A lady on a graffiti mission

Name: Choxanne

  1. What was your first experience of graffiti?

I saw the local crew BSE tagging up the station every Friday when I was on my way to a youth club. I was about 14. Also, I used to walk past a wall down an alley on my way to a youth club at about 15.  It was painted regularly and faced the tracks.  All sorts of writers used to paint it from all over London. That was where I first started to take notice of graffiti as more than just bombing.

My first experience painting was at the back of a local sports club house that faced the tracks.  I did a shit dub and blamed it on my Halfords paint, I was 18 by then!


  1. How did it first capture your imagination and how did you get into painting?  What were your first paints/materials?

I really liked the fact that the wall changed every week and was painted with a different style each time. I liked the colours and the scale. I thought it was exciting.

I didn't think to do it though.  I knew nothing about it other than looking at it and nothing of the culture. I was more into skateboarding at the time.

I got into painting graffiti after going inter-railing round Europe.  I think I was 18 by then.  Me and my ex-boyfriend painted our first dubs together.

We used Halfords paint then moved onto the good stuff!


  1. How did you choose your name/tag?

I wanted a feminine name to distinguish myself as a girl as there weren't many girls writing then, I like chocolate so that was that really. I like finishing the tag on a k as you can do good loops and stuff like that with the kick. You've got to have a good ending to your tag I think. Handstyle is very important.


  1. Did you have a mentor or someone's style you admired?  Who were they/where did you first notice them?

My influences NY subway writers: Dondi, Seen, Zephyr, Revolt, Haze, Pink, Skeme. In the UK I liked people like TFW (Carl, Petro, Siege) cos their style was funky. I also liked Elk, Ser, DDS and GFS: simple chromes and bad handstyles.  Also Mickey from Holland was one of the first female's work I looked at and she remains my one of my favourites.

Nowadays I like Kelzo for the UK, Smash, Delta, Phemme9, Ghost, Twister, Neas, Devise (VFL), Sento, Arab, KRink , Tailor, Oclock. I like a lot of Parisian graff- the subway styles and Dutch old and new styles.

The people I write with have generally mentored me as we exchange ideas and as we paint and hang out.


  1. How long did it take you from starting graff to developing your own style/identity?

Quite a few years I think. To start with I was really into bombing mostly and wasn't so fussed about style I wanted to get my name known, standard stuff really, it was only when I realised that people were actually watching what I was doing that I decided I needed to make more of an effort with style. I didn't really understand how many people you reach with graffiti and how much attention people who are into it pay.


  1.  How far did society back then shape your art or your lifestyle as an artist?


Society made/makes me pissed off.  It tells you what you can and can't do at a given time.  It seems random and utter nonsense most of the time.

I use art as an escape from being dictated to and like it as I can do and think what I want. I will always do this in some form or another.


  1. How far did the environment/city you live in shape you?

Well, I think I got into graffiti late as I grew up not far from London, but not in the midst of things.  We were and still are quite out of touch with things where I live.

Being a girl kept me out of graffiti culture too.  To start with, it wasn't an obvious choice as it was completely male dominated. People used to say girls can't do graff and people thought that I was getting the boys I wrote with to do my paintings for me, as if it's that hard to hold a spraycan! It says more about them than me I guess.


  1. Describe some or one of your most formative experiences as a writer.

I think I started coming into my own when I started painting tracks and trains a lot, but this was about 4 years into doing graffiti. I remember all my first times of everything: tagging, dubs, pieces etc. clearly.  Graffiti is the best thing I have ever done.  If it pisses people off, it is just a surface annoyance and at least a sign that people aren't broken; they still have fight and life in them.  Lots of things other people do piss me off so I think if I have to deal with them they can deal with me!

I used to go bombing a lot (often on my own) in various towns and cities over England and painting trains really sticks out in my memories.

I have nearly died a few times from being stupid, getting nearly hit by trains a few times and getting shocks off the tracks.

 I also stepped in a dead fox's mouth once on the tracks.I was with Creak at the time and he laughed his head off and then walked into a metal pole! J

I have had some of the best fun you can ever have with people who you can trust with your life, but not your dignity. HAHA.

Being a female at a time when not many girls were writing (and especially not illegally) has shaped the way I have evolved as a writer.  More people were interested to paint with me as I was something different. I always wanted there to be more girls who were painting as it got boring being the only one all the time. In 2007, I was able to organise a girl graffiti jam in Stockwell which helped to expand on Girls on Top as a crew. This year we were invited to paint jams in Berlin and Venice.


  1. How would you describe your work now?

More serious but still stupid. I try much more to make my work look good and want people to enjoy looking at it or find it funny. I have got my destructive side out of my system and I am more aware of consequences. My style has evolved from a London dub style into whatever you see now.


  1. What is your own personal challenge when it comes to art/writing?

To be more skilled in what I do and try more interesting ideas out.


  1. What are you artistic goals?

My work now is still experimental, I have a style I paint with but I want to push it a lot further than I have so far and bring many more different elements into it

I am also painting clothes and trying out different techniques.

It's early days still. I have been painting 11 years.

I want to paint as big as possible but not without content and style.

  1. Why do you think travel is integral to being a writer and how does it affect you, both as a person and an artist?

I think it is very important to help you understand the world you live in and the people and things that happen in it.  By talking to people from different places you get a much realer picture of how things function rather than the glossy tourist view you get if you go on an organised holiday or the hen do and stag do crap people go to.

I have always travelled since I was young. I am lucky that that is what my parents thought was important, I have family all over the world which helped open my eyes from a young age and showed me different ways of life.

Meeting like minds in other cultures that you can't necessarily immediately communicate with and learning to relate to them is a great part of graffiti culture.


  1. Do you have a base?



  1. How would you define graffiti?

On the spot creativity, reality and straight-up vandalism.

Also freedom to do what you want and adventure. You then you learn the consequences of what you choose to do and where it gets you. I think it teaches you foresight if you are paying attention which helps you stay out of the shit in other areas of life.

  1. Why do you think it is important?

To keep you looking and aware and awake in a world that tries to shut that down.  People are scared of the truth.

Cheering up the people that matter


  1. Have you become an artist BECAUSE of graff?  Do you think a writer is necessarily an artist?

I was already an artist but found much more interest in doing this than any other artform. I don't think a writer is necessarily an artist.  A lot of graffiti is raw vandalism and it's great for it'.

Things need to get fucked up sometimes to make people question what is going on and where they have gone wrong, and it's fun.


  1. What are the advantages/disadvantages of our internet/quick fix/social networked to the max graff-soaked culture?

Internet is fine I use it to keep in touch with my mates from different places and what they are doing I don't use it to see what everyone else is up to really I'm not that bothered for starters and I'd rather see the reality at the end of the day, but sometimes reality is being at a computer screen and I'd rather graff was there than not.

I know people used to travel more to see people's work but, since I got into graffiti, to be honest there has been an internet presence, I started in 1997 or 8 to paint but was looking from about 1994/5ish and the internet has always been there but I have always travelled too. It can make you lazy though.


  1. Any final words/extra thoughts/shout outs?

Thanks for interviewing me,

 To all my crews over the years: got lmb thc brs bse yrp nhs and especially akel, vaze, spok, kelzo, ward, tags, neas, akre, pils, dark, town, akit, fems, lyns, luna, numi,  sabe, jive, creak, zeds, noddy, swords and faust and everyone else I have met along the way also: Free DPM