This month's cover art: Batman

August 28, 2018

 

This month’s cover art is the work of Batman (not the caped superhero, although you may occasionally spot him perched on the edge of a rooftop). This is the local graffiti artist who’s been working under the name for the past seven years. “It was kind of a novelty,” he says of the pseudonym. “I just wanted something a bit silly and fun. If I was gonna go deeper I’d say it’s like an alter-ego thing, because I suppose graffiti’s been a bit like a separate life for me… but that wasn’t the original reason, I made that up later.”


Batman found his way into graffiti at a very young age: “I’ve been interested in it since I was about eight or nine years old,” he says, “so I started earlier than a lot of friends of mine. I think graffiti is the perfect form of expression when you’re like 15 to 18, and you’re trying to be a bit rebellious and form your own identity – that was why I found it so fascinating. And there was a lot about the mystery of it that got me engaged initially. As you get more involved, you get to know who’s doing what and how they’re doing it, so the mystery goes a bit and instead it becomes much more about the quality of the work you’re doing.”


Over the past couple of years, Batman’s work has taken on a new purpose. “I’ve been getting more into environmental activism – that’s been quite an interesting journey for me. Graffiti is powerful because it’s in a public space, it gives you the opportunity to raise awareness about certain things.” A recent piece that gained a lot of attention highlighted Shell’s ‘greenwashing’ of non-sustainable energies, painted at one of the city’s busiest graffiti spots, Trafalgar Lane. The response to that has been “really positive,” he says. “It’s been up for like a month and a half, and just for it to stay for that long is really nice. The turnover on Trafalgar Lane is so high that the piece staying up and people having respect for it really means a lot to me. I’ve got an intention with any work that I do in the future to try and integrate some of those messages, and to use graffiti as a platform to communicate things.”

 

 

As well as his graffiti work, Batman is part of a group of artists called The Friendly Gang: “There’s about ten of us, and it’s about openness and just being cool to people and trying not to have the egos in the way so much. We’ve done a couple of shows now and they’ve both been really fun; just a lot of people that are really open to interesting conversation and having a nice time and not trying to inflate themselves too much, that’s been the priority.” He’s also been producing a limited number of screen prints, which he sells through Instagram. “I’ve been exploring screen printing as a technique because it suits my style so well, it’s great to be able to utilise that.”

 

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