Our homie 2Kil gave us a swift kick in the face and came through with an interview with one of South Africa’s most active writers, OPTONE. Homeboy runs with notorious One Two Crew and has more throwups than a bulimic chick…

Ok we know who you are but how did you come up with your name, what crews are you down with and how long you have been writing?
Basically, back in 2002, Plastik and I were planning to write new names after I had been in some trouble and had some shit going on. We were discussing letters we liked via text messages and he sent me a bunch of mixed up letters he liked and right in the middle of them was OPT. It kinda just jumped out at me and ya, the rest is history!
I am down with OTC! (One Two Cru!) and FUK (Fukt Up Kids). However, the latter hardly seems to exist anymore.
I started experimenting with graffiti around 2001/02 – mainly catching insides on trains – but I would say I started getting up properly at the end of 2002. So that makes it about 10 years going on 11 now.

Photo: Sweatface

Why did you start writing and why have you continued to keep writing illegally and not go legal like most others?
I was first introduced to the idea of graffiti by an old school friend that I used to sit next to in English class. He used to always draw and he kinda explained to me what it was. From there it was Wealz’s article ‘Art or Anarchy’ in Blunt magazine that got me more interested. But what actually got me writing was when I started noticing the names along the train lines on my way home from school and to the beach on weekends. Seeing stuff with my own eyes and going ‘I want to do that!’.
Why haven’t I gone legal? Pretty much because I find painting legals boring. Bombing is way more fun and I think it will always be that way for me.

Who was your biggest influence when coming up?
Kind of a follow on from above – pretty much What Kind? And Evil Mindz back in the days – Mizn6, Esk, Syt2, Kemone, Phek etc. Then later 2kil who put me down with OTC and got me amped to get to the point that I am at today.

What’s the best city you have traveled to and what do you think is the best city in South Africa and why?
In terms of graffiti, I would definitely have to say the best city I have been to so far is Sao Paulo. Pixacao is just on another level. Makes graffiti look pussy in comparison. But definitely inspiring! The graf scene was also crazy. It’s just that big mega-city vibe. I unfortunately did not spend much time there but I did manage to paint in what little time I spent there so that was pretty cool.

Photo: Sweatface

Best city in South Africa for graffiti is Johannesburg. Just because it has that raw city feel to it that you wont get anywhere else in the country.

What’s the one thing you love to hate?

What is your favourite thing to eat and drink?
Mutton Bunny and a black label!

What’s your favourite piece of clothing?
My hat of course!

Photo: Optone

What’s your favourite graffiti tool?
As long as I have 2 tins in my bag wherever I go so that I can catch a fill-in somewhere, I am happy.

As throwups are your game, who besides your own has the best? (You can name more than one!)
My favourites – JA, SKUF, MQ, TOMCAT, FALSE, PEAR. There’s more but the are the few that come to mind right now.

If you could hang out with anyone for a night who would him/her or they be?
Probably would have to be an OTC reunion but with the ‘unofficial’ members included – Sweatface and Swamp Donkey. I think it would turn into more of a weekend of debauchery than just a night.

Who is the most underrated writer you know?
I would say Naid-FUK. While most other writers live the Soap Opera graffiti lifestyle he just quietly does his thing. He gets up for nothing else but just getting up. Despite what others may or may not think of him, he is always down for a mission. Be it a day piecing in the hood, catching throwups in town or a 30km walk through Joburg getting up with a marker. He has definitely shown me a part of Joburg no other writer would’ve been able to show me.

As you are like the Vice-Prez of OTC Can you give us a brief run down about the crew and what you guys are about?
Getting up! From markers to throwups to rollers to pieces to trains and the list goes on. We are about getting up. And not just on a national level, but internationally too. Originating in Durban, South Africa, we have members who have ventured abroad and currently represent the crew in England and New Zealand. And soon to be U.S.A. if things go according to plan. However, in saying that, we are not just about putting anyone down just for the sake of spreading the name. It started as a family and we intend to keep it that way.

The last time you got caught doing something?
Funny enough, it was a throwup.

Photo: Optone

Ok for those who don’t know you are a sporadic nomad, what 3 things can you not leave home without?
Hat, paint and iPhone.

What do you want to do before you die?
Travel the world. That is all.

Photo: Libby Allen

What are you interested in outside of writing graffiti?
Travel, collecting degrees, tattoos, books, the ocean, drugs, languages, photography and women.

Any last words? Shout outs? Or any upcoming projects you want to let us in on?
Shouts to Plastik, 2kil, Gfunk, Faker, Scape, Naid and Myza.
Travel plans I’d rather not disclose details about, as well as a solo gallery show 2kil is pushing me to do. We will see how that one works out.
Also, if you are on Instagram checkout @brainmushtoday. You wont be disappointed!

Photo: Sweatface


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