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by horrorsleazetrash on February 12, 2011

HST cornered Portland street artist SKAM for an interview.  If you are Mason Paul, dont read any further.  If your some one else – enjoy!

HST: I’m obviously not from his school of thought, but often when i speak with people about graff i get the same kinda response from the Mayor in “Style Wars” , claiming graffiti was a “quality of life issue”. What are your thoughts on that?

SKAM: I think graffiti is way different than sticker art. Graffiti is tags, throw ups, pieces, etc. Stickers to me are more about the art and not so much about the ego of getting your name up everywhere. You can only go so far with just letters. To a point of abstraction. Sometimes thats a good thing and sometimes that a bad thing. I think street art is art without rules, within a gallery you have rules. with street art you can put your work anywhere and do anything with it. as long as you dont get caught in the process. I also think it takes a special person to really be in this kinda scene.  Most of these kids dont even last a full season.  Its become a trendy thing, more than a quality of life like its cool to go fuck shit up…  I just see it as a way to expose people to my work that wouldnt want to ever look at my art by putting stickers on the streets that say “save the planet kill yourself” its my way to say to the business zombie consumer “hey, fuck you. i dont believe in what you are doing.”

HST: Fuckin ay.  But its not just the street right, the online sticker community seems huge and tight nit, esspeicaly the flicker based stuff. You guys have the sticker of the year awards etc, how has the internet influenced (hate to use this phrase, however) “street art” as a community – or inspirationally even?

SKAM: well street art doesnt ever last, it usually gets taken down.  So the internet has made the ability to perserve it but brings along other unwanted things. like people just trying copy what you have done or make tough guys outta the keyboards they can hide behind.  In some ways it can take away personality, like if people knew me in real life, they might be shocked to find out that i like to listen to alot of shoegazing and that im a bird lover and sometimes i donate my time to a bird protection agency; but the plus side to the internet is meeting other artists who share your vision or inspiration, collaborating etc. Be it over the internet or by sending art through the mail.  Networking i would say is one of the best things about the internet.

HST: You had a promo free sticker pack for the Portland heads one time with melroseandfairfax (here) What was the response to that like? did you start seeing stickers you didnt stick?

SKAM: Well it wasnt really a promo pack or anything like that.  It was a trade i did with bankrupt slut.  I’ve sent my work all around the has been a great supporter and distributor of my slaps and all the people i send stickers too as well.  The only continent i dont have stickers on is antarctica

HST: I mean, the stickers and slaps around are basically free art for the people right? Are you happy for your work to be “souvinered” or do you spew over it?

SKAM: Well i spend alot of money on postage and supplies so its free for some people other people i charge them, like, 10 bucks for 30 stickers.  Especially if they are not an established artist in the street art world but for the most part i send stuff out for free.  But times can be tough, so i might start charging all the time.  I cant afford to give away my hard work for free.  I also screen print, block print, stencil, paint, thermal print, etc all my own slaps some sticker heads dont even make there own slaps… they just send off their design to have it printed. i think by me hand making them, myself, it gives it more value.

HST: Your office must be a shit tip, haha, stuff all over the fucking joint, am i on the right track?

SKAM: Actually to the untrained eye it might seem messy but its efficient.  I have everything organized into sections, work tables, supplies, the paint area, the screen print area, drying racks, stencil holders and i could go on and on but i have a system to the madness of my studio.  I also have all kinds of artists come over and work on art as well…

HST: You ever been raided or came up against a charge? Or rather not say? I have been slapping for a while and i find not alot of resistance to it. I can pretty much just do what i want, i find more interest rather than anger; as opposed to bombing or piecing.

SKAM: Ive never been busted.  I’m very careful, I’m like a shadow, id like to stay that way… I dont look like a trouble maker; more like a dude that hangs out in a library all day. The resistance i have had  has been from purist graffiti heads with their made up rules; which to me there are no rules.  Especially when it comes to street art.  Art should be about self expression, not what some ego filled nobody who tells you how you should create art and where you should put it.  Some of these graff heads let their ego overconsume them.  I hope i dont ever become a victim of that egocentric attitude

HST: Your a zombie film fan, im certain, Fulci or Romero? or some else? I can see you of a more classic man.

SKAM: Well its hard to pick a favorite but yes I eat, sleep and breath zombies.  I’m an avid zombie freak.  Anything from books, movies, comic books, television, etc.   I think the reason I’m so obsessed with zombies are for a number of reasons.  1st i think i make alot of zombie art because of the fear of death or the fear of not being able to control yourself or your loved ones from harming you. That fear can relate to disease/virus as well.  2nd growing up in our society today we are obsessed with the end of times scenero.  I mean pretty much any class and culture have preached the end of times. if everything fell apart it would be chaos but then the planet would reclaim itself again after time. 3rd a foreign body that you have no control over effecting your life, like government or the status quo of society are examples. pop culture etc,

HST: I can relate on many levels dude.  Punk or Hip Hop?

SKAM: neither! I’m strictly an electronic guy.  I grew up listening to alot of industrial music fueled my rage when i was a teen, i moved onto other paths.  Grew up.  Wanted something that wasnt distracting.  I feel that words can be boundaries for the mind. Thats why when i work on art most of the time its to music without words so my thought process is confinded by those limitations.  Some of the styles i enjoy of electronic music are – Breakcore, I.D.M(intellectual dance music), down tempo, shoegazing, drum and bass, dubstep, electro, trance, house,breaks, grime,some of my favorite artists are – Tycho, Boards of canada, klute, Tim exile, the flashbulb, wisp, casino versus japan, milieu, john b, skinny puppy, front line assembly, clark, aphex twin, squarepusher, meat beat manifesto, amen andrews, wagon christ, luke vibert, christ. i would also like to add ive actually met some of these artists in person… Alot of the close knit IDM guys are very friendly and some of them are avid supporters of my art and realize that there work inspires me and inturn i inspire them

HST: how did the “Sticker Bomb” show go, good respection?

SKAM: well sticker bomb is the worst experience ive ever had with a gallery, Mason Paul was the worst curator ive ever had to deal with… Everyone involved with the project was left hanging.  Sticker bomb happened because WE (mr say, nasty nate and I) put on sticker nerds, which was apart of gallery here on the west coast and sticker bomb happened at their counter part based in cinncinati sticker nerds we had full control of the documenting of it, producing of it and the overall exicution of it.  Sticker bomb was a whole different story we had to actually pay someone to sneak into the gallery just to get photos because Mason Paul had such a stick up his ass.  Mason Paul never had any experience dealing with street artists and how a street art show should work.  He more or less tried to polish it off like some yuppie bullshit; like “oh look at the newest trendy thing im going to make art of“.  I will never EVER deal with mason paul again.  He falls into the lines of collector.  I never made anything off of that show and got nothing but bad press from other artists i told to send their work in from now on if im doing a sticker art show its going to be in my hands so some rich kid doesnt fuck it up

HST:  God damn, raw nerve – but i dig, i dig.   Dude, how the fuck did you get your stickers shown in Iran, thats a mind blower.

SKAM: Alone from tehran did a call for artists…to be submitted into his iranian magazine.also known as an online publication called i sent alone a bunch of stickers and some 20 cm by 20 cm stencils on paper.which he pasted up in the city.but through email he told me that his house got raided and the iranian police took some of my art beause it was too controversial for them i guess


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Check out more of SKAM here –

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