In this interview we have a quick word with Smerk - the cheekiest graffiti rascal out of the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. He's one of a kind, which you'll come to realise as you make your way down this page. He packs a punch in his pieces with the classic Blue Mountains flavour. Check it out!
Crews: ATC, WAK
Location: Blue Mountains, SydneyG'day Smerk - How's it going man? Thanks for taking the time to spill some thoughts. Let's kick things off with the basics... Where did the name Smerk come from? Well back in the days when I used to smash all lines of the high school toilets. I got caught bombing the cubicles and when the teacher interrogated me for it. They would say "get that smirk off your face" and name then developed from there. Apart from being one of the most cliche graff names under the sun it still holds meaning to me. And your crews - both WAK and ATC have been around for a while, with WAK undoubtedly being probably the most notorious crew from the Blue Mountains. How did you come to be a part of WAK? Were you around from the beginning? Or were you dropped in?
I was dropped into WAK long after it was developed. Being much younger than the other members I didn't grow up painting along side them until much later. When some of the members where in their painting prime I was much younger and it wasn't until years later with the help of drug and alcohol based events that I got to know most of the writers.From either of the two crews, are there a few writers in particular that you usually get busy with? And who form these crews is notoriously fun to paint alongside?
As I have been painting with Esky -ATC and Abys -ATC for some time now, we have gathered some pretty memorable moments.They have been my main squeeze in growing up painting.
Wake -WAK and I have had some very fun forgettable moments.Your pieces carry the incredibly distinct Mountains style. Do you find it easy to separate yourself from the classic Sydney public style being that bit separated from the big smoke?
Your style develops from the environment you grow up in and learn from. Living in Sydney now I still hold roots from my mountain influences. But because of the amount of styles that are accessible to everyone now over the internet I don't think areas matter as much anymore than they used to. Which is a shame but that's how it goes now I guess.Tell us about a time that you stood back looking at your handiwork and just felt on top of the world. Where was it and what did you rock?
One time after a pretty long bender me and some of the boys thought it was a good idea to go do a panel that day. On the way to the spot I realised I had nothing for my face and had UGG boots on. I found a pair of undies (clean) in the car and used that as a bally and also a cape in the back seat which I put on. Painting the panel I stood back and got a glimpse in the reflection of the train window. I looked like a munted super hero and felt pretty on top of the world...wasted panel turned out nice though.Which writers from the Mountains has inspired you most?
Kula, Ghost, Chear, Kawt.Which writers from outside of the Mountains inspire you? From around Australia and the world. Getting your hands on paint in the Mountains has always been a bit of a task with paint shops few and far between, especially back in the day. How did you get around this? And what do you think about the paint available today?
Acquiring paint back in the day was pretty hard for me. There was one hardware with limited brands and was really pricey. So paint for me when I first started was all about Exports, Dulux and buff fills. Paint today is quality, there is an obvious market for it and as technology gets more advanced so does graffiti technology. No complaints there.Where do you see graffiti in Sydney heading? I know in the past you've shared your perspective on the 'No Tolerance' policy. Do you think things will only continue to tighten up? Or do you think they'll become more accepting of graffiti and the artistic side of it like some communities seem to be doing?
Sydney's always going to combat graffiti. I think the problem is that most people in Sydney have it too good so they have to complain about something. So kids stopping the train for 5 minutes on their way home from work makes them mad. Unfortunately Sydney isn't really open for change so, right wing run Sydney likes to make a name for itself as being safe and clean especially now with all these new "threats". Graffiti is no doubt becoming more accepted in many areas but its still considered as a low brow art form. But there will always be writers bombing no matter how tight the system is, so respect to that.It's Top 3 time. We'll drop a subject, and you tell us what your Top 3 are of whatever it may be - Go!
Albums: 1. Cunninglinguists: A Peice of Strange 2. Taskforce: Music from the Corner 3 3. Plutonic Lab: Collision of Days
Beverages: 1. Goon 2. Passion Pop 3. VB
Caps (Nozzles): 1. Export stock 2. NY fat 3. Blue dot
Foreign Writers: 1. Samsn 2. Jeroo 3. MosesColours in the MTN Range: 1. Vampire Violet 2. Pistachio Green 3. Formentura Blue
Well, Smerk, thanks again for your time and your words. Anything you'd like to say before we wrap this up, and any shout outs you'd like to give?
Shout out to Everyone in WAK , ATC and all my mountains folk punching cones and getting girls pregnant.