So, first, introduce yourself. everything about you, your tag, and your beginning.
Hello, I am Zed from Lithuania, center of the Europe. To start from the beginning, I got into graffiti life about ten or more years ago. There is nothing very interesting about how I started, that happened kind of typical, first look to some extra primitive writings on the walls of the block that I used to live, you know, all these WU-TANG, NIRVANA, RAP and other promotional shit on the walls of the buildings around. That was the first impression that lasts till now. But probably the main reason to do this was my character, that usually forced me to search for some innovative ways of self expression, to do something different that others do and graffiti those days was absolutely new phenomenon. I was all the time more ore less rebellious in some ways, life wasn’t super easy, I used to live the life of a loner, no friends around, no possible ways to socialize, not because I couldn’t have it, just because I probably chosen it, no matter that I was quite a young boy growing up. So that riot in me made me live in a bit different way, I wasn’t a menace to society, wasn’t a bad one, I lived a normal life with some exceptions and aberrations. So it was my childhood, in some cold grey block, usual for the past day bigger towns of Lithuania. I started to find my interest in graffiti writing when I was probably 11 or 12. But back then, back to 1999, I wasn’t doing no street writing because of my age, I didn’t even know what real graffiti is, I was a kid, that says everything. I can not exactly tell how I started being ZED, that was a long time coming thing, I was somehow growing for that, scribbling different kind of words, painting some abstract stuff on the paper and so on. ZED appeared a bit later on, when I already knew what am I doing, what graffiti is, whats the point of that all. Lets say I was already quite mature for that.
How long have you been doing graffiti?
I am now doing graffiti for already more then ten years, not excluding my super long months of sketching, finding inspiration and so on and on and on. I think I still have some old primitive sketches from 1998 or even earlier days somewhere in the boxes…huge nostalgia.
What crews do you represent?
I write alone…for already many years I do it alone, so I don’t represent any crews. I used to have one big, almost international crew..huh, that was a big thing for me those days, it was probably in 2003, we then all used to rep AC (ART CRIMINALS etc.), there were around 30 people in the whole Europe and sure in Lithuania, people from Italy, UK, Germany and so on. Well, that wasn’t something like a joke, we gave our hearts out to that project, we really loved it, I remember seeing our tags and bombings all around the country, even more, all around the Europe. It was super nice for a young ambitious teenager to see his crew‘s name while visiting such beautiful countries like Italy, France, remember pulling out the camera every time I saw AC tags or works in foreign countries, taking pictures, collecting everything connected with it. But things changed, changed so radical, it was a time, when I decided to totally rotate everything and start to write history all alone by myself, I did find it somehow mystical, extra interesting, extra huge, I realized that it was more exciting to try to achieve everything alone, one man in the field, when they all used to join the crews, were bombing all together and so on, I went all alone and did my job in silence. ha..it was like that for me, and now I am happy about that decision, no regrets, no doubts, nothing…just me and my graffiti.
What is Lithuania biggest inspiration for you? Biggest in other countries?
I don‘t know, I don’t have any favorite writers, no favorite graffiti artists, no human beings could be my inspiration at all, my life is my biggest inspiration, with its ups and fucking downs, with love and hate for the things around me, they inspire me most, no matter in what way, how – it just mirrors in my works, in the streets. When I was younger, like 17 or 18 years old, I was a bit more sociable than now, so I would probably named a long list of the inspirations, now.. no, that’s probably my ego I don’t know who could inspire me more in Lithuanian graffiti, no one is more active here, no on does more than I do, no one goes all country. That’s why I get a lot of hate from the different fucks around me, but hey, that inspires me too ! even more.
Are you all about style? How would you describe your style?
Style? No… I don’t have no names for it, I just do my thing, my letters. The best style is no style for me, I don’t want to be identified as a pure bomber, or lets say, as a wild styler too, I wouldn’t like to be identified as a styler at all, I just write, who cares about the style ? I don’t…i try to make my letters look as I want them to look like, sometimes fly, sometimes static, sometimes symmetric, sometimes not…sometimes dirty, sometimes super clean and clear…usually I do them legible, easy to read, so people could identify them with no work at all. That’s my thing, I love it. I can do difficult piece, and in the same time I can write extra easy letters, with no details, no stuff at all, everything depends on my mood, on my thoughts, but usually I try to make it look very aesthetically, I pay attention to the technique, no matter that the piece, the bomb is in the very hot spot of the city, I do it all the time straight and as clean as I possibly can.
Let’s talk about graffiti scene in Lithuania. Is it a large scene? When did it start up?
Lithuanian graffiti scene is quite big, as for the 3 million country is really big, we do have cities bombed all over, we do have people who bomb, people who make strictly pieces, people who tag, and yes, people who talks shit and do nothing too. I think real Lithuanian graffiti scene started in 2002-2005, in this period of time, before that, hm…Lithuania had some attempts to be popular, some clowns used to do polish styles bombings, chromes all over and so on, but there wasn’t nothing unique, nothing interesting at all, all the so called kings of those days were just chasing fame, trying to belong to the scene by all means, without no bigger work, and yes, I must say that writing graffiti in 2002 was ten times easier than it is now, no one was hunting on us, there were no cameras, no stress at all, you could go and do your thing so easily, now…its full stress EVERYWHERE. I think that is why only so few people do the real thing here nowadays.
What does graffiti mean to you?
Graffiti is my life and in the same way I am graffiti. That’s so simple and complicated in one place. Its my life by all means, but that don’t necessary mean that I am crazy freak of it. I live with my plans about writing everyday, new places, new ideas, new things…i live it, but I also have other plans, other goals to achieve and more. Yes, I love graffiti, I love letters, love the atmosphere while doing it, I love when you succeed, that’s so fantastic, so nice to see yourself everywhere, knowing how much work you did, everything counts, from a single small tag, to the masterpiece in the jungle of the streets. That’s crazy….But without my graffiti life I live a normal one, I have so many things I enjoy, I pay attention to so much, I live everyday usual life, the same that everyone lives, just graffiti takes bigger slice of the pie…
What kind of spray paint do you prefer? Which caps?
I m not selective at all, I can paint with the spray paint I have that moment, starting with Montana (black, gold series), I use it most of the time, and ending with shitty crap paint with extra bad coverage. If we talk about caps…mostly I do everything with a stock fat cap of Montana black, or a pink fat cap, but I also use some skinnies, mostly stock caps, just to get some detailed lines and so on, but I can do everything with one cap too, that’s only the matter of your abilities. Sometimes I even go bombing with skinny caps, no matter that it takes a long time to fill your work and so on, if I don’t have the right thing I need at that moment, I will make it to be right..everything is possible, everything.
Have you traveled to other countries? Where can we find your paintings?
Sure, I have traveled to different countries in my life, but those trips were more for the rest than for the active sports like graffiti. But I tried to paint in as many places as I could, to mention, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and so on…I did quite a big bombing tours in biggest cities of Spain and Italy, I just had a chance to spend there a bit longer time, so there were a nice possibility for me to bomb there, tag all around, and I must admit, painting there is much easier than here in Lithuania. People there are more tolerant, they enjoy graffiti, and if not, at least they try to understand it, its bigger fun to be a writer there, plus…you get hundred times more possibilities to be famous there, than in such post soviet countries like Lithuania.
Have you experienced any strange/weird/interesting/dangerous things while out painting?
Oh…a lot and lot and lot of them…I usually don’t do easy spots, I try to write only in dangerous or very dangerous places of the cities, some extra hot spots that not everyone can hit. So almost every time I risk so fucking much. The most crazy actions…yes, there were some, including bombing the central police stations (i was the one in the whole pre-baltic countries to do that, I don’t know about the Europe, maybe somebody did that too, though I didn’t find anything similar on the internet or while visiting other countries), what was the most crazy and the most awesome experience in my graffiti life from all possible. I think you can only get one chance from the million to succeed in such missions, it still gives me shivers when I think about it, fuck what some clowns may think and say, but God knows, that was the most hardcore action in Lithuania’s graffiti history, if you ask me, I am not afraid to say it loud. Sometimes, and usually very often it makes you risk your life, so I risk it, remember bombing very high up on the roof of the one of the tallest buildings of the city, I was doing it at the daytime, while thousands and thousands of people were passing by, imagine some 15th floor buildings roof and some half of the meter to stand on, that was nice, after I hit that spot, I remember running 15 floors down not to get caught and I succeed, but the police was already driving to the spot. I wont even talk about the crazy police or security chases I had, because there were really too many of them. A..except maybe one, when I was doing some quick piecing in the Lithuania‘s seaside, Palanga, the main beach, it was a super nice place, the place where the creek meets its tributary to the Baltic sea, and there was some dope spot to hit, some extra visible and not so easy to reach spot, so I decided to hit it, remember my girl was standing on the sidewalk, I jumped down the railings to reach that wall, you needed to stand in the water to paint there, so…she was watching my back, and in the very end of the action I saw her running and probably shouting to me, what I couldn’t hear that moment because of the strong wind, you know, so… that was a few police cars running very fast and super silent to catch me, I remember climbing that wall to reach the railings again like crazy, jumping over these railings like I was weightless, railings were so high..when I jumped, I was running through the dune as fast as I could, while the police was searching for me in the whole beach, lighting everywhere with some extra bright and blinding lights, I could see them running here ant there, shouting something while I was hiding in some bushes. They were searching for me in police vans even out of the beach, I remember running like crazy, through the whole seaside, through smallest streets of the town, that I didn’t even know then, I could hardly orient where I was running, but I was trying to reach a safe zone, to reach the place to hide, I remember hiding for hour or more till it all calmed down, these few hours of runnin and gunnin made me feel like a fucking star of the combat film, you are running they are chasing…you know. And there are so many similar stories I could tell about the missions I had, that’s dangerous, strange, lovely, breath taking and so awesome in one place, I don’t know what could be similar to that. It stresses you so much sometimes, but no matter that you keep doing and doing your job, risking everything, just because of the love of it. Graffiti is not just a hobby, its a sport, best sport I know, one of the best life styles I know, I just cant imagine my life without writing these letters on the playground: earth.
Check out more of Zed’s work: www.zed-one.tk