SHOUT: What do you say to people who claim that graffiti is a crass, dumb and a simplistic way to express oneself?
VEXTA:I don’t know many people who might say that but I would say to them – If graffiti doesn’t speak to you in the function and the power of its form, and its beautiful simplistic rebellion there is maybe no helping you to see the freedom of expression it holds closet to its core. All art can be beautiful or crass, its up to the viewer to decide what they like and how it makes them feel. The very essence of graffiti and street art is creation / destruction / creation / destruction / creation / destruction, you cant have one without the other. That is its truth.
SHOUT: Is it cheating to use stencils?
VEXTA: No. Not for me. I use stencils just as another tool in my armory. I think of them like another kind of brush rather than just for making prints. I’m interested in using them in a way that goes against what they are traditionally used. For me they are just one element in my paintings.
SHOUT: What artists do you rate?
Artists, who stay true to their own expression and beliefs. Artist’s who are not afraid to be different and to sometimes fail. Artists who risk their homes and their lives to make work under oppressive regimes. Plus all the rad women making powerful work in the street art world. These are the people I rate and there is too many of them for me to name.
SHOUT: Graffiti has always been a form of dissent. How did you get into it and what made you decide to voice your message through the medium of graffiti?
VEXTA: Dissent got me into it. I was already involved in some political and environmental activism. I wasn’t afraid to break the law to draw attention to ideas and issues I felt were important. I saw making art on the street as a direct line to people, to the world around me. Plus its super fun.
SHOUT: What initially attracted you into graffiti?
VEXTA: One of the memories of my childhood is standing in a neighborhood of Sydney and looking at what seemed big at the time, anarchy symbol spray-painted in black on a wall. I wondered why it was there? what did it mean? And who did it? It piqued my curiosity and took my thoughts in a different direction that day. That memory stayed with me. Maybe that was my initial attraction. It made me think. And I guess I’ve always just liked to break the rules too.
SHOUT: Do you think you’ll branch out into other forms of expression (street installations, stickers, or video projections)?
VEXTA: I’ve been putting up stickers on and off for years. I might make other things on the street or I might just keep painting on walls. I’m definitely interested in video projections and am working on a few things currently. I’m also interested in mixing more of my art with music and making installations. Lately I’ve been making installations for some music festivals.
SHOUT: What does the expressive instrument of art do for you? What do you think it does for others who view your work?
VEXTA: If I didn’t make art I feel like I would wilt, curl up and die. For me it is as important as eating or breathing. Its always been like that for me in my life, I spent my childhood formulating plans to construct elaborate hidden studios in my family house in order to do my ‘’work”. I don’t know exactly what my work does for others because I’m not them, Maybe it inspires, invigorates, maybe it makes people love their neighborhoods, brings people together to talk about art, makes people remember freedom and how important it is maybe some people get a headache ? Ha ha.
SHOUT: Some people may label what you do as petty vandalism. How do you define the difference between vandalism & art? Beauty vs. Permission? Do you consider what you do as vandalism? Why or why not?
VEXTA: You cannot compare Beauty and Permission. I will write on walls if I feel like it. I will make artwork on the walls of buildings with the property owner’s permission and sometimes without. I don’t ever care to ask the government or council. I go direct to the people of the street. Sometimes I am a vandal sometimes I am an artist. Sometimes and most of the time I am both.
SHOUT: Arrest may be an inevitable outcome for what you do, have these thoughts ever crossed your mind? Do you have a contingency plan in place if this unfortunate situation occurs?
VEXTA: Yes, run, or charm my way out it, or pay the fine or call my lawyer or if the risk is to big don’t take it. Most of the time the first two have worked. Always know your rights. The law is just a web and the smartest spider is the one who navigates it best.
SHOUT: Do you think your message would be as effective and have as much of an impact if it was expressed and exhibited in another form?
VEXTA: I make exhibitions in galleries as well as art on the street and sometimes I feel like sometimes this can have more of an impact. Because in exhibitions I can show all the parts of the stories I’m telling at once and make it more immersive for the viewer. At the same time the element of surprise and reaching people who would never go into a gallery on the street is undeniable.
From Australia with love
Meet one of the best graffiti artist in the world.
SHOUT: What’s the craziest situation that you have gotten into while out tagging?
VEXTA: There’s been so many: running into friends in empty buildings, making friends while painting, running from police, meetings film makers. Crazy wild nights in bizarre places with good friends.
SHOUT: As a woman graffiti artist, how do you view the role of women in a mostly male controlled medium?
VEXTA: I can’t speak for every woman but I can speak for myself and my role as a woman is to speak my truth and to hopefully inspire other women to be fierce in their beliefs. I want to make work that is strong, beautiful and feminine but work that men can react and relate too as well.
SHOUT: Thank you so much for this chance to know you better, we´re pretty sure our readers will really enjoy this interview along whit your art. We wish you the best for this New Year, and we will be impatiently waiting for your new projects.