To help celebrate the launch of Instagrafite's new blog, we are excited to share one of their latest articles featuring an interview with Stikki Peaches. Written and photographed by @juliiea, enjoy this exclusive interview and behind the scenes shots with Stikki Peaches!
After spotting his work around the globe, I finally had the pleasure to catch up with Montreal based artist Stikki Peaches.
The artist tagline “What if Art Ruled the World?” has been taking over Montreal, but also the urban landscape of Paris, London, Berlin and Stockholm, since 2009.
The anonymous street artist is strongly influenced by pop culture references, lowbrow and street culture. Created by using a variety of media, including collage, acrylic paint and silkscreen, each piece encourages people passing by to stop, analyse, and question and is sure to leave them with a smile.
In 2013 alone, Stikki Peaches left his mark in Barcelona, New York and Art Basel Miami. In 2014, Stikki had his first international solo exhibition in New York.
After spending the afternoon with Stikki watching him putting up his latest work on the streets of Montreal I then visited his studio and here is what I found out …
Julie: Could you tell me more about your background and what influenced you artistically?
Stikki Peaches: I come from a creative and artistic background from as long as I can remember as a kid. My folks both worked in the textile industry, my dad a tailor, my mom a fashion designer. Being surrounded by endless amounts of sketches, patterns, story boards, colour palettes etc. For me it was always an opportunity to take those scraps of paper left behind, or those rejected sketches and turn them into something else by painting or colouring over them. Nothing went to waste as I though all they did was amazing and I was lucky to “work” with them. Today my work kind of stems from those days hanging around that industry with my folks, paying endless amount of attention to details while adding the nostalgic touch and feeling of the 80’s and 90’s pop culture that I was so in tune with that was a big part of my childhood.
I was lucky enough to see you creating your latest piece in Montreal. Could you explain your pasting technique and tell me a bit more about this street work in particular?
That was a great time. The piece was fairly large, measuring 14 feet high by 9 feet wide, so there were many panels to align and paste up. It’s time consuming, but the end result was what I had expected and more. In this particular case, I was pasting with permission to do so, so taking my time was key, otherwise, it would have been a whole other story if it was one of my nightly adventures.
This actual piece called “Skools Out” was meant for an installation in Berlin, with the help and support from the awesome people at Urban Nation. The area in which I was working was a little rough around the edges, a red light sort of district with lots going on in the streets, this while many kids play and hang around these neighbourhoods. Knowing this beforehand, the piece was created to have that playful innocence, while bearing some tough outer skin in working the tattoos and punk vibe, keeping it light but edgy with the realization that this is their every day and in fact it is a reality. While there, ready to install, we noticed the dimensions of the wall assigned wasn’t accurate to the paste up and would not have fit in the actual space, so unfortunately I had to bring the piece back with me to Montreal, where it found a good home!
This only means I’ll be back in Berlin soon enough to rework another installation for UN. So I’m pretty stoked about that.
You recently travelled to Europe. Do you have any plans on travelling more this year?
That’s right, I’ve just recently got back from Europe, visiting Paris, London and Berlin, what an amazing time and experience. Made some great new contacts and friends along the way, so I absolutely need to get back there pronto, I’m looking into September / October, but before that I’ll be in NYC for some work lined up.
As for 2016, There are plans in the making for an Asian adventure. The details are still being worked out.
Talking about travelling, when visiting a new city how do you pick the spot where you’ll put your work?
There’s usually some scouting to be done. If it’s a place I’ve been to before and know the area, I can wing it, and plan accordingly, but if it is something entirely new, then I plan a little more and link up with locals or other artists I may know from the area. In some cases friends will also hook me up with the right people to get the job done.
Are you curious to know how the public reacts to your work?
Sure. Good or bad, a reaction is always welcomed. This is what the work is supposed to do, stimulate thoughts, provoke discussions, engage people to pass social commentary. It’s all part of the process. Every artist out there doing this type of street work, whether it being murals, stencils, paste ups etc., is looking for that support or opportunity to showcase their work anywhere they can, with that comes criticism as well, which is also part of the game. It’s all relevant to what we do. You either embrace it all and keep doing your thing or don’t do it at all. Simple as that really.
You work mostly at night as you prefer to keep your identity low key, we can imagine sometimes this wasn’t an easy task. Any funny stories that you want to share with us?
One that stands out was my first involvement with the Montreal mural festival back in 2013 where I was assigned to cover a bunch of doors legally with my work along the main. While installing a piece, I was hit with an ice cold bucket of water from the second floor of the building I was working on from a tenant that thought I was vandalizing. All this while there was a huge street banner mentioning the Mural festival right outside his window. In all the years of doing these illegal style paste ups I never had someone interact with me in such a way. Turned out to be a great night.
I have seen your collaboration works with NYC based artist Dain while visiting your studio and out on the Paris and London streets. Do you have future plans for collabo works with other artists?
The works with Dain are an ongoing process which we take with us on our travels. We’re good buddies and respect and love each other’s works, so it makes it easy to collaborate together. I also collaborate with another great artist from time to time, which I’m sure you also know of, Dotdotdot from Norway. Awesome guy and great work ethic. Who knows who else can come along in the future.
Any exciting projects coming up?
There’s always something in the works, right now I’m planning my 2016 as we speak as 2015 is half done, and it’s about my next travels and street work while getting in a good dose of studio time in between. How does that saying go which is popular with all the kids these days, ah yes, “never not working.”
This article was originally posted by Instagrafite on August 20, 2015.
More work by Stikki Peaches can be found here.