Buffdiss opens up to us about his fixation with coloured tape, how street art seems to be turning into "a refuge for crappy art students" and the other creatives who keep him inspired. And no, he doesn't actually have a weird stationery fetish.
Main image: Berliner Papal Pardon
So Buff, when did you initially get into street art?
I started off with graffiti at 14 or so but started using tape about six years ago. I wasn't consciously making street art as it's known now, just trying something new.
Train to Nangang
Can you tell us about the first tape piece you remember doing, whether outdoors or indoors?
The first piece was in a lane way and I remember being so stoked when I realised the tape could go from the ground to the walls of the lane way and so on. It was like being able to sketch on the city.
Why tape? What inspires you to work with a medium that most people see as solely functional and/or awkward?
I think the main reason I've kept using tape is the lack of precedent. There really isn't a school/movement/legacy of tape art so it's like having weight off the artistic shoulders. The functional or practical nature of tape is one of its best aspects as a medium; you don't have to walk into a snooty, over-priced art store to find it. The linear quality of tape also makes it a quick medium to work with. Only drawback is looking like you've got a stationery fetish when you open your bag.
We loved your piece for Village Underground & Red Stripe's Make Something From Nothing show (shown above). Which of your own do you think is your favourite?
Cheers, glad you liked it. Favourite piece? It's hard to say as many pieces are great to recall because of the people I was working with. Any of the collaborations I've done with Benzo-TS over the years are favourites, He's an inspiration to see in action and always seems to one-up me on the style front.
On the more personal front, I did a series last year based on the Dido & Aeneas myth and a number of works from that are up there. The suicide and tragedy in the story was hitting pretty close to home, so the value I have for the works also conflicts with the sorrow of their source.
Dub Stripes close-up
Which part of your creative process do you enjoy most? Why?
It's probably the relationship developed with a space. Most of the time I'll work in old factories or buildings and because the nature of my medium is tactile, the surfaces and architectural aspects of the spaces start to feed into the creative process. I tend to work alone and in these desolate spaces, I think it heightens this dialogue. After a piece is finished a lot of what I recall is the character of the surface it sits on.
How do you see your own work as fitting in with street art and graffiti tagging?
I'm not sure where my art fits exactly but it's not a great concern. Graffiti has pretty well-defined boundaries and street art seems to have become content as a refuge for crappy art students.
That said, I think I'm enjoying work more that is not entirely one or the other but taking a step out of it's category. Horfe
from France is pretty inspiring, as well his countrymen Zoer, Gris
guys from Greece are great, as well as the work from the Graphic Surgery
duo. Plenty more to talk of but I guess the common thread is the work that already has a strong base, yet is pushing with new styles and into new mediums.
Find more of Buffdiss' work on his Flickr page, and see what inspires him visually on his blog.