Featured Bomb It Artist, Xeme caught up with Bombing Science to give an exclusive interview about his magazine, Invasion, and the future of Asian graffiti. Here are some snippets of the interview with some photos. For the full interview [click here]
by Matthew J
Bombing Science:You and I did our first interview together back in ’08. Briefly bring us up to speed as to what has happened in the life of Xeme since then? How have things changed during the past two years?
Xeme: I’ve been working. I’ve been working on some events around Asia, called “Wall Lords”, which is pretty much a huge graffiti jam. Aside from that, I’ve also been busy pushing the magazine, traveling, painting, etc.
Check out: www.wall-lords.com
Bombing Science:Ok, so let’s look at the magazine and it’s relation to your art. Now that Invasian is off and running, how active are you the “graff-game”? Does running the magazine stunt your activity? Or do you juggle both?Xeme: It’s pretty much the same, man. I’m still out trying to paint every week and keep the scene alive a bit. To be honest with you, running the magazine gave me more passion to paint actually. By looking at good works from people around Asia makes me want to do better; it’s inspiring.
Bombing Science:I want to know a bit about the ‘growing pains’ surrounding Invasian Magazine. At the moment, you’re the only Asian-based graffiti publication and have been building a solid network. I’m curious as to how you would describe the progression [of the magazine] these past few years. How has the battle?
Xeme: It’s quite hard for us to have people submitting their stuff. Language is a problem and even if they do contribute it’s never continuous. People tend to stay in their own country a lot, too. It’s not like Europe where you can hop a train and go around place to place. We’re less wealthy than the Western countries, so it’s harder for local kids to go outside their country and be seen, which makes their graf culture fairy enclosed here.
Bombing Science:Here in the Canada, we have very little insight as to what is happening in Asian graffiti. You have a vantage point we don’t so I want to ask which countries do you see as being the most slept-on? And which nations do you see as being the “pearls” of Asia?Xeme: I mean the whole Asia is generally “slept-on”, period. It’s really hard to pick the most [slept-on] because in a lot of the countries, people aren’t aware of the scenes. Quickly I would list Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, and China … just to name a few. Each country has their own characteristics in my eyes. It’s really hard give the crown to any country. But just to give you got some ideas, countries like Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Philippines got a cool bombing scene. Thailand and Korea has some of the best piecing writers in Asia. And then you hav! e countries like China, Indonesia that have a bigger population of writers working on several styles. The talent is spread out and every place has a signature style.
Bombing Science:I remember your style of graffiti being very diverse; apart from the English alphabet you use the Chinese characters. How important is it for you to use those characters? I doubt many writers are doing it.
Xeme: I use my own language characters because I want to rep my country and my culture. At times, I felt that using Chinese characters would be less boring than the typical way I could write with (the English alphabet).
Bombing Science:This leads me to the next question: What has kept you so committed to this art form? You’ve been doing this for nearly ten years and now with the magazine and other projects on the go, it appears that you’ll be sticking around for a lot longer. Why do you think “Xeme” hasn’t walked away from the scene?? What do attribute to your longevity?
Xeme: I did the magazine and all the things surrounding Invasian because of graffiti. If I stop writing, I can’t back up the brand’s identity. Invasian will for sure stop if I stop writing.
Bombing Science:Last question: where do you see Invasian Magazine standing in the next 5 years?
Xeme: It’s really hard to say man. In Chinese we say “We walk and then think about the next step”
I hope to build up a more solid network in Asia and people can start their own mag in their own country and spread it around.
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