Tell us a little about Tabriz and the creative scene there
Its a city in the north-west of Iran, and kinda boring - there really isn’t much going on here to be honest. It does have really beautiful countryside and landscapes surrounding it, but all the creativity is mostly focused on the traditional art fields.
How did you first develop an interest in art
It started with our career in skateboarding, especially Sot’s. We used to watch skate videos and play skate games all the time, and we saw graffiti and stencils on the walls which initially sparked our interest. We then started with smallthings like stickers and small amateur stencils, and we began spraying them and posting them up on our spots and gathering places.
How did being brothers and working together influence the development of your art
We were and are best friends, and when we started, there were very few people (most of whom were in our circle of friends) who knew what graffiti, stencil and the whole street culture was. Being brothers helped us a lot as we did everything together – drinking, hanging out, stencilling – everything and overall we just understood each other.
When did you first begin to cut stencils and how differently did you have to approach that from canvas pieces
A few years ago when we began thinking about our first exhibition and we started sophisticating our works around 2008.
Is your art seen as a political statement in Iran
Well it is, even our non-political works are considered offensive to the government and it’s also illegal like everywhere else except for the glaring fact that it’s much more dangerous for us here as the accusations potentially levelled at you go way beyond vandalism and criminal damage, so the risks are far greater
How do the public respond to your work and how does that differ with the reaction of the authorities
Graffiti and stencil has a long way to go before it becomes a part of our culture, and people realise what it really is. because of the lack of exposure here in this field, people aren’t familiar enough with these sorts of things., maybe if a pedestrian passes by a graffiti or stencil they might not know what it is or they might not have any interest in it, or maybe in some cases they might even wipe it off. For an example Icy once did a wheatpaste, went away for a few minutes just for it to dry off and when he came back a guy was tearing it off. But despite all of this it does now and again impact and influence some people on very rare occasions.