Spray Planet contributor Wesley Edwards had the chance to catch up with French graffiti artists SERY. Having over 20+ years in the game, its no wonder that SERY is recognized as one of the best French graffiti artists you probably don't know about... yet.
SERY's Graffiti Background & History
Alright so thanks for taking the time out to do this interview, can you give us a brief introduction of your life in graffiti? When did you start, what crew do you rep (if any), and what’s the story behind "sery_oner”?
My name is "SERY" , i'm from La Rochelle (France). i'm 40 and I started graffiti in 1994 under the influence of a cousin (Loxe / TGC) from Paris who is older than me . My crew are VEC , MGC, WAD and ***.
There 's no special story behind my name except a brainstorming to find a name 4 letters with letters I loved
You were recently in a festival in France called the shake festival, and you did some really awesome work! Can you give us a rundown on all the artists you collaborated with and what your experience was like? How often do you do festivals?
The festival "shake" is an international Dance Festival and i was asked by the director , Mr Kader ATTOU, to organize a strong time around graffiti . So i invited , One Cheatz, Cannibal Letters , Ynoxe , Bust the Drip and el Peon to realize a big paint time for a weekend , it was a very good time and beautiful meetings .
I'm one of the organizers of the festival graffiti "Lord in the West" which take places every year at La Rochelle. There are average of 100 artists.
When you were starting out were there any old magazines, documentaries or books that inspired you back in the day? How did you get your graffiti fix before the days of the internet?
When i started , there was no internet and the only source of inspiration were my cousin , local old-timers and the 4 pages of graffiti in "RADIKAL" magazine every month!!
Current Graffiti Trends and Influences
Continuing off the previous question who inspired you when you first started out, and who inspires you now? Do you ever feel like looking at other people’s work traps you into comparing your work against others, if not how do you avoid that pitfall that so many of us fall into?
Those who inspired me were in the magazine, MAC crew , TRUE SKOOL, GRIM TEAM , P19, FX Crew... for their very worked and colorful wall . But also Bando , Nasty , Comer and more... .for the illegal side
Those who inspire me today are all over the networks, but i m sample like DJ and put it on my sauce ! (except for the characters :) )
What are your other hobbies outside of graffiti? I see a lot of travel photos and skatepark pics on your Instagram, I assume photography is one of the things you fall back on when you’re burnt out from painting right? you got some great shots by the way!
My others hobbies are travel and Basketball , I love this game !
There 's lot of skatepark photo on my insta because i have a 7 years old boy who rides at full, he loves it! so when he rides, me - I paint on the skatepark .
What kind of music do you listen to when you paint? Who is your favorite hip hop artist and why?
I listen to a little bit of this depends on my mood , Soul (Charles Bradley ...), Hip Hop (Mobb Deep , Wu Tang Clan, MOP, Kery James , Youssoupha , Scred Connection ...) , UK DRILL ,AFROFUNK , Jazzy Hip Hop ...
For the last paint I listened to Conway The Machine , Westsidegun , it was loud!
Graffiti: Loving vs. Living
From the look of your Instagram it looks like you make your primary living from graffiti, if that is the case how long have you been paying your bills with your work, and what are the drawbacks of doing what you love for a living if any?
To pay my bills , i got a job ,which I love !
I am responsible for a streetwear store in La Rochelle since 2000. his name is "La Station".
Graffiti remains a passion , i don't want to feel compelled to do something i dont want for a customers. But if i like the project , i do it through my association "LORD"
I see you offer different products like tagged Montana cans with unique tags drawn on each and canvas pieces, do you primarily sell these to your followers? I don’t see a link where someone can buy them.
I'm not selling my Montana spray can , it s just my private collection !
Payin Graffiti Dues
For those out there learning the ropes, what do you recommend beginners do to up their game? For example do you recommend beginners fill up as many black books as possible? How many do you fill up regularly?
I recommend them to inspire but not copy , and to do what they like , whatever style you must to do with passion!
I'm not a good example for the blackbook , I had a friend's blackbook for at least 1 year at home, but I haven't done anythings in yet.
I prefer paint wall directly .
What is more important, talent or hard work? When people tell you you are talented, does it bother you? Like people do not know how hard I work for this..
I think both of them are going together , but for my part is mostly passion and experience .
There are so many talented artists that i , of course it bothers me . Every day , on the networks , I take visual clams!
Where can people follow you online? Any shout outs you would like to give or any upcoming news you would like to share?
I hope it will be good for you. Let me know
Interview by: Wesley Edwards - follow on IG: @wesleyedwardsart