TEAM ROBBO INTERVIEW
MARK DOZE: TEAM ROBBO is an umbrella under which real Graffiti Writers can come together in unity and show their love for the culture and galvanize to fight back against the erosion of our scene.
PRIME: TEAM ROBBO for me represents a simple acknowledgment that we want to promote culture, something that is significant and rises above the sole aim of making money or having a cheap copycat stab at fame. Graffiti Writing stylized letters and therefore TEAM ROBBO, is a culture with all the good, bad and ugly shit that comes with.
FUEL: Simply put TR is defined by writers who aim to expose the hypocrisy and myth making within the BANKSY corporation.More widely the movement aims to continue ‘just bombing and while attacking the symbols of those who have become the property of the rich, we are!
Who founded Team ROBBO, when and why?
MARK DOZE: On Christmas Day 2009 ROBBO came out of retirement to hit back after a 24 year old 'piece of his had been partially gone over by BANKSY. The piece was only accessible by traversing the canal in Camden Town, so ROBBO squeezed into a wet suit and over he went to alter the 'piece so it said 'KING ROBBO'. He hit-up 'TEAM ROBBO' on it and the name stuck.
PRIME: It has always been existing, it goes beyond a single incident. Most of these "Street Artists" will be forgotten; their names won't work through generations.
FUEL: TR formed when the BANKSY corporation usurped one of the oldest pieces of graffiti in London for their own self advancing ends.
How many people are on the team?
MARK DOZE: Who knows?
PRIME: The Team grows, it isn't a crew but an understanding of the real blood, sweet and tears that is behind graffiti writing.
FUEL: I’m not sure but I sense it’s growing.
Can anyone join, or are there specific requirements to join up?
MARK DOZE: There's no specific requirements. You don't have to ask or be asked. If your a real Writer or support real Writers then you're TEAM ROBBO, it's that simple!
PRIME: If you recognize the significant role graffiti writing plays as a culture then you're down. My approach would be to do more, hone your skills whether that be in your art or the sport of writing your name, and make your presence felt.
FUEL: I believe anyone can join as long as you share the philosophy.
BANKSY started off as a traditional graffiti writer, but achieved fame for work that is more easily categorized as street art. How does that factor into how UK writers feel about him?
PIC: To sum it up you have three categories. You got your Lovers, Admirers and your Haters.
MARK DOZE: It's difficult to say, I'm guessing though that many Writers may feel he 'sold-out' or that possibly he used Graf to get to where he wanted to be. He certainly used the elusive and invisible aspect of the Graf Writer to his advantage.
PRIME: I think a lot of U.K. writers don't know or recognize the support BANKSY has given intentionally or unintentionally to U.K. writers. Some writers feel that Street Art is sanitized. Some think the core of graffiti writing is still intact, and should always be beyond the reach of popular opinion.
FUEL: The individual BANKSY is generally considered a failed writer (toy) who went on to become a hugely successful self publicist.
Is BANKSY respected by writers in the UK?
PIC: If he did have some respect, It's dwindling now.
MARK DOZE: I'm sure to a large extent he is, we're not philistines when it comes to art. He 'gets up', he employs the same tactics as a street bomber does, so I guess he's respected for that. Having said that I don't know of any Graf Writers who get their work covered in Perspex, but if you were to bomb the Perspex that covers a BANKSY work then you'll find yourself getting arrested. Obviously our local councils and police forces are art critics too.
PRIME: Some respect him, some don't.
FUEL: Many writers would probably respect him more, but his constant desperate attempts to gain attention from the media and general public have created an attitude which ranges from mild annoyance to contempt.
How do you feel about BANKSY's work?
Later down the line...What a cheeky cunt.
MARK DOZE: A lot of it I like, particularly some of the earlier work. I think he's shown great humor and been sharp on topical, political and environmental issues. The problem I think a lot of people have is whether the more recent stuff is conceived, or even executed, by BANKSY. This happens with artists who become corporate, it's not uncommon.
PRIME: I like a lot of BANKSY's work, I think his impact has been revolutionary.
FUEL: Early on I recognized something in his bombing strategy. There was a design to his targets and while I noticed his prominence in some key areas I found him unrepresented in huge swathes of lets say less sexy locations across London. There was a snobbery to his targets which set him out as someone who’s motives were removed from that of subcultural graffiti. The success of these targets became apparent as his work began being bought and traded by the very sections of society he supposedly attacked. And as the signed BANKSY prints kept rolling out any subsequent meaning in his work was completely lost.
How do you think the war with BANKSY might be resolved?
MARK DOZE: I think war is maybe over-stating it but to answer the question....I have no idea.
PRIME: By a good handshake then graffiti writers spraying everything, with style.
FUEL: When the investors who own his work have lost a lot of sleep and weight due to the depleting value of their stock. When the definition is made clear and no one can confuse me or any other graffiti artist with BANKSY. When his corporation is brought out for what it is and they can no longer hide behind the hero myth.
What are your artistic plans for the future?
MARK DOZE: I'm still breathing, so I'm still painting, when I get the time of course....it never leaves you; this Graf thing you know? I'm mentoring my son who's 13 and he's showing real promise. I'm also involving myself with the Survival International charity which helps indigenous peoples fight over land rights etc......it's all good at the moment, the Team is strong!
PRIME: My plans are to create more, and hone the skills I have.
FUEL: Painting walls and trains with graffiti from my heart.
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