To most of us who love street art, you need no introduction. Your amazing pieces grace the walls of Tehran, Iran and have inspired artists throughout the Middle East and the world. I’ve noticed that you’ve been posting quite a few stickers lately on your flickr site. When did you first start creating stickers? I started making stickers when I was just a kid, but I did not intend to post them on the streets. I just enjoyed creating them and adding them to my “store” in my bedroom with price tags!
What inspired you to create them? My father works in art and photography, so there was always lots of inspiration, along with materials, in our home. Also, I started noticing stickers that my friends’ families were bringing back from their visits to the other side of the world. I was drawn to all these weird multi-eyed, multi-handed characters and tiny crazy creatures that I discovered on these stickers.
Where were you living at the time? I was living in Tehran and hearing and witnessing bombs at the same time.
Your first sticker art memory? The first sticker that remains in my mind — hahaha — was a sticker of the King of Pop that I made for my school notebook. By accident, my religious teacher saw it and asked me why I stuck this “girl” on my notebook. I told him that he was a man – a singer. He then said, “But he has changed his sex.” My parents were asked to come to school. But the sticker I made was so popular in my class that some of the other students asked me to make one for each of them. I will never forget this.
These days when you are getting your stickers up on the streets, have you any preferred spots? Any clean surface is cool. I like the back of traffic signs. I also like to post my stickers on the eyes of faces on street posters, because many of my stickers are just eyes.
How do you get your materials? I used to get them illegally, but not anymore. These days I just buy them or use whatever the printing plants throw into their garbage.
Do you work alone or with any crews? I am alone, and I consider myself a crew. But I do have crews of enemies out there.
Have you ever been arrested? Ah…forget about this.
Have you exhibited your work in gallery settings? I have exhibited my work in some group shows — with the help of some good friends — in Europe, the USA and in Australia. But I don’t, as of yet, have either the freedom or place to do what I’d like to do.
How does your family feel about what you are doing? Art is respected by my family. But for many years they considered what I was doing on the streets as “bad.” They were offended by it. They thought of me as some kind of insane outlaw. But it’s better now. They appreciate my art and ignore the street aspect of it.
What percentage of your time is devoted to art? 100% — of that 70% is devoted to street art.
Have you made any money for your art? I never made money. Money is made by the Central Bank of IRAN and somewhere – I think – in the UK. But, yep, I live by selling my paintings. I am not living the way many people like to live. I just need to buy paint and pass the day.
Anything else you need? Freedom and health.
How do you feel about folks removing your stickers from public places and taking them home? Great! After I put my work out on the street, anything that happens is great. I love it. I love to see folks take my stickers, scribble on my work, piss on my stencils. Anything is welcome. It is expression!
What role has the Internet played in your life? The Internet is one of my friends. It depresses me and makes me happy.
What do you see yourself doing five years from now? I hate to think about the future when the “now” is like this. I’d like to be living in a world-wide nation without wolves.
Interviewed by LoisInWonderland