Dabs and Myla Interview by CraolaJuxtapoz // Sunday, 13 Sep 2009
Craola: So first off where are you from and what brings you two to L.A.?
Dabs: We are both from Melbourne Australia. Born and Bred. In the last couple of years we have come to the states and traveled around...meeting up with people and painting stuff.
Myla: Each time we visited LA we loved it more and more. The weather is ultimate, the town is chaos and Disneyland is so close! On our way home from out last visit, we thought to ourselves, 'If we love it so much we could just move here?!?' We made a few arrangements and here we are!
Do you eat vegemite and listen to Midnight Oil?
Myla: Vegemite is the BEST! The secret is don't use too much in a sandwich. I think that's why so many people outside of Australia hate it.
Dabs: A little inside tip is to try it with aheese or even better, avocado. As for Midnight Oil? Well, for the record, not really fans! I feel ashamed; like I'm a traitor to my own kind! But, in saying that, off the record, if you chuck on BEDS ARE BURNING there's a good chance my shirt's coming off and I'm gonna get live!!
How long have you been doing graffiti?
Dabs: Ive been painting graffiti for maybe 13 years!
Myla: When we met, Dabs taught me how to paint. I did my first piece 3 years ago.
How is the graf scene in L.A. different than in Melbourne?
Dabs: In some ways its very similar; that's one of the great things about graffiti!! It's all over the world...it's universal. But at the same time, LA has a much more intense scene. In Melbourne its a lot more relaxed. The police are a lot more relaxed (lazy!) All the writers in LA have to deal with a lot just to get over. It's amazing some of the spots that get hit out here, considering the elements that are involved.
I hear you left a gallery back at home. Tell me about that.
Myla: We were running a gallery with two friends, called Per Square Metre, in Melbourne for over three years. When we left the gallery in April to move out here, our two friends continued to run the space. It was such an awesome experience...we met so many great artists and had a bunch of fun too!
Who would win in a fight, a kookaburra or a bald eagle?
Dabs and Myla: Please, KOOKABURRA, Hands down! Game over.
Do you find your street work getting intertwined in your canvas work?
Myla: Definitely. Characters that we use on walls are making their way into our paintings, and walls that we paint outside make their way onto our canvas'. We have recently done a few paintings that use reference photos of buildings that have our graffiti on them. Generally we try to keep our graffiti and our canvases separate. But this is something we would like to push further at some point in the future. Maybe we will have a whole show of paintings based off pieces we have done in the streets!
What has the biggest adjustment been living in the states?
Myla: Getting used to LA traffic is taking a while! Learning to be patient and leaving enough time to get to where you have to go, even if it's only down the road. Trying to avoid high fructose corn syrup. That shit is evil! We don't have that back at home so we are reading the back of everything in the supermarket, trying to avoid it when we can. And obviously it's hard being away from our family and friends. But the perfect weather and killer Mexican food defiantly help ease the home sick blues.
When did the collaborative paintings start happening?
Dabs: Maybe around 2 years ago. Since we first got together we have always done some collaborations together as well as work on our own stuff.
Myla: Actually, the week that we first started dating. After 2 days in, we sat up one night and did a collab together. So it was bound to come to this eventually!
Working as a team must get frustrating at times, what do you do to keep it interesting and stress free?
Myla: We are lucky to both have pretty relaxed personalities. Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the work we need to make, but we never get stressed out at each other. If we do feel like we need a break, we take an afternoon off and get out of the studio. It might be hard to believe..but we have never had an argument or disagreement over our work.
Any projects or exhibitions coming up for you guys?
Myla: We are having a show coming up in November at New Puppy Gallery in LA. This is going to be a really fun show. We are painting an installation in half of the gallery, and this will be where all our work will be. In the other half of the gallery we are curating a show of about 20 artists.
What were some of the first projects you first did upon coming to America?
We have done some cool stuff since we have been here. We have been spending alot of time painting in our studio, working on a bunch of new paintings. And we did some cool projects with Fila customizing shoes a few months back.
Another project we really enjoyed was a thing we did recently for the band Green Day. Ourselves and 17 other artists did paintings based off the 18 tracks on their new album 21st Century Breakdown. And the paintings are traveling with them on their 2 year tour. They will also be on show at Stolen Space in London around mid October.
Any last thoughts and shout outs?
Yeah, just a big hello to our new American friends: Cinnamin Toast Crunch, Reeces Peanut Butter Cups, Flips chocolate coated pretzels, and Paul Newman's black bean and corn salsa! Thanks for the support. We love you all!
Visit Dabs and Myla at www.dabsmyla.com