Over the last few years we at VO have gotten to know Hype. Before this we had seen his impressive work when we visited Victoria with a range of productions and characters that always amazed us. He continues to do slick one man productions to posse productions to stellar canvases. He lives off his art and knows how to hustle work where ever possible. He is able to do this because of his versatile talents with a spray can.
Q: Have you always written Hype? How did you come up with it?
A: Actually, I had a bunch of silly and goofy names, mostly just playing around with words, they would last for a week or so. If I can remember correctly, I tagged “Intro” for a bit, and before that I think it was “Crypt”, when I was 14 years old. They were terrible tags, and I mostly just hit up small spots, bathrooms and mail boxes, but never took them to anything more than that. But we all start some here I guess.
Q: What kind of surface do you enjoy painting the most?
A: I really enjoy cinder block, especially if it’s just caked in layers of paint! Cinder block is great, you can use the lines of it almost like a grid for layouts and measurements. Really, I have been fine with painting on any surface possible, I tried painting over a crusty old rock wall at a friends place once, and even that was ok.
Q: What advice would you give to people trying to live off their art?
A: My advice for living off their art is stay dedicated and focused on it, and also having the right connections helps alot too. I have had times where I have been dead broke and out of the blue, I will get a call to paint a huge mural or some canvasses for a company. Later on I will think how I’m so glad I’m not stuck in some office job, do what makes YOU happy and if you want something enough, it will happen.
Q: How did you get so good at doing characters?
A: I love painting characters! I can remember very clearly in elementary school being the only kid who could draw decent cartoon portraits of teachers or do any comic book superhero. I think it was around grade 4 when it started, so around age 8 or 9, I would sit in my room and read amazing spider man and wish I could draw like that. It wasn’t until 1991 when I met Todd Mcfarlane at a comic book signing and showed him some of my ink drawings that I took it to the next level. I would spend hours and hours just locked away from everybody just drawing characters, from disney to superheros. I was obsessed. I am a perfectionist so getting them just right is a must for me. So just tons of practice and perfection is how I learned. Nobody really taught me.
Q: What gives you a visual orgasm?
A: New and original artwork. It could be a wall production or a really sick canvass, either way for me it is all about the color.
Q: How is the Victoria graffiti scene these days?
A: The scene has slowed down alot. There were times when so much good art was on so many walls it was overwhelming. Amazing tags, throwies, and pieces were everywhere. It was crazy. We had this spot by the VIA rail line called the “tracks”, it was massive, like a mile of walls. When writers from out of town came in, we took them there. 30 foot high walls by 1 mile long, can’t get any better than that. But now its all gone, and when that happened, there was almost no where left that was decent, so we had to look else where. It came down to the pocket spots, which were only a few but they are painted by select people. Plus, Victoria has harsh by-laws for bushiness’s that don’t clean up tags and such.
Q: If you could paint a production with anyone who would it be and why?
A: I would really love to paint with How and Nosm, I think those twins are on some next level shit, it is fucking unreal the stuff they are doing and the size is so intense. I just really love the abstract designs they do and how they can disguise the letters in some of them.
Q: Would you let your kids do graffiti?
A: That is a tough one. Later down the road, they are gonna want to know about all this stuff I painted and why, and if they want to try it how could I say no. I mean it is all about choice, I haven’t really thought about that to much. Right now, they think every dad does this stuff.
Q: What else are you into besides making sick art?
A: Besides graffiti, I enjoy working on cars, I built a really nice 1971 Datsun 510, I also love photography and hanging with friends. I actually really enjoy just working. I used to skateboard alot, and I was very into filming and editing videos, I miss that so much, the filming. I have enjoyed being a dad to 2 kids too, that teaches you alot about yourself when you have kids. Outdoor work is great too, I enjoy hard labour. I lived in a house that was very rural for 3.5 years, and I had a great time just building stuff, cutting grass, chain sawing trees, splitting wood. Me and Sper cut 3 cords of firewood one time and had a blast. Jokes.
Q: Where is your favourite place to eat in Victoria?
A: I love this Indian restaurant called Sabri, it’s a buffet style restaurant. The yogurt on rice with butter chicken is the best. Also, for the best sushi, go to Fujiya, that place is non stop all day every day!