There are similarities between a graffiti writer’s personal devotion to bucking the system, to those operating in other outlaw or fringe cultures – a pattern that Katsu recognises. Speaking on his introduction to graffiti he tells me “Underneath everything I was fascinated with crime and hacking.” In its elemental form graffiti is about overcoming or surmounting restrictions that an individual deems arbitrary or irrelevant. A tag, the blight of the socially-conservative urbanite, is a physical affirmation of existence. A permanent reminder that someone got in, got around, got over, and got up in that specific location. That is, until the buff gets there. It’s about patently saying “Fuck you” and “I exist” – at the same time. It’s an invitation to engage, but only if you speak the language. “I’ve always had a curiosity to invent and disrupt spaces,” Katsu discloses.
That attitude extends to the rest of his life – including his racking practice. Like most committed graffiti writers, Katsu is a serial racker. “Paint should never be purchased, in fact you should become obsessed with stealing it,” he tells me. Again, it comes down to defeating systems and Katsu seems to genuinely love navigating retail spaces. “Racking is a really exciting, invigorating activity. It’s like rock climbing or something,” he considers. For Katsu, it’s an “ongoing conversation, it’s a work of art, racking is just as much of an expression as graffiti.”
Read the rest of the interview over at the Acclaim site. Photography by Will Robson-Scott.