So, in that same sense that there’s no more filter, it’s like… With magazines right? In order to get published, or have an image published, you have to have that worth. and that would be the notch on your belt. some sort of credibility or whatever.
So Jared was born and raised in Los Angeles, but his parents are South African. He spends six months a year in South Africa, based in Cape Town and he occaisionally pops into Johannesburg for an odd graffiti job or two. That was the case this time. We caught up with him in the middle of a piece he was doing for his friend Sonny’s Endangered Wildlife World Tour thing… – as he puts it. In our convo, we just straight into how everyone is doing things, and what effect that has on the culture.

Khanya: Do you feel like the way we’ve all become independent in producing our own shit has dampened the quality of it all?

Jared: In some ways it has, but it’s that much more out there. so there’s no longer a filter that says who can put their stuff out there and who can’t. Before, when it was controlled by those larger systems, that was the filter. And they would say “Ok, you’re very good. We deem you very good, and now we can market that and distribute that.” Nowadays you can say “fuck all that shit. I’m gonna market myself. I’m gonna be who I am and that’s what’s gonna go out there.”

Shannon: But then how do you feel about the situations where guys can just buy a camera and all of a sudden call themselves photographers – for example?

Jared: Windhoek will work perfectly for me bro.

Jared: So, in that same sense that there’s no more filter, it’s like… With magazines right? In order to get published, or have an image published, you have to have that worth. and that would be the notch on your belt. some sort of credibility or whatever. But I feel like nowadays anyone has the voice and opportunity to say “Look, we’re conveying messages and images about this subject matter.”

The waiter comes back: “Are you ready to order food?”

Khanya: I’ll just have the bacon, egg and cheese burger.

Shannon: I’ll have the Mexican starter.

Jared: -Talking about Issue one – I met Dav at the Adidas Three Stories thing in 2010. you should tell him that we’re hanging out dude.

Khanya: I remember he did that crazy caricature of you. But what would I say, you know? “Hey Dav, I’m with Jared the graffiti dude…?”

Jared: He would know. Like, just say I’m with that crazy American dude… – we all laugh.

Khanya: He’s proper good people though.

Jared: So going back to the internet and just how available it is, any joe-shmow can go “Yeah now I’ve got this hip hop site or whatever, and we’ll tell you that this is what’s going on” and all that does is stir up the pot. So people can come up and say “this sucks or its shit” but most of the time those are people who aren’t really doing things. So before you can even go into the context of is it watering it down, you have to look at only a demographic of people doing things in that niche culture. If those people are saying that it’s shit, well then…

Khanya: So then actually, your views and comments are only validated when you’re a contributor to the culture, and not just a consumer of it.

Jared: Yeah, for sure! Or at least be conscious of the full circle of that entity’s diversity. Because at that point you’re creating a dialogue. It’s all energy man, and we can use that energy to create.

Khanya: And I feel like all the great artists had that drive, or point of view about something, but do you always have to have that in order to create great art?

Jared: Not necessarily, but I think most of those people were hungry. Maybe not literally, but hungry from passion or hungry to create, and that was that catalyst for them to create that great work. Once contempt creeps in and things become easier, there’s less of a parameter for them to create that innovation within the culture. so if you’re an artist, or commercial designer or a tailor, it doesn’t matter – if you’re able to maintain that drive, then you can continue in working with that passion, you know? It’s like a cause that you’ve gotta fight for. But there are those artists that always have it and I think it’s due to the fact that they never compromise their craft for the sake of money or anything.

Shannon: Yeah, they’re not creating for the consumer.

Khanya: I also feel like, if you’re an artist, you can always find a cause to relate or attach to. it’s like having an idea. We don’t come up with them, but our minds are receptive them. they’re in the ether. So you attach yourself to it and you execute it and then you’re satisfied. But I feel that another cause may come along and you can find yourself resonating with that at a later stage. I think that how, sometimes, you’ll find that an artist’s work changes in style and tone…

Jared: …because of the influence of the cause itself.

Khanya: Exactly. Has that ever happened to you?

Jared: Definitely. If you look at the work I was doing during the 2010 world cup, at that time I was releasing a book about South African youth culture. 700 pages, shot everything myself, blah blah blah. and as far as me publishing that book, it was to elevate myself as an artist, creating a context to be relevant and to become more established. But after that, moving back and forth between here and America, then spending some time in places like Peru, where they’re not about making money; they’re more about spending time with their families and communities. Creating that context and living it. And if you get there and try hustle, always chasing money, they’re like “whoa, this dude’s loco bro!” – laughs. So from there, I was like cool, I don’t have to be running around trying to do everything. I can focus my energy.

Shannon: And when you some places function so seamlessly in a totally opposite system than the one you’re used to… Man, you take a lot of things with you.

Jared: The whole idea of thinking outside of that realm of just making art and trying to establish myself came from that. So basically I started thinking – hey, I’m into music, art, surfing and skateboarding, and I really try to live conscious of the world around me. so maybe this art is supposed to make people think differently, positively, differently. I mean, even my first tag was “ALL?”, not to tell people about me, but to make them think about their role, what message they were sending out.

Khanya: You have to start living beyond yourself right?

Jared: Yeah. It’s like this amazing graffiti artist named Retna. He’s one of the biggest artists in the world in terms of street artists. And he’s got this crazy, ancient, hieroglyphic-type lettering style that he’s come up with. He even says, for a while he was really getting heavy into it, like “Yo, this is my shit. Fuck all you people etc.” But then he realised that he had become an ambassador for this gift, and it’s beyond him. It’s from a higher form; like divine intervention, and he has to make the most of it before it’s gone, or before I’m gone.

Khanya: I think it leads to better work. when you lose your sense of self, and start appreciating the fact that you were blessed with the responsibility of being a mere custodian to that particular talent, that leads to better work.