We were minded of just how good Genius is one day when we noticed a truck roll past our shop, wearing a distinct 'GENS' piece, which, of course, we snapped a photo of and shared. We then thought "Hey, that was fresh, his stuff is always fresh, let's interview this guy!". So we did. And this is how it goes...
Welcome Genius! Thanks for your time. What's been happening?
Nothing man just looking forward to the weekend, hope the sun stays round.
Tell us, how did you come to be known as Genius?
Haha I've cut through many words just because I like the letters and their flow rather than the word it's self but Genius, Gensy for short, followed by Gens!
Where do you call home? And where were you when you caught the graff bug?
A small place 4 hours North of Auckland called Kaeo & Maungonui. I'll always be coming back to Sydney though. Definitly Auckland, started tagging with straights and remember my best mates older sister hanging with writers like ASMA UGC and wanting to try do peices from there...plus moving to Sydney I remember seeing Set BCF from young.
What crew(s) do you represent, and who do you would you say are your closest scallywag graffiti writing sidekicks?
Nice Guy Division & Bacon Eggs Television Coffee (25TVC). Bust, Gasm, Shekt, Rich (before he was writing Rich in younger years) but there's nothing more therapeutic then bombing by myself, not having to worry about anyone else and I can trust my legs but not another persons mouth if their legs aren't quick enough haha.
Your style is something a little different (and super fresh), with public style elements but also some European flavour and your own flare. Who or what has been your inspiration in developing this style?
Arems MOC/KOS, Set BCF, Keep INC, Retro KGB, Tawck GBAK, Skie...also an incredibly reliable friend, Sense 293, Merske SFK, Gefo (schooled me), Roter & Hules IM, my Dad & Grandma, Asma UGC, Kuma and Urge.
Plus growing up I did art class in high school with Rich and I remember showing him how he should fill...he turned around and snapped my head off telling me art is what ever you want to be and that art is not something anyone should be told how todo...so I took a page out of his book and never forgot originality is key.
Australian graffiti seems to have it's own style, but can be a real mixing pot of European, American and other styles. Do you think we have our own thing going on that folks from other lands can identify as specifically Australian?
Hell yeah, Pedse TBK is a perfect example, aggressive, sharp lines, kick backs on bottoms of letters that are rugged, raw and jaggered. Steak SFK/whole crew have influential style and look at what Steaks doing now...killing it. Also, white hight lights, white auras and white sign offs are common. KOC pioneered styles and showed this off through their movies, hats off to them. OSF brought NYC style and public letters to a new level. Think about this, all letters have been done, all styles are generic, all letters have been bitten, all connections have already been painted, but the true artists who represent "Aussie style" are the dudes who show the globe that they claim their style and then it's up to other people to link it back to Australian nationality.
You've travelled a bit, and painted in places other than Australia, have you found a big difference in how other cities approach and respond to graffiti? Did you find it to be tougher or more relaxed than here in Sydney?
Painting in Malaysia was trippy, people were more interested to watch and observe someone paint an art form they don't commonly see. London...pretty grim, it's very hush hush and seems to be a bit more "tone it the fuck down", Sydney is perfect plus people who want to be heros can cop it. A quick story? Tried to galve in Malaysia, got subbed on a turn back while I was doing the subbing and then tried a yard and got chased by 3 blokes no taller than 5 foot but with sticks as tall as they were haha.
You always seem to hunt down some pretty sweet and unique spots, is this a priority for you? How do you go about finding these gems of locations?
Making me blush mate. My good friend Ator 25TVC/IVM is a king at lurking day spots so he's to thank for them. The rest of them, I wait them out, see what the foot traffics like, lighting, how frequent are police, could I pull this off solo/do I need subs and then after that it's just a few coffee's and a bit of confidence.
It's time for Top 3, you know the drill. We'll list something, and you hit us with your Top 3 of whatever that may be.
Things to paint other than walls:
Writers you've painted with:
Not in order
Count, out the back of 567
Ator, I'm not a calm person but this guys energy keeps me chilled as.
Roter, can talk about art all day with this guy.
Writers you haven't painted with, but want to:
Foods you can't find in Sydney:
New Zelans Pawa
New Zealans Mussels
New Zelans Snapper/John Dory
Old sash mixtapes (house for days)
Must have items when out painting (other than paint):
Comfy shoes tight as possible
Phone w camera
Who should we be keeping an eye on here in Sydney? Who's tickling your tastebuds?
Anything IM crew produce, Atari, Elvis, Srate & roleks. Whatever hasn't been done before, who's ever hitting spots you walk by every day but never thought to paint. Who's ever putting their own edge on letters to the point the concept is so new it almost looks toy but it's pulled off with such skill it becomes it's own thing..that's what I respect/look for anyway.
And what about overseas? Who's caught your eye internationally?
Taps & Moses, cheekiest, smartest, just buy their book.
What's in the future for you? More madness? Travel plans?
Wait and see, hopefully art school.
Any last words and shout outs?
Shout outs to my friends (a lot of them aren't writers haha) who always understand my prioritys with painting, put up with my "cool story's" of painting. Shout outs to all good people doing good shit by me with out me even knowing it half the time, shout outs to any good people I'll come across in the future. Everything happens for a reason. Shout outs to anyone who paints for the sake of painting, because they love art and fuck what anyone else thinks.
Thanks for the interview Montana, happy your store opened up!
Thanks for your time Gens! Keep doing your thing!