Ben Eine is a busy man these days with lots of shows, walls, and a move to San Fransisco. Tim Hans met up with Eine in Shoreditch while he was painting for the latest in our continuing series of photo-portraits of artists by Tim Hans.
RJ: How did changing the Pro/Anti walls in Shoreditch to the Extortionist/Protagonist walls come about?
Eine: Basically I have just moved my studio from Hastings, the courier company wouldn’t allow me to ship the spray paint, I had a few thousand cans. so I thought I would use as much of it as I could. LondoNewcastle who own the building with anti anti anti on it had contacted me around the time of Shepard paintings down the road to see if I was up for repainting it. Yes was the answer, I then spoke with Mother who own the propropro wall, they were up for it as well but no one had any budget for paint or anything, wankers. The old paintings had been there for nearly 3 years and were looking shabby, plus I never liked the way antiantianti photographed, the contours of the wall made it look weird, the challenge there was to paint something that photographed better than the old anti.
RJ: Why the move to SF? What’s that been like?
Eine: I fell in love with San Francisco and a lady called Carrie, plus London is easy for me. I wanted to paint somewhere where walls are harder to get and not everyone is on your side. The move has been fucking slow and expensive, my new studio is 4 times as expensive as my old one in Hastings.
RJ: How do you think the recent harsh prison sentences for graffiti in London have affected the work that is going up or not?
Eine: It’s bollocks, Oker had almost stopped, he has kids and a job, nothing violent in what he does, I don’t think he was that much of a menace that he needed to be sent to prison especially for 2 years, we just did an art auction for his wife at pure evil gallery, so at least she doesn’t have to worry about loosing the house while her man is inside. I’m not sure if these crazy jail sentences really stop people from painting trains and bombing. Getting caught is part of being a vandal.
RJ: What’s a dream location for you to paint?
Eine: More cities in America, big walls in New York, SF, LA and some other cities I can’t think of.
RJ: What upcoming projects can we expect to see from you?
Eine: I got a show in Paris, Galerie LE FEUVRE (164, Faubourg St. Honoré 75008 Paris) which closes April 21st. It’s a group show with Sickboy, and Shoe from Amsterdam. Then a solo show with Corey Helford opens June 15th, and then a few big walls around.
Photos by Tim Hans