Interview - Destroy
Chatting with one of Perth's most prominent artists.
Joseph Boin, better known as Destroy, is among the nation's most prominent and talented artists - his work spans across street and mural art, chalk pastels, airbrushing, traditional brush work and previously tattooing. Recently, he took the time to answer a few questions.
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! For our readers who might not be familiar with the man behind the artwork, tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and what led you to art in general?
I have always had an interest in drawing since childhood from there I progressed into graffiti in my early teens. I never took my art seriously until I became older, from there I progressed into airbrushing then into tattooing to what I do now, which is freelance art.
How did this interest in art translate, over time, into your current practice?
I guess I just progressed and matured mentally which led me to take my art more seriously. I always wanted to do art full time but never knew what I wanted to do or how I could make an earning from it. I had a go at tattooing which was good but I eventually moved on to just doing street art, commisioned art and got back into airbrushing. I started artbydestroy and got a website and built a good following and word of mouth did the rest. Now I am ultimately doing what I always wanted to do which I am forever greatful for.
What are your main visual inspirations and influences? There are a whole lot of skulls, gas masks and Day of the Dead imagery throughout your aerosol/mural work - have you always been drawn to the more, I guess, macabre side of things?
Yeh I love anything strange and dark. I guess I come from a dark place and have always thought and liked dark and macabre things. Even when I paint something colourful or pretty it still has to have dark connotations.
Tell us about what you've been up to lately -
Well recently I was one of 12 artists to be commissioned to do some street art as part of the 140 project in Perth. And I have been doing a lot of commercial art work in restaurants and businesses around Perth.
What was that like?
Being part of the 140 project was a good experience. I got a taste of what it is like to be a graffiti rock star and liked it. I think Perth needs more large scale projects like this.
The 140 initiative got a very positive response from the community, is it encouraging to see that kind of support for art on the streets?
I think the majority of the Perth population is becoming quite accepting of street art. Perth is losing its old label as a bogan city and becoming quite a cultured and trendy city much like Melbourne.
I'm not fond of reopening old wounds, but I have to ask about the Soto Espresso mural in Beaufort street you completed with Idol and Konfucious which was removed by the building leaseholders.. How'd that go down?
Well we were told that the new lease holders did not think the mural was in theme of their business and that it was going to be removed and of course we were not happy about it. It doesn't really matter how much notice they gave us the mural had only been up for around 6 months.
It's understandable you wouldn't have been happy in the slightest about it, how exactly did you feel about the whole thing?
I just felt like our efforts and art were not appreciated,. I felt like my time and work was not appreciated. The mural had not even been up for 6 months until it was removed. Myself and the other artists involved were fed quite a lot of lip service by the stirling council and people behind the Beaufort st network in trying to resolve the issue. We think it was stalling tactics as they did not want too much negative publicity out of it. We were even told that the business would seek us to do any future artwork but of course that never happened. Now I just wont do any work for the stirling council or the beaufort st festival and it doesn't matter how much they offer I am not interested.
You are known mostly for your incredible work on walls, but you're also involved in a range of different things within art - what can you tell us about your other pursuits?
I like to dabble in many mediums such as traditional brush painting, chalk pastels, airbrushing and aerosol work. I used to tattoo but I have since left the industry. I think as an artist its always good to experiment and try new mediums rather then stick to one thing. This has helped me in securing a steady income where I can switch between automotive airbrush work, commissioned portraits, commercial aerosol and airbrush artwork as well as my own artwork.
And lastly, what's a typical day like for you?
My days can vary. I could be going to a business to do a mural or at the studio working on my own artwork pieces, answering emails or just hanging out. I don't have set routines and don't like to live like that I just do whatever I want. Like if I want to go to the beach and have a day off art ill just do it :) Guess that's the perks of working for your self.