By Fay Al Humoud
At just 23 years old, SPAZ grew a reputation within the Lebanese graffiti scene as the man behind the characters. As his passion for graffiti grew, he utilized this medium to help him express himself.
When did it all begin? And how did you first become interested in street art/graffiti?
It all started in school, I used to doodle all the time. During that time, I used to listen to hip-hop music and thought since rappers use words to express themselves and b-boys use dance to interpret their feelings, I would use graffiti for it was the easiest way for me to project my thoughts and feelings. Having graffiti as a medium of expression felt like I was able to speak through painting the streets, especially since I felt part of this community, which makes me easily inspired.
Which artist/s influenced you?
I got influenced by old-school Bronx legends Cope2, Seen, Phase2 and Futura. From the new-school, there are many artists like Sofles, Hombre, Mr. Wany, Clogtwo and Katun to name a few.
What style is your work?
I like to create characters because I think everyone can easily understand the piece just by seeing it.
What is the source of your inspiration these days?
The people I hang out with, the nature that surrounds me, and random people socializing in the streets. It helps me come up with a character by looking at any shape I come across.
What do your pieces usually focus on?
When I do a piece it naturally varies from older ones I did. It’s all about the energy so it depends on the thing we are focusing and what is happening in the country since we’re living in a place full of surprises.
What is the riskiest thing you have ever done?
By being a street artist you’re always at risk. Once I was trespassing a yard late at night and ended up running out while being chased by 20 security dogs, I never thought I could run that fast.
Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?
Most of the time I’m satisfied with the outcome, but every time I learn something new I apply it to the next piece I do.
Where is your work usually located?
All around Lebanon, specifically Beirut, but my aim is to go further and have my pieces abroad.
Do you find it difficult to work in the streets?
In Lebanon it is way easier to paint than other countries but since Lebanon is a diverse country, some people in the beginning believe that we are painting religious or political related artworks but their thoughts change when they see the final piece. Others believe we are destroying the streets and is a form of vandalism.
Have you ever had any problems with authority cause of your work?
The same thing happens with authority, they tend to stop us while knowing that there is no law that bans doing graffiti on public properties, but I believe it is way easier in Lebanon than other countries.
Do you have a formal art education?
I graduated as a graphic designer and took a master’s degree in multimedia. Currently I am a freelance illustrator and graphic designer.
Would you rather paint alone? Or do you prefer collaborate with others?
Honestly I would rather paint with crews it’s better than painting alone. It’s more fun with my Rbk and Rek brothers and sister and other mates from ACK and BROS Crew. I have the chance to salute my brothers in paint: SUP-C, EXIST, FISH, KABRIT, EPS, MEUH, BAROK, RILE, WYTE, BOB, PHAT2, CHAD THE MAD, TAZ, ZED, MOE, BH and sister NUSH.
What do you see as the future of street art / graffiti?
As we see in Lebanon the scene is evolving and getting bigger. More people are getting involved and it is better for the scene, since many people’s perceptions of graffiti have changed.
How do you feel about photographers / bloggers in the scene?
Nowadays they have a big role representing the real graffiti and street art scene, especially in the region since people are being open to this form of art in hope of understanding it better. It is important however to have the right message sent across that would not harm the scene.
You can follow SPAZ on Instagram @SPAZUNO.
SPAZ’s photo courtesy of Pierre Paipouse.