Do you have another life beyond Abyss.607, and if so, do you feel at times it intrudes on your alter-ego?
It’s given me, I would say, more of a reason to be content with my life. I skate & play RPG’s. I spend most of my time alone drawing or painting, so what I do resonates through my art.
What is the inspiration behind your street name?
Abyss is really a visual form that’s reflective and expressive of a lot of my thoughts. Sometimes dark, but not evil; bright but not to burn, and endless with a destination only you can give yourself.
Your work is immediately recognisable and seeing it “in the flesh” (so to speak) is breath-taking. How long does it take to formulate the concept, identify a location and then complete the process. And how much of it takes place under cover of darkness?
A lot of the time I see a spot. I think first of what would be best suited for it: ie. paste up if it’s a busy spot where I’d like to put something nice, or spray paint if I have got the time to cover and do something big. Paste-ups can be really effective on different coloured/textured walls, so sometimes I will make something (specific) for the wall. My paste-ups are hand painted mostly with acrylic and do take some time to make, depending upon the size.
Pretty much all of my street work is done at night. I think I’ve only done one outside wall in Canberra where I was commissioned. Mostly I go out alone. It’s definitely not easy sometimes (eg: rooftops), but I plan out pretty much every spot I choose which will have a story (or reason) behind it. I’m sure a lot of similar artists can relate, but for me personally, it’s more than just a painting.
When you’re out there alone in the middle of the night, it’s one of the times I don’t feel suffocated by the things we are subconsciously fed and think about during the day. It’s engulfing and free. When you’re jumping into private property, risking your life climbing something, start painting, all the while trying to be quick and silent, having to hide for much longer than you paint: you’re up against so many elements that are otherwise nullified regularly. It really wakes you up and makes you feel alive. It uses your senses all whilst being creative.
Nothing beats that feeling. Although it can suck, if you’ve done something good and it’s already buffed when you go to get the flick the next day. A lot of what we express through graffiti, the general public are ignorant of and usually lost under wrongful “vandalism”
When did the Abyss come in to being: was it evolutionary or was it “bang! here it is! let’s do it”?
More evolutionary. I’ve always been drawing monsters and strange entities. The main character I do I call “Seers”. They are watchers of time and space, on the walls they guide the heart and the spirit with strength for those who view them with unchained minds.
They also stand as glyphs symbolising our demise, depicting nostalgic ancient art and abstraction warning us of a bleak future if we don’t change for the better.
If you could sum up in one sentence the difference between street-art and capping (so as to educate the uneducated) what would they be?
All I can say is the streets are unrelenting. Just stay true to yourself and whatever it is you want to accomplish: do it. See ya in the void!
image ©janie d photography
When we last spoke things were pretty out there for you from challenging a somewhat famous vogue’er to grabbing a photo op with Drew Carey. Give us a little update in the world of A Nameless Force.
Ya, wow, that must be give or take a decade ago! Loads has happened since then. As you might remember I had a skate/art supplies store – World Famous Westsyde. After ten years of partnership, the three of us decided to go seperate ways: the decline in retail sales, internal conflict, and a desire to find new bigger and more exciting opportunities were my main reasons, for departing that scenario. There are some days I miss it, but generally speaking I’m not looking back. Since then I have continued my art practise, had a brief yet successful partnership in a business hand painting live orchids, and currently my business is helloyouknowthename.com : a series of artist canvas fully waterproof bags/pouches cases with a plethora of uses. I’m really proud of the workmanship and it’s always good to be back in the saddle creating new and exciting products. I’m currently in the Snowy Mountains fulfilling another long term dream: renovating my Mum’s house and building myself a tiny house and a new studio space, I haven’t had a proper on of those since the collapse of Westsyde.
There is absolutely no denying that the Outpost was a pivotal moment and a once in a lifetime experience for both street artist and photographer. What has been one of the biggest changes (good or bad) to the Sydney streetart scene
Outpost was super pivotal. It was also a time shortly after the global hype of “Exit Through the Gift Shop”, so at that time it felt like every man and his dog was a ‘street artist’. A lot of the genuine artists have moved onto other forms of art, many have just disappeared, and some people (e.g. Ian Strange & Ben Frost) have just blasted through the stratosphere. That said, Sydney has fallen off quite heavily on that front, most everyone of note either moved to Melbourne, overseas or as I said before a different sector of the creative industry in search of further and better opportunities.
How have you seen yourself evolve as an artist since we last spoke
How have I evolved ? I guess in a multitude of ways, and in many ways I haven’t changed one bit. I’ve still got my fingers in many pies, just different pies. I never did my own digital before, my kid sister GG gave me an ipad pro, and I’ve taught myself how to use procreate, and how to make gifs. I’m now in the process of making a 3D model, and a series of NFT’s that I’m hoping we can launch in the Japanese market next year. We’re expanding stockists for Hello You Know The Name into every major country and continent on the planet and being based here just ten minutes from a rural airport I can be anywhere in the country very quickly, something I very much hope to be able to take advantage of in the very near future.
Are you family still a major source of inspiration
Absolutely. My Nephews are now 8 and 10, and I have a nearly 2 year old niece now, we need to invent a much stronger version of the word adorable just for her. The boys keep me on my toes! Just the other day they both gave me seperate at length and in detail lectures trying to get me up to speed with the world of Roblox and Fortnight. I had no idea that 14 year olds were making millions of dollars playing those games. So again they’ve inspired me to learn more and I’d really like to learn more about making character skins and custom immersive environments. They don’t know just yet, but the tiny house I’m building is really going to be their teenage retreat complete with giant 4k screens surround sound and a ps5: shhhhh ha ha. Renovating Mum’s house has inspired me on a different level. They all contribute to my creative menace. Probably the biggest thing family wise thats happened in that time, or any other time in my life is I finally found my father. I’m very very different to my other siblings and it was always a case of ‘am I crazy, why am I so different’? At 35 I finally found him and am eternally grateful for the brief time we had together before he suddenly passed away during what was meant be a routine day surgery only three years after we met. That brief moment in time taught me more about myself than any other period. I think it was the worlds longest nature versus nurture experiment: on day one we were finishing each others sentences, he was a brilliant artist in his own right, multiple time world ice carving champion, and in his later years a brilliant oil painter. He was also an entrepreneur, constantly having new ideas and charging at them with the same manic drive as myself. Only months before his death, he was working on patents for a painters desk and developing a website to connect and educate artists worldwide. I would have loved to have finished those projects for him, but I’m just not ready to work at that scale just yet. In short, we were the same soul in two different bodies, and a result any self doubt is now non existent.
If you had a chance to speak to your younger self, what words of “wisdom” would you give, and would that person in fact listen?
I would tell myself to be less reactive, I’d tell myself to drink less, I’d tell myself to listen to my partner and not blow all my relationships by being a jerk, I’d tell myself to focus on the things I do have rather than those I don’t, I’d remind myself that success is not measured in dollars and possessions but rather a rich tapestry of different experiences, I’d tell myself not to associate with the 99% of humans who would disagree with that, I’d tell myself to buy a shit tonne of bitcoin. No, that guy was a different person to the man I am now, he most definitely wouldn’t have listened, he would have told me to go fuck myself.
if you want to check out our first interview here’s the link https://2095-streetart.blogspot.com/2013/06/5-questions-with-rj.html