Monday, March 2, 2009
An Email Sit Down With Spice.
Spice, she's sassy and full of color. I had the wonderful chance to exchange emails with her, seeing that a sit down interview was out of the option with her living in Sydney and little old me here in the U.S.
When first checking out her work and reading her profile, I was completely in awe to be honest. This woman, along with killing the game with her colors, stamp, and style, has a big heart and goes out of her way to work in her community. She doesn't get the recognition she deserves and we are going to spotlight her here. She's a force to be reckoned with and the dopest part about it is that even through her emails, you can tell she's humble, but still maintains that tart. Read on . . .
***Had the chance to do this interview thanks to Indie, the administrator at Kweenz Destroy, the other blog I contribute to.***
1. Now I know you've been in the graff game for a good minute now, (since the early 80s ) but what prompted you to actually pick up a can of paint?
___Spice: Honestly, I'm not too sure what prompted me to first pick up a can. Then again I do have to think back some years...haha...
My whole involvement in those earlier days of Hip Hop was all about progression and immersing myself in most of the elements It was only natural that i took to the graff
side of it, as i was always into art as a kid.
2. Krink...Montana...What's your fave paint to pick up and throw a piece up with . .
___Spice: I LOVE Belton Molotow, but i like to use a variety of brands. The colours are what influence me.. I'll use whatever brand if the colour is good and serves purpose for what I'm painting.
3. Where does the name Spice come from? It looks hella sassy thrown up in a piece.
____Spice: Spice is a name i gave myself around 1986. It started out as my decoy tag. I was a lot more known for my previous tag Kandy, cos thats what i got up with. I hated the tag Kandy though, because i never felt like it really suited me..it was too corny for my liking. Spice i felt had a bit more bite to it.I like the fact that it was a good name for a girl without sounding too girly. It also had good letters and suited me, because i loved cooking and eating spicy food and absolutely loved cinnamon. The smell, the flavour YUM, haha. My mum was a chef so i learnt to cook young. I was always experimenting with the spice rack...it just progressed to a rack of paint as time went on. :)
4. I've taken a good look at a lot of your work, and I have to say your hand style is absolutely on point and detailed! How long did it take you to develop a hand style that you were truly happy with?
___Spice: Honestly...I don't know if I'm totally happy with it just yet.
I still feel like i haven't reached my full potential, but if i look through my photos..i can see a time when i started to like what i was doing. I think that was around 2004-2005. It was an emotional time and the only way i felt i could conquer it was by putting all my emotion into my painting.
5. There are some strong females in the graff game...women like you and Indie...but what do you believe is the difference on how males and females approach graffiti?
____Spice: I can only speak for myself by saying that i don't think i approached it any different than to a male.
I seriously was just one of the boys and never felt like i had to do anything different.But now as time moves on, if anything, i think us females put a lot more emotion into our work and we want to embrace our strong femininity.
6. What do you think females bring that the men don't to graffiti?
___Spice: Our milkshake brings all the boys to the yard! hahaha..No sorry bout that..its the first cheeky thing that came to mind. On a serious note....most females bring a flavour that other girls whether they are writers or not, can relate to.
7. You rep crews like the International Bomb Squad, to Stick Up Girlz, and Just Havin Fun; how have these crews helped you develop as a writer, or have they at all?
___Spice: When i paint with IBS i know that we are going to rock a full production...IBS started out as an alliance of old mates on the same wave length in life, not just graffiti..but not all members now are from that era. JHF is a crew i was more than happy to be apart of. When Rem 311 asked me to be down with such an old school clique, i was honored. The name was refreshing too.. Just Havin Fun..its what im all about when it comes to me painting.
Stick Up Girls i gotta say was an absolute honour. I had met and painted with Diva (NZ) years before and she was so nice. I then met Shiro in Berlin and found her to be so nice too. So when Sinae and Can2 said they had been thinking about asking me for some time, it was really nice to know. I guess when we finally met in person, the feeling was mutual...we were like family. I felt like i had known them for years.
I paint with so many diff crew on the regular...most of my closest friends rep different crews to myself. I don't think any of the crews that i put up has any affect on my development as a writer..but it sure is nice to be down!
8. Okay we all know that when bombing walls,trains,any surface in the cover of the night, it comes along with the territory that there is a possibility you could get caught. Have you ever gotten caught? What were the circumstances?
___Spice: One day whilst coming home from a def jam, our train stopped and got raided by State Rail Cops. We had trashed the train so hard that they wouldn't let anyone leave the train till the senior detectives of the Graff Squad arrived but most of us split in attempt to escape. No one really got far as the squad was everywhere!! it was a full on heist.
Me and one guy sat down and acted like we were just passengers, but i was still taken in, all because there was a tag on the train that sounded relevant to a girl..but it was not mine. For the first time ever,that night i decided to use a decoy instead of my usual Kandy tag...but while i was held in custody, the squad took my name and relayed the info over the air where the detective in charge recognised my surname, so they were told to keep me in custody. At this point i started to freak a bit cos we all knew the stories about him.. He was serious!
When Detective Andrews arrived he came up to me in open arms saying "Kandeeeeeeeee" and hugged me like he was happy to see me..All the other writers in the room were in shock, as was I. Apparently he recognized my surname from ealier days of when my brother was busted. (thanks bro) lol... but the fact that he knew my tag..OUCH!
At that moment..i couldn't believe my luck in that i didn't bomb using that name that night. Things would've been a lot worse.
9. In your opinion, what's the best location you've bombed thus far.
___Spice: Bombed = front runners on trains... and dropping my name on the Berlin Wall was a buzz.Piece wise... anywhere is good.. I loved painting overseas, but i particularly like track sides but don't get to rock a lot of them nowadays unless they're legal, ha.
10. Now besides graff, you're a jack of all trades in other areas as well! A B-girl, the first female MC in Australia to have a single put on vinyl and rock a stage with Ice-T! And at fifteen years old, no less. What was that single about? Do you still do song writing?
___Spice: Ha,no i gave that up long ago.. not that i intended to, it just happened.
Basically that song is an introduction of the teenage me and how i saw that love should be. The song is called Hardcore Love ( i cant believe im tellin u the title haha). Although my time doing music was an amazing experience, that song your referring to, makes me cringe. I still strongly believe in what i say on the subject,even after all these yrs.. but its more so the delivery i cant stand to hear.. i hate the sound of my own voice and i even hate the title of the track haha!
11. Your day job consists of working with indigenous youth and non-speaking kids and helping them cope through trauma using hip hop and art (right?). What's that job like, what do you teach these kids to do using hip hop and art as an outlet of expression.
___Spice: Yep i used to do A LOT of outreach workshops in detention centres, youth centres, hospitals etc. These days its more mentoring before those issues, unless its a project im working on that's focused on that. I love this job with a passion..i have a lot of time for youth whom others may have no time for. The rewards are simple but very satisfying, especially when you've had people tell that your the reason they didn't commit suicide. No amount of money can compare to that.
With the lyric writing workshops, it was all about helping them express their feelings in a creative and enjoyable way.
Graffiti/Art workshops i find are a great tool... especially when i was dealing with kids who had real anger management issues. A picture tells a thousand words and sometimes words just aint enough to express ones feelings.
12. You working on anything right now, art-wise, music, etc.?
____Spice: Im working on alot right now. This time of the year sees the season for festivals. I have the 'International Womens Festival', 'The Burbs Youth Festival' that i co-organize each year.. its part of the national youth week celebrations here in Australia. I also have the 'Mays Lane' exhibition that will be exhibiting some older works from their studio to do a feature at the 'Platform Hip Hop Fest'..as well as participating in the 'Can Control' show at the Hip Hop Fest.
Hopefully i can add the "Queenz Arrive' exhibition to that list...That would be awesome!!!! I just gotta get some sponsorship happening.
'Graf-Fix' a mentoring project that I've been creating for over a year now and about to start real soon. It will be more than just a graffiti workshop.. It will run every week for a year until further funding is obtained. apart from can control, blackbook sessions etc, it will focus on how to approach someone for a legal wall, how to maintain them, respect, old school patch making, photography, your legal rights if u get caught bombing, etc.. it will also give youth the opportunity to exhibit their work in a exhibition called 'Know Thy Name' as well as having a few mural jobs lined up for them. I will also be managing walls in a project called 'Walls Apart' This all started from my mission to get more legal walls happening for everyone here in Sydney. Fuck i sound busy!
13. What advice would you give to developing girl writers?
____Spice: Do it from your heART..fuck what anyone says..do it for you and you only..and not for trying to impress any boys. Boys come n go... Its a man u want to catch. remember that!
14. As a female writer, what would you consider your greatest achivement to be this far?
____Spice: Raising 2 good kids would be my greatest achievement. They are also my greatest artwork.
I'm not sure what i would say in relation to my painting. Ill just continue to do it till i find that out :)
15. Last but not least, anything you'd like to add? :)
_____Spice: Much love to Indie, Cope, the whole SUG and SUK fam. IBS, JHF, Smut, Kewl, Dream, Tash and whoever else i paint with past and future.
Kings and Queenz will always Destroy! its time for us all to Avenge!(Apart from Bandit Queen, Avengah is another name im sometimes called) LOL.
investigate more of her spiciness.