12 Questions: GoreyWe recently interviewed NY based Parisian graffiti writer, illustrator, designer, and fine artist, Gorey. Gorey’s work is unique for its authentic style that constantly changes and evolves with each and every piece. Gorey tells us a little about his history with graffiti, some of his influences and inspirations, what drew him to graffiti, and his take on the current state of graffiti around the world. Gorey also shares advice for those writers and creatives looking to crossover into the fields of design and fine art. Check out some of Gorey’s handstyles in the gallery above and check out his responses to our 12 Questions below.
Our Instagram contest with Handselecta is running through June 20th. Pen “Practice Makes Perfect” and “12oz” in your most stylish hand for the chance to win a cool prize pack. Winners are selected by Gorey & Curve. More on how to enter here.
1. Introduce yourself – your name, crews, current location.
GOREY 156 The Irie’s. I’m a Brooklyn based Parisian
2. Let’s start with your name – where does “Gorey” come from?
Happy misspelling when I was 16. I picked “Goret” (Slob) and failed my french spelling. Discovered years later the real meaning of my name with a Y.
3. What was it about graffiti that originally captivated you – and what aspects of graffiti continue to intrigue you today?
Meeting like minded individuals the fastest way possible (before internet, before cell phones…) and exploring areas in my city where I could only wonder because of graffiti. The unique thrill of doing something you’re not supposed to be doing and seeing the result afterword. Today, I’m more about reflecting on the many different aspects that makes this rich, lively culture.
4. Your style is unique, often changing and always evolving – how would you characterize your personal style?
I have a very traditional foundation and as you said I try to always come up with something different. We are a generation that grew in parallel with sampling and remixing music and I feel that it is something we’ve applied to graffiti. The ability to draw influences from various sources and to twist it to make it ours.
5. You lived most of your life in Paris – what are some of the main differences painting there as opposed to New York City.
If you talk to older generations from Paris it seems that everyone speaks volume about how easy it was in their days. The general population, the law, the cops are entirely different. Again, making generalities is really hard as there are stories that end up bad on a daily basis. Jail time is super rare, bookings don’t exist and there are way less cops than in NY.
6. Describe your process at the wall – what are some of the thoughts going through your head before you begin to paint?
I try to cover the biggest surface my body can reach to and I usually paint with house paint and a roller as it gives me the ability to put down big ideas really quick. I always incorporate illustration to my letters one way or another.
7. Who had the greatest influence on your work – what continues to inspire you today?
My close friends that I painted with. This is more about the lifestyle than the style itself: I try to paint with people I appreciate for who they are, not what they did.
8. What do you think of the current state of graffiti in the US, Paris, or the world for that matter?
It’s evolving so fast: vandals are getting bolder than I could ever imagine, the number of people painting and really good at it is just insane, the movement is moving.
9. As an illustrator, designer, fine artist, and graffiti writer – what are some of the challenges you face balancing all the roles?
The biggest challenge was to give up on my graffiti. At least the visible aspect of it because this is who I am: A graffiti writer.
10. What are some lessons you’ve learned during your time as a graffiti writer – that you’ve been able to apply to your commercial work.
“A simple style is not an easy style” and Try harder, Never give up, Repeat.”
11. What’s the best advice you have for other graffiti writers looking to enter the field of design and fine art?
You have to work hard for it. Nowadays you must excel in a lot of areas in order to be considered valuable. All the people I know of that are noticeable, being noticed or on their way, are the most dedicated hard workers that you could think of.
12. If you could paint with anyone, anywhere, anytime – where, what, and with who would you paint?
Definitely in New York, definitely on a an old run down rusty train, either with the Aok’s, the Tfp’s, the TC5’s or anyone from the early 80’s…
More seriously, the one aspect that I truly love about graffiti is that we are all equal in front of the wall. Any beginner is going to have to get up on a wall where other more experienced writers are. Sort of a Yin Yang where one cannot go without the other. We go under a set of I love that we all used to draw at school when we were kids, no one felt inferior to another. In that spirit I wish to see the public space becoming a platform for everyone to express themselves, make a big mess until something good comes out of it.
Check out Gorey’s Instagram page here.
Author: Pete Moran // Photography: Kelly Salih