Art Whore

Art Talk – Edwin aka Redwine

Edwin aka Redwine is an Australian artist, vandal and all round mensch currently living in Britain. Edwin creates beautiful and thought provoking art in all mediums – graffiti, painting, sculpture, video, mixed media, collage and illustration.

We got hipped to Edwin’s work thanks to fellow Australian artist Elliot of ‘Loser Unit‘ – and boy are we thankful. As Edwin is a damn talented lad. He has the ability to paint like a Renaissance master, draw like a Cubist, sculpt like a toy-maker and vandal like a doped up 16 year old child prodigy.

(Graff by Edwin below)

With his graffiti Edwin is fighting back against the current intricate and beautiful mural trend – stating:

The new wave of commercially successful painters that, without knowing, are playing a willing (or naively innocent) role in the devastation of the impact of public art.

Commercial muralism is so easily confused with corporate advertising and to have people complicit in the latter does not help.

To this end Edwin refuses to make his public works beautiful – leaving this instead to his private works. Instead his graffiti is bold, simple, in your face, huge and impactful: letters and graphics placed eloquently in their urban surroundings. Commenting on gentrification, class and the street art scene with a wit that references the acidic humour of Quentin Crisp and a style that harks back to the French Situationists. It is amazing and wholly unique.

Get to know all about Edwin and his art by reading his Art Talk Interview below, you will be glad you did…

Basics/Getting to Know

Name + D.O.B?

Name’s Edwin, I was born sometime in the mid 80’s

City, State n Country you currently call home?

London, UK is home for the foreseeable future.

City, State n Country you’re from?

Born and raised in one of the most isolated cities in the world, Perth, Western Australia.

(Some graff by Edwin below)

Describe a memory from some stages of your life ….basically trying to piece together pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, romance, school, politics, crime… ANYTHING really!

* age 5 – beginings:

We had a chicken, it stole my chocolate milk, then it died, I believe the two are unrelated.

* age 10 – continuations:

My parents bought me a dog ‘cos they were splitting up, he was hit by a car, then he died, I believe the two are related.

* age 15 – getting serious:

Nothing died.

* age 20 – young adult:

I was probably stoned and sleeping in past a reasonable hour, I remember my mum running into my room in a panic and telling me that our neighbour was hurt and needed my help. She was hit by their family car and run over by her husband in their driveway.
I held her and assured her that there was an ambulance coming, it was, but it came too late, she died in my arms.

* age 25 – adult mode:

Nothing died.

* age 30 – fully formed:

Its only just begun…

(Some sculpture by Edwin below)

Personal motto?

Don’t sweat the petty, pet the sweaty.

Art + Graffiti Questions

Why the names ‘Edwin’ + ‘Redwine’?

I have had the name Edwin for a long time. I thought it was such a shit name in the beginning and so I started to use it for my work.
Turns out it goes back a long way in family, one of my mum’s uncles is called Edwin. He was very pleased I was using it, so it stuck.
Redwine came out of necessity, I was nicked under Edwin, so obviously it had to change.
Turns out the only word in the English language with Edwin in it is REDWINE.

Favorite artists/writers and why?

Tough one, there’s too many. I blame social media.
Pre-social media though, my influences came from books and friends:
BC (Burning Candy) Crew was a huge influence when I was growing up, but that came from books and seemed a world away at the time.
Creepy (Kyle Hughes-Odgers) and Yok were early heroes of mine from Perth, they seemed to be pushing it with their character design and I loved finding their paste ups and early paint bits around the city.
Right now, I’ve gotta say its PINS (Paul Insect) for the diversity of work and hustle.
I also have to mention TEXAS and GANE from the US for making roller work look sexier than anything done with a spray can at the moment.

Worst aspect of the art hustle?

The brown nosing.

Best aspect of the art hustle?

When you get brown nosed.

(Some paintings by Edwin below)

When and why did you first start making art?

Inside and outside working methods are very different entities and memories of their origins.
I remember my grandmother making me draw, anything and everything. She was the one responsible for the early beginnings.
Then for street and outdoor works that came later. It’s a toss-up. Either between the notes I used to write myself on lamp posts in my local area and the reactions from friends finding those text pieces in all the random places I used to leave them or hitting my first roller along a train line with MAUS from Perth.
Either way, they’ve all have shaped the way I operate today.

Any pivotal artistic moment/influence?

I’m interested in the British culture of wall writing of the 60’s and 70’s before the influence of the US culture and modern global image sharing.
I think the UK graff scene had its own important identity but has lost a huge part of it along the way. Early British protest art by the likes of King Mob, Heathcote Williams and whoever started “CATS ARE LIKE PLAIN CRISPS” are a huge influence.
My G’s in Australia, LOSER UNIT (also feat on this site) are also huge advocators for the low brow and naïve styles and have to be credited as a vital supporter of a lesser known but unbelievably important avenue of modern art practice.

What are your thoughts on the general global graff scene today?

Overall, I believe its promising. There’s a lot of shit out there too but once you’ve sorted through it, I think were about to witness a pivotal shift in the scene.
People generally are becoming accustomed to the graff of the 90’s and 00’s and it no longer carries the impact it had when it was new. We have to evolve, if we don’t, we get left behind.
The new wave of commercially successful painters that, without knowing, are playing a willing (or naively innocent) role in the devastation of the impact of public art.
Commercial muralism is so easily confused with corporate advertising and to have people complicit in the latter does not help.
The history of this modern artform is only beginning to be documented now so the future is going to have to respond to how it plays out now.

(Some graff by Edwin below)

Do you consider what you are making to be art, design, vandalism, re-hashed-crap…?

A bit of a mix, all of it and none of it.
There’s a lot of re-hashed crap in there to be honest. Lyrics of songs I’ve heard 1000 times, conversations between friends that should never be revisited that find themselves in my work.
The freedom that exists in not seeking permission is undeniably a temptation. Of course, I’ve worked on legal surfaces and its nice to be able to spend time on something but there is often a lack of energy and that can be obvious in the pieces. Compromising the aesthetic to gain that energy is becoming more apt in the work that I do.
I find my outside work doesn’t easily fit into any definable genre, its not street art and its definitely not graffiti. I’ve learnt, over time, not to be resentful of this, but to embrace and enjoy that freedom.
Recently writing with SONY and MAN in London has revived how I view and inhabit this city.

Describe the method and materials used for your work?

* your graffiti?

It’s often quite reactionary to political activity and social commentary.
Public comment on public space.
Political activism is best suited to walls that demand the widest audience.
Galleries are great spaces to engage with people but the viewers are likely to be educated in, or trained to, interpret the works with a specific language or history. Working outside often loses those factors and the audience is generally freer to read without the constraints of an institution.

* your drawings, illustrations and paintings?

Usually these works are far more personal.
Storytelling through art has been a huge part of my life. My parents were both very musical and my childhood was filled with classical, Australian folk and contemporary music.
At a very young age the act of storytelling in Australian indigenous paintings was taught to me while I lived with families in remote aboriginal communities in the north of Western Australia. All these elements are brought into my works on paper and canvas.
My illustrations with pen and ink often start subconsciously. I begin with a few lines to create a structure and work it out from there. The process allows a fair amount of play with a challenge to visualise something that without an initial purpose becomes something more complete.
The paintings are often done with more of an initial direction. A story to tell about place and my position within it. Initially they appear complex and seemingly jumbled. A mix of imagery. These are autobiographically layered with meaning through text and various code that have appeared throughout my career.

* your videos – which are often stop motion?

I broke my knee a few years ago so I was out of the loop with outdoor and studio work (my studio is up a big flight of stairs), so I just made work with out having to move so much. I picked up a few vinyl figures I had laying around and made a couple of my own characters out of clay and spent a few weeks making stop motion videos from my bed and couch on a basic phone app.
I’ve always loved animations and the homemade quality of some stop motion and, although it was a learning curve, I had the spare time and loved it. Since my leg has been better, it has taken more of a back seat to my other practice.

(Some art by Edwin below)

What does an average day making art involve for you?

Wake up, coffee, answer a few emails, coffee.
If I don’t have “normal work” then I may head to the studio early.
I like painting with people around me, my current living arrangement is perfect for that. I live with what feels like 100 people at times, so when I’m making works in the studio during reasonable human hours, I paint with people passing by and split my time between conversations and heavy work mode.  Time passes and it quickly becomes night. I hit 5thgear and paint as much as I can at this time. Tired and energised from the day, the works takes form, loses form and regains form again. By the time the 100 are in bed asleep, I’m still working. I may get a call from someone and make plans to head out that night, if so, let it happen, if not, finish whatever I’ve been working on and head to bed. The emails can wait another 12 hours.

How, in your opinion, has the rise of platforms such as Instagram impacted the life of a graff writer, and the scene in general?

It depends on how its used. Like any drug it can easily take hold if you let it.
I’ve let it grab hold of me in the past and it isn’t healthy.
Social media has undoubtedly made it easier to discover and connect with people that you may have never had the opportunity to so before. DON’T FRET (an artist from Chicago) and I met and collaborated on a project via social media for the whole year of 2016 (‘THE DISTINCT SOUND OF LAUGHTER IN THE DISTANCE’). It was one of the most fulfilling connections I have ever made with someone, internet or no internet, that would not have been possible without Instagram.
On the other hand, social media has added to the dilution and appropriation of imagery unlike anything else in human history, so it must be approached and used with caution.

Odds n Ends

Who was your 1st crush and why?

I think my first crush was on the tallest girl in my grade at primary school. She was just a bit taller than me so it kind of made sense.
I’ve never been really good at talking to girls so it never actually went anywhere.

Does sex change everything?

Well I can only imagine that after a sex change if you’ve been used to peeing standing up that can be a bit difficult to get used to.

Please describe what you think the Global psyche / zeitgeist is today?

Selfish and commercially minded.
All heil the almighty dollar.

(Some graff by Edwin below)

Which cartoon character, would you most like to see in a tribute sex toy, and why?

Inspector gadget.
Though it could be a bit of a surprise when it all kicks off.

Who would win in a fight and why: Homer Simpson (The Simpsons) Vs. a Koala?

Impossible question they are both make believe.

Drugs – waste of time or gateway to the universe?

Some can be fun and worth the experiences they bring.
I believe in the old saying of “everything in moderation”.
Artists seem to always have to answer to the complex relationship between drug use and their output. The same question could be put to politicians, accountants or anyone who wishes to contribute to the public sphere.
I think if you’re going do it, own it; and don’t be a dick about it.

What role did toys play in your childhood?

Huge, LEGO was the one.
I used to make whole cities out of it.

(Some art by Edwin below)

What are the top 3 items you own?

Bike, roller pole and sketch pad.

Please describe your latest dream in detail…

I was watching the news on TV, I saw my best mate riding his bike, he skidded out and then suddenly run over by a truck. I called his phone a few days later to see if he was ok, and his mum answered and I knew straight away he was dead.
I cried for days, we had to make plans for his funeral over the phone from opposite sides of the world.
Total mind fuck dream. I love and hate dreams.

Of everything you have done what would you most like to be remembered for and why?

Fuck, I hope I haven’t made it yet.

If people wanted to collaborate, work wth you or just buy some art – how should they get in touch?

Start with Insta: (@thatlazyedwin).
Or get in touch with, they are much better then me at replying to urgent requests and alimony payments.

The Future

Any collaborations on the horizon?

Yes, but it’s best not to jinx it.
Watch this space.

Any major projects you want to hype?

NAT HAS HERPES. It’s a saying I’ve been seeing everywhere in London.  It’s becoming a global slogan that relies on everyone to keep it alive. If you live near a wall (I’m guessing most of you do) you have to write “NAT HAS HERPES” on it. If in doubt, google it, but if you’re reading this you’re probably aware of it already.
Go forth and write.

(Some public art by Edwin below)