Tom Junker AKA Pauser is a busy man. A writer since '96 & part of the Czech BFAMBOYS crew, he takes part in street art festivals across the world. Nowadays when he is not writing or being a dedicated father & husband, he is an accomplished UI designer. We caught up with Tom at the Oxo Tower in London, for The Roy's People show to talk parenting, gentrification, the future of art & augmented reality in graffiti.
A conversation between Graff.io Arts Creative Director, Andy Harper & Tom Junker AKA Pauser, 2018.
What's the scene like in Czech these days?
The Czech scene is quite niche, but it’s got a lot of potential. Activity is mostly from a few crews in Prague and some other local crews who are well known. Like BFAM, TOP, WATT, SYT, FC.
With post-graffiti art as paintings, sculpture and other media, it’s quite difficult here to get people interested. Only a few artists here are famous and it’s more classical painting and pop-art that gets attention. I tend to get more requests and positive feedback from rest of the world than Czech:-)
Graffiti is almost getting permitted over in the UK and parts of Europe & it's being used for gentrification purposes too. Is it similar in Czech ?
The movement in general getting bigger, the culture found its own place over time and it got popular around the world in a more mainstream way. Still, it’s thinking about the words you use - when you say graffiti it’s still seen as something dirty, but when you call it street art it’s more acceptable for people.
Tell me about BFAMBOYS
It’s a graffiti crew from Olomouc. We are ‘Brothers From Another Mother’! We’ve got more than 20 years of experience together with graffs. All members are Pauser, Guilty, Piano, Furie, Ubrus and Oliver and now its growing with new blood... D-Dvil my 7 year old son :-)
You've been travelling a lot lately - You were at Meeting Of Styles Copenhagen...
I’ve travelled a lot since the beginning of the new year...Cyprus, France, Kosovo, Denmark, Spain, and Armenia. Copenhagen was a pretty nice event with great organisation, nice people from around the world and really hot weather. I love the city and every time i’m happy to be there.
Do you think tech is responsible for connecting us & aiding collabs, or is it making us more insular?
I think without that we wouldn’t be able to reach people so quickly in every matter. For me it is definitely something that’s pushing us forward in daily life.
I see you are doing a lot of graff with your son. How did that come about, was he naturally interested?
Yeah, he loved drawing and making sculptures from clay since he was really small. He loves to prepare every piece in detail before, selecting exact colours that match the sketch :-) I hope he will he will be a great artist in time - even if he will not do graffs its at least an area I can push him forward to do great stuff.
Does Graff teach any valuable life lessons that can help you be a better parent?
All of this is about respecting each other and i think it’s the same with kids. You need to let them have their own freedom and it needs to work on both sides.
What are your thoughts on Graff writers and selling out? Has doing any of your shows lately impacted your credibility?
There is some commercial shit, just for commission - it might be nice for the average person to see but it’s not very edgy and probably doesn’t have much impact. But i think it has more attraction generally now for people than 10 years ago, which isn’t a bad thing. Social media helped us to reach more people, and there is a market for graffiti. Every product has it’s customer so it’s just about finding them. At every show or event I got some good connections and I hope we’ll gradually find more people who loves that type of art without losing its impact for sales.
It’s all because im also a UI designer and I’m designing apps for iphones/ipad. When augmented reality came to the market I was thinking about how to use it in art. I then found one startup from Vienna called Artivive with a platform you can use to put together static images and animations in real life using the device… it’s just begun.
Like Ii said it’s just the beginning of the future. Technology in general which will be used in daily life for featured content of everything, whether it will be augmented, virtual or mixed reality. The art is just a small segment of the whole market, plus I think it’s more proof of concept now so it’s hard to tell.
Have you seen Demolition man movie?:-)))) Just joking. It’s hard to predict but I think with popularity of street-art, and it’s image in general growing, people will love more street art in public spaces. Graffiti will still be something more underground and will be driven by community - but we’ll still be here for a while!
Can you envisage a time in the future where all art is dynamic or digital or will there always be a place for a physical art?
There is still and always will be a place for physical definitely. Maybe it will combine with some digital and dynamic features, but classic art will be still here as long as people will live on the earth :-) Can you imagine life without classic art?
It’s a pretty new experience for me with this kind of Art label. I love the idea of having great artists collaborate on one label. I see it as for example Stones Throw label for the arts. We decided to start working together on a first mission, so I’m very keen to see how it will work.
What is it that makes hand embellishing pieces that appeals to you?
It’s more precise and to me it feels like faking using stencils etc... I’m not a fan of projections either, it’s fake art. I like creating by hand, mixing bright and funky colours together with post-graffiti elements, dreamy landscapes, space junk and groovy atmosphere. Combining with augmented reality gives the viewer something unexpected and they’re able to see hidden content.
What's next for you after this?
I finished my exhibition in Olomouc, Czech Republic as part of StreetartFestival.cz and I’m preparing another one in Brno. I’ll continue working and focusing on new medias, including canvases combined with AR. As always I’m looking for some good events, exhibitions, collaborations and other opportunities for the upcoming year.
Still Lives is a stunning selection of prints of prints from Pauser. Available exclusively on graff.io arts now as limited edition 1/20 prints.