Art Interview: CAX

Art Interview: CAX

Character is definitely style – and style of character is definitely what Hip Hop & Street Art are all about. So when it comes to character in street art, what is that? I pitched 20 Questions to CAX to hear about his inner views on what character and style are all about.

Character is definitely style – and style of character is definitely what Hip Hop & Street Art are all about. So when it comes to character in street art, what is that? I pitched 20 Questions to CAX to hear about his inner views on what character and style are all about.

1. CAX, thanx for your time. How do you describe the style of art that you do?
Earl Grey tells me I’m a graffiti traditionalist, so i guess I’ll go with that! I’ve always wanted to be a graffiti-writer but now my style is a bit all over the shop!

2. Are the characters you created intended to be a representation of anyone or anything in your life?Yeah, sometimes. But I rarely let those people know I’ve done my version of them! I tend to draw people I see in public or very often girls i think are hot, especially girls I’ve met but was too shy to talk to!

3. Why do you produce the work that you do – do you have a particular message, are you striving to…. do what?
Its funny, I have a mate whom I studied with and we used to say we just want to make “shit that looks cool!”. I’d like to believe that was my only motive but it’s not. I often fantasize that when my art gets heaps better, that it will be a force to help fight injustice in the world, haha.

4. Who or what has been the greatest influence in the work you do?
There has been three that come to mind… First off the bat was my grandmother, she was constantly putting material in my hand to draw on stuff, and as kids do, I started hitting the walls and furniture! She took me with her to do ceramics, which is where i started learning about colours and stuff.

My second ones are Cypress Hill and Mister Cartoon. I was obsessed with Cypress Hill in high school and used to copy their script style logo and weed leaves all over my school books. my teachers hated it.

And the third influences were probably Can2 and Scien. When my family first got the Internet, the first thing I did was type graffiti into a search engine. The two results I remember going back and looking at over and over again was 123 Klan and Can2. I loved the letters they did, but more importantly I was introduced to characters!

5. What is the best advice you could give someone (who can already draw) that wants to take the leap of faith into character design?
Diversity! Especially if you’re a writer who just does letters. I rode that bandwagon for a while and it sucked. There is so much more room to breathe with characters! I’m not saying just do characters though. Art is like a vocabulary; the more you study it and do it, the better you can express yourself. Also, you might want to also get yourself around people who know whats up with characters. Whether you do it via the Internet or in person, surrounding yourself in a good learning environment is important!

6. The characters you create are very ‘graffiti’ style – who is your intended audience?
First and foremost I have to like it, if i don’t like it, then i don’t care if Michelangelo (the painter, not the Ninja-turtle) says I burn, I won’t be happy… Then i need to have the respect of my crew, especially Earl Grey. If that phase of testing goes alright, next I need to impress the haters and rivals (something I still struggle with…). I believe when I’m good enough there will be no more haters! But as long as there is haters, that just means I’m constantly going to try and get better! I guess that means my intended audience is everyone!

7. Have you ever done a representation of yourself? If so, show it.
Yeah, this year I did a run of T-shirts with a piece titled ‘so i bought the bitch a flower’ which was partly me, as far as clothing and my emotional state, and the rest of it was an interpretation of what i would like to look like. I’ve always wished i could look like a cartoon character – I love the idea of having antennae  – seriously how dope would that be!

8. I notice you’re into hiphop and this is a hip hop magazine – which hip hop artists definitely deserve a listen to?
God so many to name! The two main ones at the moment are Angus Younga (Broken Aesthetiks) and Esvee (IVA). I’m working on album covers for those blokes and they are both good people and good emcee’s. Others are them hungry humans (Class A, Thorts, Phew, Autism, Raven, etc…) and there affiliates ( IVA, DJ Bogues, DJ Elev8, Spit, Didji, Luke Mac, etc..) as well as Simple Simon, Tommy Gunz, Mata N Must, Urban Monk, JP and J Waters, Backpack Assassins, etc…

9. How long have you been into hiphop and the urban scene?
Started off listening to gangsta and commercial rap in the early 90’s, but about 1998 I was exposed to a documentary on Australian hip-hop with all the elements in full effect….That was it, my virginity was gone, and I was going to chase that moment of pleasure for the rest of my life!

10. It is clear that the hiphop urban art scene is only a small part of street art these days as more artists and styles take to using the can. How do you see the hiphop/art-scene in the area where you live?
In my hometown, the scene is really closed minded and the few writers that there are, most are traditionalists who hate street art… Plus you have zero tolerance from the local government, as well as heaps of toys and there is one or two youngish crews who are straight up vandals, who get a bit carried away capping people and trying to be gangsters. I just put my head down and keep trying to get better, I know it wasn’t that long ago I was doing the same thing!!!


11. How is your work promoted?
I started out trying to promote myself but now it’s all word of mouth! I prefer it that way, I hate giving props to myself!

12. Do you (or would you like to) make a living from your art alone??
Haha tough question, at the moment I’ve been freelancing on the side a little bit and enjoying it, but I don’t know if I could handle the pressure of my art influencing whether or not I eat and pay rent that week!

13. What do you do to inspire your own creativity?
Can I say acid? Haha, there is a bunch of influences, sitting on a couch with a bunch of emcees having a cypher over a few beers is always a good one. Being around writers or tattooists while listening to music is always good too! If I’m alone, I like to have a sketch while watching movies or cartoons.

14. What percentage of the hip hop crew in you area are into making art in the hip hop style?
Pretty much most of Ballarat lives by the traditional rules of graffiti. INK and IVA crews for sure! MURPH1 is an old school head who rocks the traditional graffiti styles as does CRAZE (rest in peace) and ED-ONE, always rocked hard too! These people all believe that you show respect when doing your art.

15. From your pictures I see that most are on paper – do you do any wall pieces, freestylin’ with cans or such?
Yeah, I try and paint about 5-7 days out of a month (it’s my period!) but most of my stuff goes to Lewps for his local graffiti-magazine (ILLEGAL FAME) so that he has exclusives that you can’t find on the net.

16. Which artists inspire you the most?

17. Describe your attitude to life in one word.

18. How many in your family and where are you placed in the siblings (eldest, youngest etc.) and did this effect your artistic tendencies? How?
Im the oldest of four children. I’m like the black sheep, the others where all well behaved, I was the kid that was always getting my arsed kicked! It didn’t effect my art though!

19. I notice you participated in a show last July, how did it go? Did it change your perspective on yourself and the direction of your work? How?
I was pretty stoked with how it went, even though my piece didn’t sell! It was a great show and it’s only the second time I’ve been in a professional exhibition, so it was a great experience. The piece I did was on an old electric bass and was mad fun to paint.

20. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Yeah, shout outs to everyone, I hope I didn’t come off as a total dick!…. fuck bitches, get money!


Just an ordinary guy always on the hunt for extraordinary music. Not just as the founder of The Find Magazine & Rucksack Records, but also as a freelance music journalist (bylines at Tracklib, Bandcamp, Wax Poetics, DIG Mag, among others) and—above all—out of love for all kinds of good music.