Article by Paige Venturi. Interview courtesy of Sophie Pope.
During a recent photoshoot for the new issue, Liminal, Season models were posing around a campus bus shelter, located right in front of the Wilkie dorm center building. All working members, photographer Sara Mantich, and models noticed and complimented the graffiti tags on the outside of the shelter.
“These are so sick, and so perfect for the shoot,” Mantich said with everyone in agreement. Graffiti is quite prominent in Bloomington, and is vastly underrated and sometimes ignored as an art form.
Little did we know, another model and friend of Mantich, Sophie Pope, knew the artist personally. Thanks to her help, the anonymous artist behind Scrub agreed to answer a few questions for Season:
– How long have you been doing graffiti and public art? What about in Bloomington?
“I was like 14 when I first started. I didn’t really start doing it publicly until I was about 16. I didn’t really have the balls to do it until then. I started in January here in Bloomington.”
– What drew you to begin doing graffiti and tagging public surfaces?
“It’s kinda like a high in a way. You’re not supposed to be doing it, but you’re doing it anyways. You see other’s tags, and it’s like a stamp of your existence. Not everybody knows who it is or why they put it there or what it even says, but the people who do the same art will respect it.”
– How do you determine where you put your art?
“Schools, churches, statues, memorials, family owned businesses are off limits. You’re scum if you were to tag those. You’d be a tool. Anything else that’s a high-traffic area is preferred. Also, the harder the spot is to be reached, the more impressive it is to the public.”
– What has the feedback been towards your art?
“Not a lot of people know we make it and we are the ones who do it. They kind of look down on it, but the people who appreciate art respect it and understand it.”
– Have you ever gotten caught/in trouble?
(Laughing) “I got caught doing a big piece on the back of a strip mall and was chased through a field and a neighborhood while a car was trying to stop me. I ran through the woods and eventually into my friend’s house after I knew I wasn’t being followed anymore.”
– What is the calling card/meaning behind your tag?
“Mine says ‘Scrub’, and my friend’s is ‘today’ as in you have to do things in the now, do them today or they won’t count. Scrub is because you have to scrub it off to try and remove it, and everyone’s a scrub.”
– If there is one, what message are you trying to portray through your art?
“It’s more of an “I exist, I matter, I am real” kind of thing, & it’s about giving the public a piece of our mind.”
– Do you practice any other art mediums?
“Yes, canvases & multimedia paints. And music.”
– What do you hope people take away from your art?
“I don’t really know if it’s for people or to please the public, it’s more for the artist. It gives us peace of mind that people will see it and never know where it came from or why it’s there.”
– What is your opinion towards the graffiti scene in Bloomington?
“Its whack. There really isn’t a ‘scene’ it’s just a bunch of random stuff all over. Actual pieces are more commissioned, not done in rebellion.”
– I’m guessing the reason you wanted to stay anonymous is to protect yourself and keep from getting in trouble/having consequences for your artwork. Is this true?
Special thanks to Scrub and Sophie Pope. Please pay attention to our local graffiti.