12 Questions: BOOGIE SML1. Introduce yourself – your name and any crews you represent
Grüezi, my name is Boogie. Born and raised in the Eastern part of Germany – formerly known as the DDR – I am now living, working and enjoying my life in beautiful Switzerland. My crews are the SML aka. TheGoldenBoys for decades and BadNews from my new home in Switzerland. Recently I joined the Blackrebels. For me it is about so much more than just painting with those guys – they are my second family. And how do they tend to say in all those social media channels? #crewloveistruelove.
2. Tell us about your name – what does “BOOGIE” mean to you and what made you choose it?
Looking back 2009 seemed to be a year of big changes for me – one of those was also to change my writer name. Some of the guys who I had been painting with for years just stopped, but for myself I realised more than ever that Graffiti would always be a part of my life. I guess it was time to reinvent myself – time to step up in terms of quality and to produce some fresh shit. Tons of color, less chrome – that was my mission. To creat something that is fancy, funky, with a certain sense of humor and good in quality. I hope that is what Boogie’s about.
3. What inspired you to become a street artist and at what age did you pick up your first spray can?
I guess I never really decided to become a writer – it just happened somehow. Growing up in a pretty rural area in Eastern Germany I also never really got in touch with the real graff business. But one day back in 1993 hanging out with my friends somewhere in the middle of nowhere, we thought it would be fun to paint something. So we went to our local gas station and bought one single can. The other can passed the cashier without being paid for. After that we went to the old trainstation of our hometown and started rocking those walls on a sunday afternoon. First outlines and after this a fill in – and FREESTYLE with mirrored E’s was written on the wall. Pretty much just freestyle looking back. From that day on is was infected by a virus called Graffiti and especially after holding my first graff mag in my hands I was stoked and new that this was what I wanted to do on my Sundays and whenever there was any spare time. So I stepped into the game and a pretty amazing time started. Tagging, bombing, some commercial jobs, jams, trains and a lot of travelling were involved. And about 21 years later I am older, not really wiser and still loving it.
4. Where do you derive your inspiration from?
Inspiration is a quite difficult subject to tackle, because it’s different for each and everyone of us. But generally speaking nearly everything can be inspiring for me – nature, food – as you might have already guessed, magazines, books, exhibitions, travelling, music, conversations with friends. There are just tons of options. Out of this I get ideas and visions of what I would like to do and than it’s more about how to do it in the best possible of ways. Talking about the choice of color I seem to consult my lady quite often, cause she has a good eye for that – and somehow she seems to be right. Happy wife, happy life I guess.
5. What do you think of the current state of graffiti in NYC and the places you’ve been?
Two years ago I visited NYC for the first time. It had always been a dream of mine and I was just stoked to discover the place of origin of graffiti. So I felt like a lil boy right before christmas. And on top of that I was able to meet the guys from TATS Cru and paint their famous rooftop. All of the sudden you are out there in South Bronx leaving the train at Hunts Point to walk over to their place and meet some guys you’ve know and admired for half of your life from books and graff mags to hang out, paint and have some snaps from my hometown in Germany. Wow! And guess what – they are the best and super friendly. But other than that and some great murals and commercial jobs it is rather hard to talk about the state of bombings in NYC due to zero tolerance policies and everything being buffed quicker than you’ve even thought about it or taken a flick. Europe seems to be a lot more easy going. Okay, maybe easy is the wrong word, but looking at the line in Basel, Switzerland you’ll pass 2 kilometers of crazy colorfull productions with such a high quality level that your jaw drops. You name them, they’ve been there – Seen, Dare (RIP), TKid, MadC, Bates and Atom. So it is more like an illegal outdoor gallery with two to three levels of graff on top of eachother ending a couple of meters before Basel’s main trainstation. I wish I would have been able to see stuff like this in NYC knowing that there are guys out there painting like crazy. It’s that people who are in power don’t understand that graff is and has been a big part of NYC’s history and culture. But there are a whole lot of other citys out there I love like Berlin where I’ve been living for a while and keep on coming back, Hamburg with the Jukebox Cowboys, Barcelona with crazy good guys like Aryz, Detroit – hope this city with so much potential is going to make it, LA with the dudes from MSK and my first time US graff exprerience, Italy for trains with friends and Scandinavia. But I need to stop, because I could just go on and on and that list is long. Just not to forget to mention those smaller citys in Eastern Germany and the Eastern European countries with their empty industrial areas and tons of space to paint. Those places where a piece pops right into your eye, because there is not much out there. It’s just calm and people smile when they see that something happened to one of those old buildings.
6. Are there any places you wish to hit up that you still haven’t touched?
This is kinda like asking a kid what kind of candy they wanna have. But for sure I would love to go to Russia to paint, cause I have never been there before. Also South America is pretty tempting. But generally speaking every trip can be a special one – it´s about the crowd you hang with. For me it is so much more important to have a relaxed time, meet new people – preferably locals – and enjoy. This is opening up so much more possibilitys than just being by yourself. In most of the citys I went to it happened that way. It´s awesome when people welcome you into their every day life and that´s also what I like to do with people visiting. Most of the time I am travelling with my lady and I guess we´ve always ended up with new friends somewhere around the globe and with tons of inspirations and ideas in my bags going back – home swiss home.
7. If you could offer a young artist just getting into the game any advice, what would it be?
Ha, I feel like my grandpa doing this – advice to the young guns out there. First of all I am stoked that there is so much talent out there on the streets. Wow – pretty much different to back when I started painting. But I´d say that the most important thing – not just in graff – is to be true to yourself. Don´t try to be someone you´re not. That´s just to complicated and might end up in trouble. Show respect to all the other beings sharing this planet earth with you. It´s pretty simple, cause you wanna be respected, too. Might not always be easy with all those crazy fellas out there, but … yeah, this is just how the cookie crumbles. This is also why – a couple of years back – I went to Norm from the MSK and got that saying „what you give, is what you get“ tattooed on my wrists. So stay humble and believe in yourself and what you wanna achieve.
8. Do you feel the need to evolve your style as the years pass or are you a fan of consistency?
There is a german saying – which is also a little like playing with the words: If you don´t evolve with the time, you will disappear. For the german speakers out there – „Wer nicht mit der Zeit geht, geht mit der Zeit!“ And I totally believe in that. You need to evolve. Especially for yourself it is so important, cause otherwise you´ll become a lazy ass and bored from your own shit. But a certain consistency in style is important, I think one shouldn´t change everything though. Cause in the end it is about people recognizing your style and you cannot reinvent yourself every day. But keep it moving and it´s about the evolution, not the revolution, I guess. But that´s me …
9. What was the riskiest wall you’ve ever hit up and what happened?
Once upon a time me and my friend got stopped by the cops. While they checked his ID, I used my time for a short cop car redesign. Can´t really say more about that though.
10. Are you a fan of how street artists are cashing in on the hype by selling their work via auctions and galleries?
There is a very thin line between sell out and realness. But I guess if there is somebody who has been doing his thing at night for the last 10 or more years and is able to start earning money with what he loves and where his talent is, there is nothing bad about it. I just have no respect for people who start with graff or streetart, because they wanna use the hype and make that cash. That´s just wrong, cause it has no soul. I am always excited like a lil one if people ask me to do a show somewhere – I am stoked that people love what I love, that´s pretty damn crazy. And in the end what´s wrong with using your skills to make a living – why not!? I rather do something I love than hate waking up in the morning because I´ve got a job I hate. But there are a lot of different opinions out there – especially among other writers – and I can respect most of them.
11. Where do you see the state of graffiti 10 years from now?
I hope not too much is going to change. Technology will evolve and cans will be better – hopefully not just in quality on the wall, but also for our health. I´d love to see graffiti as part of art classes at school and a lot of young and talented young kiddos out there. Never forget: each one teach one. Keep it moving you guys! But most important – there will still be those crazy guys out there who will paint at night no matter what kind of security systems will be developed and who´ll let those colorful trains roll. That is what it is all about. Make it happen.
12. Who are you favorite writers/artists out there right now?
There are so many young and old guns dropping real good stuff. I love the Jukebox Cowboys from Hamburg City, my man Hombre/SUK with those crazy good characters, Aryz – what a talent that kid has, the MSK crew for always pushing the limits, the lovely couple Dabs & Myla with their passion for details that make me smile, Smash137 who is doing some crazy shit and Dare who did so much for Basel and the graff scene here. My alltime favourite is ATOM from the MOAS, cause I grew up with his rap, he kept me going and his oneman wholecars are just jawdropping awesomeness on the tracks. Last but not least there is Seen who is history and when I met him it was like meeting a popstar for me. Not to forget my crew SML who keep on inspiring me and are my extended family. But there are so many more out there … don´t blame me, if I forgot someone.
Interview: Keith Montaro Photos: Boogie SML
Check out 12oz Sketch of the Day feat. Boogie here