SPUD1 (aka Spud Bomb) and Waves Apparel
SPUD1 is an artist of many forms who is always conceptualizing and scheming new ideas. Whether it’s the woodwork, building toys from scratch, commissioned art work or the graffiti bombing he’s been unleashing on Toronto for nearly sixteen years, SPUD1 is all about creativity and hustle.
Growing up he was a passionate drawer, always jotting down any and all ideas that came into his head. He also spent a lot of time on his skateboard –getting together with a crew of friends and hitting the downtown core, skating any ledge, handrail or flat bank they could find. It wasn’t long before they started filming their escapades, so SPUD1 created a stencil of his crew’s logo so it could be seen in the background of their videos and shots. His first foray into graffiti came at in early age.
Having originally wondered as a kid passing by in his parent’s car – “Why would someone want to put so much effort and risk getting arrested to put some ugly tag on the wall.” – SPUD1 was starting to reconsider his position. Now the he had started stenciling he said he “Got that little itch, that feeling and it felt good. It’s not that it was right or wrong, it just felt inside that it was something I had to do.”
Being the creative man that he is, it was highly unlikely that he would stop at stenciling. He started to pay more attention to the city walls, the tags and the murals that had been gracing the city for years. He began to believe that with time and dedication he would be able to push the boundaries and do it bigger and better than what was up at the time. He began to start going out in the middle of the night with cans, picking spots and honing his craft. He was immediately hooked, it wasn’t enough to do it just one night. The next days he’d find himself looking around for other spots, and thinking about them.
“That rooftop is huge, why am I going to go up there and put just a little throw-up or a bomb? No, I’m going to put up a huge roller that’s 50 feet long. I started doing a lot of site specific work. I’d hit spots based on what I could do, how big the wall is, how I can get up there, and what will the outcome look like.”
After a while SPUD1 found that he’d lost his drive for art, he’d been turned down by an art school because the subject matter he wanted to draw wasn’t in line with what they wanted, and he didn’t want to conform to the mold that he saw the art school’s pumping out. He put down the pens, brushes and cans and started focusing more heavily on skateboarding. Eventually being picked up by a sponsor and rediscovering his love for art in a different medium this time. However, it wasn’t long before he started to pay more attention to the art and design of the skateboards themselves. Pulling inspiration from designers such as Jimbo Phillips, eventually picking back up the spray paint and getting back to his goal of creating bigger and better graffiti art.
As well as being inspired by the designs riding underneath his feet, SPUD1 was a regular subscriber to graffiti magazines, and looked at these as one source of inspiration. In these days there was no internet or Instagram to see what other writers had been up to. So a lot of what he did was self taught and his way of doing things. He honed his craft he began to be more strategic in his approach. For him bigger is better, and bigger takes a lot of planning. From the location to the time needed to complete the piece SPUD1 has become an expert in execution.
Constantly pushing his own boundaries has pushed him to the forefront of the graffiti scene in Toronto. Not only in the practical sense but also behind the scenes, putting in countless hours working on and influencing projects such as Graffiti Alley as well as regularly working with the city’s StART Mural Support Program.
Rob Ford and the War on Graffiti
When late Mayor of Toronto Rob Ford got in to office he waged a war on graffiti. He ordered that property owner’s would have to pay to get any graffiti removed, and implemented a wide spread clearing of graffiti in the city. This inspired SPUD1 to take a new direction with his art. “Everywhere he removed my shit, I’d put his face there.” It was a cheeky jab at the Mayor. Trying to hold graffiti artists down will only make them more inspired to paint walls. His orders resulted in a lot of SPUD1’s and many of Toronto’s great artists work being buffed out, including legal work. The result was a backlash from a number of artists. SPUD1 was soon all over the news for plastering the city with Rob Ford graffiti and stencils.
What does the Future Hold?
‘’Going with the flow right now. I’ve been doing more mural work, and I would like to be looked at and respected in that realm as well. I know I was a shit head for the last thirteen years, and I think a lot of people hold that against me, a lot of people won’t give me mural work because I may have tagged their garage a few years ago. It’s nice to be appreciated and to have people seek you out because of your work and for them to ask for me to paint them a mural. And from there something beautiful is created and it feels good. So I’d like to do more of that, eventually I’d love to be able to travel the world creating murals.’’
‘‘I want to keep creating amazing art, putting up pieces that the community really likes now, I really want to focus on the views of the community and use it to help create something truly unique’’ ‘‘I want to be looked in the light of this guy can create amazing work as much as he is a shit head, don’t hold him down for the fault. But above all I just want to be remembered, the dream is to leave a lasting mark on this world’’
SPUD1 and Waves Apparel Collaboration
SPUD1's shirt with Waves Apparel will be available for a limited time from May 1st - 15th 2017. Every shirt comes with a print from the artist. Shop now, gone forever after.
- May 01, 2017
- James Blackmore