12ozProphet Exclusive Interview: Smog One
Hey Smog One, could you introduce yourself for us?
My name is Patrice, I’m a graffiti artist and I go by the name Smog One, I represent X-men crew, originally from Paris, France, now I live in Miami.
When did you start painting?
The first time I put spray paint to a wall was 1989, I became more serious about it around 1991.
Why did you start painting?
I’ve been an artist my whole life, I started when I was four years old. When I moved to America from Paris, I started breakin’ and was introduced to the hip hop scene, which graffiti was a big part of. Right away, I knew that’s where I wanted to take my art.
What was your biggest inspiration to paint?
I saw these huge murals that people were doing illegally, they were risking going to jail simply for the world to see and enjoy their art.
How was it growing up in Paris, France?
I left France at the age of 13, I remember it being very different from growing up in the states. I really wasn’t introduced to Hip Hop until I moved here, the rest is history.
How did you pick your name?
Being from Paris, there was lot of smog, so I felt like the smog creeping through the streets of Paris.
What inspired you to have such a strong 3D style in your work?
The second I laid my eyes on 3D, I was instantly attracted to it – being from Paris, I think there’s a European influence that I was attracted to also, though the first 3D piece I saw was by Erni from New York in early 90’s.
How do you feel about the current state of graffiti?
Graffiti nowadays has been changed by social media, now you can see any piece any time, back in the day you had to know graffiti writers or buy magazines to even get exposure to graffiti – it just wasn’t as readily accessible as it is now. Perfect paint, perfect caps, legal spots and computers have all changed the game.
How is the scene in Florida?
I really paint by myself most of the time, but the scene in Florida is mostly in art districts. Miami attracts some of the most well known writers in the world, but there’s not doubt that local writers keep the scene going strong.
Who is your favorite graffiti artist?
I don’t have a favorite writer, in fact I have many artists that have influenced me to push myself. My favorite writers are the ones that continue to stay original and continue to be innovative.
Is there anything you would like to say to people interested in getting into graffiti?
Learn the history, practice, get ready to put in the work and get dirty, you could get arrested, even risk your life. Being a graffiti writer is a lifestyle, not a hobby.
Special Thanks to Joel Cohen for facilitating the interview.