Warrick McMiles talks Street Art
Street art is basically the display of art works in public places. This concept of displaying art in public has been around for as long as anyone can remember; in fact you could argue that “street art” began in caves back when mammoths and stick figures were carved into cave walls.
It is widely accepted that the modern day ‘concept’ of street art began sometime in the late 60’s and early 70’s in New York City. The trend of ‘tagging’ gained popularity but unlike today, people often chose tags, which were simple to do or which linked them to where they were from. From there, people began trying to outdo each other and the tags became more detailed and more intricate, leading to the often-unreadable tags we see today.
During the 80’s, the government began to crack down on the tagging scene and even began to impose fines to anyone caught in the act. Like with most things, when you make something illegal, it instantly becomes more popular – street art was no different.
During the late 80’s and early 90’s there was an incredible rise in the trend of street art. Now much more than just an ‘illegal activity’- street art has become incredibly important in ‘pop culture’ history and also is fast becoming respected as a form of art in its own league.
Street artists themselves are now being respected as ‘legitimate artists’, and many of them have strong followings not only amongst their peers, but on an international level.
We sat down with full time street artist Warrick McMiles to find out more about what led him to street art and some of the best and worst things about having ‘street artist’ listed as your career:
When did you first become interested in Street Art?
The seed was planted in my passion for drawing for this 80's kid when my brother first showed me how to draw ninja turtles! Other characters and letter forms followed, as I grew up and the influence of hip hop, graffiti and aerosol art took hold, eventually people started to take a little bit of notice, with several of my graffiti works being published in Clouded Thoughts and Illegal Fame magazines. I've continued to do commission based aerosol work at several pubs, clubs and cafes around Sydney.
So as a street artist, do you only use spray paint for your artworks?
In recent years I've tried my hand at swapping the cans for a brush, doing a few custom works in acrylic mostly, using skateboard decks as my canvas.
What is the your favourite piece so far?
It's to just hard to pick a favourite. I'm my own worst critic so I might hate something and everyone absolutely loves it. If it was from some of my recent works then I guess the James Dean portrait with tattoos.
What would you say is the biggest challenge you face as a street artist?
Trying to do something different and something new every time.
What do you see yourself doing, career wise, in the future?
Hopefully what I'm doing with my art now I'm currently studying graphic design but I think ill be more focused on being a illustrator as well as keeping up with my own artwork.
Warrick McMiles will be painting a live installation at the Loot + Law Charity Launch party in Sydney on 27 September 2013. You can get more information about this event as well as purchase tickets by visiting www.theatticism.com
- Renae Smith