Tubby1 is an Australian designer, explorer and artist (though ole Tubs prefers the term ‘vandal’) whose public art is a familiar and welcome site for the citizens of Convict Town.
Most known for his ‘fat guy’ image which can usually be found in drains, secluded areas and rooftops; Tubby sets himself apart from others in the graffiti scene thanks to his proficiency and willingness to reach out and work with others.
Tubby views graffiti and exploring as an endless game, explaining:
“Graffiti is like a game you can never win, but it’s fun along the way.
You’ll never be the most prolific writer, there’s always someone who gets up harder than you.“
(Picture below of a Tubby sticker in the wild)
With Tubby building a solid name for himself in the scene, now is the perfect time to get to know Tubs and his approach to the game, by reading the Art Talk below…
Basics/Getting to Know
Name + D.O.B?
City, State n Country you’re from?
(Picture below of a pile of hand drawn Tubby stickers)
Describe a memory from three stages of yr life ….basically trying to piece together your pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, girls, school, crime… ANYTHING man.
* age 5 – beginnings:
* age 10 – continuations:
* age 15 – getting serious:
(Picture below of a car bomb, by Tubs)
Art and Graffitti
In the street art and graffiti scene there is a friction between what seems to be a desire for recognition – namely placing stickers and art all over public spaces – and a reluctance to be interviewed, set up an online presence and all of those other ‘normal’ art hustle things… Care to explain and elaborate this for those at home?
It’s more fun to keep those at home wondering.
What are your favorite markers and products to use for your public art?
Markers: this one called the ‘drip mop mini’.
Contrary to the name, it doesn’t really drip unless you squeeze it so it makes for clean tags/drawings.
Cans: Sugar, Montana Hardcore and Aeroart
(Pictures below of some Tubby cartoons in the wild)
Favorite other artist(s)?
Favorite artists for their quality of work: anamelesforce, larrykin, snaw
Favorite artists for crazy spots: Riche, Riz, Grime, I swear every time I sticker slap a high/climbing spot in a city alleyway, one of these guys will be already up there. And also Traps gets crazy spots, but he’s not up that much anymore.
Favorite artists who I see everywhere : Suek, Ready, Merske.
When and why did you first start making ‘art’ (drawings, paintings, anything)?
I started drawing my tubby1 character on paper when I was in high school, after that I started moving it to the streets.
What did you draw or make as a pre-teen child?
What did you draw or make as a teen?
Any pivotal artistic moment/influence?
Definitely have to say the writer Suek was one of the main reasons I started graff. He is/was known as ‘guy who’s up everywhere’, even by people with no interest in graffiti, you couldn’t not notice the same word popping up over and over again along the tracksides and streets of every station in Sydney.
If I wanted to start graff, I wanted to be known a lot.
Even though I don’t paint the streets, I like to travel around Sydney a lot.
In my opinion tagging is kind of a waste of effort unless your name is well known, otherwise you’re just another tag in the midst of an illegible mess.
(Pictures below of some Tubby pieces in the wild)
What are your thoughts on the general Sydney street art scene?
Don’t have much to say about street art , so I’ll change this question to graffiti.
There are so many writers who get up so damn hard all over Sydney, it’s pure motivation.
Even though I’m not into ‘street bombing’, I only paint chill spots, seeing the same names up everywhere I go gets me hyped and keen to do more.
Graffiti is like a game you can never win, but it’s fun along the way. You’ll never be the most prolific writer, there’s always someone who gets up harder than you.
Urban Exploration Questions
What does an average day out exploring involve?
Hm, well every day can involve exploring really.
You can just be walking around in an unfamiliar suburb and find an abandoned place/drainage system, and go on an adventure.
Favorite other explorers and why?
Prismo and Aspire because they’re up everywhere in all the good spots and Tiskael because he does crazy/climbing stuff with me.
Worst aspect of urban exploration?
Run ins with Law Enforcement.
(Picture below of a sticker left by Tubs when out exploring)
Best aspect of urban exploration?
Drawing fat guys.
Climbing crazy/scary stuff.
The amazing experiences, actually going to places and doing things normal people only see in movies.
It’s not about photography at all, it’s about the thrill and the adventure.
Do you consider your actions and photography as ‘art’, ‘design’, performance art, vandalism, re-hashed crap?
Vandalism, unless police are asking, them I’m doing ‘urban photography’.
When and why did you first exploring?
Always been exploring since I was a kid, I think we all do.
Even when I was really young I could never sit at home all day, I would always be out riding my bike.
Just never been one of those indoors people.
Any pivotal exploring moment/influence?
The Hercules Pillars drain is the one which got me hooked.
Always thought drains were just straight boring tunnels until this. Giant underground rooms, pounding waterfalls, ladders going deeper and deeper to multiple levels underground.
How, in your opinion, has the rise of platforms such as Instagram impacted the life of an emerging explorer, and the scene in general?
Well at first I only made an Instagram to ask people for new spots and it’s great for that.
What do you think the general public’s perception of urban exploring and graffiti is?
I think normal people think I just go around tagging fences and stuff.
What was it like spending time with fellow explorer and Art Talk luminary Henros out exploring and photographing?
He’s a pussy, he’s not an explorer, he just takes photos of trains.
Thoughts on Mr. ‘Snaw’ aka ‘Snawlax’?
One of my favorite writers, really nice style and cool stickers.
Always love seeing them up in spots, seeing their tags kilometres deep underground, knowing they’ve been there before you.
(Picture below of some ‘S.K.U‘ gang ephemera owned by Tubs, and modelled by Tub’s Shrek babies)
Any plans to expand your apparel line from the ole humble ‘Zazzle’ store any time soon?
Maybe when I’m famous enough.
Plans to release another zine?
Funny you say that, I was actually in the process of making a much longer one to release at the end of the year, but my iPhone screen broke and I cant unlock it to upload all of my photos I took.
(Picture below of some Tubby zines, modelled by Tub’s Shrek babies)
Care to explain your love of ‘Shrek’ – a doll of which you often photograph – for those at home?
Shrek babies, I actually have a big collection of them and they all have names.
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“Go out and have your own adventure.
Take some risks, go somewhere you’re not supposed to go and do something which scares you.”