Graffiti Iran Magazine's interview with DOES

Netherlands graffiti artist

DOES , who is one of the most famous graffiti artists in the world borned in 1989 , Veghel , Netherlands.he started professional football in age 9 and he became intersted in graffiti in 1997. So he needed to live two different lives , he did graffiti at nights secretly and he used to play as a professional football player in netherlands league in days !

This double life continued for does till 2010 until he was injured in football field in an accident and had to stop playing professional football for ever.

This accident made does to concentrate on graffiti and today we know him as one of the most successful graffiti artists in the world. The life of does and his effort and perseverance can be inspiring for a larg group of graffiti artists in the world and Iran.we arranged an interview with does that you can read it in the following:

-what’s your motivation to do graffiti? When did everything start?

- Well it goes way back the reason why I started painting . the main reason was because I used to be a professional athlete, so I started football and I was a professional football player like soccer, I started when I was five years old, went to professional team when I was age of eight or nine, did the whole youth academy , it was all about training and getting better and a lot of discipline. But when I grew up , I thought like I need a sort of a relief to do something next to my Passion, yeah true, so at some point I started like doing tags in the streets and nobody knew about it and it was sort of a secret , I kinda lived this secret life ,a double life ,So I just started painting in streets didn’t really know what it was , just some tags and scribbles and then at some points I saw graffiti in my area where I lived and then I choosed the name and I started working with these letters and still the name was does , so I thought of it really early and that was in 96 or 97, so more than twenty years ago , And that felt so as an anonymous and it wasn’t about the person it was about the results and being on time and very disciplined and like having a second life so much freedom so it was the right balance at that point. And yeah it was sort of a double life and only my friends knew about it, so it felt like freedom like doing something that it is not really legal and allowed even my parents didn’t know in the beginning , so yeah for me it was perfect balance that with my sport’s career and creative part but I really didn’t know at that point that I had the ambition to become a professional artist.

- when did you realize on the way , oh my god I’m a brilliant artist, when did you get it? What happened that gave you this conception that yeah I made it ?

-Um well it just took a while though, I did a lot of training , a lot of hours to invest in my style and know actually what I want to do, also in my book , my recent book , you can really see in the beginning that it’s about trying to find your style so I tried a lot of different things like from 3D to simple basic letters and then at some point you see something you know , a change in my style and that was in 2004-2005 i think , I realized that I want to go this direction , I keep focusing on that style and then I think in 2010 , after my professional career , I did an exhibition in Australia and that went really wel , l so that’s where I felt like this could be my next job , my next passion , so people would put a lot of trust and I have loved good feedback and it was the start of social media so I had many responses on social media so it was helpful and that was all around 2010-2012 I think, that I felt like this could be something serious.

- Awesome , I believe that you’re a self taught graffiti artist, but where there or is there still any graffiti artists that you admire their work and you feel like they helped you or taught you something along the way?

-Sure sure, definitely in the beginning in 2003 to 2008 I had few artists in my area who were better than me , they were high level they teach me stuff and we started a graffiti crew which was called “Love Letters”, and then at some point I realized that in this period I learned a lot but I also felt like I do a lot of consations like if you paint together you always think about what the other guy is doing next to you, and I mean , it helped me a lot in the beginning but at some point I felt like maybe it’s good to focus on your own, then I moved to Australia with my kid and my wife, and then I was getting more independent that was in 2010 and at the beginning I didn’t know anyone there and I started painting and it felt also sort of a relief just to do what you think is good and helped me to be more independent and also felt like it’s easier to make decisions and before it I took sometimes a while to choose which colors we’re gonna use and there are many examples but so easy to just be responsible for your own stuff.

-Yeah and kinda do it on your own!

-Yeah to be more independent it helped me with my career to make my own decisions and I didn’t need to Wait for others and I slowly need people around me to help me focusing on my own project and so in the beginning I was great with people of course and then to get feedback from other people but yeah at some point I also realized now it’s time to focus to work more solo Than with a crew . Now it feels really good just to know what I have to do instead of waiting or I’m happy that I made that decision at some point.

-That’s wonderful , have you ever travelled because of graffiti?

- Uh well the good thing nowadays is there are many opportunities around the world for artists because of social media so I had many opportunities to do projects world wide and it gave me so much confident to do my artwork around the world and meet new people and to see the different cultures and it’s really inspiring to go to different spots around the world

-Awesome, which one was your favorite? Or the most memorable place that you’ve been?

-Uh every continent is different, what I felt the last ten years travelling from south you go to South America to Asia and Asia is different from Australia and which makes it very inspiring so there are many good memories of the last ten fifteen years. the really nice part about traveling is you also meet the local people and you’re an artist you usually got invited by local artist and then they take you off from the airport and they would like to show you the best part of the city and it’s easier to see the best places at short time and when you go on tour you just go there and you find the tourist spots but if you’re an artist and you meet the locals they know the secret spots and sometimes it’s very surprising to visit spots we usually never go to , if you go there as a tourist . For example in New York like ten years ago I stayed in The Bronx and the guy there he probably took me to different spots like also spots to paint you don’t go as a tourist , like few years back in Thailand the same, it’s always like that you go the best restaurants because they know the right spots and um the best views cause usually it’s not for tourists but local people know where to go, you know what I mean?

- Yes exactly I usually do the same thing like I don’t care what my tourleader is gonna tell me , I ask people like which restaurants do you suggest that I should go or where are the places you that you think I should go there and I’m gonna have the most miraculous experiences there.

- Exactly so that’s the cool thing about travelling around and respect the culture and be open minded and try to learn how they think how they approach things and for me it’s very inspiring.

-Awesome so is this one of the ways you get inspired by traveling and learning about different cultures and people? What are the other ways ?

- You see it directly in my work but it keeps me motivated to find ways to show my work and not really be to like material or the size of the wall and the canvas just be open minded and I think that’s my personality now cause I traveled a lot it helped me slit to nowadays.

-do you know any Iranian artists? Or have you ever seen Persian graffiti arts that you felt like that’s beautiful?

- Unfortunately not but I would love to know them.I also would love to meet people from there and to see exactly how they do their stuff cause it’s very interesting I love to motivate these guys if possible and that’s also I felt fantastic when you sent me an email I really like to get around and also try whenever I can cause people did that with me when I was younger.

- I know about the legal issues that many graffiti artists face so what are the situation in netherlands ?

- Yeah The reason why I don’t show my face is for different reasons , it has not to be for illegal stuff and for me it’s a choice to not show my face because I used to be a football player and it was all about the person and I would like to show my artwork it would be the person , and the reason I don’t show my face because it’s still very personal and I see as a different world like the sports world and the art world and yeah feels better to just show my face instead of my face behind it.

- Yeah you want people to get the message not just be focused on the person who’s saying it , That’s wonderful so you don’t have much legal problems cause in Iran we have very few walls that we refer to as free walls, do you have many free walls in Netherlands or no you don’t care?

- No no there were a lot of free walls when I started there , but stuff is changing over the years and I think every city has walls that you can paint and to give people the freedom to do their stuff there but my intentions now is not to vandalize stuff I just want to show my work and on a proper way so people can enjoy it and I don’t want to Destroy anything.I mean that when you’re younger of course it’s difficult sometimes to understand them, I got arrested when I was younger but I’ve learnt after that I was painting illegal trackside along the train line.

-how was the place?how much it dangerous?

- Aw no was not so dangerous but I got arrested and I learned from that, what I wanna say is it’s sometimes you live and learn and that was a good example that I didn’t want to have more issues in the future and so yeah people used to saying like sometimes you just need stuff all people around you can guide you the right way and sometimes if you do stuff and you think afterwards it’s learn from that yeah you live and learn you’re responsible for your own things you do if you have the right intentions i think you will find your path somehow.

- one other question I have is about the materials you have like resins or gypsum or wall texture do you use any specific thing or I don’t know you go with it, cause we don’t have access to many of the materials other graffiti artists have around the world .

- materials shouldn’t be an issue for me I mean I understand that in some countries it’s difficult to get all the materials but there’re always options to work with the local materials so from the beginning I decided to also paint with shoe paint for example because I didn’t really have good things and then yeah during the years I found the right materials. when I started there was one spray brand in my area ,So speaking about materials for me it shouldn’t be an issue I can use whatever I have of course now it has to do with the resistance if the paint doesn’t fade or when I look back like for example old canvas it also period of time it’s the same with taking a picture like back in the days cameras were less good . so yeah material wise yes i think I’m lucky that I have the opportunity to use all different materials and to find the right tricks and how to use it. And I was also wondering like which brands or materials you have in Iran and how does it work maybe I can ask this later from you I’m interested in like the culture.

- You wrote the book " first 20 years " recently which seems it is an archive from your artworks in last 20 years, what can u tell us about the importance of archieving ?? in this book we can clearly understand and see your progress and acheaving to your nowadays awsome style , can you tell us how can we get to a good style in graffiti writing?

- Yeah yeah I mean just keep an archive for me it’s very important and I suggest to people who start to collect all the work and to new artist I say you have to train a lot and spend a lot of time drawing and how to find your own way and how to use layers and what you want to paint it doesn’t happen fast it takes time to train and you need a lot of patience and that’s also to know which direction you want to go if you think you know what you wanna do still keep training I still do train to know what to do in different situations and also never give up so you need a lot of discipline also when it doesn’t really work you’re going to the right direction and push things through work and sometimes it’s really annoying and I always know that there’s my artistic idea that it’s getting there and sometimes it takes hours and hours till you feel confident just to get to certain points never give up, even now sometimes it takes me three to four hours to get there and after years I’m still struggling but now I realize despite the process now when I do a wall i learnt how to switch that way of thinking cause I trained a lot I know when I start something new I always know there’s some points and there will be I’m i always know You know what I mean?

After twenty years I still have moments it’s pretty much , when I create something new like a wall or a painting or a drawing or depends on the size of the wall it’s always struggling I’m always struggling even now after twenty years and it’s part of how I do stuff I need the struggling in the beginning but there’s always a switch where you feel like you’re getting more confident and you know that it’s going to be good and your going to be satisfied like the beginning is always going to be hard that’s the reason I said never give up and just try to go on and on and on and on And practice and be patient because it takes time to get better.

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