitate’) walls, healing the city with new life and energy. I hope to gain international exposure for my work and for all Kenyan graffiti artists. Being the first and only Kenyan painting live at the event, it will be a precedent set for many others.
What gives your work an edge over other artists?
I draw on a lot of different influences – from ancient architecture, writing systems like the Egyptian hieroglyphics, Sumerian cuneiform, illuminated manuscripts, old English texts, Zen brushstroke styles and African patterns – all fused to create my version of a style I call the Psychedelic language, which is based more on pattern work to create greater depth to my art. I also tend to fuse a lot of stencil work.
Where do you want to take your art?
I am in the process of creating my own artistic language, which I would love to paint on the moon or Mars, but that’s when the human race decides to move! Till then I would love to paint aeroplanes, trains, walls… anywhere in the world. The next level will be bigger and better, but until I find out what that is, I will keep painting.