I write MAZE UNL. My first piece was made in Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria, where I am originally from. Here is a young graffiti culture. In 2003 we started writing UNL (Unlimited). Now we are 5 members: Pyckos, Felon, Undo, Pfu and me, Maze. We are trying to get busy with styles. I have too much influences, but New York and Copenhagen is where I find my inspiration. My style is versatile, always changing. I don’t like staying at one place. I love cartoony characters. Most of these pieces are 2009/ 2010. Now we are working on our website. Soon to come…
You recently came to Barcelona because you won a all inclusive vacation to our city through a graffiti contest organized by our distributor in Bulgaria. How was it? Was there much rivalry or competition?
Right. Every year since 2003 the contest takes place in front of the NDK (National Palace of Culture) and it’s the only national bulgarian graffiti fest, that’s why we like it and support it. There was kind of competition. Unit did a great piece and won the first place on concept painting and Wion, who was your guest last year, was just 0.2 points behind us (note: scoring consists sketching and concept painting). His piece is also very cool!
Can you tell us about your experience and what you liked most about the city? You painted with a local writer, correct?
I really enjoyed my stay in Barcelona. It’s my first visit and the positive things I have heard about the city were absolutely true. Beautiful places, very strong artistic spirit and so much cool people are the things, which will make me come back. I painted a wall in the factory with Hamsk and in the evening I had the chance to visit the Montana Cafe & Restaurant. The All City Writers book release took place there, so I was very lucky to get a signed copy of this amazing book. The next day I painted with Yesk and his boys near the airport, but I was such in a hurry for the plane, that I didn’t finnish my piece. They are really talented for sure. My time was full of graff, so what better than that.
From what we’ve been able to see of your culture and background as a graffiti writer, you work just as much on murals as trains, and your pieces almost never go without a character as a complement. Do you think this is the perfect balance for any wall or train production?
I think It’s a banging combo. The murals need characters to be remembered. Characters can give your message and expression not just to the ‘graff educated’, but to the ordinary people and kids especially, who are the next after you. When I started I was obsessed by the look of the characters by NTN (Nast To Ndoe), so they are one of the reasons to make me write. When it comes to trains it talks about your skills, concentration, managing to be at the right place and time and taking the risk. It talks about you and ya crew, so nothing can’t beat burners and characters in a row and dat’s for sure!
UNL (Unlimited) is your crew. At the moment you guys have 5 members: Pyckos, Felon, Undo, Pfu, and yourself. What can you tell us about the history of the group? How did you guys come together?
Me, my brother Felon and Snare, a friend who doesn’t write anymore, are the founders of the crew. We created it in 2003, when we were around 13 yrs old. In 2007 my homie Pyckos gave the idea about integration and it sounded very good.Since then we are this strength. Most crews here consist of 2-3 people, so we keep it strong.
Apart from painting together, do you guys travel abroad? What are some of your best memories and where have you guys had the most success.
The cash is always not enough for everything, so we travel in our country mostly. We plan a big trip around the Scandinavia area soon. All of us want to see Stockholm a lot. Last year all of us went to the ‘Agregatu de 4 Elemente’ festival in Bucharest and we enjoyed a lot, because we were all together and painting.
Can you describe the scene in Bulgaria for us? How, when and where did the first graffiti arrive there? Can you describe how it got introduced and worked to the city and your life?
There’s a little controversy about the beginning of everything. It’s about 1994 for sure.Late, huh?Around this year Mad bombed Sofia already and some of the best bulgarian writers started writing in Targovishte, so no one can say who is the first. Without almost any information from the west and no spraypaint these guys struggled hard, living in a post-socialistic country looking at graffiti like a murder. You have to give credit, where it’s due. Props to Naste (Nasimo), Ndoe, Scum, Funne, SZC, SirGo, Mad and all the old heads. Naste’s work is beautiful. I saw it and I started writing.
Which cities in your opinion are hitting the hardest?
Every city has it’s own crew, smashing it. Sofia is the most bombed.It has always been like that. And graff is rare cleaned. In Ruse, Varna, Dobrich, Plovdiv and Veliko Turnovo there is also activity.
How are the authorities treating everyone? Is everything on lock down?
There’s a lot of other things they have to deal first with. You know about the monster corruption and etc,so graff is still no last in list. Most times you get fined and it’s not big money.If you’re not lucky you can get sued and that’s shitty. Maybe Ruse hates graffiti most,because it’s a cultural center and it is smashed with tags and rooftops.I’ve heard stories about police brutality against writers. Wack!
And how is it going between graffiti writers at the moment? Is there much rivalry between crews?
Yep. Writers don’t communicate the way they should. No support.No respect, even in this small country. The events happening here decreased. I hope things will change soon. At all everyone is interested in his own shit and that’s all. Thing I hate most is that style and quality are not in first plan, but surrounding unimportant things around the graffiti. This doesn’t mean,that there are no talented guys here. It’s full. Xpres from the EAK is the god of trains here. I’ve seen compositions with personal pieces on every car. Really amazing. For a couple of years he made maybe over 300. Painting trains is not the easiest thing here and his style is cool.
Regarding the trains… do they usually let them circulate through the city or do they pull them off when they see they’ve been painted?
Hahah. I do not recommend painting with chrome,because after the first year your fills are gone.Soon I saw a rolling window down, saying ‘The UNL Crew’, done in 2007. They usually repaint trains and it happens in 1-2 years. Of course there are pieces pulled out and cleaned up immediately, but it is in extra situations – like this camouflaged burner. We ran from the cops. We saw it running only the day we took the photo. So sad.
What sticks out for you most about graffiti in the USA. In Europe?
I still can’t figure out what made the NY kids go so crazy to invent such a genious form of art.It’s a natural competition of artists in the real world. If you suck, you get crossed. Their weapon became their style and respect. All that exploded and won’t never die.For me the clean essence is there. Good style can smash every effect. I love the oldschool!I love TC5, Seen, Ces and many others. Though I have to say today graffiti is Europe. Next level: Copenhagen, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm (everfresh) and Barcelona, of course, with it’s amazing artists. Hands down.
We see that you usually paint with Montana Colors. What model of can do you use the most? What do you like most about the paint?… and the colors? How would you improve it if you could?
Hardcore is my favourite. It was incomplete without the 94 (especially for outlines). Now they are like brother and sister and I won’t never divide them :D. The Hardcore gives you so much power. The paint is thick, shiny, covers perfectly. I would maybe improve the magentas, they fade quickly.
Colors you must have in your pieces: Black, White and two in contrast (Red-Blue) (Red-Green)
One cartoon you are a fan of… Cheech Wiz
Best plan for a week day is… Sketch all day
Best plan for a week end is… Paint a train with the boys
Brand of beer… Tuborg
A typical dish from you country… Banica (Pastry with eggs n cheese)
Rap or Thrash metal? MADLIBerator
Long distance trains or short distance? Short ones (EMV32)
To beat the cold… Rakia or a good graffiti mission? Good graff mission, seperated from Rakia 🙂