Graff.Five x Panks

Hello my name is Panks.

I grew up in Toulouse, southern France. After a few years in Paris I came back to Toulouse in 2006 where I still live to this day.
Started writing in 1998 and I’ve been painting more or less consistently ever since. After the unavoidable Art School diploma I’ve spent the next 8 years as a webdesigner. Gave it all up in ’11 to work in a field more related to my one true passion: graffiti.

1. How do you got connected with graffiti?

During the mid to late nineties graffiti was everywhere in Toulouse. Being an only child it may have seemed the best way to fight boredom. A friend lent my an old 94 issue of Crazy Kings, a zine from New York (or NJ). As a teenager I was instantly hooked. Almost obsessed. I must have read it hundreds of times. Always loved sketching yet I started with tags, like everybody else, but I was always aiming towards colorful pieces. That slowly came with my first walls by the local railroad tracks in 98.

2. What do you think about the meaning of Instagram for the graffiti game? 

Can’t really say much since I started posting really late in September 2018. But I still can explain what drove me to do that. It’s very hard to find magazines nowadays and Tumblr and such all went down the drain. Instagram felt like the only place left where you can keep up with the latest and freshest stuff on a global scale. And that may be the very best thing about this social network: you get to make your very own curation of the kind of graffiti you want to be exposed to. 

Seeing all this new and cool pieces that pop up on the phone can give me the extra boost I need to try more and improve my stuff. I feel that, by filling the void left by the magazines, Insta sometimes keeps me from stagnation. Feels almost as being part of a worldwide competition. Also a great tool to meet new writers when traveling. 

Of course there are also negative aspects. You may feel that some people are not painting anymore for the sake of it but more for the likes and shares. But as long as there’s more painting done, what’s the harm? We just have to accept that things change and that now graffiti fame is deeply related to that small techno brick you carry in the palm of your hand…

3. Tell us about how graffiti evolved in your city?

Toulouse has always been one of the mainstays of the french graffiti scene. Lots of people came to paint from all around during the nineties and it helped build the city’s rich painting history. 

I’ve always felt that the level was high here and that you had to work harder if you wanted to be noticed. There’s still a nice and active scene with lots of great writers. I believe that graffiti will always be about evolving and getting better and being surrounded by talented people really helps.

4. How do you prepare a mission or a perfect graffiti day?

With the years it’s almost like a routine. I always carry a basic sketch around, I could do without but I just love to start the wall at home first in my head then on paper. Unless it’s an event or a special wall with guests, I don’t plan the colors that much, mostly just if it’s going to be light outlines or dark ones. Love to do a character from time to time so that always comes with a printed image.

5. Ask a question you would like to ask and answer that question?

Why keeping on after 20 years?

I just still love painting. The day it’ll feel like a chore will be the right time to stop but not today. You can always better yourself, improve, discover new techniques and styles. And it’s more or less the only thing I’ve learned to do semi right, what’s left for me if I give up? 
As long as the body allows it I’ll keep going, it’s just too much fun!