For graffiti writer BRAVEONE, it was the visual language of art that spoke to him at age 11. Now, 20 years later, he uses his art to speak to the world. â€œWe are communicators; we are using visual language to transmit messages. We use a form of visual language that could be seen as difficult, cryptic, or even exclusive,â€ he says. BRAVEONE, who resides in London, recalls his interest being sparked in the late â€˜80s. â€œSeeing other graffiti is what got me started, I remember seeing graffiti in the music video for â€˜Everybody Walk the Dinosaurâ€™ in the late â€˜80s and straight after that I did my first graffiti drawing on paper, it said â€˜Scottâ€™ â€“ my name,â€ BRAVEONE says of his childhood.
The visual language of graffiti continued to speak to Brave One as he stumbled upon what he refers to as a pantheon of graffiti writers. â€œI was pretty fortunate because at 11 I found a hall of fame; a derelict factory where people painted graffiti murals. It was within walking distance of my house, so I used to go down there just to hang out. Iâ€™d look at the painted walls and wish I could get involved.â€ His desire quickly turned into a reality as he drew inspiration from highly talented writers. â€œToxic and the Destroyers, ERASE, ZHAR-JAZ, PART2, the original S.D.T. crew, E.R.Z â€“ these guys influenced me heavily; they used to paint that hall of fame,â€ he says of their respective styles.
It would become the â€œtraditional wayâ€ of learning graffiti that would resonate with BRAVEONE long into his career. â€œI [learned] graffiti the traditional way, the way of some of the original New York writers â€“ the mentor and the apprentice,â€ he says. It was through his mentors that he perfected his craft. â€œI had a great amount of respect for my elders, and I learned a lot from them. I was first an apprentice to Ikie, a local writer. He taught me the basics, can control etc.,â€ BRAVEONE says. â€œI have also been an apprentice to REAKT, who I met through IKIE a few years later. I owe a lot to both those guys.â€
BRAVEONE takes what heâ€™s learned from his mentors and uses his art as a vehicle for reaching out to youth culture. â€œI am often found in youth clubs, schools and education centers teaching graffiti. I find that I am asked to work with young people who are not taking part in regular education, not going to school, or refusing to take part in educational activities,â€ he says of his teaching. â€œThe graffiti is a hook, a means to get them motivated to do something, something they can achieve and get accreditation for.â€
BRAVEONE believes it is the way in which graffiti communicates that appeals to youth culture. â€œYoung people are normally interested in taking part in this form of painting, often because of the stigmas attached to this form of art. Most young people are attracted to the element of rebellion painting with a spray can denotes,â€ he says of his students. â€œItâ€™s all about connotations, peoples perception of graffiti, and graffiti artistsâ€™ understanding of this.â€ Yet BRAVEONE still stresses importance in two areas that he says are vital to his studentsâ€™ understanding of graffiti writing; â€œWhen I teach I make sure my students are aware of history and culture that surrounds this form of art.â€ Brave indeed.