Sal One – Graffiti Artist Interview
FEATURED WRITER: SAL ONE
PURE GRAFFITI. What do you write? and is their a story behind that name?
SAL-ONE. I write Sal. At first I changed my tag almost every day but after a year when I really started to develop my own style and got a lot better and I decided to change my tag to something permanent. I looked at the alphabet to see which letters I liked the most and at that moment those letters were the S, A and L so I decided to write Sal. I often use Sal-One on the Internet because without the – people often pronounce it like the Italian name Salone, which isn’t correct.
PURE GRAFFITI. What age did you start writing and where are you from?
SAL-ONE. I don’t think my age is of any importance, I started writing in 1984 and I’m from The Netherlands.
PURE GRAFFITI. Which writers and artists most inspired you?
SAL-ONE. I got into graffiti because a friend of mine who went to the states brought Style Wars and Forbidden Rebels back to The Netherlands with him. Mostly all the writers in those 2 movies were writers who inspired me very much, like Seen, Dondi, Skeme, Case2, Dust, Delta2, Dez and so on. A year later graffiti exploded in The Netherlands (graffiti already existed in The Netherlands for years but Style Wars added a new dimension to the dutch graffiti scene) because they showed Style Wars on TV and it made many more people get into graffiti. I started to go to other cities to hook up with other writers and to paint and writers like Alien, Bando (he came to Amsterdam all the time), Delta (Mess), Gasp, Cat22 (Pone) influenced me also. Pretty fast I decided to minimize the influence by other writers and ended up with the style I have.
PURE GRAFFITI. What do you like the most and least about “graffiti” culture?
SAL-ONE. What I like the most about graffiti is the diversity in styles, there are so many writers on this planet and not one letter is the same.
There are many things I like the least about graffiti, the hating that’s going on, the (misplaced) arrogance many writers have and people proving so hard how real they are. It’s insane how often you hear about writers talking about other writers behind their back and the strangest thing is that many of those who do are old school. I understand that there’s some rivalry between kids and kids trying to prove themselves towards other kids, but when you are over 35, 30 even, common, just enjoy graffiti at that age or older and don’t act like a kid.
PURE GRAFFITI. What crew(S) are you in?
SAL-ONE. In alphabetical order: BNA, BW, DA2C, KD, MPC, TCK, TKO, TSF, TSM, XMEN
PURE GRAFFITI. What is Graffiti all about to you?
SAL-ONE. Back in the days I just wanted to destroy everything, getting up as much as possible and show good and clean styles. It hasn’t changed much nowadays but I’m doing it just for fun now. I still just want to show good and clean old school styles though and the feeling to want to destroy never stops.. You could say that graffiti is the main part of my life.
PURE GRAFFITI. What do you think about writers who are out for fame?
SAL-ONE. Isn’t that what it is mainly about for most people? It’s fine by me, if it’s done properly.
PURE GRAFFITI. Do you think Graffiti these days all looks the same?
SAL-ONE. I don’t think graffiti looks the same at all, maybe at first glance. There are much more styles now then back in the days. I’m really only into old school style and to be very honest I’m not really into 3d graffiti and I’m not paying much attention to 3d graffiti. I’m not saying that out of disrespect, it’s just not my thing and for me there’s only a handful of writers really standing out with 3d graffiti. You can clearly see that styles differ from country to country and even from city to city in the countries. I think it’s an incredible diverse art form.
PURE GRAFFITI. What about your friends and family, do they know about what you do and are they ok with it?
SAL-ONE. When I started writing my parents knew I was doing graffiti and more or less allowed me to do it. It’s because I said I mostly did graffiti in Amsterdam and back then it was easy to paint there because it got more or less tolerated so the chance to get caught was pretty slim, most of the spots I did were illegal though. My parents didn’t know I was doing trains and when they found out they weren’t okay with it but by then I had done over 500 pieces on trains already so it was kind of hard to say much about it. Most of my friends know I do graffiti and most of them like it, some don’t, I’m an adult so I can do whatever I want and if people don’t like it’s their problem.
PURE GRAFFITI. What motivates you daily to keep writing and do you think you are somewhat addicted to graffiti?
SAL-ONE. What motivates me daily and the most to keep on writing is the inspiration I keep on having. Graffiti is a part of me, even in the period I wasn’t active for a while I still had to draw and also tag once in a while.
PURE GRAFFITI. What kind of music are you into and do you think hip hop is a big part of graffiti?
SAL-ONE. I’m into old school R&B, Swing beat and Hip Hop. I think Hip Hop is a big part of graffiti but there are many graffiti writers who are not into Hip Hop at all.
PURE GRAFFITI. Tell us one of your crazy stories while out painting.
SAL-ONE. Just the basic stuff I guess, getting chased, hiding in alleys for hours till the cops disappeared, cutting myself open grabbing into barb wires or spikes on fences to jump over them, running or sneaking around on yards between moving trains and so on. There are so many stories, I don’t know which to choose from..
PURE GRAFFITI. What do you paint on the most, steel , walls, legals or illegal’s?
SAL-ONE. The most nowadays, legals. Regarding the others, I prefer to say “no comment”.
PURE GRAFFITI. How many pieces/burners do you think you have under your belt so far?
SAL-ONE. Uff, I can’t really tell you that, I never kept count, but thousands, for sure.
PURE GRAFFITI. What is your spray paint brand of choice and why?
SAL-ONE. My spray paint of choice is Sparvar and sadly you can’t get them anymore these days. Back in the days you just went to the store, bought them and pieced with them, without fuzzing around about caps or pressure. The caps were a pain in the ass a lot though. Nowadays I mainly use Montana Gold when I have all the time in the world to paint or for doing burners, otherwise MNT Hardcore or Krylon.
PURE GRAFFITI. Do you collect anything Graf related, what’s in your stash these days?
SAL-ONE. In the past I went to cities all over The Netherlands and took photos of pieces done by other writers and I collected copies of black books of other writers but I don’t do either of them anymore.
My ‘stash’ is nothing interesting, just makers, masks and a huge amount of cans and caps.
PURE GRAFFITI. What are some other graffiti writers you have painted with in the past?
SAL-ONE. Mostly Dutch writers like Zeis, Gasp, Delta, Cat22, Beat53, Eras, Sore, Sure and many, many more and from Peru, Doser, Jade, Orbit, Kars and Wesr. I was going to do a European ‘tour’ this summer (2008) but due to some circumstances I wasn’t able to. There’s already things planned for next year in Europe and The States, Puerto Rico and Brazil are on my list to do a ‘tour’ also.
PURE GRAFFITI. Have you painted in any other country’s and if so which ones?
SAL-ONE. The only foreign country so far I’ve painted in is Peru, mostly bombing. I did some bombing in Germany and France but that’s really not worth mentioning.
PURE GRAFFITI. Is there anything you haven’t accomplished yet as a Graffiti artist?
SAL-ONE. I’m happy with where I’m at with graffiti. I’ve paid my dues with graffiti and I don’t have to prove anything to anybody anymore. One of the highlights though for me is that I’m now doing logo designing for Jodeci.
PURE GRAFFITI. Do you think Graffiti has reached its limits or do you think amazing new styles will keep arising?
SAL-ONE. Graffiti will develop more and more, just endless possibilities and styles.
PURE GRAFFITI. What are your thoughts on OLD SKOOL Graffiti and present day?
SAL-ONE. Old school graffiti was much more about clean and good letters no matter chromes or burners. These days I see a lot of writers doing crazy burners or crazy 3d pieces but when you dissect the pieces and take away all the colors and bits and pieces the letters are just whack. It’s a pity that many people don’t look beyond all the colors and shit.
PURE GRAFFITI. What do you think about Graffiti on the Internet?
SAL-ONE. It’s easy to get fame now, too easy. You paint somewhere, take a picture of it and put it online and people all over the world can see it. Back in the days it was completely different, you had to get up as much as possible to get fame, digital cameras and Internet didn’t exist back in the days. If I would have known that the Internet would be such an important medium for graffiti in the future I would have taken much more importance and priority in taking photos of my pieces, I have almost no photos.
PURE GRAFFITI. How do you feel about train writing?
SAL-ONE. Each and every train I see still makes me want to bomb it and I can’t resist to look at train when it’s passing by to see if it’s been bombed, I think that answers the question.
PURE GRAFFITI. Who do you believe your audience is, writers or regular folks?
SAL-ONE. I’ve noticed I got a very broad audience, old school writers, new school writers, 3d graffers and people who are into art or just appreciate art.
PURE GRAFFITI. Is graffiti political? should it be more so?
SAL-ONE. It’s an art form and it should stay like that.
PURE GRAFFITI. How did you develop such good technical painting and drawing skills? What can the rest of us do to sharpen our own?
SAL-ONE. I’ve been drawing pretty much all my life, runs in the family so I already had a pretty steady hand before I started to do graffiti. The only things I can say about developing skills as in style is study styles (which is easy because of the Internet) as much as possible and draw as much as possible. The more you do it the more and faster you develop your skills. I’ve been lucky I started to develop my style pretty fast, for others it might take some years, but that’s how it is, patience and practice. If you ain’t got that, don’t think about starting to do graffiti.
The same goes for painting, paint as much as possible to develop your skills. Many ask me the same question and I often tell people they could get a piece of plywood or a canvas or something to work at home on their can control by spray painting on it.
One other thing, don’t bite!
PURE GRAFFITI. What other media do you work in besides spray paint? How do you feel about using airbrushes?
SAL-ONE. I love airbrushing and I actually am playing with the thought to start airbrushing. I also am thinking about starting to turn my sketches into sculptured pieces out of wood or stone.
PURE GRAFFITI. What are your feelings about more experienced writers referring to younger learning writers as “TOYS”?
SAL-ONE. Every writer has to start somewhere, we’ve all been there. Some of the new writers will turn into legends or kings of the next generations. I don’t really like the term ‘toys’ but some just ask for it with showing the wackest shit. Start tagging and shit but keep your sketches to yourself and wait with piecing and showing your sketches till you get a decent style.
PURE GRAFFITI. If you could teach or tell the kids something, what would it be
SAL-ONE. The usual cliche, “Finish school!” Don’t let graffiti interfere with school.
When you start with graffiti and you paint illegal you WILL get caught at some point and if you don’t have the balls for that or the balls to keep your mouth shut then don’t start with graffiti, don’t start either if you don’t have any patience, it takes time to develop skills.
PURE GRAFFITI. Is their anything else you would like to add that was not asked in the interview?
SAL-ONE. Yah, I wish those who make graffiti movies would stop showing so much violence and other whack shit. Graffiti has such a bad reputation already and by showing so much violence you’ll just make it worse. Use the media to get more understanding for graffiti!
PURE GRAFFITI. Your web site and where can we see some more of your pictures?
SAL-ONE. All my works and the links to other sites I’m on are on my web site, http://sal-one.com
A special thanks to SAL-ONE for participating in Pure Graffiti!
Copyright Notice for this page: all photos, letters, scans, designs & styles are � sal (saL-onE) since 1984, page content may not be used without written permission!
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