In the last couple of years we at ILOVEGRAFFITI.DE have noticed some really nice graffiti here and there by stylewriter EKTO, who seem to come out of nowhere and on to the scene recently with some great pieces. So we caught up with him for a little interview and looked at some of his photos and videos.
ILG: Hey, introduce yourself please.
Ekto: I’m EKTO from the UK. I rep UPC (Uprising Crew) and more recently CVK (Cruel Vapours)
ILG: Tell us about yourself, how did you start and where are you today?
Ekto: I started writing on the streets in late 1995 through friends. I was nothing better than a dub painter, a bomber that painted a few trains and tracksides. I eventually quit in 1999 due to women, I returned and took up the name EKTO in October 2005 and started painting pieces (terribly) and 700 or so walls later: Here I am!
ILG: You seem to come out of nowhere and on to the scene recently with some great pieces, how did that happen?
Ekto: To be completely honest, I’ve pushed myself quite hard and its for a reason. I was severely ill in early 2014 due to a situation with doctors and an adverse reaction that induced a condition called M.E. I spent 6 months in bed wondering if I would ever return to normal life. It was really quite bad. I still suffer from it to this day. But I’m very stubborn, I refuse to be beaten by it. I’m 33 now, I’m not wasting anymore time trying this or that. I’m going right through it.
ILG: What is the painting situation for you were you are based?
Ekto: I’m from the border of Essex and East London. I have always classed myself as an Essex writer, the London scene just isn’t for me, it’s not what it used to be when I was a kid. Essex is known as the home of UK wildstyle, that’s where I’m from. I learnt what I do there from a bunch of great writers. Mainly Ethos and Brave.
ILG: How do you go about painting your complicated pieces?
Ekto: That’s a tough question. I’ll approach each piece one at a time. Each piece may have something different or a concept etc. I’ll cater to the need of the finished idea. So sometimes I’ll rough up with an astro cap as a giant tag. Then outline and backpaint infill or sometimes others a more precise rough up and a more traditional process. The finishing is the easy bit. Its all in the planning.
ILG: Is the spot important for you?
Ekto: Hugely. I’m not a fan of ‘legal’ walls anymore. Don’t get me wrong I’ll paint them, but theres more to painting for me now than a sky, a wall and a floor. I’m known as a legal writer and that’s fine by me, but you are more likely to find me dragging around inside a fenced and long derelict building or a spot that has a security guard on the front gate doing a terrible job of keeping me out. It’s an obsession, the spot adds to the final piece you can use the surfaces and building itself with the piece. I see a lot of writers out there with the same mentality the atmosphere of the place comes out in the final photo.
ILG: How about documentation, you seem to do some great photos and videos of your work?
Ekto: Thanks! I try, haha. Truth be told, I don’t take enough photos, its normally a mad rush to leave and then you have to settle for what shots you did get. But pick your spot right and the photo part is normally quite easy. Videos, I’ve dwelled into more recently, planning them more. So stay tuned on that. A sequel to the Black Out video is likely next, with an even more full on wild piece and background.
ILG: Did you travel recently, where did you go and what did you get up to?
Ekto: Man, I travelled quite a bit last year. I was exhausted by Xmas. Went to Ireland for the Bridge Jam, love that place and the people, I have been there 3 times in the last 18 months, good people! Went to Scotland and Wales, MOS France was amazing. Highly rate it, if you get an invite GO. Went to MOS Spain, MOS Hungary was dope. Also went to Roskilde Festival in Denmark, one of the best memories of my life, I doubt it can be topped, Ill be trying to go back there every year, haha! Travelled to Amsterdam and all over England, I don’t think I missed anywhere…
ILG: Any travel plans for the future? Where to and for what?
Ekto: I plan on travelling again this year, last year wasn’t a one off. I’ve confirmed trips for Poland and Belgium, but I’m free for others at the moment, so hopefully another two or three events for the year. I’m going to do a bit more work in the UK as well.
ILG: Do you have any goals? Did you already cross out things on your bucketlist?
Ekto: One day at a time. Just a vague plan. Meet and paint with cool people and share good times. Lots of painting and pushing myself my friends and my crews. Painting at big events is things you can say are crossed off, but the thing with events is that they are normally great. You need to go back and cross them again and again!
ILG: You formed a crew recently with a mix of internationals, tell us a bit about that crew and the members.
Ekto: Yes, the idea was to gather like minded hungry writers who are pushing what they do. Hence uprising. The members constantly keep everyone on their toes.
Acter – letters first approach and technically sound. Top guy!
Awone – don’t feed the Swede. An all rounder, this guy is awesome, never underestimate him.
Harry Bones – never a dull moment with this dude! If you know him, you know why. Always a pleasure. Oh and he’s an amazing artist.
Niser – funniest guy I know and probably ever met. Paints great pieces and is king of the bevel.
Peal – inspirational graffiti artist. Drawing letters and effects in ways I envy, haha!
Meds – if I could have someone else’s thought process and technical ability, it would be this guys!
Skare – outrageously good young writer. If hes still painting by 30 he is my pick for best style writer in the world.
Ster – my partner in crime. If someone asks me who the best all round graffiti artist from the South East is, I answer Ster. Those that know, know.
Vents – hottest future writer in the emerald Isle. Paints the future now.
ILG: What do you look for in graffiti these days, anything you like or dislike?
Ekto: I got to be honest. Anti style and the style that Blade painted in the 1970’s should of stayed in the 70’s. I see the merit in some of it. But I’m not a fan, each to their own and I don’t mean to bash it. But its not progressive, it will never push a boundary again.
As for what I look for. A clean nice balanced piece that’s not overdone. Good colourway and clever themes.
ILG: Any last words?
Ekto: Shouts and thanks to everyone who made last year what it was for me. I’m forever grateful you know who you are.
See you all soon 😉
ILG: And, do you love graffiti?