UK Hip Hop: Artists & Discographies
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Zinc [Oxford]
For all that donít know please introduce yourself and let the readers know a bit about your crew, i.e. what do the initials in your crew name stand for and what are the areas you paint?

ZINC: I write Zinc , I'm not part of any crews. I write in Oxford mostly but also occasionally Sheffield and London.

How old are you?

ZINC: 15.

What was it that got you into graffiti and when do you think it was that you would have started drawing on paper, maybe keeping a pad?

ZINC: When I use to get the train into Glasgow every morning when I lived there, Loads of people had stuff up there, and sometimes you would see small train pieces that they had just kept in the yard facing tracks. Chintz had stuff on the tracks there too., alongside the E.R. crew I reckon they were a massive influence to me because they were all city and deserved the respect they got.

What was it that got you onto the next level and actually throwing up on walls etc?

ZINC: Getting hold of the small Plastikote cans that you could get for about 2 quid, hitting up on walls near my area, then I wanted to start doing pieces and dubs etc.. When I realised such things existed.

When and where was your first piece? What was the feeling you got after putting it up? Was it what you expected?

ZINC: I did my first piece at a ball court up north. Total disaster, blamed the fact I used a mix of Hycote, Montana and Proline, drips galore. But even then no style had developed. I was a toy!

So, by now you must have done a few pieces. Which one was your favourite piece? Where was it and when would it have been done?

ZINC: Iíve done a few things Iíve liked, but unfortunately I do not have photos of all my stuff. Which I regret now.

What has been your craziest or worst writing experience?

ZINC: Have not had any.

Are there any other crews or artists in your area who you know or whose tags you see all over?

ZINC: In Oxford, there are a fair few people who are destroying the city with there graf as much as they can, to name a few, big up: ZEPA, LEASH, CRAM, PINKA, KENS, COIL Ė keep bombing it up.

What do you make of the whole stickering phenomenon? Do you think it is just another way of getting over, or do you think it is a bit of a cop out?

ZINC: Stickering is good if your prepared to have a lot of the stickers you put up ripped down and having to go out most nightsÖ One person I look up to when it comes to stickers would have to be SOLO1. Heís done LOADS!

Why do you think that Graffiti artists are so demonised in the media? OK, you have to admit what you are doing constitutes criminal damage, but often times you are brightening things up and you arenít hurting anyone.

ZINC: Yes I think there are many aspects of graf that some people do not actually realise, tagging can be the most important for some writers whereas pieces can be equally important for others, I think its true that every writer starts of tagging, and as they get older they do less and then going to pieces if there still graffing at about 30 something.

Donít get me wrong thereís still people out there doing trains in there thirties but I reckon thatís the age when you start slowing down on the amount of stuff you do.

Whether youíre out for fame or not Graffiti is always gonna happen.

Similar to the stickering, what do you think of Etching? Is this connected to graffiti in your eyes, or does it give more conventional spraycan artists a bad name?

ZINC: It depends, some people like Enzo, had at one point his tag scratched in basically every northern line tube I got on! And you have to respect that, but toys going onto trains with a sharp stone writing shit on the windows, looks wack it wonít be long till we canít see tracksides out of local train windows.

So did you hear about Enzo having to go on the run after there was a major campaign about him in London?

ZINC: Ye pretty fucked up.

What do you think of the zero tolerance policy many councils are now having on graffiti, will this make your lives more difficult?

ZINC: Iím more of a piecer than bomber, but it is pissing off, when youíve done something good and it lasts for only about a week, cos some fag has reported the graffiti to the council. Whether itís a handstyle dub or throwup still equally annoying.

A good piece of graf can mean a lot to someone.

I ask everyone about politics, because I think it is important that we have knowledge of what is going on. Do you have anything to say on that? Any issues you think people need to open their eyes too?

ZINC: Stop the wars!?

If you could change something about society, what would it be and why?

ZINC: Iíd make more graffiti hall of fames, and lower the price of Montana in the U.K.

Overall then, do you have an opinion on whether the graffiti scene is getting better or worse? And why?

ZINC: I think itís getting better but my opinion should not count as Iíve not been ďinĒ that long to make a reasonable answer on whether the graffiti scene is good or bad.

Respect for that attitude. Would you consider doing legal pieces and getting paid for your work? Sometimes artists who do this are frowned upon by the underground artistsÖ

ZINC: In the future yes if they approached me about it then yeh, but I wouldnít ask people if they needed work done.

Are there more opportunities for legal work these days, or have those days gone and in fact the council provided walls are coming down?

ZINC: It is good to be able to go and do pieces at hofís and to travel and visit other cities but if people take advantage of graf on that wall or the area around it the council will just take it down and dedicate some other wall. Thatís what's happening here.

How do you feel about the connection to Hip Hop and Graffiti? Is Graffiti an element of Hip Hop, or like so many graf artists do you think that Hip Hop over the years has largely ignored graffiti and therefore disown the connection?

ZINC: They are definitely connected.

How do feel about the graffiti on the web? Do you have your own website?

ZINC: No, but there are plenty good sites out there which are worth cheeking out,

In General how do you view the Internet? Do you think it is a way for the small man to have a voice, or are there too many idiots too willing to spout a load of rubbish with no control over them?

ZINC: Itís good but not when people post bait stuff in guestbooks and beef forums with their stainer recipes n shit, some of its actually really bait. People should know better, and realise the police do log onto graf sites as much as you!

What do you think about the graf in other countries? Sometimes it seems like it is a much bigger thing and is more accepted in foreign landsÖ

ZINC: Yeh Iíve heard Barcelona is great for graffiti, also Stockholm Paris etc..
In the future I want to go there.

Where do you get your paint? Do you keep it real and rack that as well, or do you buy it?

ZINC: Montana and Belton from the various places it is available in London. I do not buy from Graphotism.

Do you have a favourite brand or colour? Belton seems to be popular, but then maybe there is a cheap Halfords can thatíll do the same job?

ZINC: Pistachio green Montana!

Do you have any tips or techniques you want to pass on, like how to get even coverage, or avoid drips?

ZINC: Iím the one that needs the tips and techniques!!

Have you planned out your next piece, and if so what is it going to be?

ZINC: Canít say.

What is going to be keeping you busy over the next few months?

ZINC: Graffiti

Which writers and/or artists most inspire you?

ZINC: I would say I am most inspired by OKER and AKT. Also the TFW crew. Itís all good.

What do dislike about the graf scene?

ZINC: The haters. And jealousy, why bother?

Is there anything else you would like to add or mention?

ZINC: Peace to all the people I have painted with and Writers I have met, I have learnt a lot of shit from loads of people and Itís helped me loads.
Peace out.

Thank you very much for your time.

Who fert it!?

Contact Zinc: [email protected]
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2000 & Beyond
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