Zees, a Muslim artist who is associated with local hip-hop crew Southside, resents that many people automatically think that graffiti artists are bad guys, take drugs and are antisocial.
“You can’t tell whether someone is good or bad unless you meet them first. Some politicians take drugs and are bad. What about them?” asks Zees.
A full-time fitness instructor, Zees has received many commissions through what he calls the graffiti social network – the most recent being at the Phuket Wake Park and Fruit Juice Bar in Phuket Town.
Zees has liked drawing and spraying ever since he was first exposed to the art form as a pre-teen.
“I think I was 12 years old when I first discovered graffiti in skateboard videos, magazines and movies. I remember being shocked, and thinking, ‘Wow, it’s so beautiful – they’re drawing on the walls!’”
After schooling at Phuket Wittayalai School, Zees studied Fine Art at Phuket Rajabhat University. Throughout his education, Zees kept on practising and getting his art out there (always with permission from the landowners, of course). From that came commissions, and his name began to spread.
Interestingly though, many of his idols are not fellow graffiti artists. “Chalermchai Kositpipat and Thawan Duchanee are excellent national artists, they are very popular and well renowned,” he says.
“There are so many styles of graffiti,” Zees explains. “For example, ‘Bumble’ style font is fat and the letters look like balloons, while ‘Wild style’ is a mixture of graffiti fonts.”
When he’s not honing his art, Zees also spends a lot of his time with friends in the Xtreme Club Phuket, where they challenge each other in a variety of sports, including BMX, B-Boy and skateboard. They are always looking for more members, and can be found hanging out at the Larn Mungkorn area, close to the Sofa bar in Phuket Town.
Zees also adds that he would like to see more children involved in graffiti. But before aspiring artists grab the spray cans and hit the streets, he has some advice:
“You must do everything the correct way. When you want to create graffiti on walls, you should ask for the permission of the owner before you do it.”
For more information on Zees’ work, see facebook.com/zees.southside