Wednesday, 1 February 2012
FISTO / FISTA...
Legendary Sheffield writer Fisto/Fista was sentenced in 1996 to 5 years inside for graffiti. I remember going up to Sheffield in 1993 as a teenager to see Chelsea play Sheffield United and he had a load of big lairy dubs on the side of the M1 motorway....his classic 90's clean letters stuck out a mile.
His court case was massive and made the national newspapers and after an appeal he was released after a year inside. Fisto who is now touching on 40 is now a full time fine artist...here's what the man has to say on how things have evolved since being released nearly 14 years ago...
"It was very weird, surreal even, the things that happened to people around me at that time,"
"It was completely weird that one man, the judge, wanted to get his name in the papers for putting me away for five years. People in the court were genuinely shocked. No-one expected that kind of sentence for what? Painting?
"I was being locked up at the age of 22 for things I had done when I was 18. It was affecting my family.
"It was in the papers and on the national news. People in certain papers like to paint an image of me as a criminal without knowing anything about me."
"I had a fairly normal upbringing my Dad's heart is in the right place but my mother Angela was my mentor and still is, she is a very intelligent woman and always wanted me to do well. But when you're growing up in that kind of area there are distractions.
"There was an element of 17 and 18-year-old's rebellion in the graffiti. I had seen break dancing and graffiti as part of the Hip-Hop thing of the 1980s. I started doing a few tags and and painting in 1988 and 1989 and got into it.
"The reason I did it was because it had meaning. Forget the tagging and the motorway stuff. I was doing murals for people on the Manor, Burngreave and Darnall. I did not do it on people's houses. I did not do it where graffiti was not accept-able. To me it was public art."
To others it was a nuisance and they won't forget the tagging or the motorway stuff.
It's not a joke, or a lark...No I don't regret it. What good would it do for me to say that I regret something I did 15 or 16 years ago? I don't say that I condone other people doing it."
"I had lots of offers when I came out but my head wasn't right for a long time," he said.
"I had sort myself out."
"I put a lot of stuff behind me in that time."
"With new art it is always a progression from the fringes of society to the centre, that is always the way it has been.
"It is difficult in this case because people have to live with the blight of graffiti in the real world and we in no way endorse as a gallery that type of vandalism. But we do see a continuity in the work that has come from street art.
"I love what I do, I love art, it allows me to express myself and I get by for money,"
"I like graphic art and I like the forms and shapes of Arabic and eastern writing. I'm trying to get something over in my work but I'm not trying to say anything overtly political.
"There is a meaning behind everything I do. It's spiritual.
"It's not just about painting for the sake of it, it's a path. I'm not sure where it's leading yet. Hopefully somewhere nice and sunny and peaceful.
"Maybe somewhere where money doesn't count.
"At the end of the day I'm not conquering anything, I'm just doing my painting. I'm not sure what my plans are but I want to go to Europe again.
I want to see if there's anything better than living in dreary old England."