Pure, Unapologetic and Free: The Klops Interview
A trip on New York City’s 7 line is one of the finest sightseeing tours of the best graffiti in the country with many writers making their careers along the rooftops that line the route. One of these is Queens native Klops, whose name can be seen in all five boroughs. Whilst his signature throwup is seen everywhere, his pieces are the true gems; hidden in abandoned buildings and train tunnels they feature a profound writing skill full concise, humourful criticism of the world around us.
Including a commentary on his own responses, we bring you Klops.
“JUST DRINK AND BOMB PUSSY”
Could you give us some background on when you started writing graffiti and why?
I started writing graffiti in 2010. U STILL TOY. I noticed writers’ names up around where I lived and wondered who they were and how they were able to do it. So I decided I wanted to try it too. I watched Graffiti movies like Style Wars and State Your Name to learn about graff culture. GRAFF-NERD. I read the “right” way to do graffiti and what it’s “rules” were. INTERNET FAG. I started out practicing straight-letters and fillins on dead track spots and moved on to streets. It was exciting and I felt like I accomplished something when I did a hot street spot or a nice piece. When I started writing all I wanted to do was become known. U STILL A NOBODY.
Which artists have influenced your work?
Kuma, Dceve, MSK Crew, Cecster and…Banksy? STREETART HOMO
How would you describe your style?
My style is similar to NSF Crew, I used to love looking at flix of their style. BITER. But I do switch styles here and there. Usually my graffiti is simple enough that the public can read it and has enough style they can enjoy it. I think Illegal graffiti should be easy to read and fun to see and more fun to do. JUST FUCKIN BOMB NIGGA.
“I think the truest and purest form of graffiti are the messages of the everyday people who dont have millions to spend on movies and media. They tell their stories through their art.”
What goes through your head when you go bombing?
When im bombing the most important thing is to not get arrested that night. U SCARED. From that frame I think of what visible spots I can paint somthing nice and have enough time to do it. The most effective nights happen when I have spots planned out and an idea of what I want to paint in my head. JUST DRINK AND BOMB PUSSY.
I’ve noticed that you have created some unique cartoon characters throughout your career. Could you tell us more about that?
My characters are simple and I think they go well with my lettering. I love the old school cartoons from the earliest black and white animations that had simple round heads and round hands and long skinny limbs. I also took inspiration from comics like Calvin and Hobbs and Garfield. U BIT GARFIELD BITCH. I loved to watch Tex Avery cartoons, Tom and Jerry, Roger Rabbit, Looney Tunes. Characters are fuckin dope and I enjoy using them in my work. ART FAG. DO GRAFF.
“It gets old fast, seeing writers copying the same ugly throwups, pasting them around the city.”
You have a lot of video game related works. Why?
I played video games as a kid and those characters are kind of like a nostalgic poke for fun.
“WHO CARES, JUST DESTROY SHIT NIGGA WTF LOL.”
What are your favorite spots to hit?
My favorite spots are rooftops next to the train line and trucks that travel around the city. In both cases more people see my graffiti by passing by it or it passing by them, and that means more fame for less work haha. HIT STREETS DILDO.
“We have the right to express ourselves too, and that is real rebellion, not burning buildings and killing police. Real revolution is in the mind”
How do you feel about the current state of NYC graffiti?
NYC graffiti is cool I guess. BOOOOORINGGGG. There’s something for everyone from just taggers to serious piecers. I don’t mind “out-of-towners” either. FUCK OUTTA TOWNERS. I respect anyone out there putting in work. However, It would be cool if more writers brought more substance to their work like artists do in other cities around the world. It gets old fast, seeing writers copying the same ugly throwups, pasting them around the city. We get it, you can paint that same blob anywhere in the city, ok. WHO CARES, JUST DESTROY SHIT NIGGA WTF LOL.
I’ve noticed that some of your pieces have strong messages. You have taken shots at social media, the NSA, and policing. What are issues that are important to you and why do you choose graffiti as a platform to speak about these issues?
Back in the day, people hit trains with messages and themes that meant something to them. U WASN’T EVEN THERE NIGGA. Their reality, their voice, was seen and heard on the trains and in the streets. I think the truest and purest form of graffiti are the messages of the everyday people who dont have millions to spend on movies and media. They tell their stories through their art. The same way the global elites glorify their beliefs and morals through big Hollywood movies and slowly popularize their occult symbolism in music. We have the right to express ourselves too, and that is real rebellion, not burning buildings and killing police. Real revolution is in the mind. FUCK THE POLICE. I choose graffiti as my platform to speak on issues like Big Brother and the Police because I am free to speak on them with true freedom, even if behind an alias. U BANKSY NOW?
Is it true you are one of Vandal Squad’s’ ten most wanted?
I don’t know. Maybe? THAT LIST IS FAKE SON.
Your work appears very lighthearted, with simple color choices and a large element of humor – why do you feel humor is important to what you do?
Humor is effective. People want to feel good. NO SHIT. So I may want to present a message/idea or share an experience and it is better received with good emotions. Maybe I can make you laugh but what I really want is for you to think. Either way I’ve affected you in a positive way and that is good enough for me.
Why do you feel what you’re doing is important to graffiti?
I think being creative and experimenting with graffiti and art in general is always important. I want people to question their beliefs, their government, the media, their sources of entertainment, themselves. Graffiti is not all about ego-maniacs with spray cans vandalizing the city. We have the power to make bold statements and question authority.
WHO CARES, RACK AND RETURNS MOFO.
One more question. Could you sum up graffiti in three words?
Pure, unapologetic, and free.
Klops commentary on his own responses perfectly highlights the set of mindsets in graffiti that are often considered mutually exclusive, with the urge to talk about the more artistic and visual side of the game coming to odds with that age old pure bomber mentality. It highlights a duality of lifestyles that many writers recognize and habituate to; you can be two separate people, simultaneously – it isn’t day and night. The commentary given presents itself capitalised in language that is rife with stereotype and cultural idioms (‘RACK AND RETURNS MOFO’ ‘ART FAG. DO GRAFF.‘) whereas when Klops speaks his own opinions it appears calm, considered (‘Graffiti is not all about ego-maniacs with spray cans vandalizing the city. We have the power to make bold statements and question authority‘).
There’s a purity of anger within the bomber mentality that finds a perfect counterpart in this calm opposite.