Made My Life: The 45RPM Interview.
Inspiration can come from anywhere and the best art takes notice of this. Honest about his overcoming of personal difficulties to now inhabit a world full of colour characters and letters that take influence from the idiosyncrasies of UK regional dialect 45RPM is a writer who has shot to fame recently with a highly celebrated Ironlak feature video.
“I was once being chased and someone jumped out to mug me, I had to get him to let go of me as I explained I was being chased, and they would then nab us both. That was pretty weird. Weirder was he thanked me as he ran away”
Introduce yourself and give us a little bit of background as to how you get started?
My name is 45rpm, I’m born and bred a Kent lad but now have set my roots in Bristol my favorite place in the UK, a city of weirdos and idiots who like pubs and painting on things, whats not to like. From a young age I was always into art as I was terrible at everything else. Im super dyslexic and failed all my exams due to getting distracted by everything and anything so just followed the route of trying to be an artist. Theres nothing better then having a dead end job as its a great motivator to push you to become what you want. Im a bit OCD so draw and create till I fall asleep, its been 15 years now of painting to get where I am now, so maybe another 15 and i’ll be half good.
How would you describe your style and approach?
Me and Richt have always called our style Goofy graff. Theres a lot of influence from the early New York graffiti, Loosey Goosey, drippy stock cap mess all the way. Just get it out of your head and don’t try and clean it up to much, the first sketch you do is always the best. The Sketch a day drawings I started on instagram are exactly that. I wake up make a coffee and draw the stupid idea thats bouncing around in my head, with out thinking about it to much or drawing it in rough first, just draw it and put it up, it is what it is.
Lots are from slang or langue that makes me laugh. If someone says he’s as mad as a box of frogs. I instantly want to draw that. I carry a book and write ideas down that I hear, so when I get a coffee break I draw them up quick. Its good to start the day with nonsense. There are so many things that are drawn as characters all the time so its nice to switch things up and draw them differently. Sketch a day is all about getting weird!
How do you start a piece?
First you waste a incredible amount of your life drawing the same three letters over and over again till your half happy with a handful of letters. So yeah I guess its not as easy as just knocking out a sketch as so much has happened in the 15 years thats got me to the look and style I’m at at the moment. It changes for me year by year, I’d say I’m probably only happy with ten or so pieces I’ve painted out of the thousands I’ve done. It’s nice that theres no end piece, no final best one. Im always going to be chasing the perfect one.
Graffiti writers are weirdos, there’s something wrong with all of us other wise we wouldn’t do this. My hobby on a nice sunny day off is to climb around a mouldy, asbestos ridden dark abandoned building. When you think about what we do its pretty odd. Plus its seen and liked by such a small circle of people. I think thats why I love it so much. A party of graffiti artists is always going to be fun as we are idiots who like to misbehave.
Your work was recently featured on the Ironlak website, would you mind talking about this?
Yeah Ironlak is giving me some hype at the moment which is pretty good. It’s nice that they are supporting an english idiot, I use their paint as it covers all the stuff I like painting, i.e. mold, bare brick, slime, metal etc. etc. it’s a brand which in my eyes supports the side of graffiti I like, so pleased they have picked up on my nonsense. Plus sending Selina Miles over to make the video she made on my sketches was amazing fun, she is a gem. I had loads of boozy fun, it was an amazing experience.
Whats your weirdest experience been when painting?
Tramps, transvestites, prostitutes, addicts, gangs etc etc is all part and parcel of painting so I’ve pretty much seen it all. I was once being chased and someone jumped out to mug me, I had to get him to let go of me as I explained I was being chased, and they would then nab us both. That was pretty weird. Weirder was he thanked me as he ran away.
I always feel like I have something to prove. A dyslexic idiot with no grades from Chatham isn’t going to get far unless I do it myself, Im no good at anything else apart from drawing cats smoking so thats what I do
What is it exactly that you love about graffiti?
As soon as I’m putting up that outline or catching a tag I’m 100% free in my head and not thinking about anything else. You can have all the worries in the world or be super stressed and have nothing to get you out of that, but I have a thing I can do that would make me forget all of that. Its instant happiness. Plus the idiots I’ve met along the way.
Why do you think the first ideas you have are always the best? I’ve always noticed this is as well, with myself they’ve always been the best representation – the sketches afterwards are always a bit too loose, or have explored a bit too much of an idea to work.
Over thinking can ruin everything, your first lines are unrestricted and free. Kids art is the best, the way they would draw a monster is always going to be better then a trained artist. They just jump in and get on with it, I think it was Picasso that said every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. That sums it up to me, a kid is free with no rules or guidelines, we ruin our drawing on the second sketch, the first is the most real.
Is there anything from outside of the culture that feeds in to what you do?
Good character design always gets me, just looking at the way a hand is drawn on a old bit of advertising in an antique shop will tick my boxes. Old bold simple animation as it matches my quick goofy graffiti style.
I completely agree about graffiti writers being weirdos, have you noticed any behavioural traits in writers? What inspired you to do this in the first place?
Naughty boys club, being a bit of a scallywag, cheeky, etc. etc. It’s why you can spot the writers in the pub, they are the loud drunk ones. Also we don’t always come from the best places so maybe thats why we want to get out and be something, I always feel like I have something to prove. A dyslexic idiot with no grades from Chatham isn’t going to get far unless I do it myself, Im no good at anything else apart from drawing cats smoking so thats what I do. I’m not even very good at doing that!
Could you sum up graffiti in 3 words?
Made my life