• Monday, November 29, 2021

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  • Interview with Laser 3.14

    In the wake of Laser’s most recent exhibition ‘To All The Angels I’ll Never Know’,Keep-It-Hush caught up with Amsterdam’s most renowned and prolific street poet to discuss his ethos, inspirations and message.

    For those who don’t know, what is the story behind the name Laser 3.14?
    I am an artist. I combine different disciplines in my artwork: street poetry, poetry and painting.

    I’ve seen quite a few of your pieces around Amsterdam especially on construction sites and wooden boards. Is that for any particular reason?
    Yes, the reason for working on wooden boards and scaffoldings is, that it gives the work a non-temporary effect. It gives a here today gone tomorrow effect.

    A lot of street artists and graffiti writers like to keep the identity hidden for obvious reasons, why is it so important for you? Do you see it as adding to the allure of Laser 3.14?
    I feel and always felt that the work should be, what people primarily see, without the noise of a person behind it. Don’t get me wrong, in some art the artist is equally important to the work he makes but in my case I think that the work should be primarily seen separate from the artist.


    What’s the difference between street art and graffiti?
    The difference is the choice of materials. Graffiti artists use mainly spray cans whereas in street art anything goes. You can use stencils, paste-ups, statues, knitting, you name it and you can use it. With graffiti there are a couple of basic styles and again with street art anything goes. Graffiti artists mostly make their art for other graffiti artists to see (keep in mind there are exceptions on that rule). Street art invites the spectators outside of their art realm to participate. I like both disciplines and as an artist, learned a lot from both of them.

    In the past you’ve done all types of graffiti from Wild Style to bubble letters, why do you think your ‘street poetry’ is the most prolific and appreciated?
    I think street poetry is more appreciated because traditional graffiti is mostly written for graffiti writers. If you’re not part of that scene, just a layman, it can be very difficult to read and decipher graffiti. Street poetry invites people in, because it’s very readable, and, at least I hope, very inviting. It evokes participation of the spectator.

    Do you see your work as a form of social commentary?
    Subjects, which are important to me, influence my work. I am very interested in for example what’s going on in politics and religion. I am very critical of these subjects and follow them closely. We live in very interesting days where the coin could fall either way and I react to that through my art.


    Amsterdam changed a lot the last decades, and I hear you don’t think that’s a good thing….
    The problem is that Amsterdam used to be a very free and liberal open city and that has been undone by very conservatively thinking politicians. In the last 20 years the inhabitants of this city have been swamped by a tsunami of bizarre and belittling rules and regulation that killed the liberal and free soul of Amsterdam which stagnated this city in a shrivelling state. You have these vines that wrapped themselves around some trees, which will eventually kill that tree. That’s what these rules and regulation are doing to the heart and soul of Amsterdam. I believe it’s better to have things in the open instead of suppressing them. The city should breathe creativity and openness and the sooner we rid ourselves from the suffocating rules and regulations, which are clearly provided by sadists, the better.

    What makes you frown about society today?
    Blind civil obedience, political correct madness, demographical suicide, extremely incompetent politics, idiotic saloon idealisms etc etc

    What makes you smile about society today?
    Blind civil obedience, political correct madness, demographical suicide, extremely incompetent politics, idiotic saloon idealisms etc etc

    Who are your favourite street artists? Local and international?
    Ludo, Hush, Shoe, Delta, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, C215, Mark Jenkins, Roa, JR and Gaia

    You’re always writing new lines and sentences, how many do you do on your average day, what stimulates your mind?
    Life stimulates my life and I try not to sugar coat the depths, the uneasiness of it.

    Do you read a lot, which writers inspire your ‘street poetry’?
    I try to read as much as possible. Unfortunately due to the lack of time, I read less than I would like to. Writers who inspire me are for example: Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Orwell, Jared Diamond, John Gray, Lawrence Krauss, Douglas Murray and Sam Harris.


    I personally love political fiction and science-fiction, from Zamyatin and Huxely to Orwell and Dick, which books and films are you inspired by?
    Damn, it is difficult to make a choice. I love so many books. I’ll give you the obvious ones: 1984, Guns Germs and Steel, God is Not Great, The Flowers Of Evil, Silence of The Animals, The Black Mass and The God Delusion.
    My favorite movies: Blade Runner, The Godfather, The Fly, Brief Encounter, Soylent Green, THX 1138, Empire Strikes Back, Days Of Heaven, Alien, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Close Encounter Of The Third, A Clockwork Orange, Kind, Zelig, 2001: A space Odyssey, Badlands, and many more.

    So I recently bought my first piece of artwork as a 21st Birthday present to myself. What’s the story behind ‘She controls the knob’?
    I rather not explain. It can take away the spectator’s own interpretation.

    How do you feel about ‘Street Art in the gallery’?
    I have no problem with it whatsoever, as long as one doesn’t betray the integrity of their works by making it more accessible to sell more. And I think it is very interesting to find ways and investigate and discover ways to approach the more controlled gallery setting.

    How do you feel about the commercialisation of street art?
    It was bound to happen. I’ve lived through a couple of subcultures and seen how they began underground and commercialized beyond recognition and along the way lost the reason why they emerged. It is always interesting to see how people first fight against something and then it gets commercially, watered and dumped down, packaged and sold as a stale and meaningless version to the masses. But at the end of the day, there will always be people who will create a form of art with pure integrity, because they have to, they’ve got no other choice, and that is something you can’t bottle.

    Around Amsterdam I have seen some ‘Sellout’ & ‘Fuck Art‘ tags. If directed your way, how would you respond?
    I wouldn’t care. I sell art but I don’t sell out. And fuck art is a bit lame. Art is very important to people. Without creativity or creative thinkers around us, life would get boring very quickly.



    The exhibition is on until the 8th of December at Battalion in Amsterdam. Check it out while you can.





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