Here’s another excerpt from the 3rd Issue with the unbelievably talented REMI/ROUGH. Not only is he one of our absolute favourites, but also such a nice guy with some mighty interesting stuff to say. We’re sure you will enjoy this interview.
BizarreBeyondBelief: It’s pretty well documented that being a writer in London is extremely difficult, would you agree it’s accurate to say there’s a different dynamic to painting in London than other cities?
REMI/ROUGH: Definitely. t’s difficult to paint walls and it’s also hard to come through as an artist who doesn’t necessarily want to conform to graffiti ideals and traditionalist attitudes. It’s a lot easier in most other cities I’ve been to.
BBB: Being such a well traveled graffiti artist, are there any cities in particular that you
may compare to London in atmosphere, quality and quantity?
R/R: I think Paris back in the late Eighties and early Nineties was very similar to London in a lot of
ways. It’s changed considerably since then though. I used to love going to Paris to paint at that time, as it felt very comfortable.
BBB: If you had to escape where you currently are now, what 3 things would you grab, why and where would you go?
R/R: I would grab my family, my Marco Grassi painting and my all of my art books. I can’t live without good coffee so It would probably be somewhere in Southern Spain, as there’s always good coffee and sunshine. Although, I love Southern Italy too, so maybe that could be my alternative option. My wife and daughter go everywhere with me too.
BBB: Being an artist who’s not only prolific in his time, but in longevity as well, how would you say graffiti and/or has transformed since you began?
R/R: I kind of don’t look back nostalgically at graffiti. It obviously references a lot of what I do now but it’s so antiquated in its attitude and a lot of it just hasn’t progressed in any way and I’m always of the mind that things should grow and progress. I suppose if anything it’s given me the ability to paint to large scales and not be afraid of size. It also, from a social aspect, has given me some of the best friends I have to this date and a network of artists that I know and work with from all over the world. But the now is my priority, not the then.
BBB: As an artist who came from the street to the gallery scene, how do you feel the credibility as a graffiti artist is affected?
R/R: Graffiti went straight into galleries in New York in the early eighties, it’s been there ever since and it’s a natural progression for any artist, whether he be a graffiti writer or a sculptor, to share his or her art with the world. So, from that perspective credibility can only be cemented! The “hardcore” as they like to be known don’t have that same perspective, they only want to share amongst their peers. I always thought the art of getting up should be all global, not all city.
BBB: How, if at all, do you feel your creative process differentiates from your approach to fine work as opposed to street?
R/R: I guess my approach to studio work is slightly more considered but on the whole I try not to
differentiate what I do from street to studio. It’s just a question of scale. I try and achieve the
same sense of depth and texture in both. I possibly prefer having the larger scale works as a
way of experimenting onto smaller surfaces though.
BBB: What’s a day in the life of Remi/Rough like?
R/R: Wake up in my nice new house in South London, get my daughter up and off to school. Check
my e-mails and various social media, then I usually hit the studio for a few hours and try and finish
up an artwork that I have on the go. Pick Liliana up after school and life goes domesticated once
again. But to be honest everyday is different and some days I’ll find myself in Miami or
Hamburg painting large walls… who knows where I’ll be tomorrow?
BBB: If you were restricted to only one artistic medium and 3 colours within it, what would it/they be and why?
R/R: Matte emulsion in red green and blue because I could mix and make every other colour I need from
just those three.
BBB: Have you every held any reservations or rethought your current avocation or have you always thought “this is for me”?
R/R: I think I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to tailor my working life to suit me. There’s nothing I’d
change at the moment, I’m very happy with what I do and how I do it.
BBB: When your beard is long and grey,where do you see yourself and what’s Remi/Rough doing?
R/R: Ha ha, my beard is pretty grey already. When it’s longer and greyer I’ll be doing exactly the
same as I am now, making art, in whatever means, in whatever format or medium I can. I’ll stop when I’m dead.