Art Whore

Art Talk – Moss Kief

Moss Kief is an Australian artist bringing equal parts humour and rage to the masses with his graff, music and illustrations. Far from being commercial, or part of any real art scene, Moss creates the art he wants to create, for himself and his friends.

Or as the man himself states:

I wouldn’t describe myself as an artist, I’m just a cunt who listens to too much Cannibal Corpse and can draw at a competent level.

And the result? Works that are unique, brutal and beautiful. Touching upon some of the greats of art history such as Goya and Raymond Pettibon.

So without further ado, get to know ole Moss – both the art and the man, by reading his interview below…

Name + D.O.B?

James Lahey.
But my friends call me Jim.
Early 90s.

City, State n Country you currently call home?

Campbelltown, NSW, Australia.

City, State n Country you’re from?

Campbelltown, NSW, Australia.

(Art by Moss 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 – beginnings:

Lived in a houso house in Airds.
Favourite shows were Biker Mice from Mars and Street Sharks.
Getting a brand new playstation and playing Tekken 2.

* age 10 – continuations:

Started to hate school and my crappy year 4 teacher ruined my motivation and enthusiasm for education.
Started to really listen to music at this age, mostly Nu Metal and Rap (Limp Bizkit, Korn, Eminem, Dr Dre, Tupac etc).
WWF with Kane, Goldust and Stone Cold as my favourite wrestlers.

* age 15 – getting serious:

I wasn’t getting serious at all. I did nothing but play playstation 2 (GTA and any game set in WWII or Vietnam), and listen to Black Flag.
Around 16 or 17 I happened to come across a movie called Style Wars. Me and my then friends would try and bite Kase2’s computer rock with little success.

* age 20 – young adult:

Not a lot going on in life.
I just completed a TAFE course I had no intention to use in the real world.
I had been painting for a couple of years by this time. I started to get my style down, I would mainly draw mock up flyers for my band at the time and demo covers. We were a hardcore punk band so you could see how Pettibon came into effect. Other than that not really a lot going on. It was a pretty boring and uneventful time, unlike other people in their early 20s.
It was probably the time that I became Agnostic. I grew up Catholic and from about 14 to 20 I slowly stopped believing little by little. By about 21 or 22 was the time that I started to be a full Atheist. Embracing that there’s no plan or force guiding you stimulates your ability to take some personal responsibility and accountability. Plus my hatred for religion and faux intellectual spirituality started to grow.

* age 25 – adult mode:

25 was alright.
Pretty much completed uni (only 1 unit to go),  getting a career started, doing Jiu-Jitsu for a little bit and winning some comps, my cynical nature and social awkwardness isn’t the hindrance it once was.

(Art by Moss below)

Personal motto?

“Suck it from the ackbah”, “When you see me! Respect me!”

Art + Graffiti Questions

Why the name ‘Moss Kief’?

It’s original.
I hate when Instagram names have numbers or underscores in them. So I chose Mosskief because no one else would have it, or know what it means.  A bit of mysticism goes a long way.

Favourite artists/writers and why?

Favourite artists would be Francisco Goya. His Disasters of War series is pretty metal.
Raymond Pettibon. I think he’s the biggest influence for me. When I discovered Black Flag in my teens I actually started to draw for enjoyment again.
Rohan Harrison. Lead singer of one of the best bands of Australian hardcore punk history. Look up Extortion and you’ll find out and see how I rip him off.
Favourite writers would be Seen. The original Bronx Bomber has contributed a lot to Graffiti, every person who has ever picked up spray paint should know who Seen is.
Keys. An old school writer from the Campbelltown area. He completely killed it in 2017 and has taught me some tricks of the trade.

(Graffiti by Moss below)

Worst aspect of the art hustle?

I’m not really in the hustle so I wouldn’t really know any.
There’s shit I hate about Graffiti though. How it was ridiculed by yuppies and hipsters in 2007 for being a lad waste of time, but now they think it’s cool and they’re cool because they can drop a few names and crews. And of course internet writers. I think some people write graff to just post it on Instagram and get inner west yuppies and other clueless cunts to say ridiculous things like “fire” and “that’s lit”. That is the major reason I don’t post my graffiti online.
I think the context of Graffiti doesn’t fit into social media, it’s made it more mainstream in a way.

Best aspect of the art hustle?

There’s lots of things to complain and hate about Graffiti.
I’m a hater. I love to hate on things. Player haters ball, Silky Johnson.
But again I’m not really in the hustle, so I would’t know.

When and why did you first start making art?

I was told I was good at drawing in year 1, so I guess then.
Boredom is a reason for doing it. And it’s a good way to show your thoughts and opinions and all that sort of crap.
I could argue the reason religion is false, wrong and not relevant in today’s society. But sometimes a picture of a Scientologist sea org member getting that weird scientology cross to the face really drives your point home.

(Art by Moss below)

Any pivotal artistic moment/influence?

Becoming an Atheism, growing up in one of the most eshay places in the world, watching Style Wars and discovering Ray Pettibon.

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

The yuppies from the inner west can uck off and suck it from the ackbay.
Internet writers can slow down on the posting.
People should watch Style Wars. If you don’t understand the references of “Blood wars” or “I don’t know, I’m not an art crim critic, but I can sure as hell tell you that that’s a crime!” you should do your homework. Other than that, as long as little houso kids keep painting in Aussie export, graffiti is in good hands.

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

The graff is vandalism.
Other stuff is just watercolours and drawings.
I wouldn’t describe myself as an artist, I’m just a cunt who listens to too much Cannibal Corpse and can draw at a competent level.

(Drawings by Moss below)

Describe the method and materials used for your work?

* your murals / graff / street art?

Aussie export and Crunch is the best paint in the world.
You do your first outline, then your fill, then your lines.

* your drawings and illustrations?

Do a drawing.
Do it again on watercolour paper (300 gsm).
Outline it in some artline pens.
Add some Dr Ph Martin’s watercolour.

* your digital work?

I don’t think I have much digital stuff. I’ll scan a drawing and colour it in with photoshop on a computer from 2008. But I haven’t done anything like that in a while.
I did make a cartoon. It was centred on a family who modelled themselves off of a bikie gang, but instead of riding bikes they rode each other. It was about a family gay incest club.

What does an average day making art involve for you?

I’ll be bored so I’ll do it to pass time.

Odds n Ends

Who was your 1st crush and why?

Some girl in kindergarten, her name was Michelle or something.
I thought she was pretty, she didn’t really speak to me, I think. It was a long time ago.

Does sex change everything?

I guess.
If someone has seen ya barrin up and then kinged ya Rodney, it would change things.

Please describe what you think the Australian zeitgeist is today?

Like that of other developed western countries. NSW is a bit of a nanny state, but it beats the alternative of seeing lunatics ruin shit for everyone.

(Art by Moss below)

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

I wouldn’t like to see any cartoon character as a sex toy.
Sometimes the simpler the better. Just have your stock dilly (with some added bells and whistles if you need it) and flesh light.
But in all honesty, I think your hand works best.

Who would win in a fight and why: Aggro (the Muppet/Puppet) Vs. Crocodile Dundee?

Never got into the Muppets or Croc Dundee.
I’d imagine Dundee would win, because he’s a person that weights 80kg give or take and the muppet is 800 grams of fabric.

Drugs – waste of time or gateway to the universe?

I’m not really a drug taker.
If you want a gateway to the universe I’d suggest becoming an astrophysicist or something.

(Art by Moss below)

What role did toys play in your childhood?

I had action figures.
As much as any other kid I guess.

What are the top 3 items you own?

My air max 90s, air max ones, and my fresh white TNS.

Please describe your latest dream in detail…

I don’t really remember my dreams.

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

I haven’t really done anything spectacular.
I’m just a normal bloke living my life.

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

They shouldn’t.
I’m not very sociable and I don’t like meeting new people.
If they want to buy some stuff they can ask me on Instagram I guess.

The Future

Any collaborations on the horizon?


Any major projects you want to hype?

Not really.

(Art by Moss below)


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