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Things you only know if you're a street artist
Written by
Cassidy Knowlton

... according to Kaff-eine, a Melbourne street artist

How to paint outside in bad weather

“I bitch about it, but really that’s part of painting on the streets! I’ll only stop if it’s really pouring (I use water-based paint) or when working high on boom lifts, so windy that I legally can’t use the lift.”

What to do about people who see street art as ‘graffiti’

“Even though my knowledge of the Crimes Act and associated legislation is a few years old now [Kaff-eine trained as a lawyer], I’m happy to engage any law enforcer trying to prevent me from lawfully doing my job. I love to argue, I’ve been well trained to do so, and I really love to win. Ironically, the only time I clashed with the police was while painting a legal piece on Bridge Road, Richmond, in the middle of the day; some grumpy local called police, who turned up all macho and harsh, and it took me some time to talk them down. Occasionally I’ll get some entitled nosy person yelling at me. It’s usually old conservative men.”

How to use the whole wall (and not sweat the details)

“Many things, some of them unforeseeable and uncontrollable, impact on how I finish the street works, so I might end up painting something that is quite different to how I’d imagined it. I’m OK with that. Once I’ve sketched up the piece on the wall I usually paint it in its entirety, one colour at a time. I prefer not to work in small sections; it’s more fun to cut loose with big gestural marks on a large wall. I’m always happier if my works are more painterly and messy than if they’re tight and detailed.”  

Why Melbourne is a great city to be a street artist (but it does have its problems)

“The City of Melbourne has created for itself an uncomfortable bind, with local and state laws criminalising the very acts that attract paying tourists. But it’s a city where travelling street artists will readily find crews and street artists keen to meet them, share stories, collaborate, share walls, and learn from each other. It’s a great city in which to be an artist.”  

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