Graffiti Art Group- Aerosol Assassins
We are all amazed by how street art is making the mundane streets of Delhi interesting and colourful. We got in touch with one of such graffitti art group, Aerosol Assassins who are painting the town red! We chatted with two of its members- ZINE and SAMSAM and discussed about the various aspects around this crazy yet colourful world of art!
1. Tell our readers a bit about yourself, as a graffiti art group.
ZINE: RANE and I (ZINE) have been painting together in Delhi for quite sometime now (since 2011) and when SAMSAM moved to Delhi we connected with her and painted a few walls together,it was during these sessions that we felt we all had similar visions and essence in this art form.
SAMSAM: I started painting in the streets around end of 2009, I dragged some friends along and tubs of paint and we called ourselves The Ferals. The internet was my school long before I had the chance to meet anyone painting in the streets in any form. So it was mainly youtube videos. And experimenting with different paints, and so on. I dont know why, but Blu was one of the first people to kickstart something in my brain, and then of course there have been many others.,2011 when I came to Delhi I met Zine and a bunch of other graffiti writers and from there on it’s been another set of incredible learning and making things. And Aerosol Assassins Crew was formed.
Our main goal or “vision” was to push ourselves and each other to paint better pieces and develop our graffiti pieces and put India in the world graffiti map.
We are also happy that Aerosol Assassins is steadily growing as a crew. Last year we “invited” ELF,a young graffiti writer full of energy,into the crew.
2. What kinds of difficulties do you face as a street art/ graffiti art group?
ZINE: As a group/crew it is sometimes not easy to paint together as much as we’d like to. As individuals we have our regular work,school etc. In the midst of this we try and paint as much as possible..even when painting solo the crew is always represented!!So far we have not had our big egos get in the way of things.
SAMSAM: As with everything else there are advantages and disadvantages to being a woman painting in the streets. it seems redundant for me to talk about what it is to be a woman in Indian streets, so i’ll put the pity party aside and say every artist faces challenges, and it’s a matter of being relentless enough to find ways around them. Sometimes, if I need permissions for a mural, for example, I believe it can be an advantage being a woman, there’s less hostility to begin with. But painting in the streets has completely changed the way I view/interact with cities and spaces, especially as a woman. My instinct used to be to keep my head down and get from point A to B as fast as possible, with blinkers on to avoid having to deal with what was out there. But learning to read spaces differently, and explore new spaces to paint has been an incredibly inspiring high.
3. What has been the journey like till date?
ZINE: Life changing and altering.
4. What has been the group’s career best till date?
ZINE: The fact that we are still together and painting.
SAMSAM: Well I will agree to that, but the personal best was when The German Consul General in Kolkata recently invited me to paint at the consulate in the city for the 3rd graffiti project of the consulate. The Consulate General saw one of my pieces in the streets and found me through some of the other writers in the city, and that was one of the nicest things to happen.
5. How is graffiti art being embraced in India? How is it different from the rest of the world?
ZINE: Political graffiti has been around in India years before. And the popular notion of what we do with our graffiti is that its politically and/or socially motivated,which is wrong. This is an art form with spray paint as the core medium and is usually or never motivated by politics or social issues. What we have here are beautiful crafted letters forms/shapes with new and/or vibrant colour combinations and characters that portrays one’s artistic language. Styles that not imitated or duplicated..a journey into yourself which finds expression on walls.Sure, politically or socially motivated street art/graffiti exists but mostly my experiences with the type have not been fruitful and lack substance, apart from the fact that political street art garners more attention I don’t have much energy for it. In India I still believe the movement has not started or taken shape. A graffiti “scene” or “movement” takes shape when the local artists are putting in work and hitting the streets and walls more and developing!
SAMSAM: But more than any of that graffiti has an incredible culture of connecting people, painting with other people and the sense of community has always been one of the most inspiring things about this, and i feel I have been lucky. While the streets is a great space to spread messages, all art in it need not be expressly political. It is remarkably tedious and unimaginative to think of the streets as soley a space for propaganda.
6. How are the audiences reacting to the art?
I think the audience are being educated still. So far its been a mix of reactions but mostly positive.
7. What do you think can be done to promote street art and its role in making people aware?
We feel more local artists painting more is the answer.
8. What kind of collaborations do you wish to have in the future?
The graffiti art world is like one big family. There are no proper institutions set up that cater to the artists as such and inevitably when one travels to a new place we connect and paint and build together. Its every writer’s dream to travel and paint all around the world.