12 Questions With: Trevor Wheatley1. When did you first start exploring graffiti and street art? Did you find any particular artists who inspired you to start? I went to a graffiti jam called Style in Progress in 2003. I was overwhelmed with how cool I thought the whole thing was. I remember seeing a neighbour a few years older than me painting a piece and thinking it was the coolest ever. I started drawing pieces that night. 2. Do you think living and working in Toronto has a big influence on your work? I don’t think living in Toronto at this point has much of an impact on anything I make, I think the internet killed any sort of local aesthetic or style in graffiti that used to exist here. 3. Your large-scale wood pieces are really interesting, I really love the juxtaposition of putting them in nature. How did that concept take shape? The wooden sculptures have been about creating new encounters with familiar language. I like to glorify moments with language that are commonplace. Drastically changing the context of where the language would normally be found. I make sculptures that are based on city experiences, removing them from the city is what makes them interesting to me. 4. You also feature Nike a lot both on your Tumblr and in your work, is there a certain appeal to their logo? I love the swoosh logo. I use it as a commercial signifier in my work, mainly to question the place and nature of logos. 5. Both “LikeLike” and “K” seem very culturally relevant – what are your thoughts on graffiti artists using Instagram and Facebook to show their work? I don’t mind it. I think a lot of the older dudes criticize it for lacking authenticity. Everything changes, just as Montana paint made painting pieces easier, social media makes having pieces seen more easily. There is a strong argument that this has potentially made graffiti better. In the sense that a 14 year old boy or girl anywhere in the world now has access to a web based library of millions of graffiti images, they should get better more quickly and push the whole subculture forward. 6. What have been your favourite cities to work and paint in? I liked painting in Berlin, Paris, and Montreal. 7. Do you have any artists you enjoy collaborating with? I like working with anyone in my graffiti gang UNC, and a good friend who goes by Li-Hill. 8. Who are your top writers to watch in Toronto? Mozie, my Unc bros, Fario, Forte, the Lsd gang, the Kps gang, chuck, Bacon, and Kwest. 9. The cross over between graffiti and fine art has become really prevalent in the last couple of years, how do you think they effect each other in your work? It’s really cool to see so many graffiti writers doing both, most of my favourite artists are active or ex-graffiti writers. The studio work I make is having a larger effect on my graffiti than the other way around. The two help each other develop more than I even realize. 10. What do you think is “next” in street art? We’ve seen small fluxes in eco-art for example, do you think there’s something new around the corner? I think a lot of people (especially graffiti writers) are sick of street art, or potentially sick of the artists who have become so heavily associated with it. It’s hard to predict what will happen next, In Toronto we’re seeing a pretty intense backlash against it. Most murals that are not graf pieces get toyed out. I saw a Brooklyn based artist called ‘MOMO’, he is doing something new and interesting, so is Hense. Potentially the next movement could be towards abstraction and less representation. Maybe less politically engaged stencil stuff! 11. What projects have you been working on lately? I’ve just finished a collaboration with Oscar Saragossi, Bizarre Beyond Belief, and Luke McCutcheon on the album art for Tokyo Police Club’s “Forcefield” 12. And lastly, do you have any upcoming shows we can look forward to? I have a solo show coming up at Hashtag Gallery in Toronto in May. You can follow Trevor on Instagram here.
Author: Ro Sabourin / @rosabourin