Friday, July 17, 2009

Mini Interview - Kings Way author Karl Stamer

Shots from Kings Way - kindly supplied by Karl Stamer

You may have heard some of the buzz about Kings Way: The Beginnings of Australian Graffiti - a new book launching this month which documents the beginnings of the Melbourne graffiti scene between 1983 - 93, written by Melbourne graffiti veterans, Duro Cubrilo, Karl Stamer & Martin Harvey.

As luck would have it, Karl Stamer is married to illustrator and Design Files favourite Madeleine Stamer - whose work you may remember I have featured here before? Luckily for us Madeleine hooked up a mini-interview with Karl about Kings Way - a project that's been 9 years in the making! The book officially launches tomorrow night at Federation Square as part of State of Design - see bottom of the post for details.

*There is also a fantastic, much more detailed interview with all three Kings Way authors over at Australian Edge! Be sure to check it out!

What initially inspired you to make a book about Melbourne' Graffiti scene?

Marty, Duro and I were involved in the Melbourne graffiti scene in the 80’s, it was inspirational and life changing for so many kids at the time. There was a story that needed to be told through visual and written documentation.

You spent a long time researching and compiling images for Kings Way - It must have been a nightmare tracking down good quality photos, not to mention dealing with the legal issues and anonymity of the artists etc! What has been the response so far from within the Graffiti community? Was everyone happy to be featured in the book?

All the artists featured in the book are only identifiable by their tag names, additional research was a combination of our general knowledge, various anecdotal and objective accounts of events, media clippings and numerous personal collections of photos and memorabilia. So far the general response has been incredibly positive, we did our best to include notable writers who were involved in the scene during that decade. The book utilizes about 60 photographic collections from people who were involved in the scene at the time, some of those individuals were actively involved and others took photos as a hobby.

Pagespreads from the book - via Australian Edge

Are any of your own pieces featured in the book? (Can you tell me this? Or is it hush hush!?)

Maybe, maybe not…

In Australian Edge's fantastic recent interview with you guys, you say that you have not been actively in the Grafitti scene since 1993. What have you been up to instead?!

As the legendary Melbourne graffiti artist Hugh Dunit once cited ‘The child is grown, the dream is gone’ –Pink Floyd

Oh, and I’m now married, work full time and have become a father!

Where would you send someone to check out examples of great new graffiti in Melbourne at the moment?

Take a stroll around the cities laneways such as Hosier Lane and Degraves Lane where you’ll see a mix of street art and traditional graffiti.

Martin Harvey, Duro Cubrilo and Karl Stamer. I'm glad the publicist opted to NOT shoot the promo portraits in a ubiquitous Melbourne laneway.

Kings Way : The Beginnings of Australian Grafitti Launch event

Saturday 18th July, 6pm

ACMI Function Space, Federation Square



  1. so super. thanks for sharing this one. i was trying to find some inside shots of this yesterday. my boy will love it. i like your comment under the last pic : )

  2. Hi Lucy,

    On behalf of Karl, thank you for the interview, he had a quick peak before rushing off to work. It's a busy weekend ahead for the boys, they're setting up at ACMI later today and it's all systems GO!
    Great interview, thanks for the mention too. You know I have a major soft spot for The D Files :o)

    Apologies to Melbourne photographer Jesse Marlow, he took the awesome publicity shots such as the one in the lift. Another fine local talent!

    x o x


  3. Why is Melbourne graffiti so much better than Sydney graffiti?

  4. Ooh it's good to have a peak in this, thanks. It looks like a treasure trove, for the pictures alone.

  5. what a nite the book launch was... was great to catch up with freinds there i havent seen for over 20 years... loved the book well done guys..... Dzire/fantom T.K.U