SNIK – Street Art on the Rise

The UK scene is amazing right now, there’s so much talent coming from there..it’s mindblowing. Also, in some areas like Bristol, the general attitude towards street art seemed to have shifted and people start to appreciate it a lot more. Things like the Banksy expo in the Bristol Museum and events like Upfest seemed to be the turning point. Of course this wouldn’t have been possible without the massive amount of talented artists rising up in the UK scene right now. And even though there is such a huge number of artists coming out from the UK, there are always those who stand out. Snik is one of those people who do, and is destined to do great things with his painting skills! Not too long ago he painted the Royal Albert Hall as part of the wonderland collective, and a little while after that an amazing job at the Armani Exchange store in London. About time we’d send the good man some questions, and luckily he even found the time to answer.

We’ve read a couple of interviews with you, but we still don’t know a lot about you! Tell us a bit about yourself, where do you come frome and where are you going?
Im from a small place in the uk called Rutland, its about as middle of nowhere as you can get, fields, sheep, and not much else, but that works for me. Ive never been a big city type, much prefer traveling to where ever, getting up, and leaving again. As for where im going, shit, I don’t have a clue. Long as I can continue to paint, and do what I love, im chuffed. I’ve met a lot of guys lately to paint with, which gives me more opportunity to keep at it.

The UK has a tremendous streetart scene with loads of known and unknown artist, what makes you stand out?
I wouldn’t say I stand out especially, just that I get lucky with exposure. The scene in the UK is so strong right now, I wouldn’t dream of sit here saying Im better because of this or that, far as im concerned, I have a lot to learn, and a lot to do.

In the interview with Juxtapoz you said that you don’t want to enforce a message on the viewers of your work..if you would incorporate a message, what would it be?
That’s almost going against what I said before, but if I had to, I guess it would be the general treatment of our planet. Seems that the world is a bit of a dumping ground right now, with not a lot of thought as to the consequence, or the future. Seems a real shame that most people are only focused on what effects them directly, not the people around them, and not the future generations.

Who and what inspires you?
I take inspiration from so many different artists, C215 is the king of stencils are far as im concerned, he gets up so much, and has so much variety, its enviable. I’d say my biggest inspiration is the everfresh crew (meggs, rone, phibs etc) from Melbourne, every piece they do is so tight, and so clean, it makes you feel you have to step up, and really push what you do, which is the sort of enthusiasm you need I suppose. Also, I’ve always been inspired by my surroundings, I feel that a piece cant just be thrown up anywhere, you have to think about where your gonna do it before you even start the piece, otherwise its gonna look out of place, and shitty. I’ve always taken inspiration from things that I find personally interesting, so mainly hot girls and dark horror films haha.

We’ve read that you’re a mess maker and that you have a problem with paint. How is that going together?
I definitely wouldn’t call myself a mess maker, that almost leads people to think my work is unplanned and scrappy. Ive been through a lot of methods, and tried a lot of things, I guess its finding a happy medium between something that looks dirty and grimey, but still keeping it tight where it needs to be. As for the paint problem, yeah I guess it’s a bit like being a junkie in some aspects, you just gotta keep painting.

Is there anything you would like to have done in your life? (Immigrate to Australia, try every kind of drugs, etc.)
Well I’ve spent a year in oz, and ive done my fair share of narcotics, so I guess I need some more aims lol. I really want to get a studio, and just paint full time, no job, no bullshit, just paint for the sake of it, and not worry about trying to get any cash to get by, but I guess that’s something that come with t ime, so im in no rush.

Ah drug stories, got any nice ones for us? (or any other crazy stories for that matter)?
God damn, I’ve got a million drug stories, but i dont think any of them would be suitable for your readers. maybe if anyone ever meets me we can grab a coffee and compare stories about getting twisted.

What is the last thing you’ve been working on? ( and can tell us about)
Got a big job for Armani coming up in London, that’s a bit of a headfuck, not too sure how I blagged it really. Also gonna be focusing a lot more on my own street stuff, this past year feels like ive been doing stuff for other people constantly, and it really bugs me, so Im heading out to Amsterdam some time in September to hit up some spots and enjoy the coffee 😉

How did you get into street art?
I got into street art at a young age, I was always obsessed with graff, especially the huge productions guys were doing in Germany and France, Daim was always a guy that set the standard far as scale and detail goes. when I got a bit older I started to mess around with cans, nothing serious, just going out tagging, doing shitty attempts at letters, the sort of thing you do when your 15 and bored out your mind. It wasnt long before I had a run in with the police, and that prompted my rents to stop me painting, at the time I was into skating in a big way anyways, so it didnt bother me so much. It wasnt until I was in Australia that I got a taste for it again, cos when I was there the stencil scene was blowing up. I picked up a copy of the book ‘stencil graffiti capital: Melbourne’, and the rest is history…

It feels like the whole reputation, but also the quantity of street art has been on a gigantic rise the last couple of years, would you agree? And if so, how do you think that happend?
I think its a definate that street art has been on a rise over the years, mainly because peoples attitudes are changing towards it, they dont just see it as vandalism, they see it as something to brighten up their day. You cant really say that street art hasnt been helped by banksy being so huge as he is, the guy has basically opened everyones eyes to the whole scene, so love him or hate him, hes done alot.

Any views on the future of street art?
I think street art is going to continue to grow, with guys going bigger, more detailed, and just generally more crazy with their pieces. More cities are going to have legitimate areas for guys to paint, and more people are going to want to see it, especially in this day and age where everything is so consumer driven, people will embrace the colour as a welcome break from their day to day lives.

What can we expect from Snik in the future?
As for me, im gonna take my time with things, everyone seems to be in a rush to get as many pieces out as quickly as possible, I dont see the rush. im only 24, so ive got plenty of time to develop my style, and travel around. Im definately planning to go much bigger with pieces, because personally, thats where the impact is, making someone go “how the fuck” is always a winner, so I guess im just gonnabe aiming for that 🙂

About Arden de Raaij

Front-end developer, Photographer and co-founder of cfye.com, originally from Amsterdam the Netherlands but currently located in Lisbon, Portugal.