"For me graffiti became a perfect source of adrenaline and positive emotions, a way to fill my life with adventures and find real friends. Every wall and, especially, train panel is a story. Every piece or throwie is another victory. It's a way to feel the pure taste of life every fucking day when you have paint and time to go on a mission."Could you please introduce yourself? What do you write? Where are you from? What crews do you rep?
My name is Loco Fox, I am from Moscow, Russia. People may call me a graffiti-writer, street-artist or a vandal, but I prefer to call myself a “guy who draws foxes everywhere he goes and tries not to get caught”. I am also in a crew called BLS, which is formed by writers from Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Ufa.
What attracted you to the world of graffiti? How did you first get started into doing graffiti?
When I was a kid a friend showed me a Dirty Hands video tape. I was so impressed that I immediately started writing my first ugly tags everywhere. That was a start, a pretty typical one though.
For me graffiti became a perfect source of adrenaline and positive emotions, a way to fill my life with adventures and find real friends. Every wall and, especially, train panel is a story. Every piece or throwie is another victory. It's a way to feel the pure taste of life every fucking day when you have paint and time to go on a mission.
How would you describe your style of graffiti? What do you find influences you and your work?
I guess, my work lies somewhere between graffiti and street-art. I always liked characters more than fonts and my goal was to come up with my own character – simple but recognizable and vivid. A character that could be painted around as throw-ups and also has a potential for more complex pieces.
Loco Fox became such a character for me – it's original, funny and it also gives an opportunity to change its appearance, mood etc. I paint Loco Foxies with ghettoblasters, vinyl records. Foxes sporting polos, leather jackets, sky masks, crowns etc. I've been involved in hardcore and skinhead culture since my childhood, so Loco Fox often appears as a skinhead. My work is strongly influenced by everyday life, struggle and especially music.
Is there a specific statement that you’re trying to make with your work? What is something you hope people think when they see some of your work?
I want people to think “Oh, that fox again, I saw it million times before and here it is again”. Not so original, but that's the way it is.
How do you do your big pieces? Do you get the permission of land owners or do it 100% hardcore style
I haven't done any legal shit ever. Maybe someday... All of my works are 100% illegal and that's the way graffiti should be. I mean I don't have anything against legal artists, whose skills pay their bills. More power to them! But at the same time, the real essence of graffiti is in illegal activity. To stay in this endless game you have to be smart, fast, work good and be ready to come back and do the same again and again, because the city buffs everything sooner or later. In Moscow they often buff your shit the next morning.
At the same time I never paint on private cars, private houses and on the monuments of art and history. We need to respect each other, our roots and our culture.
I don't think that painting an ordinary gray wall or a train is a serious crime. The results of this “crime” could be easily removed with a bucket of paint.
You call yourself antifascist artist. How is it linked to graffiti, and how graffiti can bring some positive message to the people?
Well, I don't think I am an “antifascist artist”, but the point is that today the bullshit Neo-Nazi movement grows bigger and bigger in Russia and I want to demonstrate that I'm strictly against this shame. It may sound totally weird, but in modern Russia Neo-Nazi shit have become really huge. You can see it on the streets, on the football terraces and even in graffiti and hip hop.
Fascism became a fashion among modern Russian youth, or I'd better say pseudo-youth – puppets manipulated by another trend.
Assholes even try to make their way on the hardcore scene, but they always get their sorry asses kicked when they show up at gigs.
The situation was even worse back in the 90's, when the Nazis totally ruled the hardcore-punk scene, but then a small group of kids started the whole anti-racist hooligan thing, kicking Nazis out of the punk/hardcore gigs.
Another shameful fact is that Neo-Nazis got a total support from government. The cops always try to shut hardcore gigs, kids get arrested and people with antifascist views are called “extremists” by the police and mass media. I've seen enough cops with Nazi tattoos and other shit. It's totally sick to witness such a situation in a country that paid a terrible bloody price for the victory over Hitler's hordes. Today the grandsons of the World War II veterans sport swastika tattoos and praise Hitler.
I believe that in such situation it is crucial to demonstrate your position and stand your ground, because whatever you do – write graffiti or play in a band, you can influence other people. Or at least - stay true to yourself and your beliefs.
Could you expand upon G.W.A.R.P. – Graffiti Writers Against Racial Prejudice a little? What is it about and who else is involved?
Well, it's not our idea. If I'm not mistaken, a friend of mine saw a guy in such t-shirt in some Euro graffiti video. We use this idea to demonstrate that we are against racist bullshit – whatever color it is. Racism has no excuse, these idiots should have no place in our society.
You’ve recently done a bit of traveling with your work, most notably visiting the Mecca of graffiti, New York. How did the trip came out?
That was my long time dream to paint in NYC and it came true. It's a beautiful city with stunning atmosphere. I've got a lot of adventures there – got chased by the vandal SQUAD in subway tunnels a couple of times and was almost ran over by a train. Great trip. I hope to repeat it someday, but it's really hard for a Russian citizen to enter the USA.
So what do you think are the biggest differences between Europe and USA when it comes to graffiti?
I can't say that Russia is Europe. It's geographic position speaks for itself. It's something between Asia and Europe and right now it seems like our country takes the worst from the both worlds.
Anyway, in my humble opinion the main difference is that USA graffiti scene is much more street and freight oriented, while the Europe concentrates on commuter trains.
How would you describe the Moscow graffiti scene? Who are other graffiti artists and crew you’ve been feeling lately?
Our scene is young, but it grows fast. More and more Russian writers get featured in world's leading graffiti magazines, go on Euro tours, demonstrate outstanding styles. I believe it's just the beginning, and Russian graffiti still has a lot to say to the world.
How big is the hardcore/punk community within the world of Moscow graffiti?
I don't think it's really big, but there is enough kids who write and also go to the hardcore gigs.
I don't think I'll make a mistake if I say that the majority of kids just follow the latest trends – in music, style and fashion. But there are some big name writers here who came straight from the DIY hardcore culture.
Do the Moscow artist work together? Is there a competition between different crews and individuals?
It depends. Some kids usually paint together, but there is also enough beef between certain people and crews. Someone crossed the other one, some crew painted in the other crew's yard, you know. Sometimes it ends up real ugly with knifes and lead pipes. But usually it's just stupid kids with nothing to do, who like to run their mouth and then always back off.
How do you think most people in Moscow feel about graffiti? Do you think they like it?
Most of them totally hates it. The main danger for a writer in Russia is not police but some redneck idiots, who can stab you in the back while you're tagging. A few years ago one of the notorious Moscow writers got seriously cut by some jerk, just for writing on the wall. The guy had serious problems with health, but as far as I know, he's all right now and still kicking.
I noticed that people always try to call the police or even attack you when they see you painting, but they almost never react when someone's getting robbed on the street.
People got so upset by tags and throwies on the government property while the same government uses the very same people and then throws them away, It is nothing but a logic of a slave.
The old graffiti rule still works in Russia: “If you can write, you can fight”. That's it.
Have you ever had a graffiti-related problems with the law. Is Moscow police giving you a lot of stress? Do you have any good chase stories you’d like to share with us?
Here in Russia we don't have such a serious anti-graffiti laws and structures as in USA and in some European countries. But I think it's just a matter of time, because everything started here much and much later than in the other world. But we already have train drivers and security guards shooting at kids in train yards and attacking them with railroad hammers and lead pipes, the most modern cameras and sensors in the tunnels and yards and also cops who can beat and torture people and get away with it.
Not long ago we did a back jump on a commuter train in St. Petersburg area, it was crowded and the angry passengers were running out of the car, trying to attack us, so we had to chase them back into the train a few times, until we finished.
That was fun.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
I hope more and more work, travel, countless new pieces, panels and a few cover designs for some hardcore bands.
Any last shout outs?
Thanx a lot for your support and interesting questions! More power to OLD SCHOOL HATE!
Best greets to all your readers!
If you'd like to check some punk/hardcore from Russia I may recommend you these bands: Proverochnaya Lineika, What We Feel, Razor Bois, Ted Kaczynsky, Villainz United, Old School Values, By-Street, Mister X, Moscow Death Brigade.
What We Feel will be on tour in your country real soon, so don't miss them!
Yo: BLS 1315, RST, HGK, TRC, DSK!
Check my stuff on the Internet:
Loco Fox above the world!