International graffiti artist Mau Mau takes to the bright and colourful streets of Brighton, painting leading digital agency Bozboz.
Based at Richmond Place and with a 25 strong creative team of digital strategists, graphic designers and developers this was an opportunity to collaborate with Mau Mau, an artist Bozboz have worked with for a number of years and for him to put his A-1 stamp on the creative space.
”We really wanted the artwork on our building to represent the creativity, culture and uniqueness of both our agency and of the wider city of Brighton.” – Mike Hollingbery, owner of Bozboz.
Recognised for his political and often anti-Tory big scale art, Mau Mau has a global cult following and has worked for the likes of Greenpeace, Surfers Against Sewage and Glastonbury, as well as record companies Ninja Tunes, Lowlife Records and artists Dizzee Rascal and Roots Manuva. He’s also collaborated with the eco fashion brand THTC clothing. I got the exciting opportunity to catch up with the guy who is spreading love to the nation through his artistic masterpieces, which are not only thought provoking but also making a change for the better through a very disputed but equally important and activist artform.
Louise: Going back to the very beginning, how did you originally get into graffiti?
Mau Mau: I was inspired by Hip Hop and seeing subway art. I always liked painting pictures and painting pictures on walls. It felt good to paint images and statements in public places that are anti establishment.
Louise: Where did your inspiration come from?
Mau Mau: Roots Reggae music, skating, surfing, mi friends.
Louise: Why did you name yourself Mau Mau?
Mau Mau: I was given the name Mau Mau by mi Rasta friends when I was traveling in Ghana 20 years ago…
Louise: Would you say your work is more freehand or do you use stencils?
Mau Mau: I use stencils, freehand, rollers…it just depends on the space and time I have to paint it.
Louise: What inspired you to do your animation clips (The Midlife Show), and how do you think art can be used to actually make a change?
Mau Mau: Sometimes we watch the News and we can’t actually believe the sh*t that we hear come out of these politicians mouths. So we just thought it would be funny to use their own words and speech and make our own animation over the top. We’ve been on an Animal Farm ting recently painting pigs, sheeple, foxes etc…so we thought the Animal Farm theme runs easy with it. I think art can make a change, and ridiculing the likes of Cameron and Trump is a good thing!
Louise: It reminds of children books, i.e.The three little pigs and the wolf blows it down – was that intentional?
Mau Mau: Yeah, in a way! I found I can get away with expressing stronger issues and reach more people by using cartoon animals in mi pieces!
Louise: There is so much politics within ‘graffiti‘ and ‘street art’, what do you think about the debate at the moment about large companies capitalising on an art form which is traditionally anti-establishment? Do you think it’s a paradox?
Mau Mau: Yeah, I feel that Babylon/business/politics always tries to infiltrate and hijack youth culture and freedom of expression from art to music to parties and festivals…for their own greed and their own control. Graffiti is what happens on the street and not for money. If someone is getting paid to paint a picture on a wall that’s a mural not graffiti, or painting from a cherry picker that’s not graffiti, or spray paint on canvas – I don’t think these things are graffitti.
Louise: What’s your view on ‘tagging’ and what impact do you think this is having on graffiti?
Mau Mau: All good! I think it is graffiti.. 😉
Louise: What are the struggles of an artist trying to make a living out of graffiti?
Mau Mau: Non regular income, over joyed self employed…
Louise: How do you feel about using social media to getting your voice heard? Are you at all resistant?
Mau Mau: I don’t like doing social media. It feels like giving your info out to Babylon – but it is a good way of reaching a lot of people with mi images.
Louise: Does music play a role in what you do? Are you doing any festivals this summer?
Louise: Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Mau Mau: I most like to collaborate wi mi friends… 🙂
Louise: What advice would you give to aspiring graffiti artists?
Mau Mau: Don’t get get caught! 😉
You can check out Mau Mau’s work on his website and facebook page: