Vino has come a long way since starting his graffiti career by drawing sketches for his brother. Being a steady traveller since the mid nineties he has influenced train writers through out Europe with his approach to style, while staying active in his home town Barcelona for over two decades. We had the opportunity to have a talk about his life as a writer.
Please give us an introduction to your self and your posse.
Hello friends. I’m Vino and my crews are TSK/VLOK.
When did you start writing?
I started writing in early ‘92.
What motivated you?
I used to draw at home and my brother, who had started doing tags, asked me to draw some letters. And it wasn’t bad! From the first day I took a can and started to paint I didn’t stop.
What is your primary target?
First to do something that I can be proud of, something that’s original. And I’m trying to do better and different than my last pieces. Also it’s important for me to paint as much as I can. The good thing about graffiti is that if you stop, nobody is going to remember you or what you did. You have to show everybody that you are active, but not by talking, by painting. I hate all these old school guys who disappear for years and then, after they are finished taking drugs and partying they want to be there on top of the throne, just because they started before or where around there at the best times. Respect is something you have to win with work, along the time.
You were involved in a lot of travelling in the late 90’s and the style of you and your crew seemed to influence a lot of people back then. How was your life was back then? How did the connection with IT crew happen?
Well, my life didn’t t change that much through the years. Back then I had work, a girlfriend and my life was around graffiti 100%, like now.
When normal people went to the beach on holidays, I decided to spend my time and money in travelling, to see new countries, paint the systems and enjoy meeting people like myself in other countries. At this time I met a lot of people, most of them are still active because graffiti was also their way of life. Like the IT guys. Barcelona was a nice place to visit and at this time the first interrailers that came were Honet, Opak and some finish guys like Trama, Sado and Mans. When IT came here, it was the first time I heard about interrails and just a few weeks after that I was doing my first one!
What have your favorite destinations been so far and why?
In the beginning, every place was special and different for us, and felt really attractive. But for sure the north of Europe was a big deal for me. Nice trains, cool guys and a true paradise for stealing.
Can you tell us about the history of the graffiti scene in Barcelona? To us, the Spanish pioneers were people like TSK, BTS, OTP, DTY etc. but who influenced that generation?
To be honest, there were some people painting before I started, but only a few were still painting. At this time I think we changed the concept of traditional graffiti. Not only in dedication and effort, also the style concept. Being in contact with people of all the different countries also opened my mind and I think this influenced me more than the things that were done in Barcelona before. In the beginning a lot of people said that we were doing trash style. But during the years most of these guys stopped and a lot of people try to do the same trash styles of us.
How is the scene in Barcelona in the moment?
There are a lot of people painting trains and subways in Barcelona. That’s nice, cause a lot of people stopped painting when it changed and got more difficult, but new guys start and they are the people who encourage me to still go paint week after week. I respect these little guys who are painting now more than all these old school minded writers who talk about old times and paint a wall from time to time.
Which one of the train models from the Barcelona net meant the most to you?
I think all the models are nice, but for sure the mirror s-train is the one I like most.
To north European writers painting in south Europe can be a somewhat odd or crazy experience. Can you explain why the Spanish train-writing scene developed like it did?
It’s the Latin character. Jejejeje. Sometimes people don’t realize that the best way to paint is to do it without being seen. If you don’t want to get caught and you want to keep painting for a long time, you must do it like this. Since a long time ago, I learnt different ways to do things through traveling and I try to do the best way.
What’s your approach to painting trains? Ninja style or warrior style?
Always ninja. But some times, if you want to make a big job, you must be a warrior.
The craziest chase you ever witnessed?
This summer, in Sao Paolo, I was held by gunpoint by some strangers while I was at the metro tracks. They saw us jump in, got us and held us on our knees for hours. Afterwards they identified themselves as policemen. In the end nothing happened, but we had moments with a lot of tension where they nearly shot. It wouldn’t really have been the best place to die. Jejejeje.
Is graffiti the most important thing in your life? How are you coping with combining graffiti with love, relationships, children, education and work and all that grown up people stuff?
For sure! People pass on in my life, but graffiti is always there, day after day.
As normal people have time to go biking, go out with their girlfriend or just play football, I spend my time on graffiti.
Did graffiti ever have a political meaning to you?
Well, it’s an active way to show normal people that you’re against their system. Graffiti train writers are system terrorist, aren’t they?
Last year the Guardia Civil did that large operation against graffiti writers. Are times changing in Spain?
Things like that always happened, you must be careful.
What does the future look like for the Barcelona writers?
A lot of work!
Anything you would like to add?
Don’t spend your time reading this, go paint! Jejejejeje. Thanks!