‘IWOKE’ UP in INDIA by Ewok

The short story of the IWOKE wall, Chapel Rd, Bandra (west) Mumbai, India courtesy of South African artists Ewok and JFlame and with the full-on support of THE WALL PROJECT:

My name is Ewok (not from MSK crew, from Durban, South Africa).  Out of respect for the solid work EWOK (MSK) has put into that name I choose to write IWOKE when I write style.  This is a new mission of mine, all about this year, the year “I woke…” in a lot of ways.  I am writing this piece from an internet cafe in the Himalayas, on a leg of myself and my wife’s epic 6 week journey through India.  We are expecting our first child in January 2012 so he is along for the trip as well.  Last weekend Sunday, on our way to the mountains, we totally stoked out when we hooked up a wall to paint as part of our trip.  This was the last thing I could have expected, this has been a big year for Durban Graffiti art  and this wall came as a kind of reward.  To be so welcome to paint, so far from home but fully connecting with a city and its people in this way, this is the gift that The Wall Project offers international artists on a mission to rock global spots.


Sunday comes, after many short back and forth emails and phone conversations with the heads from the project (Dhanya Pilo and Joahaz Viegas from Chapel Road…), we hook up a taxi and head to meetup with Jo.  We missioned the night before to hook up some paint, not knowing what to expect and not having that much in the bank, I got two cans of local flavor aerosol (high pressure with female caps, old school in plenty ways, makes me stoked I come from Montana country) and a small tin of primer plus brush for around 500 rupees.  Check out ROCK from France on the tips page at www.thewallproject.com for some handy advice before trekking into the area.  Jo connects over mobile and meets us at Chapel Road, guides us in on foot while I rabbit on all excited about how stoked I am and checking out every wall as if that might be ours.  Little did I know how ‘fresh’ my spot was gonna be.  My wife ‘JFlame’ and I get treated to some ‘chai’ (the best drink in town) while we chat about my idea and exchange words in the middle of a world of fish.  Jo works in an aqaurium, for real, with little fish growing into big fish tank by tank before they hit the market.  His shop is adorned with none other then my original 3D influence LOOMIT who had recently been round that way.  That was enough to have me tripping out once again, mouth going haywire, wetting and waiting on our wall.  Jo mentions some extra equipment upstairs and I hit a luck with two sections of primer and a couple extra cans.  I’m a sucker for extra base.  Then Jo makes my immediate moment and says “Leave the equipment, lets go check out some walls.”.  I’m up so fast I almost knock my wife out.  She is used to my overeager self and silently scores herself a foot massage later that night. BAM!  Chapel Road, where the wall project started has India style street art around every corner, with the odd Euro flavor styles and some HOT work by ROCK and some others.  I am getting more and more amped!  Then it arrives, a long alleyway, enough for scooters to cruise by connecting with a ‘main’ street with more art, but I can’t get that spot out of my head.  Jo says, and I check a million times to make sure he isn’t kidding, that wall is cool if I want it.  I want it.  Oh how I want it.

So I get it.  I break it down, making letters that resemble the Malayalam language from Southern India where we started.  The letters say IWOKE, meaning ‘Seek the sun – find the light – open the eye”.  People dig it, especially the religious heads we meetup with while getting busy.  I learn the importance of color in the lives of most locals and thank Jo again for throwing a can of red into my small mix.  I thank the 1UP crew from Germany, I saw work of theirs in GOA, they used a rad splatter fiill technique that I take a hearty bite out of.  The cans play funny but the brushes work just fine.  Pepsi and suntan lotion has me hallucinating that I am on a beach somewhere, kicking back in some sweaty art life living with my wife working the brush with me.  Brushes and some extra solid grey aerosol give up some clouds and characters, and saving the black for last means I can make it as crisp as possible.  The result is a kind of sticker style ‘street art’ piece with all the energy and color of the day that the deed got done.  Seriously, I was willing to paint with a toothbrush and turpentine, so what actually transpired was beyond anything I could have hoped for.

Special mention to my character inspiration Craig ‘FALKO STARR’ from back home.  I saw him in Durban this year and he tripped out on India and how he wanted to get there.  He should.  He would burn these walls left right and centre.  I left him a welcome message for the day he arrives, “Walls for Africa!” which basically means enoough walls for everyone.

Graff writers talk about ‘getting up’ as in getting your name out there, painting a wall, being recognized by your name and style.  My wife pointed out that this wall translates as “IWOKE ‘UP’ in INDIA”.  She’s freakin’ clever.

Thank you Mumbai Wall Project again for this gift.

Shout outs to Sarah D (from AF Durban for making this happen) and all the heads back home who keep a man keeping on…WALLS FOR AFRICA!

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Posted on October 9, 2011, in Editorial, Ewok and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Beautiful painting across borders, my brother!

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