Girls On Top Graffiti Crew Interview

The UK’s first all-female graffiti exhibition is coming to Canterbury on the 3rd February. We caught up with Akit, 32, from the Girls On Top Graffiti Crew to find out what’s in store…

How many people do you expect to come to the event?
I’ve absolutely no idea! I’m more concerned with the calibre of visitors, i.e. those with money to buy the artwork or agents looking to sign us up, or people looking to commission us to undertake illustrations, projects and more events like these!

What is the purpose of the event?
Just to showcase the style of ladies who dabble with spraycans.

Do you still feel that there are inequalities in the graffiti world between guys and girls?
Personally, no. I’ve been doing graffiti for over 15 years, and just being around for so long and staying the course has given me some kudos and respect. In my experience no male graffiti artist ever said “you can’t do graf” or “you should stop” to my face. I heard mutterings or sly jokes but no-one ever actually challenged me.

I earned my stripes as with any vocation – it’s work that shows, and if you’re any good, a fella will be cool with you if they are a good person, not if they are some chauvinistic moron with issues about women.
There are inequalities in all walks of life, between sex, race, age, etc. But the wonderful thing about graf is the anonymity, it doesn’t matter whether you are old, young, black, white, purple with green spots, male or female, if you play the game right – you’re a winner!

Is this exhibition to show that you’re as handy as the men in this field?
A lot of people see this as some sort of battle, but I don’t believe any of the girls in the show feel this way, or see it as their motivation for the show. I’m a feminist, but more than that I’m a humanist! A magazine asked us if we were taking over graf and that’s just ridiculous, we just wanna play too!

What would you like to say to girls who are tempted to join in?
I’d say the same to a girl who wanted to be a plumber, builder, skateboarder or soldier, and that is if you wanna do it – do it! Of course it’s tough, that’s the nature of roles that are traditionally seen as ‘male only’. I think you have to be a bit of a nutter to do graffiti no matter what sex you are. It’s illegal, very dangerous, extremely physically demanding, antisocial and offensive to most of society. You have to walk, travel for miles to plots, face adverse environments, hang out in bushes or tunnels for hours with rats scurrying about, get filthy, completely ruin your clothes. Shit it sounds like the army, without the killing bit! Ha ha!

It sure as shit ain’t glamourous, and it’s just not your typical hobby, let alone for the ‘fairer sex’. So for anyone to do graf is fairly extreme.

The GOT Crew is gaining quite a reputation, what’s next for you?
Gosh who knows what the future holds for GOT? All sorts of lovely things I hope! We have a tentative booking to do a show in the Rarekind Gallery in Brighton. A few of us have been asked to paint at a graf convention in Berlin, but that’s all so far. We had the first GOT paint jam last year and we will definitely have future graf jam days, that’s standard in the graf world anyway, we love to meet up and paint together.

Akit is a freelance illustrator and painter working in West London. For further info, click on to her website.

Words: Elisa Routa


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