Hailing from the east coast of Australia, John Kaye migrated west to the sunny city of Perth to undertake a residency at The Butcher Shop. His show ‘Chained to the Sky’ saw work created inside and outside of the studio with overarching themes concerning freedom and a transient lifestyle. John reflects on his most recent body swilling a glass of red, overlooking the yard from a fold up chair on his makeshift verandah.
A film Created By Gabby Dadgostar together with graffiti writer John Kaye, check it out!
Video made by Selina Miles about the Ono’u festival in Tahiti 2015, check it out!
Name: John Kaye
City/Country: Gold Coast, Australia
When did you start writing? 2005
What’s graffiti for you? For me it’s something that has given me great memories and allowed me to meet great people. Like anything though it has it’s ups and downs.
Influences? When I was a kid starting out it was mostly Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne graffiti from the 80’s and 90’s, Now I pay more attention to other things, design, photography, music and the things my friends are doing.
Tell us about your city, how is life and graffiti there? I don’t spend very much time there anymore, For me it’s like a place I go between trips to organise myself. Graffiti there is very quite these days, it’s a clean city with a small scene. There are still some interesting things happening though if you know where to look.
What keeps you still writing? I’m still having fun and I haven’t really found anything better to do.
What first made you interested in graffiti and how did you end up on that track? Catching the train and just watching trains pass in general made me curious when I was young and then through skateboarding I met some people that did graffiti.
What trends are you seeing now in the graffiti world that you don’t like? I pay less and less attention these days, people can do whatever they want.
What do you do when you’re not painting? Sleep, eat, spend time with friends, the usual stuff. Painting, Drawing and Travelling take up the majority of my time and are my main priority at the moment though.
How would you describe your style? Relaxed, A working progress, Hopefully interesting to look at.
Can you remember the first piece you did? Yeah it was on the train tracks near my school, but I painted the back of the barrier that was facing nothing except the one or two people that would walk their dogs down that path occasionally. I thought It was a good idea at the time.
Future plans? I’m overseas at the moment for another few months. More painting and drawing. I want to visit some new places I haven’t seen yet and I really want to spend more time taking photos. Other then that I haven’t thought to far ahead.
Do you adapt your pieces and tags to the spot/surface? Yeah for sure. I care more about the spot I’m painting now. The photo and the placement and location are really important for me.
What do you think about the new generation of writers in your city? There are not too many where I’m from that I’m aware of, it’s really slowed down over the past few years. There are a few different names i keep seeing around but in general it seems to be dying off.
What are the best and worst aspects of graffiti? For me, The experiences, they are the best and worst parts. They make it exciting and even the bad experiences are still valuable.
Who do you paint for? That depends on the painting, but in general I paint because I like to do it, so firstly myself. Then anyone that pays attention after the fact is a bonus.
Can you ever feel tired of graffiti? Yeah roughly at least once a day at the moment.
What do you hope people will think and feel when they see your stuff? I hope it doesn’t ruin their day. Im not trying to please everyone though. If people like it thats cool, but if they hate it thats cool too, It might sound selfish but it’s not for them.