Another in our series of interviews with international artists involved with ‘Slap It Up Ye!’ Belfast’s 1st sticker and paste-up expo. Today we’re chatting to Canadian sticker artist and writer, Bleps!
Will you introduce yourself?
Hi I’m Bleps. I’m a Canadian sticker artist and lifetoy graffiti writer.
How did you get into sticker art and graffiti writing?
The pandemic forced many changes in my life. My restaurant shut its doors, I began ‘working from home’ and had waaaay too much downtime between current projects. I’ve always loved graffiti and street art although I’ve never considered myself to have any artistic talent. I was going out and taking flicks of walls to pass the summer days in lockdown and I eventually decided like “Fuck it, I’m going to give this a try.”
From your initial idea, to getting your design on to a sticker, and up in the streets, how does your process work?
I’m very new to the scene and I’m still learning every day from my friends and crewmates about design theory and letter structure as well as tips on printers, materials and software. That being said, my stuff is a pirated bastardization of horror, fantasy, sci-fi, pop culture and anime. I scour the internet for imagery that I find appealing and then scoop it and edit it, add my name, homies or crew and then finally get it printed. I use other small, independent artists to currently print my work and through that method I am also able to support them. Eventually I will gear up my workshop and start printing independently.
Do you have any influences, artistic or otherwise?
Generally, I’m influenced by horror and sci-fi themes. Anything that is evil, dark or supernatural is fascinating to me. For sticker art I’m a huge fan of Hesher Park, Henitan, Props, Psyco, Meriione, Urban Ninja, Phor84. Then there’s 228 killers like gutterr, enteones, Waka, 420phaze. The list could go on forever.
For graffiti, I’m influenced by anything that isn’t straight up traditional burners. I love work by Riot, Mega Smer, VILE, EGO, REPY. BAER absolutely kills it. Anyone doing weird, fucked up shit that makes you think or go ‘WHOA’. Those are the artists I’m inspired by.
Since beginning to organise our expo, I’ve been amazed and really heartened by the sense of community and collaboration within the sticker/paste-up scene. Are there any artists you’d really love to work with?
As my style progresses and improves, I’d absolutely love to work and collab with some of the artists I look up to. gutterr, Question Josh?, KULT and dekor are just a few I can think of right off the top of the head. There’s literally so many. I’m impressed by SO MUCH art that exists in this amazing community.
Is there much of a street art and graffiti scene in your part of Canada?
There is a decent graff scene in my hometown and a thriving graffiti community spread across Ontario, Canada. Painting and tags seem to be the preferred way to get up in my city, and the paste-up and sticker scene is very small. Lots of room for more slaps and posters in the streets!
Finally, is there anyone you want to shout-out, or anyone we should check out online?
I have to give love and shout-outs to my crews. They have supported me and taught me so much since I started a year ago when the lockdowns began. Mad respect to CITY crew, Sticky Punx Krew, PGR, KOT and NFG. I can never thank the homie Art Pollution enough for noticing my stuff and putting me on the CITY Crew when I was embarrassingly toy, even by my own standards.
Check out Bleps on Instagram and hit him up for some trades!