Hello My Name Is: Paw [AE]


Name: Paw
Crews: Adult Entertainment
City/Country: Berlin, Germany
When did you start writing? 1992

Influences? Since the first Overkill-Magazine I had in my hands in 1993, I am influenced by Berlin Style Writing. I always liked that raw and we-don’t-give-a-shit-about-anything-than-the-letters-attitude and I am still inspired by that.

You often paint without outlines which for lots of people is one of the most important part of a piece, how come? It’s quite simple, I had the feeling that I don’t really need them anymore. For me, writing is about the style of the letters – and I had the feeling, giving my letters shape works really good using strong contrasts between light and dark colors. I wanted to focus on what matters and use as less elements in my pieces as possible. Outlines are so heavy, they dominate a piece so much and sometimes they are even distracting the eye from the shape of the letter. I like to think of a piece more like a tag – and it has some reasons why tags don’t have outlines: The letters flow much better without them. Take a look at typography: If you want to communicate something clear and worthy, you use clear contrasts, lot’s of white space, a clean and decent font. If you want to sell something cheap, you add effects on typography, like outlines, shadows and so on.

Do you think graffiti could have a place in the art world and in galleries? I have to admit, that I doubt that graffiti can find a place in the todays reception of contemporary art. Graffiti writing works in the context of persons writing their names in public space and competing each other in the quantity of them getting up and the quality of their style. If you take away the context of graffiti – getting up in public space, to me, it looses it’s energy. I really love how guys like Steve Powers (Espo), Todd James (Reas) or Jay Ramier (JayOne) evolved their work from being a graffiti-writer to being artists. But they don’t do graffiti, but translate their experience as graffiti writers to their works of art. So if the question is, if there are places within the art world for graffiti writers – sure there is, if they look beyond putting letters on canvases.

What keeps you still writing? Going out there, smelling the paint, being excited about sketching your piece on the wall is still one of the favorite things to do for me. It’s like a holiday from everything else for a few hours. I really like that graffiti writing makes no sense in the eyes of 99 % of the people around you. You know, doing it doesn’t make money, it’s bad for your health, it’s expensive, pieces get buffed or painted over within a very short period of time – in a high performative society there are less and less things you do without any reason. Graffiti is one of those things, and I really love and need that.

What trends are you seeing now in the graffiti world that you don’t like? I don’t know – there is nothing specific that I don’t like. I think in the last years there where so many great new styles and writers – I think there were more positive trends than negative.

What do you do when you’re not painting? I have three daughters, I work as a graphic designer creative directing digital projects for brands like MTV or Sony and I teach graphic design students at university how to design products for mobile devices – so days are usually packed with things to do and to save time for going out to paint is hard to manage sometimes.

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