Interview: Judy Rhum
Direction: Simone Natale

A regular rendezvous on GraffZoo delving into the minds, methods, and madness of the freshest artists in the game. Each month, we shine the spotlight on a different one, uncovering what fuels their work, their inspirations, and their artistic journey. SPILL THE BEANS was cooked up to dig deep into every artist's layers: from their beginnings to their latest creations passing through lifestyle attitudes, we're covering it all. Follow along for some real talk sessions!

Everything you always wanted to know (but you were afraid to ask) about BLAZER

BLAZER takes the spotlight in this latest chapter of STB — born and raised in Verona, Italy, he blends lettering and characters that seem to emerge from every era and time zone, creating a style marked by geometric grids, balanced by a flat color palette. The result is always fascinating and can transport us to a flea market in some back alley in Shimokitazawa, where old business signs and retro plaques abound. Observing his creative process, you can't miss the recurring key elements, including a grid, crucial for balancing a composition of culturally contrasting alphabets and images, alongside constant influences from the graffiti world. So Blazer mixes geography and styles from past eras, with such variety that it's hard to define which testimony from the entire 20th century is stronger here!

We touched base with him right around the drop of Episode 44 of Grog Home Alone, the perfect format for those who like peeking behind the curtain. The artist is here in the spotlight while crafting the artwork "Psycho Love”…

“I wanted to pay homage to the Italian love story imagery, or at least, the kind of 'crazy romance' vibe that the rest of the world associates with this concept. Of course, I had a blast taking it to the extreme, throwing in those characters and subtle clichés from the past that helped me tell a story: a pin-up, the Boot, the Lira - the old symbol of the Bel Paese, and some good old-school lettering.”


When looking at your works, you inevitably notice key elements that recur in each artwork, including a very important grid, a sort of matrix that gives life and voice to a composition of alphabets and images. What is your creative process?

B: The main thing, I would say, is just the spontaneity of my process: I start with a core idea, try to give myself an initial theme, then I move forward adding subjects and lettering in a continuous stream of consciousness. Sometimes I take a cue from a song, a line from a movie, but also from wacky quotes and conversations that I come across in everyday life. The essential element, however, in my construction are indeed the grids: the spaces I do delineate have to be completely reminiscent of old-fashioned billboards, they have to strike and attract the eye from a distance!

Besides perceiving a steady influence from the world of writing, a variety of geographicinputs pop out of your illustrations, mingling with styles from past eras, which are so various that it is difficult to define which one from the entire 20th century is stronger. What are you most inspired by?

B: My strongest inspirations come from traditional tattooing from the early 1900s, also from comics, especially Japanese ones. I like to incorporate kanji lettering in my work too, as I'm learning about this fascinating script.

"Sometimes I draw inspiration from a song, a line from a movie, but also from quotes and rambling conversations I encounter in everyday life."

For this Grog Home Alone you have created an artwork following a specific color palette, emphasized by the paper texture. Which tools did you use and on what surface?

B: To make "Psycho Love," I busted out the TUTTI FRUTTI set from Grog's Pointer APP line. For sketching, I went with the thinner tips like 01 and 02, and for adding definition to the artwork, I switched to the 04 tips. That's how I achieved the effect I was aiming for on this cotton paper.

Give us 3 tracks to listen to—maybe some songs that inspire your artwork, or something you jam to while drawing, or even something that gets you hyped…

B: Check out "Do or Die" by AZ, the title track of the album. Also, "Apollo Kids" by Ghostface Killah. These tracks are straight fire and mean a lot to me; they were the first CDs I bought as a kid and really got me into the NYC art scene too. For something completely different, I'll throw in "1950" by Amedeo Minghi… lately, I’ve been obsessed with Italian music from the '70s, '80s, and '90s, and this song hits different when I’m sketching in the afternoon. It’s a blast!

Time to spill the beans: what do you have in your pockets right now? Don’t worry, no judgment here!

B: I always carry the same stuff in my pockets: house and studio keys, random cash (because I can never remember where I left my wallet the night before), a couple of markers, and my smoking kit… gotta have it! Otherwise, I wouldn’t leave the house, haha!

What an awesome keychain... where'd you get it?

B: Hello Kitty X Gundam, the exclusive to an edition of Lucca Comics, straight from Japan. I just love the design of that character and I'd buy anything with it... so I keep giving stuff like that to my girlfriend!

Follow SPILL THE BEANS for deep dives into the minds of writers and graffiti artists as we explore the connections between the scene, culture, and expression. In the meantime, you can find Blazer on Instagram to check out his feed full of projects. But it’s now time to binge this Episode 44 of Grog Home Alone, which inspired this interview!

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