Yo! Meet SRIL. If you're from (or have ever slid through) the Salt Lake City, UT area you're probably familiar with his work already. But if not, here's your chance to get to know a little bit more about the mind behind the art! From MASSIVE 25ft tall murals to smaller studio work on canvas, SRIL has undoubtedly perfected his craft. Although his pieces have undertones of traditional graff/lettering, SRIL has consciously chosen to steer the course of his work into a much different path. Much more than just letters, SRIL mixes the concepts of surrealism into his work that takes the game to the next level! Hope ya'll are ready for this one! Here we go!
So, as usual, we'll start off with the absolute basics. Tell us who you are (what you write/what crews you rep (if any). How long you’ve been using aerosol as your preferred medium?
I write SRIL ( SURREAL ), I’m not currently in any crews - I first started using spray paint as my preferred medium when I was 11 years old. I had my first billboards, rooftops and freeway spots by 12 or 13.
Sounds like you started pretty young. Where do you live and where did you grow up? At what age were you exposed to graffiti/street art? How did it happen?
I live in Utah, grew up here as well. My first exposure to graffiti was gang-related, but I started seeing work from actual writers pop up and I was hooked. I would take the bus to our local hip-hop shop and pick up every magazine I could, and pick the brains of anyone there willing to talk to a little kid. My first real mentor was a guy named BRISK - He was in a crew called SADK, at the time they were one of the top crews here. He kinda showed me the ropes a little, but back then I was too young for anyone to actually take me to spots, so that came later in life.
Haha nothing like those first days when you're trying to wrap your head around the whole concept of graff. So, tell us about the name SRIL (origin/meaning) How did you get it? How long have you been writing it?
I first started writing it in 2012, I wanted a name that was more reflective of what I was trying to do, more on the art/portrait side of things, rather than just bombing/letters.
Totally makes sense. Do you create art/paint for a living or is it comething you do in your spare time? What is a “normal” day like for you? What does it typically consist of (from start to finish)?
I’ve been very very fortunate to turn this into my full-time job, so not only am I an artist, I’m also sales, production, warehouse, marketing, business development - I’f I’m not painting I’m using hustling to bring in new work.
I hear that. Gotta respect the grind. Have you ever had traditional schooling in any kind of art school/class or are you an entirely self-taught artist?
I’m entirely self-taught. Even if I wanted to go to school, I really didn’t have the means to. I’ve learned everything I know through trial-and-error, and the help of other artists, or just studying paintings to trying to figure out the process.
You tend to use a lot of MTN 94 when you paint. What do you prefer most about it over other low-pressure spray paints on the market?
It’s consistent, I know what I’m going to get out of each can/color, as some behave a little differently, I know what to expect from them... I don’t need to switch up my process, use adaptors, try to depressurize cans, they’re pretty much ready to rock as soon as I’ve got them in my hands.
Consistency is key! Especially in this game. Let's switch gears and talk about some of your work. Your large-scale mural “Godlike” went viral across multiple social media platforms. Tell us a little bit more about that mural (size/background/context). How long did it take to complete?
That was my first large solo mural, It’s around 25ft tall, and 100ft long. I painted the entire wall with cans only ( like all my murals actually ) - I believe it took me around 3 weeks to complete, it was done using a ladder, so by the end of it I took a little time off from painting, It was pretty exhausting.
Damn, talk about a banger! What colors/palette do you tend to gravitate towards when you paint? Greyscale? Pastels? Bright tones? Explain your color choice.
I’ve always been drawn to vibrant colors, I use a lot of teals, purples, pinks and blues I feel like. It’s almost never a conscious decision, it just sort of happens based on what I personally find appealing to look at.
What’s your favorite piece/mural that you have painted to date (and small explanation why it’s your fav)
Atlas is my favorite to date, the top of it is 85 feet off the ground, and its 60ft wide. It was a hell of a project, and being 85ft up in the air on a lift keeps you on your toes.
If you could choose, what would your dream project be? Any new projects/events coming up that we should know about?
Dream Projects? - I’d love to design an air force 1, or collaborate with a brand like Nike for sure.
As far as up coming projects, I’ve got 3 MASSIVE murals coming to downtown Salt Lake City, that I am really excited about. It feels like we’re finally getting to a point where public art is becoming more and more accepted here, especially when that art is created with spray paint. The stigma isn’t what it used to be.
Any last words? Shout outs? Advice for beginners? Etc.?
For sure want to give a shout out to my guys JABER, KUHR, SLOKE, AWARE, SEAR, AREST and SMUG.
Advice - Honestly...people are going to hate no matter what you do, so you may as well do what YOU enjoy. Also, use good paint, it makes a difference.
All Love! SRIL
Sril’s work can be found here:
Interviewed by: Eight (On Instagram: @eightxlucy)