Graffiti Interview: Savie
Alright so thanks for taking the time out to do this interview, can you give us a brief introduction to who you are, what your history is in the graffiti game and Where did the name savie come from? What crew do you rep?
Yes, Started up in the mid-eighties as a young kid who was always looking for new adventures. At home I was always drawing cartoons and comics. When I saw the movie/documentary styleswars from Henry Chalfant on tv, and I was completely blown away. This was f*cking amazing what was happening in New York at that time….!!I started drawing and sketching graffiti letters, and just couldnt stop. Stole some markers and start tagging in the streets, and step by step with spraycans.. throw ups, chrome quickies and then step by step full color pieces. The name SAVIE came up after sketching and writing all different kind of names.. I thought SAVIE is a nice letter combo and nice name…. I loved (and still love) the ‘S” in the front and the ‘E” at the end.
At that time in Holland it was quite hard to find other writers, (since there was no internet or hall of fames etc). So it was a “one man show” in the beginning. After a couple of years I met “RIGS” and “MORON” (local hardcore bombers at that moment), and created the “DOA Crew” (Dead On Arrival) together with the writers DEUS, INMATE and GRIM.
The nice part of it, is that we all have different styles and ideas, but all dedicated to the graffiti game. DOA is still “alive”, and next to a “graffiti crew”, its a friendship through good and bad times!!
One of the first things I recognized about your work is that you are really into keeping the old school style and vibe going into this century which I really appreciate! What in your mind separates the old school from the new styles that writers work in today?
It’s true that my work has still that oldschool vibe, it’s because I am oldschool, and I really like that style and time in the graffiti history… Honestly it’s really hard to do “real” oldschool things right now… and not because of the flow and the letters, but cans, paint, caps, areas, subways etc.. all changed. For example, in the old days the paint wasn’t that fresh/clear and in looks more matt in finish. Also you didn’t have that much choice in colors, caps.. etc.. Now almost all pieces are “bright colored” with sharp outlines and details because of skinny caps, a big range in colors and pro materials etc…. so this changed a lot.
But the new writers and artists have a lot of nice fresh ideas and styles what I really like!! And in this generation, everybody can watch everybody’s work from all over the world through Insta, facebook etc.. so you have much more input and ideas from each other.. super inspiring!!!
I see you do a ton of collabs with different artists, and that these different artists are all over the place! Did you continue traveling to paint while this whole covid thing has been going on or are alot of these posts from before the pandemic?
Yes, normally I travel a lot, but right now it’s still not normal cause of the Covid situation, really hope it will turn back to normal asap. It really felt like I was in prison because of the shitty situation. But I think slowly, step by step it will be normal again. It’s really nice to collab with all different writers and artists from other countries. Different countries have all different Graff history, culture, different styles, rules and always surprising spots…!!!There is always more adventure outside your own areas and territories.
To continue that question, do you find that collabs with other artists is the funnest way to learn this craft and the coolest thing about doing this longterm? Im sure with the lockdowns this has kept you from connecting with old collaborators and what not, how have you dealt with that?
Yes, it’s true and as mentioned, the lockdown feels like prison. and you are still connected with each other through social media but it’s completely different. For example, till 2 years ago I visited China almost every 3 months, and I could do nice collabs and murals over there with really nice international writers and artists. The graffiti scene in China (especially in Shanghai) are some locals but mostly expats from all over the world.. so you also learn a lot from each other. It is really nice to do murals together with all these different writers with sometimes more then 8 different nationalities. But since the lockdown its still impossible, and thats quite hard to accept and I miss that.
5) What is your favorite documentary or book that covers the history or major players of graffiti and why?
The movie/documentary styleswars from Henry Chalfant is the best and especially at that time.
I think the book subway art (also Henry Chalfant/Martha cooper) is the holy bible in the game.. it covers the history of Graff.In the beginning years we made a lot of copies form each others original sketches, drawings and black books, and we share and trade these copies in the scene. So step by step you collected all these copies and you created your own “copybook”. this was also a big thing at that time.
What kind of equipment do you carry with you day to day when you’re painting? Do you have any specific brands or products that you’ve found to be helpful for you over the years?
I always have with me a white Posca and a black Edding marker. covers all backgrounds for tagging. When I go out painting, I’m always sure to have enough caps with me, always fat and skinny caps. because its really frustrating when your caps clocked during your actions..
Do you do murals for work, or do you only treat this as a side hustle? For people wanting to thrive as an artist and make this their career, what kind of advice would you give?
I dont do murals for work any more.. The thing is, when its work and you get paid for it, most of the time these are projects were you cannot do your own thing and you are dont have the freedom to express yourself. I dont like to work under that kind of pressure of expectations from a kind of employer.
For me it feels much better as a side hustle and go whenever I like and that I can create whatever I want..
Where all have you traveled as an artist, any cool travel stories you can share? What is your favorite place to visit?
I traveled a lot and did pieces in Belgium, England, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Hongkong, China, etc etc. but for sure, still not done haha..
Nice to share with you a quick “travel” story; The last time when I was in Shanghai, artist Dezio (Shanghai based graffiti artist) came with a crazy nice plan, He spotted a big high skyscraper in the city centre of Shanghai which was still under construction. and the idea was to do a rooftop over there. Wow that sounds great!!! if it worked out we had the “Highest” pieces ever made in China! The only thing was that the building inside wasn’t finished yet (only the rough construction), and there were a lot of permanent security guys to guard the building.- if you get caught in China with graffiti (as an outsider) you never know how it ends.. there are so many scary stories going around….
We still gave it a try on a Sunday (so there were no workers inside the building) We spotted the security, and after a good timing we could past the guards trough a hole in the fence. When we were inside the building it was like a cold scary dark ghost town, We were the only one in the building, and we needed to take the “open” stairs (without any railing or safety bars) to make it to the roof. Next to the stairs, there were “open” elevator shafts and big open holes in the floors (I think for cables, air conditioning etc).. pff…mind your step bro…The higher we went in and on the building you really didnt want to look down anymore, it was fucking scary and crazy high.
After taking more then 60 stairs (with a bag of spray cans and a bag of beer cans hehehe), we were already exhausted before we even started painting… We had to work fast because you need to get the hell out of there before it gets dark… if its to dark you will not and cannot go down the stairs anymore. that’s suicide. We did some quick pieces and finally made it out before it got too dark.. crossed safely the security guys and.. damn we did it!!!Afterwards our rewards were some ice cold beers, good pictures and a nice story to tell hahaha…
Where do you see yourself going with your career in the next few years? Any big plans or do you just go with the flow?
Yeah.. I just go with the flow.. be flexible.. Since this Corona outbreak, everything changed, especially if you have plans for the coming years, youre not sure if that all will work out.. But if you have the chance to do the things you want to do…. just do it!! and dont wait!! you never know how the world looks like after this and after a couple of years….
Any shout outs you would like to give? Where can people follow you?
You can follow me on instagram: savie_36
My shoutouts are for: DOA crew, Moron, Inmate, Deus, Rigs, Grim, Swase, Rufe, Stars, Ick, OD crew, Sunk, Cry, El-Joel, Sign, DAH, Runs, Knals, Koesh, Ogees, Conan, Surch, Duel, Serch, Nes crew, Dezio, Snail, Pers, Evel Desizer, Near, Spoce, Dusk, Druid, Onrush, Mek, Tik Toy, Again, Sender, Selone, Mega, Romeo, Chas, Ravage, 42Rock, Nasc, Neas, Deshamer, Mister, Kbtr, Melo Wish, Broke, IMP crew, Same, Asoo (rip), Ces 53, Juice, and everybody I forgot who keeps the graff alive!!
Cheeers!!! SAVIE DOA Crew