Many years ago, my brother mentioned a Danish graffiti writer and illustrator who worked under the name HuskMitNavn as being one of his biggest creative influences. Being a private person, especially in terms of who or what inspires him, I was highly intrigued by his recommendation. At the time, there wasn’t a whole lot to find out about HuskMitNavn, but slowly plenty of pictures starting to circulate around the internet of his work as his popularity grew. Immediately I was struck by his style, and it would become the introduction to a new way of looking at graffiti and illustration for me personally. HuskMitNavn’s trademark graffiti letters and characters became a refreshing alternative to the stagnant and recycled styles that had been the status quo of what graffiti was and should be. His work is fun, playful, colorful, accessible and completely original. Watching this artist evolve over the years has been certainly inspiring and it’s not surprising that he is being regarded as a driving force behind not only contemporary graffiti styles but art as a whole. Having spent years as a great admirer of his work, it was certainly my pleasure to have the opportunity to talk with the man and myth himself. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you HuskMitNavn:
-HuskMitNavn is Danish for RememberMyName. When you created this moniker, was there a particular message you wanted to convey or is it simply the equivalent of making a statement such “I was here”?
It’s just something you remember. So I picked it.
-You have stated that HuskMitNavn is your graffiti/creative identity. Is there a particular reason why you have chosen to stay anonymous and keep your creative and personal lives separate?
My art has been very exposed here in Denmark, but I don’t want to be a known face. I only want to be known for my drawings and not my yellow teeth.
I keep my private life private. I know that it’s old school, but being anonymous is a really nice and relaxing way of working.
–Aside from other graffiti that you saw locally growing up, what were some other major creative influences in your life?
Cartoons. Donald Duck, Lucky Luke and Asterix all had a major influence on me. My dad used to buy me second hand cartoons when I was a kid. And I read them to pieces.
-Your graffiti is often very legible and has a classic old-school vibe to it. Your pieces are also usually paired with your trademark characters. Is this the result of the era in which you became involved in graffiti culture, or are you simply straying away from the more popular aesthetics of contemporary graffiti styles which often consist of more aggressive and complex letters?
I’m very impatient when I paint. I only want to paint the outline. Filling in the letters and doing the background is boring. That’s why I paint simple stuff. In the 90’s I tried to paint more complex 3D graffiti, but its more of a challenge painting simple stuff. Often its one-take and you cant hide your mistakes with a thousand colors.
-How do you feel about this current shift in graffiti styles globally to a more loose, for lack of a better word, “fun” style, that had previously been more popular in places such as Europe when historically graffiti culture was highly influenced by classic New York styles?
As I see it there are many different styles out there at the moment. I like that people have the possibility to paint the way that they want. That there is not only one ‘right’ way of painting. The internet has destroyed the different national styles a bit. Now people in Denmark paint LA graffiti and the other way around. But it’s all fine by me.
-What is it about graffiti that keeps you interested in it and how does it differ from simply being just a studio/gallery artist?
Graffiti is a social thing for me. Its a way of hanging out with my friends. In the studio there is just me. So I have to go out and paint a bit once in a while to keep me sane.
-You have created a mythical world with your characters and illustration. Are they based on actual people and places in your life, or do they serve more as social commentary for example?
Sometime it’s just something I make up and sometime it’s based on some experience I had. I have to come up with a lot of ideas every day so I use whatever comes to my mind.
-Who and what are some current influences in your life?
The internet is fun. I like that you can combine photo and drawing. I try to come up with small ideas that works well on a screen. Everyone is on the internet, no one is out in the public space anymore. So I have shift my focus. Following the herd.
-At this point in your life, how do you feel overall, where and what are you aiming for next, and what can we expect out of HuskMitNavn in the near future?
I have slowly started to work on a solo show coming up at the V1 Gallery in the spring of 2013. Beside that I’m working on lots of different smaller project. I’m not aiming for a specific place to show my art or anything, I’m just trying to have fun and work hard and see where it will take me.
-Any particular vice?
I try to stay away from candy. I turn into Hulk when I eat sugar.
-Any last words?
For more of HuskMitNavn’s work, check out his site.