Yesterday I published an article with a brief history of the Meeting of Styles in Italy during these last years, in which I wrote about Chas LoveLetters and his participation at the edition of 2014 that will take place in Milan and which is organized by the Nuclear1 crew.
During this week I had the pleasure to interview him with questions to which he answered very specifically and in a detailed way.
Giada: You started doing Graffiti in 1989 in Holland when you were very young. What was the graffiti scene like at that time? Who has influenced you the most?
Chas: Very different from today. Off course in that “pre internet age” everything was much more a discovery. When I was going to another city I took photos of all the pieces that I saw and studied them at home. Nowadays the young writers have already seen everything on internet. That destroys the fun of discovery and being surprised. ..and they don’t even realize that they are missing out on that great feeling!
Another big difference is that nowadays the graffiti scene is divided in “sub scenes” like the legal scene, the train writing scene, subway writers scene, street art scene etc.. When I as young everybody was doing everything. Painting in a hall of fame and also painting on the trains. I really liked that mentality and I still do. Legal or illegal..it’s both fun!
There’s a lot of writers that influenced me when I was young. I think the biggest influence was Ces53. In my opinion the best writer in the netherlands in the early 90’s. Great styles on walls and trains..I loved it!
G: After a period of time in which you stopped doing graffiti, like for seven years, you started again and contributed to the founding of the LoveLetters crew, which is very famous all over the world for its members and its style. Can you tell us more about this crew and the story behind it?
C: The LoveLetters crew was founded by Nash and Does in 2006. Before that time we were already painting a lot together and I said to them on lots of occasions that we should be in a crew together. They were never very positive about that idea so it was a bit of a suprise when they called me up one night and asked me to join the freshly founded crew. I immediately liked the name LoveLetters. It’s a name that everybody remembers easyily and it stands for what I believe in. It’s all about the letters!
Soon after that Tumki, Biser, Rusl, Dater, Ozer and Sean2 joined the crew. And a little bit later Dare joined also. It was an honour to have him in our crew. ..and his death was a big tragedy.
Every now and then I do a Dare piece. It feels good to keep his name alive!
The latest addition to the crew was dutch writer Puaks. A very stylish bloke!
|Dare by Dosek and Chas, Basel, 2013|
G: Your style is characterised by the use of voids letters, the use of colourfoul shades and of letters that seem to be like 3D but actually they aren’t, because everything is realised through the use of colours. It’ s also very nice to see that you usually play with A and H, sometimes by merging them together, sometimes not. Can you tell us more about your style and when you started doing void letters? How do you relate your graffiti pratice within the urban space?
C: I think there is a strong connection between the personality of a writer and the style in which he does his pieces. Just like my letters I have opened up more and more over the years .
In my pieces the letters have a strong connection to eachother. One letter reaches out to the next. The other one is supporting his neighbour. There is a lot of teamwork going on in my piecesJ.
|Chas, Duisburg, 2013|
At first sight my letters can look complicated but when you give them a closer look you will discover their friendly forms. I love subtile colour schemes . Not going for the easiest solution but giving it a bit more thought.
..and yes: The surrounding of a piece is also important. I don’t paint in Hall of fames very often anymore. Too much colour..too much distraction. Abanonded places are better. The piece can interact with the surroundings.
G: Historically Graffiti in Europe were very different from the ones in the USA, because for instance it’s were the 3D style had started. The LoveLetters now is a well respected crew all over the world and it’s characterised by these new ways of using shades and of making the pieces opened up as if they had been exploded. Do you think that the LoveLetters are now influencing this new way of making graffiti in Europe? Can you tell us more about the crew style?
C: I don’t think there is one “LoveLetters style”.
When we started out in 2006 our styles were very similar. All very detailed and clean. But over the past years everybody has had personal growth..And off course not everybody was growing in the same direction. So nowadays not all members are active anymore. Some are more interested in other types of art, tattooing, graphic design etc..
|Chas-HMX Area51, 2013|
Dater, Does and me are the members that are the most active now but our styles have also developed in different directions. I think that’s a good thing.
Sometimes I think this whole “crew thing” is a bit strange. Let’s face it: Graffiti is one big ego show. Every writer wants to be the best and stand out of the crowd. Nothing wrong with that..I love the competition!
But it’s a bit of a contradiction trying to put all these individualists in a team right?
Nevertheless I am still proud to be a LoveLetters member and I will keep on representing.
|Chas, Groningen, 2014|
G: I knew you have been invited to the Meeting of Styles in Italy for 2014, which is organized by the Nuclear 1 crew in Milan. What’s your expactation for this event?
C: I love to come back to Italy! In the past years I had some good times when I was painting in this beautiful country.
I also like the line up of this MOS. It’s good to see some good friends again..and there’s also a bunch of people that I haven’t met yet. I’m looking forward to meeting them!