Spotlight on Saigon’s Graffiti scene. DAOS 501 is the Graffiti artist you can’t miss in Vietnams metropole. I talked with the guy whose pieces are spread all across Ho-Chi-Minh-City…Just click on one of the pictures to enjoy them in larger view!
As a Graffiti addict, I immediately recognized the presence of „Daos“ pieces on all the top spots in Saigon. When did you start as a writer?
Daos: I started drawing some graffiti sketches in the middle of 2004 but up to the end of 2006 I painted my first piece on the wall.
How would you describe your style and what are your influences?
Daos: My style is almost Wildstyle with characters but sometimes I’m back to the simple. It makes me feel better when I’m fuckin’ stuck in the style. There are many great writers who inspire me. For example: Cope2, Bates, Liger, Jepsy, Tumor, Cheekie, MChick,… Especially, I have respect for Old School subway writers from New York, who made the whole Graffiti thing history.
When and where did Graffiti start in Vietnam?
Daos: Graffiti is just a new thing for the Vietnamese, although it has come to Vietnam for almost over seven years. It started in our capital Hanoi between about 2002 and 2004. But for now, Graffiti grows up in my city Saigon with lots of pieces, productions, parties, bombings, events and everything else…
Do you recognize yourself as a part of HipHop culture or rather as an independent artist?
Daos: For myself, I have no idea about Graffiti connected to Vietnamese HipHop. Because HipHop in Vietnam is not like the „real“ HipHop. They don’t have the soul of the ghetto, they don’t know the danger of hustle and how fucking sad it is to RIP a homie!
Anyway, I always follow some Breakdance crews, dancers and rappers I like: Big Toe Crew, dancer Zen 0, Rapper DSK, Suboi, … I love to hear Rap music when I go painting. It makes me feel good when I do the effects and outlines.
What is the punishment for Graffiti in Vietnam and what does the government do to prevent it?
Daos: I don’t know exactly what the punishment is for us. But about the money, we have to pay from 5 up to 10 millions of Vietnam Dong, which is like 500 US-Dollars. That’s really alot for Vietnamese writers!
So you never got busted. How do you get to deal with all the security personal?
Daos: (Laughing) We’re just takin‘ over the streets at night and paint at all the spots we like to. If the police sees us, we run, run and run as fast as we can.
What is the attitude of the people in Vietnam towards Graffiti? Daos: Some people in Vietnam like Graffiti and some don’t. For most of the people it’s totally strange, because they don’t know what we paint on the walls. Some don’t understand why we paint on the wall and not just draw on the paper.
What do you wish yourself for the future development of street art in Vietnam?
Daos: I hope we will have better spraypaints with a better range of colors like those: Montana, Ironlak, Belton. Our local spraypaints are like fucking shit! We can’t do many things with those paints. Also, I wish we got many sponsors in this year and many years later to rise up our Saigon Projects and the Graffiti jam called STYLE JAM (and STYLE JAM Tour).
Keep up the good work. All the best and thank you for your time, Daos!
Interview by Andreas Margara