LSD Magazine interviews Best-Ever

Dark, haunting and imbued with a melancholy mystery, Best and Ever have flourished from their roots in writing into painting multidimensional spray masterpieces. Framing a sepia surrealism and a dualist exploration of the human condition in the visual poetry of stunning realism, their work sings a soft lament for ephemeral fragility and masked vulnerability, capturing fragments of skewed pathos in a searching vision. They spoke to LSD

You originally started out as graffiti writers, tell us a little about the journey from writing on walls to creating photo-realistic wall impressions.

Best: In around 2005 I’d kind of had a break from painting letters for a year or so when me and a couple of others began getting involved in commissions and so forth. I’ve always drawn and painted using other mediums pretty well so it was a pretty easy transition for me

Ever.For me just writing my name wasn’t enough.

You were a member of the 54 Crew, writer Busk tells us you guys used to paint trains whilst completely naked. Would you mind sharing a funny story about painting in your birthday suit?

Best: Ha ha, there’s so many funny stories… One of the standouts had to be one time when we were working on a community project subsidised by the local police force… one of the members of the crew fancied himself as a bit of a lothario (anyone who knew us at this point will know who I mean), and managed to blag us round to a young WPC’s house for drinks after a day on the job. The cheeky bastard then managed to blag a shower there, and swiped a pair of her knickers in the process, which he promptly donned whilst  painting his panel later that night… that was what it was like all the time, you’d be painting your piece in nothing but a pair of socks and look up and down the train and see all your mates doing the same funny shit and just crease up thinking ‘what would the trackies think if it came on top now?’

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How long have you been painting now?

Best: I started painting letters in 1997
Ever. And I started in 2004

We’re told that photo-realism is one of the hardest techniques to learn, would you agree with that?

It’s definitely one of the hardest techniques to get right…

How long has it taken to prefect your photorealistic techniques?
Best: I don’t think I have yet… it’s five years since I first attempted photorealism using spraypaint and i feel like I’ve learnt a lot from Busk and guys like Maclaim, but I’m still a long way off perfection…

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What does photorealism involve?

Actual photorealism relies on the artists ability to translate the information into solid technique with the can. A lot of so-called photorealists only have one without the other, and you can tell when people have made the mistake of painting what the assume something should look like rather that studying the actual forms. i also think it’s important that people understand the structure of what they are painting, for example, many photorealists will shade the skin of someones face in the same way as they would shade say, the bonnet of a car. skin is flawed and as such has to be tackled in a different way.

What inspires you most?

Sadness, mental illness, the fragility the human body,depression disease. External inspiration can come from seeing our peers creating stuff

How often do you paint on the streets?

Not as often as we’d like

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Is it easier for street artists to earn a living these days due to recent interest in collectible street artists?

Definitely. The unfortunate offshoot of this is that the scene has been saturated by countless chancers with very little talent, and a buying public that seem patently unable to tell the difference between a piece of art created with passion and integrity and one that merely emulates someone successful with the sole purpose of making a quick buck

Some of the work contains what might be deemed as a spiritual component, would you call yourself spiritual?

We’re not spiritual in any religious sense at all. We’re aware of how fleeting our lives are, and to me, the religious iconography present in our work reflects human kind’s need to seek comfort from this fact.

The human face is featured throughout your works, what does the face represent to you?

We concentrate on the hands and faces because they are visually the two main tools humans use for communication.

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Dualism also plays prominence in your works, are you doing this consciously or subconsciously?

You’re the first person to pick up on that… yes it’s conscious.

If you made millions of pounds from your work, do you think you’d still paint on the streets in the dead of night?

Best. Without doubt, but it would be somewhere nicer than the UK.
Ever. I would do it in broad daylight if I knew I could pay my fines.

The general public are joining forces to lobby London Councils to protect works created by Banksy. What does an artist of your standing think of the governments decision to protect just one artist out of thousands?

You’ve got to laugh about that really… It’s disgusting when you think about Hackney Council’s current policy of bullying property owners into removing legal work from their premises and covering huge tracks of incredible work with dirty black gloss whilst ordering the preservation shit which has been ignored for years, solely because they’re now told that it’s valuable and ‘culturally important’.

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Do you think that street art / graffiti has been accepted as an art form by the public?

Accepted maybe but not understood

Can you see the scene expanding in size or do you think its has peaked?

I hope that the current glut has peaked, and now the genuinely talented people will be able to continue to do their thing.

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What would you like to be doing more of in the future?

We’ve got some huge wall space to paint over the next few months, and that’s something we hope to do much more of.

Should we expect to see you at many shows this summer?

No gallery shows planned at all, we just want to spend the summer painting large scale pieces and travelling as much as possible.

Anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

Thanks for reading.

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Taken from LSD Magazine Issue Four