Interview: Mr. Phomer
Posted on March 26, 2012 by 10percent
We caught up with UK based artist and international super stud, Phomer, for a couple of lines of e-banter to suss out life, art, skateboard painting super human cats, and just chillin’ in general.
Mr fucking Phomer, how are you?
All good bro, chillin like a chinchilla eatin’ chilli.
My text editor automatically spell checks your name to Homer, are you cool with a brief name change?
Ahah, I gotta say everybody loves Homer, but i’m more of a Bender fan.
For those of us playing at home and for the people who really have no idea who you are, can you explain a bit about yourself and what makes you tick?
For you guys it’s ok, for those who don’t know who I am.. I gotta ask: Are you Mormons??
I’m a cool alley cat sniffin’ arround the streets of London at the moment, doin’ some illustration and paintin’ to get that extra cashflow for when the pimpin’ days don’t go so well. I like to draw stuff whenever I can, listen to some good ol’ rap and chill out with some vodka ‘n’ pizza on my hands.
Were you one of those kids who had already started drawing in your mothers womb, owned Subway Art at the age of 2 and was racking spray paint by 5? Or was there a more natural progression to your artistic endeavors?
Yeah actually I used to pick up crayons and trash the shit of my mom’s kitchen walls when I was a lil brat, or so they told me. I got a spray can on my hands yet too young, not that I did anything good with it, but I just think it’s not safe to sell spray to a little kid, just sayin’. I remember when I was in kids school everybody got the Vanilla Ice and MC Hammer posters on their bedroom walls and I just didn’t got with it, I decided to make my own posters, and, I just did. I made what I didn’t know at the time was a ‘zine for my school friends with cool letterings and stupid news I came up with. Things like Jesus was found alive after all this time in some cave just waiting to get out.. did some of my own stickers for my bmx bike ’cause I didn’t want to have the same ones as all the kids. Anyway, this was my misfit childhood, from then on, I think it just went naturally to teen vandalism and so on ’til doin’ whatever it is I do now.
You seem to have a very mischievous and fun filled streak, is this something that’s cultivated and acted upon behind closed doors as the Phomer personality, or is it something that’s with you, the person, all the time?
It just comes out naturally. I think I’m like that all the time, but mostly with people who know me better, or so they say. My friends are always looking for a pucnh line from me or that snappy comeback, even when I’m not in the mood. I like to keep my low profile, smooth thing goin’ on around strangers and crowds, then when I get to know people I just let it flow, or when I get drunk, now that’s the real deal – mischievous all the way baby.. I mean in all the ‘cops on the scene’ way.
How’s things been this last couple of weeks? You’ve stolen headlines again with some more Supreme buggery, this time with Ms. Moss felt felt the pointy end of your mop. How’s the reception been?
Yeah from time to time I get this hype out of nowhere. I mean I’m glad people like that shit, and it’s suposed to hit large, but I would love to get that hype from other stuff I do and like so much more. But yeah, of course it’s cool and get the headlines and the conections to do more cool new stuff, people seem to be enjoying it very much, even better than the original Supreme shit ads, hah!
This isn’t the first time you’ve targeted a Supreme campaign, the first being GaGa, is there any reason why you chose the NYC street wear brand and their constituents specifically other than being a good target?
The first time was a lucky coincidence, ’cause it kinda fell into my hands. I was just walking with some buddies and trash talking these over hyped brands and celebrities which so many times seems so empty, they don’t seem to put much effort in what they do and really say or do something meaningfull to the society, and everybody follows that shit, which makes an even worse society. I know these are just some brands and people trying to make the loot and get theirs, but c’mon, there’s a lot of them doin’ the same thing, why not actually give something back or have something to say? Anyway, after this talk the next day, I just found the Gaga posters around the corner, and I just gave some action to my words. It’s not a personal thing with Supreme, but Gaga was just asking for it and then Moss.. I think they’re doin’ it on purpose for me and everybody to trash that shit up.
I guarantee they’re cheering for the extra publicity and one might be forgiven for thinking Phomer and Supreme have some sort of business relationship behind all of this. Can we expect some sort of sleeping bag or sock collaboration in the future?
Hah, I would love to get payed to trash every ad they put up, maybe some sock collab would be kick ass too, not tees, that’s too mainstream. Yeah bring on the socks or maybe some toothpaste or tampons.
All jokes and recent events aside, there’s a lot more to Phomer than making Kate Moss and Gaga a little bit more pleasing to the eye, can you tell us what you set out to achieve with your artwork?
I do all kinds of stuff, and maybe that’s a problem, I should just focus on a type of work or style and just stick with it. But at the same time I just get drawn into doin’ different stuff all the time, like now I’m really in the mood for some video, and getting back into concept art stuff (that most people don’t even know or have seen). A while ago I spent too much time doin’ “music” for a project that went nowhere (yet), before that I was doin’ paintings, like with faces and abstract shit, you see so much these days in street art, and then I get bored, or just don’t like doin’ what everybody’s doin’. So for the illustration/art/design it’s the same thing. I have many things I do which I like and others seem to like too, but I hardly get back to do them over and over. The thing I like the most and try to do is the process itself, the learning and finding new ways to express these messages I have and to get out there somehow, most of the times not in a direct way. I believe in educating by fun rather than by fear.
I think what people respond to the most is definitely this “cool-humourous-street-based” style that I’ve been learning to stick more to lately, and maybe that’s what you’re gonna see more of in the near future. I think I can get these love and respect messages through in a way people enjoy to get them, and it’s easier to get them into their minds. So for me that’s cool. My ultimate gold (not goal), as I say, is to achieve total coolness, for me and for the cool kids out there.
A lot of your pieces are very character based and cartoony with colorful bubble letters and throw up style words, in a sense they remind me of ice-cream innocence filled to the brim with darker tones abundant with knives and syringes. What influences you to create such images?
Good description of whats goin’ on inside my head. I think that’s it, that’s how I see the world. It’s a damn dog eat dog world, and I love just walking arround, especially at night and see that filthy dark side of society, I think it’s the same everywhere, Lisbon, London, New York, Melbourne, where there’s an urban “modern” society, there’s always that rotten side that’s usually hidden on a creamy cover. We put this beauty layer on it, to make everything look nice and tasty so we can get on with our lives not feeling bad for all the rotten that’s inside. I think I just got that stuck in my vision and it translates into my work. I walk out everyday and I honestly feel like I’m watching live T.V. or cartoons. Or maybe I just have issues…
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently developing this study/theory that will make the art world and the other worlds shake, wich consists on training cats to do what they originally were brought to this world to do – skateboard painting. You should see the first results I’ve got from the first subjects, its fuckin’ awesomeness! Forget bout Picasso, Pollock, Bacon or Michaelangelo, these little dudes sure know what they’re doin’! The thing is, they got used to this lifestyle we humans gave them, and let’s face it, if you were living for thousands of years in a place where people just give you food, pick up your shit, and in return all you gotta do is sleep and don’t give a fuck, you wouldn’t wanna change either.
Besides that, ’cause it’s gonna take a while to bring this up, I’m doin’ my usual freshness on some tees for some brands and collabs, coming up with new prints and taking part in some cool shows, some publications, doin’ some street stuff with London’s finest and working on a book and some solo shows for the next months. You know, same ol’ game, y’all just have to stay tuned!
When will you be bringing yourself to our lovely part of the world so we can introduce you properly to the Australian public?
Yeah! I totally wanna! Maybe soon? I told you guys already to put on a show there so I can get in the Aussie scene, and then after that show makes us all rich I just go down there all payed, 5 stars vip rockstar style, ahah. I watched Crocodile Dundee again just a while ago, and got some koala pics off the interweb, so I think i’m ready to go!
Lastly, Burrito’s or Burgers?
Man, burrito’s are nice and the word itself always puts a smile on my face, ’cause in Portuguese it means little donkeys and there’s this really cheesy popular Portuguese song with it..well..you don’t wanna know.. But I’m more of a burger guy, in fact I make the best burgers. I don’t usually eat meat, but even so, i’ll make you a veggie burger you just wanna go home and dream about every night while touching yourself. And c’mon whats cooler than goin down the street and find a burger wearing shades in the corner?