Dear Selina, Thank you for accepting our invitation on behalf of HocTok.
Hi! Thanks so much for considering me for an interview.
How do you describe the energy of graffiti and street art and what generates it?
The two are quite different and I think it’s important not to place them in the same category. Graffiti can be synonymous with vandalism, belligerence, or it can be about style and mastery of letter forms, it can be a social activity or the exact opposite. Street art can be political, or profitable. It depends on the individual. There are many motivations.
What are the best spots for graffiti and street art?
Thanks to the Internet, graffiti and street art have become such a universal phenomenon it’s really hard to imagine a specific place that I enjoy for this reason. Every area has its own aspects to love and dislike.
How would you like your work to be described and what impact do you intend it to have?
Speaking about my personal, self-initiated projects, I would like to share a little happiness or beauty with the world, or maybe ask them to reconsider a notion they may have been holding onto.
Who are your favorite artists whose works you’ve documented most?
I try not to play by favorites. I like to work with a diverse range of artists and they are all great for different reasons.
That said, I have an ongoing collaboration with Felipe Pantone, who inspires me a lot with his work ethic. Sofles and I obviously share quite a special bond because of the projects we have worked together. I also really enjoy working with Guido Van Helten, his goals for his work are very much in line with my own.
What other art forms do you enjoy?
Music, literature, film; all the usual suspects. I read a great thing recently by an amazing comic (The Oatmeal.) In it he says, “Creativity is like breathing. When you make stuff, you’re exhaling. But you can’t exhale forever, eventually you have to breathe in, or you’ll be dead.” So, I try to enjoy these other art forms as often as possible.
What are your long term objectives and what are your proudest achievement so far?
I have never really felt that I had a clear objective. I came into film very much by accident, and then one of my videos, “Limitless” came out and had two million views overnight. It was quite a surprise. Even when I started working overseas on my first big commercial projects, I never really remember being shocked or excited or feeling that I had reached a “point.” I have always been going with the flow. Maybe this is why I don’t really have a “point” in mind now because I know how suddenly things can change. If I had a long term objective, it would be to keep enjoying life and being inspired or as long as possible.
What advice do you have for anyone interested in being a full time traveler and traveling artist?
If you decide to take the leap into a full-time creative career, I think you need to put in 100%. I know a lot of people who try to hold on to normalcy in a way. They have part-time jobs and still want to have that brand new car and the gym membership and so on, and they end up in a kind of a limbo. If you take the plunge and decide to travel full time, let go of material possessions, and put 100% of your energy into your work, it usually pays off sooner or later.
What are your top five places to visit and live in as an artist?
Melbourne, Australia is an obvious choice, particularly the Collingwood and Fritzroy areas which really foster all types of creative expression. Valencia, Spain is my go-to choice for Europe. The weather is very similar to my hometown, and it’s the perfect size. In some ways it’s like a little Barcelona or Madrid with a lot less tourists. And there’s a beach! Iceland is a must-visit for anyone interested in the visual arts. It’s unbelievably beautiful and it is home to the kindest, most genuine people I’ve met. It also has quite a thriving graffiti scene. Paris is my favorite big city. It has so many layers. It’s a challenging place for me intellectually and emotionally and I like it! I’ve also been very lucky to experience quite a bit of the Pacific, particularly Polynesia and Melanesia. These places are paradise for a filmmaker as they have amazing landscapes, rich traditions, and their fair share of unique advantages and challenges ecologically, socially, and politically.
What is a remarkable story you’ve been part of or heard of lately?
Something interesting I witnessed recently was in Vanuatu, where I was shooting in a small village community about 10km from the city of Port Vila. There was a lot of trash laying around in the village and so we went to the supermarket, we saw these special council garbage bags on sale with a sigh saying “Keep Vanuatu Beautiful.” We bought them and took them the next day to the village. There was a whole gang of lovely young kids who enthusiastically started helping us pick up all the trash, which is something I can’t imagine ever happening in a Western country. When we finished, we asked if we should put the bags on the street to be collected, and everyone looked at us confused. It turns out that even 10 km from the city, the only way to have your trash collected is to pay a private company about $30 AUD, which is something like a third of the average weekly wage. It’s also illegal to burn your trash there. Waste management just seems like an expected human right to us, so it shocked us a lot to realize the reason why there was trash around. These people had been left with no other option.