ATMOS on Graffuturism
“Graffuturism is painting pieces that don’t follow the written rule book of graffiti”
We chatted to ATMOS about his fresh painting style, his inspirations, and the future of the Irish scene.
When did you get into graffiti and what made you start painting?
I got into graffiti when I was about 8/9, my mam was actually taking photos at a Graff jam and she had no babysitter or something so she brought me along, I loved it, it would have been one of the first times I had heard any real hip-hop too , it pretty much just took over my life from then on , wanted to just sketch or paint all the time.
Where do you get inspiration for your pieces?
I get a lot of inspiration for my pieces from old sci-fi, brutalist architecture or design from the 60s/70s etc. A lot of interior design from the 60s looked quality, and the symmetry and block dimensions and cubes and lines that make a brutalist building has a massive effect on my letters. The only graffiti that inspires my graffiti is someone that’s doing something completely new. It’s exciting.
You've been developing a unique, abstract style of writing, with sharp angles and usually black, greys and white tones. We've seen it referred to as Graffuturism. Can you explain this for us? What attracts you to this style?
To me, Graffuturism is painting pieces that are totally new and don’t necessarily follow the un-written rulebook of graffiti , I’m not dissing highlights and shines on every piece ,I think they look sick on other people’s work but I’m just bored of them at this stage with my own , I’m extremely attracted to this type of graffiti because it’s exciting , aesthetically pleasing graffiti , I’m coming up with ideas for pieces just from looking at buildings or design and I guess that just never happened when I was painting the same fades, highlight, shines etc. I just find that stuff a bit boring to paint.
Painting pieces with permission or going out bombing?
I don’t really prefer one over the other, also they are totally different things, doing a piece for hours with permission or in a chill spot is sweet, it’s good to spend a few hours completely absorbed in your work and ideas. It’s almost meditative, creative process. Going bombing is instantaneous and much more of buzz but if you really use your head you can paint some really good stuff illegally.
Some people see graffiti as vandalism. Others think it’s a form of art, akin to sculpture or oil painting. What do you think?
I have all sorts of opinions on that question, some of my answers would contradict another. Graffiti is such a large term and there’s so many different types of graffiti writers who do all sorts of different things. I’ve got mates who paint/make really nice art but can still do a burner on a train or smash the place with serious hand styles. Does that make the graffiti they do, art? And then I have friends who are strictly trains and bombing and strongly dislike the street art scene. I think it can be whatever you want it to be. Personally, I don’t really care.
Do you see painting as something you could do to earn a living, or is it just a passion?
Yeah totally, and it’s still a passion. I think you can do both if you’re up for it. I paint for a living and when I’m not doing that I work on my own stuff. Some people just aren’t into it and that’s completely fair. I’ve heard some people before who think painting for a living is selling out but like for 40 something hours a week they don’t have their hand wrapped around a can of paint. It takes passion to do something that much!
What do you expect for the future of the Irish graff scene?
With the amount of trains being painted at the moment, and the forward-thinking graffiti being produced, I can see the future of Irish and northern Irish Graff being stronger than ever. Go look at most Irish graff writers Instagrams, everyone’s smashing it, burners after burners after burners. And a lot are quite young too! Only a small portion have been noticed globally. The lads in Cork are painting quality pieces, and Derry, and Belfast. Not just in the capital. We just need more jams, and consistently! So then more kids can get into it, kids are clearly gonna be distracted a lot more growing up over the next few years with phones taking over and stuff, better to teach them to go out tagging or rocking a piece on the weekend. How boring would the place be without it?
Any writers you want to shout out, Irish or otherwise?
Everyone in Ireland putting the work in really. Whether that’s from a creative perspective or bombing or whatever your spending your time doing, everyone’s killing it! Very inspiring. Evoke and Aches mastering both sides of the game at the minute.
Anything else you want to mention?
More jams! More trains! More walls!
Alright brother, sound out for your time.
Suss a gallery of ATMOS’ sick pieces below, and follow him on Instagram here for his latest burners.