Turning Hip Hop Lyricism Into Street-Art

The Chimp is a New Zealand street artist, focused on experimentation with different styles and colours. Subjects for his art range from animals and birds to graffiti letters, abstract objects and personal motifs. Drawing from a young age, creating things, Skateboarding(downhill), a love for Hip Hop and support from family and friends have all contributed to the development of Chimp’s art. These elements all paramount in creating the opportunity to begin this aerosol campaign, from the age of 16.

What inspired you to develop your art?
When I first picked up an artists can of aerosol I fell in love with the feeling of power they’re associated with. Able to destroy or create as fast as you could work. I had always sketched and painted with a brush from a young age, but the discovery of spray paint gave me the passion and the drive to produce more and more art.

 – Shot by: Alana Frost
Helensvile birds watertank shot laniCan you tell us about your fascination with animals?
At the beginning, animals were a good challenge for me to try and recreate through pencil and can. I was able to manipulate their forms and stance to develop my own style. Then as I got more specific with what my style was I realised that these animals had become my vessels, used to convey people, messages, and moods.

Any stories you could share with us about these characters you create?
Some of my pieces are other peoples stories, hip-hop lyricism is one of my go to’s for inspiration and direction for a piece. A few are literal or sometimes subconscious recollections or memories, fragments of life. But there’s nothing like throwing some paint around, just because you want too.
Birds & Fly LettersHow your exhibition ‘Birds & Fly Letters’ was developed and about how it went?
Birds and Fly letters were developed with graffiti writer Juse1. He supplied the letters, I brought the birds. It was probably my favourite show I’ve had the pleasure of so far. Juse’s mate Kerb was scratching away on the decks, good turnout, sold a few, had a few, the atmosphere was exactly what I believe it’s all about.

If you could paint any building in Australia with your signature animals, what would it be?
I’d love to head to Melbourne, see it all, leave a mark. I never stop hearing about the alleyways there from everyone who talks to me about graffiti and street art.

Lastly, what are your plans for the rest of 2016?
Paint a couple walls (big and small), local group show, skate a couple hills, and relax a bit!

– Shot by Alana Frost
crafters progress shot alana
nz chimp

Follow The Chimp On: Facebook, Instragram & Website


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