An ASA Artist Interview with Parlee Art.
1. We are a big fan of your work. What is coming up that we NEED to know?
Thanks, I’m always amazed when people say that… This year I’m focussing on walls and jams. I’m receiving invites at the moment and hoping to travel a bit more to paint some new places and meet tons of new people. I’m also working on a couple of books. One’s a children’s alphabet purely for the fun factor, and the other’s a story based around my characters, Rocket and Plugs. I’m really lucky to have met a talented author who writes films for a living! We get drunk and hash out a plot, which he then writes up and I illustrate. There’s no completion date in mind but it’ll hopefully be this year.
2. What mediums do you use at the moment to make the artworks and are there any new progress in new mediums or formats?
I love using spray paint and haven’t finished working out new effects to want to move onto anything else right now. I studied fine art and have always been interested in mark making and spray cans give you so much variation through pressing the nozzles in different ways. It’s such a cool medium and the fact many people outside of the scene struggle to accept it as an art medium attracts me to it even more. I’m also really enjoying taking photos and drawing onto them – both digitally and straight onto a printed version. It feels like I’m creating a universe for my characters to live in. It also harks back to movies I watched as a kid. The type that were a mix of real world and animation.
3. How do you view the Dutch graffiti and street art scene?
I’ve only been drawing and painting again for the past 3 years, I had 20 years off. So I’m only just getting back in the loop.
However I am lucky enough to have painted at Step In The Arena in Eindhoven and met the Love Letter guys, I’m a big fan. I’ve also painted in Amsterdam and made some good friends there, Chuck, Armoe and Names, while painting with Mark Bode, which was a childhood dream come true! I also went to school with the London Police who are based there now. These guys have really given me the confidence to focus on just my characters. I’m keen to paint in Holland again this year so if you know of any jams I can get invites for, let me know. 
4. What is the next step in to the future of street art in your opinion?
Here in London, street art has become more commercialised and mainstream – not that that’s a bad thing – but it has moved away from the essence of its roots. In my opinion artists need to take back the control and not chase the well-trodden, crowded path to fame and fortune. Artists need to carve out their own routes and create their own goals. Stick to what you love doing and not just what someone else says will sell or someone else is already making. Just make art, you’ll have more fun and create stuff you really enjoy. The rest will happen in time. Or at least I hope it will. 
5. You are a real city kid. Which city would you like to conquer next?
I really, really, really want to paint all over Tokyo! Giant characters all over the place… One day.
6. I have seen a big progress in your artwork. What do you think about your own progress of the last years?
I am my own worst critic but this is my motivation. Being unsatisfied with my work makes me always want to achieve more. It was only in July 2013 that my personal drawing style (I studied fine art and do a bit of life drawing) crossed over into my graff characters. I think when you start out it always takes a couple of years to develop your own way of working. I’m working on creating weight and movement in characters on a large scale at the moment. I’m also figuring out ways of using depth of field on flat color… My work has a lot of consistent themes and social commentary; but I love the fact that people can just accept them on face value as a cartoon to laugh at.
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