Some call it art while others a menace; for some it’s a medium of expression for others it’s a waste of time. Love it or hate it but there’s no running away from it.
Such is the power of Graffiti Art!
If you have been around the city, there is no way you could have missed spotting these wonderful works of art.
But, while we all see the message from these graffiti, the artists behind their creation more than often go uncredited. Almost a year back, we at The Beacon set off on a journey to find these anonymous artists and our quest finally ended when we found ‘SREK’ the city boy behind all these beautiful works.
Read on as our Sub-Editor explores the mind of Justin Rozario a.k.a. SREK
Tell us about your art form.
Graffiti is a typographic form of art which has modernised into the works that you see on walls today and it is essentially styling individual letters using different colours− can be English, Chinese or any other language for that matter.
When did you begin with it, and more importantly why did you choose this art form?
I started out back in August 2012 and at that point of time was quite interested in using spray cans or roller paints which I’d never used before. I used to simply draw or sketch in my pads until I tried doing it on a wall with a couple of spray cans− the shift to such a big scale itself allured me into the world of Graffiti. More importantly, I could showcase my art right on the streets, people could see my hard work and appreciate it.
What was the first Graffiti you made, and where is it?
The first Graffiti I made was in an underpass in Ultadanga; I didn’t bother taking any permission from anyone− simply did it. But then the local people, much to our disbelief, not only appreciated but supported us when they saw we were painting meaningful stuff on the wall.
Have you faced any problems while practising your art?
Well of course problems have been plenty, most of the times the owner of the particular place turns up out of the blue and hollers us away; some people have even called the cops on us. But yea, when we encountered some young folks they understood what we are doing and never hesitated giving another wall away to us.
Which is your favourite spot in Kolkata for Graffiti?
I think currently my most favourite place to graffiti is Golf Green, So the perimeter of the golf course is a long stretch by the main road and people can see your art while passing by.
Also the local people are very chilled out, they’re always encouraging− so it makes for the perfect place to Graffiti.
What is your dream place to Graffiti?
Dream place… umm… would be New York. Over there Graffiti has major influence on the local art scene, people revere Graffiti artist− people express their views via Graffiti. So if I got a chance to paint anywhere in New York− be it inside a building, an alley or the cave− it’d be a dream come true.
Lastly, where do you see this art form take you a few years from now?
The way I see it, though I’m doing it professionally at the moment, it will always remain a hobby rather than my bread and butter. And the most you could do as a Graffiti artist is travel abroad and paint walls, and that’s pretty much all.