Racked and wrote his way through the 90s, now leans towards the character and art side of graff. Crews and commissions keep him busy these days.
Instagram – ( @meanamania )
ONE TAKE UK – Who / What inspires you?
MEANO – I’m inspired by most things to be fair, anything creative. The people that inspire me the most are the people I’m lucky enough to paint with regularly and especially my crew mates.
ONE TAKE UK – How often do you draw and paint?
MEANO – I make sure I draw, paint or do something creative on a daily basis.
ONE TAKE UK – How important has tagging and sketching been to your artistic process?
MEANO – Very important, the tagging for can control and the ability to pick up a can and just use it as any other art instrument without even thinking about it, and sketching for development. A wise fella told me “If you can draw it, you can paint it”.
ONE TAKE UK – Who are your top 3 artists atm?
MEANO – being more towards the sides of pushing the boundaries of graffiti art as a form of art I have to say; Jarus, Belin, and Does (Loveletters).
ONE TAKE UK – Do you come to a wall with a sketch or do you freestyle?
MEANO – Depends on whether I’m painting for myself or with crew mates etc. I like to freestyle characters and stuff, but if I’m attacking any kind of realism, sketches or designs are more than necessary.
ONE TAKE UK – How would you describe your process?
MEANO – Painful! Lol. It’s about being patient and sculpting the piece with layers.
ONE TAKE UK – Does your finished article end up as you envisaged or do you let your creative process take over?
MEANO – Never comes out how I envisage it lol! I think that it’s healthy to allow the creativity take over. That’s what we got into this for right?Even if your working from a photo you need to allow a bit of yourself and your style into it. That’s how people know who painted it without seeing the tag.
ONE TAKE UK – What’s the best way to layer your piece/mural?
MEANO – I’ve always worked from what I want to be seen as furthest away to what I want at the front. Even on portraits, the background first then the shades that will suggest the furthest points of the depth of the head and work through to the highlight colours that bring the image out towards you.
ONE TAKE UK – How do you come up with your colour schemes?
MEANO – I tend to play it safe with colours I know work well together.
ONE TAKE UK – How do you know your work is finished or how do you avoid over doing it?
MEANO – This is the biggest torment of my life! I kind of get the piece to a point where I’d be happy enough if I had to call it finished, then drag out doing little touch ups here and there until it gets too dark to see what I’m doing so have to stop lol. So I suppose I let fate decide.
ONE TAKE UK – How do you time manage you piece/mural, do you take intervals?
MEANO – I don’t really? I go by how I feel at stages through the piece and let it take as long as it takes. You can’t enjoy what you’re doing if you’re rushing to finish on a deadline.
ONE TAKE UK – How did you come up with the style you have now?
MEANO – I try to incorporate my love for all arts and challenge myself to produce stylised works with spray cans. Then like we said before the creativity comes out as the piece develops and you put your own twist on it. My style is mostly an expressionistic style. Blobs and dashes up close but realistic from a distance.
ONE TAKE UK – Where did your name come from?
MEANO – It’s a cross between what I used to write and the quirky variation that I use for my commission jobs. Like Forrest Gump says “ That’s all I have to say about thayat!”
ONE TAKE UK – How long does a piece normally take you to complete?
MEANO – Again depends on what it is. Can be anything from a few hours to a few days. I painted a commission piece that took over a month. Like I say as far as I’m concerned it takes as long as it takes.
ONE TAKE UK – How did you get into Graffiti/Street Art?
MEANO – Same as most, the Subway Art and Spraycan Art books. Then met a couple of writers when I was 14. They showed me the ropes and that was it, I was hooked.
ONE TAKE UK – Is typography important when developing your letters?
MEANO – I think so. No matter what you do to a letter, if the basic structure isn’t there it is difficult to keep it looking like that letter.
ONE TAKE UK – How do you develop your style and not become stagnant?
MEANO – By challenging yourself regularly. Pick something you’d never normally paint and paint it. Especially if you have no idea how you’re going to paint it, you’ll find a way, and usually accidentally find a sweet little technique that you can incorporate into your pieces for extra detail and effect.
ONE TAKE UK – What have been your favourite pieces you’ve done?
MEANO – I think the ones that mean the most to me. Like the first portrait I ever painted that was of a man I was lucky enough to know before he passed away. It meant a lot to me and seeing what it meant to his friends and family was very humbling. Also the pieces I have struggled and nearly walked away from that turned out well in the end. Each one had a lesson I can use in everything I paint now.
ONE TAKE UK – Where do you see your art in the future?
MEANO – Hopefully even more developed and making people smile, even if just for a moment.
ONE TAKE UK – What caps do you use and why?
MEANO – I only really use the Kak One skinny and the Astro Fat. There’s a lot of control in both for lines and fades.
ONE TAKE UK – How did you develop the can control you have now?
MEANO – Like everyone else, years and years of practice and painting.
ONE TAKE UK – How many cans do you go through on an average piece?
MEANO – Not many to be honest. I do more character work and portraiture now.
ONE TAKE UK – What type of paint do you like using best and why?
MEANO – I’m a Montana Black man. Used it for years and just got used to it.
ONE TAKE UK – What are your likes and dislikes about Graffiti/Street Art?
MEANO – I love the art, colour and creativity. I dislike the aggravation. There’s a lot of haters out there that seem to want to fall out with people more than they want to actually paint. Never had any time for that.
ONE TAKE UK – Where do you draw the line between biting and inspiration?
MEANO – I think it’s a very fine line. There’s a lot of people that take a lot of liberties in this department. I think it happens a lot more with letter forms than other aspects. I think it becomes a blatant bite when they actually copy their actual style rather than get inspired by how they shaped the bottom of letter.
ONE TAKE UK – What can you share to inspire up and coming artists?
MEANO – If you enjoy it, do it, and do it as much as you can. Challenge yourself and your style as often as you can. Try and be around the right influences. The artists you paint with are the artist you will become. Oh and the only beef you want is on your roast dinner!
ONE TAKE UK – What are your thoughts about UK Graffiti/Street Art
compared to other countries?
MEANO – I think it’s a pretty level playing field to be fair. I think the art form is so stylised there’s not much of a difference wherever it’s being painted. There is amazing art coming from everywhere and it’s awesome.
ONE TAKE UK – What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
MEANO – There will always be someone with something to say, so paint what you want and enjoy it. Don’t grade your artistic worth on someone else’s opinion.
ONE TAKE UK – What motivates you to be committed to the scene/culture?
MEANO – It’s who I am and what I do. If I lose it I lose myself.
ONE TAKE UK – What are your thoughts on illegal vs legal Graffiti/Street Art?
MEANO – It’s 2 completely different animals under the roof of the same zoo. Having done both I think it’s good to have the choice. Being an older fella now with a family of my own, I can’t afford to take the risks I did as a teenager but do miss the buzz. However I think the legal side is important to the development of the art. People can learn the art and develop their style without having to rush or constantly look over their shoulder to make sure they don’t get their collar felt or get hurt.
ONE TAKE UK – Is travelling, seeing other work important to evolving your style?
MEANO – Definitely.
ONE TAKE UK – Is an online presence important in getting your work seen?
MEANO – I’d say so yeah. It lives forever on there. No buff on the net lol.
ONE TAKE UK – Do you believe making money from your work a cop out/sell out?
MEANO – Near enough everything I paint these days is a commission or a piece that someone buys. So I’m going to say no lol.If someone likes your art and style that much that they want to spend their hard earned cash on it, to me, that’s one of the best forms of compliment you can get!