What is your name and where did it come from?
My graffiti name is "Kanos", its a shortcut of "Chikanos", it was my nickname in middle school cause i got Spanish roots... i keep it for everything but to do graffiti it was too long, I decide to cut it and keep Kanos...
Going back to the beginning , how did you originally get into creating graffiti art?
I drew since I was a kid, I always dreamed to bomb on railway.
I stole 2 spray cans at my first job and with my best friend we decided to bomb our city!
it was the good old days....
Who were your first influences? When you started......
When I was kids, I was crazy looking at Obkos and 3hc crew through the windows of trains... I promised myself to paint a wall on railway one day... and one day it happened!
Have you studied Art in any way, or did you pick it all up in the streets?
I went to a fine art school to learn graphic design on computer, at that time it was bad to do graffiti... it was not trendy and teachers hated it...
"what? free art in the street? it's illegal!" so i try to hide my graffiti life as i can...
Have you traveled much for Graffiti? If so where have you been and where is your favorite place to spraycation?
I traveled each year on different continents to paint, for the past 10 years....
my favorite places are :
-America, I made a west tour of several cities with my bro Sloke CBS.
-Asia, I just came back from China,I painted in Shanghai Beijing and Chengdu, its really an other civilization and conception of life!
Does music play a role in your art? What’s in your headphones these days?
I like it old, funk and jazzy, not that youngster vocoder shit...
How important is the legibility of letters?
i dont care about legibility, if there is flow and power.
My main question is "what i feel?" when i see a wall from another artist...
Are you a part of any art collectives, crews, or teams? How did you join them?
My main crews are ODVcrew from Paris, and CBScrew from LA, its friends and family now.
I think best way to join crew is to paint so much with people that you are inevitably part of them.
What do you think you are best known for, and how would you describe your style?
My style seems weird for a lot of people! I try to mix organic and mechanic elements together
cause it summarize graffiti movement. cities and humans, concrete and guts, without that, graffiti would not exist.
Do you get involved with any other kind of art besides graffiti?
I also do graphic design, video, paint on canvas etc... and try to merge every discipline I learn.
What’s your favorite brand of spray paint to paint with and why?
I dont really have a favorite one... I like thin lines, so 94 and Montana BLACK are easy.
But I really appreciate the thickness of loop color, yellow for example...
Montana black is the brand I mostly use cause of the proximity of the shop and my neighborhood!
What are your favorite colors or are there colors you find yourself using often?
Yellow! with a bit of red in it, close to orange...I really like yellow, its a light color, I use to cut my production with big lines of yellow.
What kind of nozzles do you tend to use?
white cap with gray dot! my favorite cap since I began. Also called the "maclaim" cap. I use it to make thin lines cause paint clogged it a bit...
Do you have a favorite marker? And why?
I like the empty Molotow marker, now I can fill marker with ink from my own composition... really better
Favorite surface to put your paint on and why?
A good old concrete wall, few hours, a bag full of paint, friends and beers... my favorite configuration
How important is the “outline” in your process?
Outline is the most important part of my process. I try to fill as quick as I can and then
take my time on outline, with thin line I try to give the same looking than a draw, and add a lot of details.
Say You’re leaving the house for a night mission, what are you bringing?
3 x silver, 2 x red, and my lucky gloves.
You have enough paint for one Burner or several throwies, how do you use the paint?
a burner and some tags to finish the last sprays!
If someone asked you why you write graffiti, what would your answer be?
because i just need to express myself... and sometimes words are not enough...
What motivates you to keep getting up day after day?
so many projects in my head, an entire life is too short to realize all!
What kind of project gets you most excited (i.e. Legal walls, crew productions, wholecars, freight bombing)
To travel and discover new part of the graffiti movement. Every country make is own translation of graffiti movement. Each country has an OG.
In an age of social media, with cameras everywhere, and police using technology to crack down on graffiti artists, how do you feel about the importance of protecting your personal identity?
I’m afraid its too late... If you sleep at home its because charges against you are not really important cause nowadays its easier to spot & catch you. Sometimes, key is to stop right on the edge...
Its just a beginning about technology tools... wait till the next ten years! But I dont think bombing is gonna disappear, they will just protect rich neighborhoods as always...
No, the worst danger for graffiti is the trendiness. trendy today, outdated tomorrow. Better way to destroy a culture is to digest it, and then nobody will care.
Where do you think an artist should be able to paint in terms of street art or graffiti? What spaces are “off limits” to you?
A graveyard you mean? I think we can keep respect even if we bomb... for example I don’t want to bomb an old historical walls, I try to create, not destroy the legacy of the past.
I like the fact that graffiti occupy "empty-bugged-glitched-places" born from city, railways, canals, abandoned places. Kind of witnessing that some people are alive there.
Can you speak on the importance of letters and can control in an era of hipster graff and street art?
You can see very quickly if someone paints a lot or if he just begin and do lines like a toy... but customers can't... that's why we are in era of hipster graff!!!
What do you think of instagram and what impact has it had on you as a graffiti artist?
"instagram" is just a "fotolog" with features... nothing new but yeah some people paint for likes and not for themselves... we all have to ask "why am i doing this?"
that's the new rules of the game... we have to play with it... but my favorites artists on Instagram have only few likes and nobody knows them...
What is a trick you've picked up over the years that helps out your process?
clogged caps...my favorite tricks to make my thin lines.
You’ve painted with a lot of talented people, are there any artists in particular you enjoy painting with and why?
My bros Sloke and Jaber, i got so great memories with them! When im with them i just let it go, paint and enjoy!
Is there anything, inside or outside the graffiti world, that you find really inspires your "style" or how you make your art?
Sci-fi and cyberpunk novel inspires me a lot, merging between man and machine, transhumanism etc... Some themes you can find in my work.
Other than “practice” – what advice to you have for the newer artist?
Yeah practice is the key, for sure, but my main advice is "avoid to be a clone, have something to say". We suffer of a lack of personality in graffiti and particularly in street art... beautiful woman with flowers, tigers and humming birds are not the only subject in art.
Do you have any big projects we should be looking out for?
I just came back from a graffiti tour in west America, videos incoming!
Do you have any of your art for sale?
I dont sale a lot of canvas, i prefer to sell live painting, here is some example in video:
If someone wants to follow you or learn more about you, where should they look?
on instagram : @ikanografik
or on youtube "Alex Kanos"
Any Parting words?
Graffiti is first of all a friendship story, so I would like to thanks my teammates from ODV, CBS & OnOff crew!
And of course Infamy Art to give me this interview!
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I met Helno about 8 years ago. Pretty much thought he was a pro skater that just tagged when he skated around town. Then I started seeing his stuff pop up all around town and on trains. - Jaber