I have had the pleasure of exchanging wry observations and sarcastic comments with Fin for a couple of years now and in that time he has generated a constant flow of work which in terms of skill and beauty and his own evolution as an artist has managed to captivate an audience and increase his skill so that with each new piece he exceeds the mastery of the last, he slowly and methodically stretches his capabilities which when viewed from an outside perspective is both admirable and impressive. Over the past year Fin and his spray can have familiarised themselves with other countries and cultures, Olympic corporate commissions and private gallery work. He predominately uses stencil but will sometimes go freehand especially if this involves a free drink… (that’s me being facetious again).
When I first met you I remember that you had a little disclaimer on your website about street art and not describing yourself as a street artist, has your view on this changed since because I see that you have worked on the streets quite extensively in the last year or so?
Fin: I never wanted to be a part of the ‘boys club’ that existed in London so I did something to make myself a complete outsider – giving my art a label (Urban Aesthetics) that showed I wanted to be different. The disclaimer is still there and I still live by it. The only thing that’s changed is that I have now found people in London who will get walls for me without expecting me to ingratiate myself to them. That gives me an immense amount of satisfaction.
Last year you seemed to go all out as an artist and you and your work seemed to be everywhere; London, France, Colombia, how was your experience in Cartagena Colombia?
Fin: Last year was my first as a full time artist, I expect that’s why there was seemingly such an evolutionary leap in my work. I decided early in the year to travel as much as I could so I could avoid the negativity of the London scene and get my work to a wider audience. Colombia was the first trip – and a hard one to top – but I received a warm welcome and enthusiastic response wherever I went
What is the attraction for you with painting Chinese/Asian women? I see when you are not working on commissions your preferred type of model is mainly Asian?
Fin: There’s a mysterious quality to that aesthetic that appeals to me. Plus, Far Eastern imagery, from old manuscripts to Manga/Anime, has always been quite an influential thing in my life
Recently you seem to have settled on a new style with the paint splash across the eyes of your portraits which makes you work instantly recognisable is this one you will be sticking with?
Fin: The goal initially was simply to make my imagery more iconic. I had been painting Asian girls for a while but I hadn’t found a way to mark my work as recognizably mine. The paint splash was a very simple way of doing that and I guess it has become somewhat of a trademark now. As an artist, I certainly don’t have any intention of only being known for that splash. I have always disliked the idea that a street artist is known for one thing, one gimmick or even one image, any self-respecting artist should go through stages/periods otherwise there is no evolution, no improvement and for me no real interest.
Your work is incredibly popular and people absolutely adore your portraits what do you think in essence is the element that makes them so well liked?
Fin: I really have no idea? I try not to think about it too much – that perceived knowledge could easily have a negative influence on how I approach my I work. My principal point of departure nowadays is to create something eye-catching or iconic, it’s hardly rocket science but it seems to be working.
Do you like collaborating with other artists or have any collaborations planned?
Fin: Yeah sure… I’ve done plenty already. I don’t have any planned right now but I’m sure there will be at least a couple this year
What’s your dream gig in terms of painting on walls?
Fin: Somewhere hot and sunny with 2 crates in tow, one full of spray paint and one of ice cold Smirnoff Ice
10 years ago, where did you see yourself and could you have foreseen this?
Fin: Not in a million years. My route into art came through working in digital advertising – 10 years ago I hadn’t even considered that as a career. I don’t think I ever thought about the future then because I wasn’t really living, more like just existing. I had very little happiness in my life and not a lot to look forward to. The extent to which my life has changed in that space of time is ridiculous but I’m very glad it did.
What’s the next year hold for you ?
Fin: Who knows? The only things in my diary right now are a return to Colombia in Feb, a stopover in LA on the way back and a trip to Munich in May for the Stroke Urban Art Fair. The only plan I have really is to continue doing what I want artistically, continue to push my envelope, continue to improve and continue to live my life positively. Hopefully enough people will maintain an interest in my work to make the journey a valid one.
Can you ask yourself a question Fin.
Do u feel lucky, punk?
Yes, actually… I do
Thank you Fin ( I was going to add something sarcastic then but held myself back).