「Klipps aka MR44」 interview


Kaze Magazine Restart. Klipps aka MR44 interview


KAZE MAGAZINEを製作する中で沢山の人と出会えた。
これから出会う人、Graffiti writerに限らずこの場で色んな人をインタビューしていこう。
最初にインタビューしたのは、MR44。前々からインタビューしたかったし、KAZE MAGAZINEを観てくれている人たちに紹介したかった。
また、再開できる環境に感謝する。(KAZE MAGAZINE)

Restarting a new chapter from here.
Met many people throughout creating KAZE MAGAZINE. Moving forward, will like to interview not only the Graffiti writers but various people I may encounter.
Interviews are great to read on the web but eventually I will like to print out visuals on paper.
The first interview is with MR44. Always wanted to do an interview and to introduce to the readers of KAZE MAGAZINE.
I am also grateful for this environment to restart. (KAZE MAGAZINE)




・Could you give a brief introduction of yourself?


ワッツアップ。名前はYoshi aka Klipps aka MR44、LA生まれLA育ちのジャパニーズアメリカン。グラフィティへの関心を持ったきっかけは90年代前半のLAのグラフィティカルチャーから。高速道路の壁面に多くのマルチカラーバナーと、その近隣にギャングによるオールドイングリッシュレターが書かれていたのをよく目にしたのを覚えている。最初にタグを書いたのは‘93年、でも本格的に書きはじめたのはサンフランシスコに引っ越してからの’98年。ライター仲間のグループに出会ったのはその時、Print、Suffer、Siez、CA crew。日中はアートカレッジに通ってたけど、色の組み合わせ、レターの構造、リスペクトなどに関しては夜、壁にスプレーを吹き付けてる時に学んだよ。その時のSF(サンフランシスコ)のシーンはすごかった。それからHIP HOPのフライヤー、ミックスCDやShing02のCDカバーをやったね。俺のペイントスタイルは当時SFにいた頃から多くきている。

Wasup world, my name is Yoshi aka Klipps aka MR44 and I am a Japanese American, born and raised in Los Angeles. My interest in graffiti was sparked by the Los Angeles graffiti culture in the early 90’s. I remember seeing a lot of multi-color burners on the freeway walls along with old English letters written by the neighborhood gangs. I started scribbling my first tag in ’93, but didn’t really start taking it seriously until I moved up to San Francisco in ’98. That’s when I met my group of fellow writers such as Print, Suffer, Siez, and all of CA crew. I was going to art college by day, but I learned all of my color combos, letter structure, and the importance of respect at night when I was spraying on the walls. SF had an amazing scene back then, from there I was able to do a few Hip Hop flyers, Mic CDs, and CD Covers for Shing02. My style of painting stems a lot from those days in SF. 



・Seems like you’ve been writing on a lot of bigger walls lately.
Back in ’99, you showed me this style on the blackbook, I felt like you didn’t show that style on the street then.
I am touched to see that particular style on the recent walls.


覚えてるよ!正直に言うと、俺の缶のコントロールはそこまで達成できてなかった。ペンで紙に書く時はしっかり書けたけど、壁にエアソールで書くのはまた全然違うゲームだね。仲の良い友人、CMK Joeが’98年代の日本のライターのBelx2、Kress、QPとKaneの写真を見せてくれたけど、缶の使いこなしがすごかった!しばらく時間がかかったけど、全て経験と自信に至るもの、今の俺の壁には満足しているよ。

I remember those days! To be honest, my can control technique was not there yet. I always had steady hands when it came to drawing on paper with a pen, but writing on walls with aerosol is a totally different game. You guys were really good with the can! My good friend Joe CMK brought a few photos of Japanese writers in ’98 such as Belx2, Kress, QP, and Kane. It took a while but it all comes down to experience and confidence. I’m happy with my walls today. 



・It looks like it feels good when you are writing those style that spreads infinitely.



Sometimes I like to cover the wall completely with my organic swirls and arrows. I don’t usually sketch the walls before I do piece,  a lot of it depends on the location, my mood, and certain elements from the neighborhood that day. It’s really a freestyle session. 



・What are you working on these days?



My number one focus in life is my family. So it’s that balance of work and happiness. I run my own business and therefore I can create my own hours of work. This year has been particularly great, as I’ve had the opportunity to paint a wall in Queens, New York. I’m constantly influenced by the energy there, everyone’s hustling and making a living.


・好きなスプレー缶はなんですか? そのCANのどういうところが好きですか?

・What kind of spray can do you like? And what do you like about it?


ピースは Montanaのゴールドライン。イルキャップを使った時のプレッシャーが半端ない。

For Piecing: Montana gold line. The pressure is super on point with the ill caps.
For Bombing: Silver and Flat Black Rust-Oleum all day! High pressure with a fat cap converter. 



・What kind of difference do you see between the GRAFFITI in Japan and the GRAFFITI in the United States?



I think as far as skills goes, there are a lot of good individual writers from both countries. You have bombers that bomb internationally. But the number one difference is the amount of writers in the US. You have to compete with a bunch of different personalities and deal with politics on the street. If you’re lucky and earned your respect, you can have a long career in graffiti. 



・Your identity is an American raised but is there part where you feel that you are Japanese?



I feel Japanese when I watch Japanese TV shows, especially “OWARAI”. That sense of humor is brilliant.



・How’s Los Angeles these days?


ロサンゼルスは “ミックシングポット”、人種やカルチャーなど種々の異なった場所。だから目に見える刺激がたくさんあり、クリエイティブ思考にはとてもいい。若いこれからの世代のライターは大勢いて、街がそう簡単にバフできない、もっとクレイジーなスポットにマルチカラーを使ったピースを書いてる。もちろん、トイな奴らもそれなりにいるし、でも、LAにはすごいライターがたくさんいる。

Los Angeles is a mixing pot of different cultures. There’s so much stimulation visually, it’s good for creative minds. There’s a lot of young and upcoming writers. They’re hitting crazier spots with multi-colored pieces so that it’s harder for the city to buff. Definitely you have your share of toys, but there are a lot of good writers in LA.



・Could you tell us about an event that has left you a big impact?



Yes. The biggest impact in my life was when one of my brother’s friends brought home the anime AKIRA in 1989. I was 9 years old, watching the craziest shit I’ve ever seen. It’s left a permanent stain in my brain!



・Could you also tell us the biggest impact or a greatest memory you have on Graffiti?



My greatest memory in graffiti… that’s a tough one, it’s been a wild ride! Without being too specific, I loved the thrill of getting away with doing fresh letters with a can of silver and flat-black at a dope spot, then smoking a victory bowl with my homies. You gotta embrace all the moments, whether it was good or bad and apply those experiences in life. 



・What kind of thing would you like to do in the future?



I’d like to travel and experience more in life. With that, I look forward to my art evolving and begin taking different shapes.
Thank you for the opportunity to do this interview! Peace.


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