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STORY BEHIND YOUR PSEUDO:
I started writing KEM5 in the early to mid 90’s. The name has no specific meaning I just liked how easily the letters could be styled. Today I mostly write KEMS or KEMR, which allows me more options stylistically.
FIRST AND RECENT GRAFFITI EXPERIENCES:
I have always been interested in graffiti. When I was young my mom would take me into the city and I would watch pieces speed pass the train window. It intrigued me greatly, I often wondered who did it and why? I did not meet any real writers until high school. Around this time I started skateboarding with this kid who wrote Ninel, he was an incredibly talented skater and artist. One day he showed me his black book and some of the letter styles he was working on. He explained to me the technique of cutting back and the use of special tips. From that moment on, my life changed and I became more driven to better understand the craft of graffiti.
INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATION:
[…] Overall I would say that traveling has had the biggest influence on me as a writer and individual. Going to different places has given me a better perspective on life. […] The more experiences you have the greater it will influence your creative process. Working in the design and fashion industry has also influenced my style a lot. It’s actually funny how closely graffiti parallels fashion. The two worlds seem to co-inside with what popular in both colors and patterns.
WHAT IS GRAFFITI ALL ABOUT TO YOU?
PERCEPTION OF THE CURRENT GRAFFITI SCENE IN YOUR COUNTRY:
The United States has a solid graff scene. There are a lot of amazing writers producing an interesting array of styles. We are very resourceful and continually find new ways of reinventing ourselves. As for the general public’s perception of graffiti, it’s still very closed-minded. The average citizen can’t distinguish between graffiti art and vandalism. It all looks the same to them. Graffiti is still stigmatized as a crime of youth or gang activity. Even the art world in the States still does not fully embrace graffiti as an art form, which is a shame because it’s one of the longest running art movement in the world.
3 WORDS THAT WOULD BEST DEFINE YOUR STYLE:
Colorful, Technical, Neurotic.
CHARACTERISTICS THAT SET YOU APART IN THE GRAFFITI SCENE
I put a lot of effort into making sure my work is relevant but still grounded in my own unique technical style. I use color to my advantage by juxtaposing different tones to create a specific mood. My color selection is usually then supported by intricate fills and details to give the piece depth. This unique combination creates a distinctive style that most people recognize.
FAVORITE SPOTS TO PAINT GRAFFITI:
It’s too hard for me to name one favorite thing because each spot has its own unique quality that will elicit a different result. I like to let the spot dictate what I will paint. For instance if it’s an abandon spot my work will be more organic. If it’s a pristine wall the piece will be more calculated, if it’s illegal spot it will be more instinctual.
WHAT DOES TAHITI REPRESENT TO YOU?
Tahiti is an opportunity to positively represent graffiti art in a part of the world that I didn’t even know it would have existed. I’m very excited to be apart of this project and look forward to great things.