Mr Devas, 30, has been a member of 24HRGYM since June 2008. I remember shortly after he joined, a member approached me saying "that guy's my idol, he's a legend!" Intrigued by his somewhat 'star struck' face, I needed to know why?! He told me that Devas is a very well known and respected Graffiti Artist and he has admired his work for years.
Mr Devas has since sprayed a new lease of life into the 24HRGYM rear stairwell and has designed our 24HRGYM logo for the Protein Shack. With him having such a fascination and love for what he does, I thought I'd get to know him and the topic a little better...
Had I never had met him I probably wouldn't have ever looked into this topic or discovered the amazing vast opinions on it. The subject of graffiti brings controversy all over the globe, with people supporting it as art or criticising it as vandalism. There is even a Direct.gov page dedicated to reporting graffiti!
So who started it? The earliest form of graffiti on record is around 32,000 years old, believed to be done by the Aurignacian culture, found in caves in what we now know as France and Spain. The Ancient Greeks and Romans also did it. Without the 'graffiti' of these cultures we would be missing certain links from our past. I do not believe these past cultures were thinking of adolescence scribbles at the time.
Now we'll walk down a street and see a name written terribly, a 'naughty' word, or "I woz ere!" and based on these examples, I would have to agree that 'graffiti' is a punishable crime. Simply because kids only write these things without any real understanding of what they are doing, and this 'writing' or 'scribble' could never be deemed a piece of art, I am certain this is vandalism. But looking at the likes of Mr Devas, I would have to agree that graffiti is art, not only is it pleasing to see, it also fits in with the definition of ART.
Hi Mr Devas. How are you today?
I'm good, staying busy as standard.
What age did you start spraying & what was your motivation?
I started Graffiti at a very young age did my first full colour Graffiti piece back in 1993 at age 13. I had seen a book called Spray Can Art which I fell in love with then later a book called Subway Art which in my opinion is the bible of Graffiti. These books inspired me to draw more and paint even more as I some day wanted to be as good as amazing artists documented in these books.
You are a professional Graffiti Artist; when people ask what you "do", what do you tell them?
I say I am a Graffiti Artist. I am quite reserved when talking about my Graffiti as Graffiti often misunderstood or gets negative press. I generally will refer people to my website to get them to check out what I do before they offer an opinion on my Graffiti and no for the record don't use masking tape (smirks).
Do people request commissions and what jobs have you done?
Generally my commissions are all request pieces I have sold many paintings through the likes of eBay etc, but nowadays the request pieces come often enough to pay for my paint etc. I have done canvas work for who want unique pieces done for their loved ones or their homes, I did a canvass for Tarran of Skin Graffiti tattoo studio in Swindon which was cool and have done mural work for DCM Mobility, ABC Driving school, Biker dudes, Bristol Council, Andover Council and Futsal to name a few.
What is the longest time you have spent on a job?
Futsal was a two man job and took eight whole days to complete but it is a football arena so was quite a big job.
You designed the 24HRGYM Protein Shack logo and sprayed our rear stairwell, which both are fantastic. Where do you get the inspiration to create such imaginative work?
I am inspired by many other Graffiti Artists from all over the world but I draw every day to keep myself fresh, I consistently battle myself to improve on my letter structures this is something I will never get tired of, it is literally a LIFE LONG PROJECT.
If one piece of work you have done defines you as an artist, which one would it be?
Each piece I do defines me as a Artist my work is original and my letters have a Devastating style which is easily identifiable to the trained eye. One piece that does set a standard though would be the wall I did with the London Graffiti Legend known as Skore from the famous TRC crew (troubled children). Skore was one of my heros as a teenager I studied his work in Graffiti and he was favourite artist in the nineties. Fast forward 15 years and Skore shows appreciation of my work invites me to his London exhibition. A few months later I found myself drinking a cold beer listening to stories of his travels while we planned our wall the rest as they say is history.
Do you think you will still be spraying when you are 60?
Standard Graffiti is my gift and my curse I couldn't stop even if I wanted to. Graffiti is my release therapy, my passion and obsession. My Graffiti the one thing in life that will always be there for me, giving it up would be like giving up on life.
What's next for you Mr Devas?
I have been building a vast collection of canvas work and plan to have a large exhibition of my own some point, other than that I would like to travel a lot more and paint with good Artists from major cities in the UK and abroad. Plus getting shredded of course with the help of all at the 24HRGYM.
Thank you Mr Devas for giving us all at 24HRGYM an insight to your life.
To me, it seems that Mr Devas stands firm in his status through years of practice to be creating some of the best 'street' art I've ever seen. I hope that he continues his 'life long project' and becomes a topic researched in another 32,000 years time.
If you would like to see more of Mr Devas' work, check out his website; www.mrdevas.com we also have his 24HRGYM design on t-shirts which are also available at reception.
Thank you for reading.
Interview by Craig O'Donnell
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