Q&A With Grafitti Artist Curve, San Francisco

I wasn’t sure what I was in for when I made plans to follow and shoot a graffiti artist. Climbing through tiny holes in chain link fences, trudging through mud soaked paths and finally slipping into an abandoned building hoping no one saw us. This sums up the start of the afternoon I spent with graffiti artist curve and our chat about how he started painting.


How long have you been writing graffiti?
I've been involved for some time now. From what I recall, I picked up my first can in 1992. But it was mostly scribbles and exploring the notion of a fascinating subculture.

What first inspired your interests in graffiti?
Well, there was a crew in Santa Cruz called HNR, and at the time my best friend's brother was in it and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Can coolness inspire interests? What really inspired me were the friendships that came from it. Graffiti in itself was a path of self discovery.


When and where did you first get up?
In '92 I would frequent bridges and really obscure walls around the city I grew up in. Realistically, I wouldn't even consider it getting up. Street bombing was very intimidating so I found other ways to be involved.

How did you choose your tag? 
It was handed down in a very long list of potential names to write. I went through 4 or 5 names before I settled on my current moniker. The balance of letters was perfect and I loved that it ended in an E.


How has your work evolved over the years? 
I think the work is a bit more confident as I am these days. Stylistically, I've had some of the best mentors such as Kolage and Diet. They have a very prominent west coast funk aesthetic thus naturally I have inherited that style. Lately, I've been interested in trying to break it down to more of a simplistic style and trying to loosen up a lot more.

Have you ever been injured putting up a piece?
Ha, yeah. It's a very embarrassing story because I panicked. It was a fun evening and I was enjoying a few drinks with my best friend and we decided to go painting. Long story short I was on a billboard. heard some sirens, panicked and jumped off, ending in a broken foot and a great story amongst friends.


How do you decide which colors you are going to work with? 
Usually this has to do with what is available, sometimes you don't have a choice. Other times it's raining color and this is when I'm able to explore basic color theory principles, and if I'm feeling brave I can push those limits. The best is when I'm working along side others like Diet and Pastime, sharing our ideas on color and bringing those to life is very exciting.

What's your process in scouting locations?
The process in scouting a location is more about the mood I'm in. I don't really do street spots, so mostly what I look for are obscure and remote locations that most of the public wouldn't ever see. Fortunately friends let me tag along on more visible spots.


Have you ever been caught? 
Fortunately not. I'm not an active writer so my chances are slim in getting caught but with my luck you never know.

What are some things that inspire you?
My friends, family and good food.

How often are you out painting?
 Not often enough, I can't even be considered a weekend warrior. I just paint when I paint.

© VINTAGE SLANG
Maira Gall