Interview: Pietro Rivasi
Text editing: Corrado Piazza
Translation: Giacomo Pelizza

I have been into the Graff world for some years now and as time goes by I am more and more convinced that the majority of writers are stupid macho graffiti-nerds, more worried about finding excuses about their lack of style than about their own pieces. This one might be the exception and for sure he’s not another “nigga wannabee” with oversized clown pants, listening to hip hop and wearing bulky headphones. Relik is a smart guy from Sweden, he has got lots of interests besides graff, cool letters and a great fuck-your-macho-stance attitude! Enjoy!!

Your hardest mission (as a writer)?
Eehh… I don’t really know if I’ve ever done something that you can describe as a really hard mission. I don’t paint trains because I don’t like the stress. I like to do colourful burners and I like to take my time so I stick to the walls. But it’s not the easiest thing either. Things have changed in the last couple of years in Stockholm. 5-6 years a go we could easily stand on a train line wall the whole night trough, nowadays you can stand maybe half an hour or get chased after five minutes if you are unlucky.

Your routine (as writer)?
I don’t have a special routine... I almost always sketch before I go out to paint and I always try to come up with new fresh colour combinations! I mostly paint in the weekends because I have a nice job to go to and a lot of other interests too.

Everyday life and coping with jail time. Enjoying this lifestyle?
Actually I can’t see myself as a criminal. I don’t do criminal stuff except things connected to graffiti. The risk of getting a jail sentence is nothing I think of. For me graffiti is a hobby and as I said, I don’t think I take large risks.

Answer this: the more I drink, the more I...?
… get the urge to bomb! I think that every writer would recognize this one, haha! I don’t know what it is, but you always get this mad inspiration to just go nuts with the marker when you’re wasted. It’s like you become invisible and invincible at the same time... you can do whatever you want to do because suddenly you have super powers!

The more I’m hungry, the more I...?
… have probably been drinking or smoking a missile!

The more I paint, the more I...?
… have dirty clothes and paint stains all over my jacket. I hate getting new nice-looking clothes destroyed, but I always forget to change to some old pair of jeans, so I get my new ones totally wrecked.

You are “creative” and you’re living in a cool and fashionable city: what are your inspirations, both in work and in graff styles?
Well, I guess Sweden is known for good looking stuff and good looking people in general and cute girls in particular, and that always gave me some kind of inspiration in my everyday life. But really, nice and creative people is the thing that inspires me the most. Going abroad can be really inspirational by itself, but it’s also good ‘cause it gives you new perspectives on your home country. The winters here can be really depressive because it’s so dark and cold, but in the summer we have daylight until late at night and, as Stockholm is built on islands and the water is so clean, you can take a swim in the city in the middle of the night. Then you think it’s almost worth it!
When it comes to graffiti I like styles that are made with understanding of the 70’s and 80’s New York scene, maybe with a little twist, taking it to a new level, like the Finnish, Danish and Swedish styles. Before I thought that it should have had some movement, now I think a stiff piece can be even cooler. I hate when people hide their lack of interesting style with perfect technique. A piece with good style with bad technique is worth so much more than a yucky, trying-to-be-cool piece, made with perfect can control.

Do you get inspiration from some writers?
Yes, of course. Cazter, Nug, Kaos, Tuna and my homeboy Wizard are the best Sweden has to offer I think. Abroad I like writers like Egs from Finland, Sabe and Cave from Denmark and Seb, Diego and Gorey from France. Of course the old schoolers from back in the days too. Circle from Sweden, Mode 2, Bando, Skeme, Seen, Dondi and all those.

Do you like any Italian writers?
Yes, there are many good Italian writers and I feel they have an excellent sense for good taste when it comes to style. Stand, Chob, Imos and the MG crew are my favourite Italian writers among others!

This time, you can tell our readers whatever you like: do it, exploit us!!
One summer day, me and my friend Eksact painted an abandoned house during the daytime. After a while this cop walks right through the door and we are feeling like this was it, we’re getting busted. But he didn’t really care about us. He was just looking for some junkies steeling copper cables, he said. Then he told us to finish up quickly and disappear. Later, this junkie came by and asked us for some empty cans. Some seconds after the place felt like a war zone, because the junkie had started some fires to burn the valuable copper out of the cables and he had thrown the empty cans on the fire. We felt it was time to leave before the whole building blew up with us inside, haha! When we left we realized that the whole house was on fire. Today, we still don’t know what happened to the fire-happy junkie…

Do you think there’s something missing in the graff communicaton? what should graff do for itself?
I don’t want to sound like some old has-been, but I think there is a lack of interest for the history of graffiti among the younger writers. They don’t even know about their own town’s past, but then they talk so much bullshit on these internet graff forums as if they knew everything. Their shortage of knowledge, of what they’re talking about, makes want to retire, just to not to be in the same subculture as these morons. Don’t get me wrong, unlike many others I like a lot what internet has done to graffiti. But anyway, you know what I mean. Of course, the coolest thing in graffiti is that it’s not controlled by anyone and I wouldn’t want to take this rebel attitude out of graffiti, but everybody should care a little bit more about what they do, how and why they do it.

You’re shooting the ultimate graff movie/documentary/fiction: who are the actors, who’s at the photography, who’s the director??
Tough question! It has to be a documentary because featured films about graff feel very corny. Or maybe a fake documentary! Something like Blair Witch Project would be fun... The soundtrack should be a collaboration between bands like Radio Dept & Phoenix and female singers like Sarah Cracknell & Tracey Thorn. Larry Clark should be the director and Terry Richardson the photographer. The Ers/Toy-guys seem interesting (love their webpage!) so they can play the starring roles. Seen has to play a minor part as someone’s dad, a guard or something, and in one scene Shannon Doherty should be topless!

Any shout outs?
Peace to my crews! The KCN mafia and the PUBB click!
Yo! Goes out to Blake, Klös, KCE, F-Ups, VMD70’S, Hell, Eksact, 7-Up and my Finnish friends!
Never snitch!

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