It is a well known fact that more or less half of the result of a graffiti piece is in the choices of color and the way to combine them. Between MTN Hardcore and MTN 94 there are almost 300 different colors, and this gives us infinite possibilities. The capacity of being able to find a new color scheme for every piece, time after time, is a skill which derives from a quite specific part of our creativity: a instinctive sense for colors.
Akume is one of those writers who possesses this peculiar skill. A good way to get to appreciate this fact is when, after having taken a look at the amazing results his pieces presents, you notice his bold but effectful ways of using colors. This is why we felt we had to talk to him in person. We separated his answers into sections, but first you get a proper introduction to the artist and his personality.
“ I’m not about ‘the more, the merrier’ type of scenario.“
Well, first things first.. I was brought into this world in a nice part of it known as Sydney. As faith would have it I found myself living in the southern end of England (Southampton) for some of my childhood. This is where I stumbled upon the art of graffiti. In class I came across a website named after the well known crew, 156 ALLSTARZ. Seeing O’CLOCK and JONONE demolishing the streets and ZEK bringing the bright colours and style. After that it was non stop sketching, tagging and attempting to paint pieces. The first being a bright and sunny Saturday, under a bridge. The next train approaching didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as we did and authorities was alerted shortly after.
Not long after I was brought back to Sydney, where I saw out the rest of my teen years, is when graffiti started to become my everything. We went bombing and piecing and found new writers to connect with, which we still to this day paint along side with. All of a sudden it just died out, we lost our love for it for some unknown reason… Work and other commitments took over. But not for long, and all it took was for me to stare for hours along the train tracks in Germany to regain the passion for Graffiti. It has been non stop ever since.
Growing up in Sydney and seeing crews like TBK, NBS crushing anything they could, and occasionally seeing some of SFX , IAC, SWB members blowing my mind. It was the work of TNS that really stood out for me. With MORBID, PAIN, NERVE, CAYNES, DMISE I kept my eyes peeled with their non stop productions, trains and bombing on anything they could find. I was dropped into a crew known as NSR, a local crew of good mates, and even if we lost touch, I still kept it tight with the bloke behind the crew, FAZER. BARS and CEK were another duo we use to see killing it. These days I found myself lucky enough painting alongside a few of the people I idolized growing up. Nowadays I spend most of my time lurking around trying to find painting spots with my homie INKS, who is always up for something, and half the time getting me keen as well.
“I like to freestyle a lot as I feel it allows you to have more flow and freedom to evolve your style into whats really going on inside your mind.”
The style coming out of New York City always had a big influence on me and the way i think. I like to freestyle a lot as I feel it allows you to have more flow and freedom to evolve your style into whats really going on inside your mind.
- THE IMPORTANCE OF COLOUR
When it comes to colour choices, I’m not about ‘the more, the merrier’ type of scenario. I feel colours need to be well thought out, chosen wisely. I usually head towards colours that pop, weather its the fill or the outline doing the stand out work. When I work with dark and dirty tones I make sure I blend it out to a real bright stand out tone. I want others to look at my work and for their eyes to open wide and take in what they are seeing. When choosing tones I steer away from urban objects like fences, concrete and tarmac as I find these too dark and depressing. Normally I start with finding out what buff we will be using before making my colour choices, then I turn to my stash and usually just pick from what I have. Rarely are the colours planned out unless its a production or a same colour link up.
When the time comes to do a re-stock of my paint I go through the colours I haven’t used in a while and pick 5 or 6 close shades and choose either the lightest or darkest shade and find a close correspondent and link another 5 or so. This being the fact I like to use anywhere from 5-11 different shades to get a big consistent blend.
Although I do get a lot of inspiration from the natural world, I use these in a subtle way through my work. This being said I am heading in another direction, but you will just have to to wait and see for yourselves.
“Trial and error is the way to find out your favourite schemes.“
The colours I get drawn too are usually the dirtier tones of brighter colours, i.e, Yosemite Yellow, Magenta, Tramontana Blue. Purely based on their coverage, even though they come from a brighter pigmented family. I don’t think there is a colour I dislike in the MTN range, but if I had to pick one I steer away from Jaima Brown. I try to never use the top pastel shades of most MTN colours, as I feel these are to cute and feminine for me.
- TEORICAL IMPORTANCE
When you study fine art, graphic design or even careers like architecture, interior design and anything to do with precise and detailed work, you usually have a better eye for detail and how colours are layered. At the same time I’m not taking away from the heads that are out to do damage who also come up with some dope colour schemes purely based on just throwing what they have at their target. Trial and error is the way to find out your favourite schemes.
If I end up using around 9 or so fill colours ill steer away from using several colours for outline, my shadows or 3-Ds. I like balance, I don’t want people to be looking at my work like it’s a colour chart. Just enough to make certain elements pop and not look out of place.
Graffiti writers that are a stand out in my eyes who are killing it with their colour choices and letter structure are…KETS124, KEMR, STARE (NME), PUKE (MIA), SARE2.
- ONE COLOR
Based on the fact I won’t re-stock without it I think if I could be any colour i’d be the cool, calm colour of Tramontana Blue.
- SHOTS OUT
Just want to give a shout out to the TNS crew worldwide and to the boys over at Heavy Goods Apparel for putting the clothes on my back.