We might not have definitive proof, but we’ve awarded the gold medal for the best hand style in Chile to Reks, producer of genuinely remarkable tags. His versatility with all manner of tools – ranging from fine markers to the devastating MADMAXXX – adds merit to his compulsive output of street signatures. In this interview, we touch on the influences, techniques and evolution of this king of calligraphy.
-A writer’s tags evolve during their career. Yours are no exception, as we can see on your instagram. Where are you at now now? What do you think you communicate thorugh your handstyle?
I definitely think that I’m one of those writers who’s constantly changing parts of the letters, although I follow a particular direction in terms of shapes and repeating patterns.
I think I’m at the point where I no longer want to have tags everywhere. I just enjoy what I do without thinking much about what they say.
“São Paulo is something that every tagger should see at least once in their life.”
-Are there influences on your handstyle?
Obviously there are influences, there are always visual cues from different places.
Firstly, the ones that have been present since my beginnings, which were music album covers and the writers from the city where I grew up: CONS, BATS, INTRO, TERS, SPRE, DECAY, FRESH, and TECK. I was amazed by their tags and the way to use fat caps for years.
Later I began to see tags from other cities. I went to live in another city, Vaparaíso, which also helped me a lot to develop my handstyle. Later, I can name you some classics like TWIST, GEMEOS, 78, DANIEL TAGNO and AYSLAP. São Paulo is the city that blows my mind every time I visit. Seriously, São Paulo is something that every tagger should see at least once in their life.
-Improvisation or practice? Do you have to practice on paper, or is it better to let yourself flow directly into the street?
To be able to improvise on the street, whenever I can I design at home, or wherever I have paper and a pencil.
I’m always on the lookout for new shapes to add to my tags. Sometimes I see something on the street that creates a new spark and I draw it. Then I come home and develop it. And so later, when I go bombing, I have a library of shapes to use and adapt to the different surfaces that we encounter along the way. So personally I practice and then let myself flow on the street.
“I always imagine the facial expressions of the tags when I read them.”
-What’s the tagging scene like in Chile compared to other countries?
The scene in Chile is strong and today everything is moving very fast, thanks to the easy access to fresh new information on a global level. I think that in comparison with other countries, the development that exists on a local level is very good. There are newer generations forgetting the classic and looking to innovate.
-Which international writers do you find especially interesting in this regard?
TAGNO, RIZOTE, SOVIET, CANCER and others that I surely forget.
-In your opinion, what makes a good handstyle?
Hahaha! I really couldn’t mention anything in particular. Sometimes you just see a tag that makes you say: “Shit, this guy is fire.”
I really appreciate seeing a natural, assured flow in tags. I always imagine the facial expressions of the tags when I read them.
“A couple of years ago, REMIO came to stay at my home and the guy mixed tagging and putting up stickers very well.”
-What is it that a tag should never have?
Graffiti is free, tags can have whatever they want. Making everything work is something else.
-Do the letters that you choose for a tag influence the final product? Was your name premeditated in this sense?
I think that the letters of a tag have a lot of influence, not all letters can be arranged in the same way one after another. But when you’re younger you don’t think about that. I started writing one name, later when I was a little older, in 2003, PLUMONRECORDS was born: a project that mixed video and tags. Over the years, I simplified the name a bit since it was too long. P-RECS – RECS -REKS.
-You are doing a lot of stickers lately. What role do they play in bombing? Can a writer who doesn’t do many tags get away with doing stickers, or does that have nothing to do with it?
Stickers are my new vice. A couple of years ago, REMIO came to stay at my home and the guy mixed tagging and putting up stickers very well. I realized how many new surfaces you can hit like this. The writer who wants can put up all the stickers that they want! Doing tags is the most liberating thing that exists, for me.
“But the truth is, I like all materials. Each have their own different qualities.”
-What are your favorite tools to tag? Could you make a list explaining the best and worst of each of them?
Uff, what a difficult question. My favorite tools keep changing over time, but to name a few:
- Solid marker: they are perfect but they don’t last very long.
- Squeezer: anything that drips is the best, but ruining your clothes is horrible.
- MADMAXX: The first time I used them, they blew my mind. The downside is that they run out too quickly.
- Needle Cap: For the speed and good flow. The bad thing is the overspray on your hands.
But the truth is, I like all materials. Each have their own different qualities. Knowing my tools allows me to get to different places and results all the time.
Wanna find out more about the scene in Chile? Read an interview with the Montana Shop Santiago in this article, which also features a Spotify shop playlist.
Check more curated content from Chile by searching for #mtnchilemonth on social media.