CAISO’s practice involves the transformation of modest materials and found images, with bewildering and playful results. Through his collage, drawing, painting, and installation work, he twists the fabric of reality into visceral commentaries on sociopolitical matters and the human condition.
When and how did you first become interested in art/graffiti?
I’ve been into art since I was a kid, but I put down the pencils and picked up a guitar in my late teens and started making music instead. I only got back into making visual art again last year, after a 12 year break. I started out just drawing but got a real urge to try something large scale on the streets. It was only after my first paste up, and the huge adrenaline rush that came with it, that I developed a real interest in street art.
Which artist influenced you?
Visually speaking, and in terms of current artists, it’s a list that is always growing. Artists such as D*face, Alexis Diaz, Lilymixe, Bleriot, Pang, Faith47, Swoon, Hush, Sten & Lex, Paul Insect, Kid Acne, Borondo, Handiedan, Kris Kuksi …. The people who have been most influential to me have just had great attitudes,Bill Hicks would be a prime example.
What style is your work? / What influences your artwork?
I’d like to think that it’s CAISO! I’m undeniably influenced and inspired by other artists, by my relationships, and by my visual experience of everything around me. Everyone’s perception and experience of all of these things is unique, so I’d argue that the way they’re recycled into new ideas must be unique too.
What do your pieces usually focus on?
There’s no specific subject, but there might be a common theme. I enjoy portraiture a lot, geometry, patterns. With my street art my objective is to create something that will make people stop and pay attention. I love finding photographs of people interacting with the work, so with new designs I’m trying to come up with creative ways of luring an audience and engaging them in this way.
Where your work is usually located?
Most of my work is around Shoreditch and Hackney. There’s some work still hanging on in Newcastle. I’m hoping to visit Sheffield and Birmingham with a few other artists. I’d love to get over to Berlin too.
Do you find it difficult to do your work in the streets?
The process itself is fairly simple; it hasn’t taken long to establish the best practices for the technical aspects – the best way to mix my paste, the best paper types, and the best types of walls. The difficult parts are finding some wall space, and the risk that’s involved during putting the piece up.
Have you ever had problems with authority because of your artwork?
I’ve had a few close encounters but so far, no real problems. I’ve become very conscious of being watched in Newcastle. Most people see a difference between street art and mindless tagging. The environmental officers at the council just see vandalism; it’s so black and white. Most of the pieces I’ve put up around home have been removed within 24 hours. Even though they were in the more bohemian district of town. London is a completely different story, so I’m mostly focusing my efforts down there, around Shoreditch and Hackney. Actually, I did think I’d been caught red Handed one time in Shoreditch. An OAP came over while I was putting a piece up, looking quite stern… Turned out he just wanted to ask about my inspiration, he was a really cool old fella!
How long have you been a street artist?
I did my first paste up in May 2013, a fairly big 2.4m x 2m piece. I’m still very new to the scene.
Have you ever collaborated with other artists?
Not directly, I’m involved with a gallery at the moment where we’re ‘remixing’ the work of an artist that’s being exhibited and I’m really enjoying that. I’d love to do some collaborative work, but I’m not sure I could find the time as there are too many ideas that I need to get down myself first.