Tubby One is a legend in the Australian and international graffiti scenes – Placing his patented fat guy or tag in a slew of public places for a decade or so now. Using such materials as spray paint, marker pens, paint and stickers.
What separates Tubs from the usual run of the mill vandals is that instead of getting up in highly visible spots, Tubs likes to place his art in those hard to find places. You won’t see his pieces up on a high rise in a capital city, instead you will likely find him in an abandoned building, on the outskirts of town – Making it feel extra special when you stumble upon one of his pieces in the wild, like a checkpoint, letting you know you are venturing off the beaten track, towards the unknown.
Having not given a public interview in over 7 years (his last was back in 2015) we thought it would be good to reach out to Tubs and see how he’s going.
Check it all out below…
As far as we can tell – Your last interview was back in 2015 via Art Whore…
* How have you been going since then man?
A lot has changed since then – I was a youngin, I had a different attitude to graffiti and life was a lot more simple back then.
* Any major developments to share?
Getting hitched and having a baby, seems to have put quite a spot to my international travels for the time being unfortunately.
* Have your thoughts on graff & exploring changed since then?
… and if so how?
… and if not why, why not?
Yes, I’m not super concerned with the fame anymore, I just like traveling and painting/exploring different spots.
I don’t understand how people will stay in one city and paint the same spots every day, it’s not exciting. For me after I paint a spot it’s a case of ‘been there, done that’ and onto the next one, I don’t really have any interest in going to the same spot over and over again, kind of defeats the purpose of exploring.
Some of my favorite spots I’ve painted are in weird/cutty places pretty much no one will ever see.
We know you have been going on some extended overseas trips recently…
Getting your graff on along the way as you visited various countries.
Care to share some memories (and photos) from your trips?
It’s a humbling and life changing experience, travelling to 80 countries and seeing what life is like in other places.
When I travel I like to live cheaply, and catch local transport instead of catching ‘tourist buses’ and planes.
One memorable trip was traveling from Cairo, Egypt to Jordan overland on this bus which drives through military zones – so literally about 13 times throughout the entire night, they got everyone off the bus, searched it and checked everyone’s ID at every single stop.
Then there was the time I was stuck like 30 hours at Colombian border, overcrowded due to Venezuelans fleeing their country which was an awful experience but one I wouldn’t want to take back, as talking and meeting other people in line, hearing their stories of what life is like for them is an eye opener for sure.
I love learning about different cultures, and it’s always a different experience painting different countries. Some cities will be full of awesome cutty spots and cool stuff to explore, some cities I will just be painting random blocks of abandoned concrete on the side of the highway as there’s not much else to paint.
Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.
Art + Creativity Questions
If you had to explain your creative endeavors to some recently crash-landed aliens…
What would you tell them?
It was like that when I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh actually.
When I would paint a spot the whole street would stop and stare at me because graffiti isn’t really a thing there. Someone stepped in front of the crowd one time and asked what was the meaning of the graffiti.
So I would just tell the aliens the same thing I told him: “I am just drawing fat guys, no meaning.”
Who are some of your favourite vandals, artists, writers and musicians?
…and what is it about their works that so inspire and move you?
Salut – A writer from Canada I have seen around the world as well as back home, see him everywhere from New Delhi to a random rusty pole deep in the middle of the bush in Australia.
Gee – This guy does a character and throwup I have seen all around the world in many different countries, I have no idea where he is from and no one I have ever talked to knows of him.
He is up like crazy just not ‘internet famous’
Rayes – Another one I see up around the world, I follow him on Instagram and he is always on crazy adventures, camping and living in the wilds of Patagonia, going on raft and bike trips for extended periods of time, always seems to be living as free as possible.
Marcher Arrant – The walking artist, his whole thing is he just walks everywhere, he walks entire countries from end to end.
I was lucky enough to meet up with him and joined him for a brief section of a long trip he was doing, following train tracks and camping out. I have a lot in common with him, as we consider ourselves much more so ‘travellers’ and ‘explorers’ rather than ‘graffiti artists’, we just like putting our mark everywhere we go rather than the actual art aspect of graffiti.
If people wanted to check out your art, work with you or buy some of your wares – Where should they visit and how should they get in touch?
They can check @cooklan on Instagram… or they can go out and explore on their own and see real life tubbies out in the wild!
The latter is preferred
You have a bit of a notorious reputation in the Australian graff & exploring scenes – With your work often getting dissed…
Care to elaborate and explain to those at home what that’s all about?
I just paint and do my own thing, I’m not interested in any ‘scene’, if people wanna diss me then it’s whatever, I find it odd to be so concerned about what other people are painting instead of focusing on yourself
What advice would you give to a young kid who wanted to get involved in the vandal / graff scene?
I don’t consider myself part of any ‘scene’, but I would just say just have fun and paint, there’s so many aspects of graffiti. If you are like me, and you just like to explore cool new spots, then do that, but if you only want to paint legal walls and do pieces then do that – Whatever makes you happy.
Just paint and focus on yourself rather than what other people are painting or what is trendy, and don’t let other people get you down for being different!
Odds and Ends
If you could live in any place, during any historical era – Where and when would that be?
…and why would you choose that time and place?
I would probably like to live somewhere in Europe, food is good, graffiti and awesome spots are everywhere, travelling to other countries is super easy and accessible and it’s generally pretty chill to paint on the street without being harassed.
And take me back like 15 years or so
What does “God” mean to you?
I believe in God and I find it odd that a lot of people believe in nothing but to each their own
What are the top 3 items you own?
… and what is it about each of them that you so love?
[Please include photos or drawings of them!]
My bike, my skateboard and my stickers.
I like just skating/biking around and putting up my stickers in different cities, moreso than painting actually.
Please describe your last dream in detail…
I have really weird oddly specific dreams with no apparent meaning.
This morning I had a dream I was climbing some like rock climbing structure, and there were other people climbing so we had to take turns/get out of each other’s way. Nothing exciting at all happened but it was so oddly specific I remember the shape/layout of the handholds.
Of everything you have done, what would you most like to be remembered for?
I would just like to have inspired some people to explore and paint and do what they love, not just what everyone else tells them is trendy or cool
All images supplied by Tubby