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Inside With Bali’s Street Writers

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You’ve seen their work on streets around Kuta – but will you meet them? Probably not. We spoke to two of Bali’s leading street artists – Quint and XUF – about beauty, vandalism, wheat paste . . . and why the world is better with beautiful women. Words: Ka Mau. Images: Tony Stanton.

Good to meet you. First off, how would you describe your work?

Quint: Stencil art of naturally sexy girls in various poses.

XUF: Modern abstract layered stencils, wheat pasting, installations, or anything that I can get my hands on that I can change into something different.

What are your motivations as artists?

Quint: To spread my art all over the world … and maybe to another planet, so even aliens can enjoy it.

XUF: Motivations? Seeing things in a different perspective. Going through life in a rough way. I’m also inspired by things that happen in my everyday life. And by people who underestimate what I can do.

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When a person sees your work, what are you communicating to them?

Quint: That women can look sexy, hot, fabulous and great in their own way; as natural and as organic as they are.

XUF: I’m telling them that this is it. Sometimes they see things differently.

Why is street art important, do you think?

XUF: Is it? Maybe it is for some people who don’t have time to go to a gallery, or wait for another exhibition, or don’t have money to buy canvas. To me it’s just about taking the art to the streets.

I think street art is important for exactly that reason; it goes straight to the public, raw with no filter and no intention other than to hit the viewer in some way.

Quint: Exactly, but sometimes some people don’t think the same as artists. They think street art is nothing but vandalism, or it’s just about making the street dirty. Those people just don’t get the message. For me, I just don’t give a fuck, as long as I feel satisfied and happy, I’m gonna keep doing it.

XUF: It’s in the streets, where all the everyday people are. Sometimes it’s important to force people to look at art – especially the people who hate art. It’s the biggest canvas there is and it will be there forever. Unless someone cleans it up. Even if they do, you can always put it up again. That makes people mad. Yes, it’s vandalism. It may be their wall but I beautify it.

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What do you think is the role of an artist in society?

Quint: To be able to inspire. For me that comes through a medium like stencil art. I’m keen to spread love through art. I love capturing beautiful women who have a unique style, and by sharing that with society, everybody can feel the enjoyment and have fun and feel good. It is simple art. It keeps our mind tranquil.

XUF: As an artist, I express my feelings based on what I see. I try to inspire every soul without forcing anyone to do so.

In certain stencils I do there are messages. And others are just plain stupid, but they make sense to me.

How did you get into street art?

Quint: By accident, actually. I started doing it about 12 years ago. I did my first one on the wall in my class. I tagged my teacher’s name because he wouldn’t let me in the class when I was five minutes late. After they found out I did it, they kicked me out. I’ve been doing street art ever since.

XUF: I started doing stencils around 2005 but they were small and simple. I didn’t start from the streets, but from my room, and I always got into trouble if I moved them out of that space. Then last year, all of a sudden I got into more colours … and then I met Quint. He was the one who made me turn towards the street.

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Have you had any crazy experiences while out doing your art?

Quint: A couple of months ago when I was in Tokyo I went out late at night to hit this building. The wall was on the second floor, so I had to climb a tree to get up there. After I finished, this undercover cop showed up and started yelling at me. I thought it was just some bum guy until he pulled out a gun and pointed it at me while holding a cellphone with his other hand, taking pictures. I was scared as fuck, so I jumped into the building and ran to the other side of the fence. Thank god he didn’t know how to get up there.

XUF: There are two crazy experiences that come to mind. The first time I ever did a stencil on a wall, I was trembling because I was alone. As I put the glue on the wall, suddenly this German shepherd appeared out of nowhere. It was standing around five or six metres away from me, barking and bunny hopping, but it didn’t attack. I almost bailed, but my gut feeling said it was now or never, so I just pasted the stencil as quick as possible. I turned round when I’d finished but the dog was gone.

The second experience was just recently with Quint.

We were trying to find a new spot, so we went to Umalas in Kerobokan and pasted some stuff there. Then we decided to follow the road and we ended up in Canggu. We saw a big wall after Canggu Club,
so we stopped to feel how the wall was. Then suddenly two bikes approached us. It was the pecalang. I was like, “Shit, we are dead”. The pecalang stopped next to us. Of course we looked very dodgy; three a.m., two guys with no helmets, parked next to a villa. One of them got down from the bike with this angry tone asking us what we were doing next to the wall. The only thing that made sense to tell him was, “We want to take a piss.” Then he starts to ask more questions and shining his torchlight on my backpack. Thank God I know people in Canggu, so I mentioned a name, telling him I’m a close friend of this person and I used to live in the same house, and then the guy’s tone changed. Then he just let us go. Quint and I left with this feeling of escaping from death . . . thank fucking god!

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Quint, other than hot and sexy natural women, what other images to you like?

Quint: Sometimes I do roses and animals … female animals, hehe.

What projects are you two working on? Tell us a little about them.

XUF: Right now I’m working in La Favela, doing the artwork there. I’m learning to do scenery stencils and learning to mix and match colours. Most of the stencils are not my type of stencils, but I got hooked after doing some of the work. I’m still learning, and learning is fun. Right now Quint is doing a big exhibition called Bali Berlin and I’m a part of the team. We’re still looking for sponsors and for a good place for the gig. For future projects? Hmmm . . . the future is untold.

Any last words?

Quint: You need a big heart to do street art.

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