Had the pleasure of chatting one on one with Sya One. I've always admired his work and his passion towards the true art of writing. This was supposed to go on Re-Volt Magazine; but we are postponing the issue for now, I felt I had to post this on here. Enjoy!
Big Hass: Can you recall an anecdote during your first steps into Graffiti writing?
Sya One: Pretty much the usual things chases, hiding etc but I think one that stands out is when me and a friend were hitting tags in our local area one night and could hear something tracing our steps but thought nothing of bit. We carried on getting up until I turn a around and saw the silhouette of the biggest damn dog I have ever seen standing looking at us, We bolted but this dog keep coming so we had to run and hide in a block of flats. The dog was a Great Dane and the owner had spotted us tagging from his flat so just let the dog out. The thing was massive, Horse like. Not something you want to see at night.
Big Hass: Going from one culture to another requires a lot of tolerance ;open-mindedness. How was your first interaction with the EAST? when did you actually move to Dubai, UAE?
Sya One: I moved here nearly 11 yrs ago but took me about a year to get flowing with painting I guess. I kind of new what to expect with Dubai as I had been here several times before so understood the lay of the land and what you could and could not do. I also knew that graff existed here as I had seen flicks of the Mighty Frez work.
Big Hass: Graffiti writing and street art are often confused with one another. How can Sya One explain the difference?
Sya One: Simple , Graffiti is and always will be about letter forms and construction, about getting up , about making your mark, Street art is the pretty stuff that your parents will like
Big Hass: Do you think painting a "Commercial" Job takes the fun out of the whole experience?
Sya One: Sorry but 100per cent it does. Its takes the freedom out of what you can create, takes away the thrill if you will . Needs to be such and such color and needs to say this and that . It does however put it out there for the public to see the creation of a piece. My personal stuff is completely different to my commission stuff. Once in a while you will get a client that says go nuts which is dope.
Big Hass: What is the sort of support you been getting from Dubai in terms of (Media exposure)?
Sya One: No idea, good I guess, I take pictures of most of my stuff and if people like it then cool, if they don’t cool, if I get work from it even better as it is now my day job . The support I have had has been really good and I'm truly blessed and thankful for all those that have given me the exposure One thing I have never done is whore myself out, I think that you should get work on merit and skill and not by“ LOOK AT ME IM A DOPE ARTIST “.
Big Hass: Who are some of the writers you suggest for us to follow (Worldwide)?
Sya One: Here in the Middle East , Frez, Has, FWC, Phat2, EPS, Deeya and many more, so go hunt for them. As for worldwide, way to many man, if you are into this culture then you will know whose burning. Everyone is on Insta or FB nowadays
Big Hass: What has been the best thing that ever happened to you?
Sya One: Meeting my wife Steffi Bow
|Sya One & his wife Steffi Bow|
Big Hass: What are your thoughts on the Graffiti scene in Dubai?
Sya One: This where I get in trouble as my views on this are very strong so I need to word this very carefully.
Graffiti here has no real culture of being here, its not London or NewYork where it was part of the citys canvas, Graffiti as a movement is older than the uniting of the emirates. Graffiti can thrive here but there will never ever be a street level scene like in other cities as this city is NEW ( I'm talking about Dubai), by Street level I mean tagging, bombing, street pieces etc. It will get buffed out and stamped out in a heart beat, As for the writers the PROPER writers know who they are so I'm going no further with that. As for a scene I think its great the writers are all super talented and are making a mark in different ways. We all know each other and are friends which is also really cool, so graffiti is here and burning bright but the Streets are not smashed , I think we have all accepted that. We do have a lot of really talented street artists here as well.
Big Hass: What sort of music you listen to while you painting?
Sya One: Drum and Bass, it’s the only music I love.
Big Hass: In Hip-Hop, there's always a debate between whats real and what's not. For you Sya One. What is real Hip-Hop?
Sya One: Im not really into Hip Hop if im honest but I think I can tell the difference, Big Daddy Kane , EPMD, Hijack ( London ), Gunshot (London), Master Ace and those from that era proper HIP HOP, the shit you hear on the radio now and in the clubs, Lil Wayne ?? Drake ?? etc WAK !!!!!!!!
|Sya One with DMC (RUN DMC)|
Big Hass: What was the BEST "comment" you ever received about your work? (Something you wont ever forget)
Sya One: I don’t really get comments apart form on the social media sites. If im painting live and people take the time to watch and talk to me whilst im painting is probably better than “ Nice Piece “ on Facebook. Its that interaction with people that makes it worth it.( for the record I cant stand social media platforms but in this day and age it seems the only way to show my work to the world)
Big Hass: What is your dream?
Sya One: I don’t have any, Dreams are like Promises , They get broken. Live each day for all it has
Big Hass:You married to Steffi Bow (you're known in Dubai as the Graffiti Lovers..) Do you ever give each other constructive criticism & if so what did she say about your work?
Sya One: Yeah we need to do its part of progressing, if she thinks I've done something that looks weird or ain't really working she will say so and vice versa. As writer you need to criticize and take criticism as it makes you progress, if you cant take it then you are in the wrong game , it comes with the territory
Big Hass: Who are the people that always showed you support in Dubai & you want to shout them out?
Sya One: My wife Steffi Bow for keeping me sane. FREZ ( king) for just being a straight G and a good friend and for picking up the phone and calling me all those years ago LOL. Lobito for the continued support through out. Ben ( Mach4 ) for being another big supporter and for giving me my first Dj set out here, All the FWC crew, all the guys out in Beirut more so Phat 2 for being a hell of a dude and putting me in ACK Tim, Alex, Tall Man Sam, Keir, Lucas, Dave Mandem, Somalie,Fats, Lady Mauve Sameena, Jiver, Deamz ahhhhhh man to many people I'm blessed for sure to have people that dig what I do.
Big Hass: If you're given the opportunity to say ONE WORD and the whole world would HEAR It.. What would the word be? why?
Sya One: STOP !!! Stop all the BS in this world, wars, poverty and all that. Obvious but true.
Big Hass: Tell Re-Volt Blog something not a lot of people know about/of you.
Sya One: I really hate spiders but they fascinate me at the same time. If I see a big ass spider I need to look at it but if it moves I'm done and will set fire to it LOL
I thank Sya One for his time and dope answers, check out this quick video he did in collaboration with #Netflix. Video was shot by the great team of "The Flex". It was part of the #MakeYourMark campaign celebrating "The Get Down" series on Netflix