Following on from a previous post around graffiti in Lincoln, I was lucky enough to be contacted by a friend of the artist. This brought up the mutual opportunity to bring knowledge around their work and their feelings and the controversial area of graffiti and street art.
The following are the answers from Juice to some questions I thought might shed light of a different shade on the issues and opinions around street art shown through the press.
What made you get into street art?
I kind of stumbled into graffiti. I used to do things like doodle on bathroom walls, but I didn't get into proper writing till I was about fifteen. I'd been to this punk show in Glasgow and the venue didn't give a **** about people tagging the walls. It was the first time I'd seen it up close and it was awesome. People were writing on every surface, trading stickers, all sorts. I met this guy who wrote as Bomer and he basically became my mentor. He was more than that to be honest, he was a father figure to me. Unfortunately he was stabbed and killed a couple of years ago.
How did you decide on your artist name?
I've had various names; Jaberwoky, Khis, Glue, Amor. There are others I'd mention but I've been arrested under those names. I started writing as Juice simply because I liked the letters, I like the sound, and because I've not heard of many people writing under the name so I wasn't going to step on any toes.
Why do you create street art in the way you do?
I create in this way because it's liberating. I just go out with a couple of cans and markers, and there's noone telling me what I can and can't do. It's lawless. In my opinion it's the last true avant-garde art form.
How do you choose locations for your art?
I actually rarely decide on locations ahead of time. I usually just go spur of the moment, the lack of planning adds to it I think. It's more free form. I've got to trust in myself that I know my **** and I'm not gonna mess up.
What do you believe counts as vandalism, if any?
Oh graffiti is definitely vandalism, and I fully agree that if I'm caught I should be punished. But that's the point. If it was legal then I probably wouldn't write. I do differentiate between what I do and vandalism of personal property. That's ****ed. I'll never write on someone's house, or garden wall, or anything like that. If it's a corporate building, a public wall, bridge, or whatever then it's free game.
What is your opinion of the negative press around your pseudonym?
Haha, I relish in it. The whole point of art is to provoke a response and generate discussion. Every art form has its fans and its critics. When people say it's not art, it's like when people say that Jackson Pollock isn't true art. Who the **** are you to decide. Art is personal, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, it's how it makes you feel.
What do you feel could be done to benefit the street art and graffiti scene?
That's a tough question. I mean for me, presonally, it would be for other writers to quell their ego and help each other out, instead of starting beef and tagging other people's ****. From a public and legal stand point; if you want to lessen the amount of graffiti in public then open some legal walls, get a club or something started. In all these ****ing articles I read about me or others they always end it by saying that police urge local artists to seek out clubs to do graffiti. There aren't any, I've looked. The nearest legal walls are in Sheffield and Nottingham. It won't stop graffiti, but it'll lessen it.
What is the intention for the future of your street art, if any?
I can't really speak on my future in it. I go through spells of writing every day and getting up as much as I can, and then sometimes I won't write for a couple of months. But I don't think I'll ever stop, I can't. It's in my blood.
Are there any more pieces that haven't been captured, or other work in Lincoln that you appreciate?
There's some old pieces I did in some of the abandoned factories, but they've unfortunately been demolished. I used to have photos pretty much every piece, throw, and tag, but unfortunately the external hard drive they were on was stolen. I used to post them for people to see but eventually I realised I didn't really care. If people want to see my stuff then they should get out and explore. As for other people's work, unfortunately most of the graffiti in Lincoln is ****. I can't stand those ****ing tags that are just scribbles. If you can't read what's being written then there's just no artistry it's just making a mess. That being said, I enjoy seeing what my homie Enod getting up. There's also Takos, I've seen them about and they ****ing kill, I'd love to meet up with them at some point.
What is it like when you’re creating street art?
While I’m out painting I have to focus so much on not getting caught and making sure I’m doing clean tags and throws, all the other **** melts away. Me and every other writer I know have all struggled with mental health issues, and this is our coping mechanism. I’m not some maniac just out to destroy things. I want to create, I want to live. The government and the healthcare system in this country don’t care about us so we have to take care of ourselves. Basically what I’m saying is people should live their lives how they see fit. No matter what you do you’re going to upset somebody, no reason that should be you.
These answers have been left as verbatim as possible, Juice's anonymity is a strong value, the only contact had with the artist was through a temporary social media account. Extra images courtesy of Juice.