We’ve wanted to interview Skullboy since we started this site and after his awesome top 10, and with the upcoming Buy Art Not Drugs Exhibition, what better time than now? Stathi Kougianos chats to the artist about Sex, Drugs, Religion and a whole lot more.


DIY: You seem to be organizing and taking part in exhibitions constantly, what motivates you to come home from work and do more work?

Skullboy: Money. Haha. No, really, I don’t want to be doing what I’m doing forever. I don’t want to be 40 and still have to be changing the colour of fonts because some prick in a suit has enough money to call the shots. I’m sure it’s the same with you but I’m far too emotionally connected to my work, whether commercial or personal, for it to be dictated to constantly. It’s completely soul crushing. I figure that anything worth doing will take you at least 10 years of hard work to get there, so that’s why I’m starting now. Kinda.I think I know where I want to be which means that I needed to exhibit more so I started putting on shows – in this climate you have to make your own parties happen. That’s another tough one because although they’re great shows and it gives other guys an opportunity to exhibit, I’m sure that if I put the same amount of time I spend organising into actually working on my own pieces, I think I’d definitely be further on than I am. I just can’t seem to win, haha. It’s good though – it’s a good place to be because you learn a lot from working with other creatives. However you do come across a few guys who did 3 cool drawings and now expect everything owed to them. It’s selfish and a poor show of character and I don’t want to be that. Lesson learnt!

Often times an image of a whacky looking dude on a bicycle will sell four times before a piece questioning God and the future.

DIY: What is the concept behind the Buy Art Not Drugs Exhibition happening this week? What can your Average Joe expect to see?

Skullboy: The idea behind the ‘Buy Art Not Drugs’ show is to get people into the habit of buying art. Think about it, Stathi: how much money have you spent on drugs this year? I know if I’d kept it clean, I would have at least have a couple Senyol’s hanging above my bed. But I didn’t and I don’t. Even the money spent on shit that DIDN’T work could have funded the beginnings of a great art collection. So we’re saying, stay out of the bathroom cubicles and buy an artwork instead – it’ll encourage a young creative and get you something you’ll enjoy after the weekend’s over.
Expect some really good work by some really great people, and maybe to even walk away with an artwork. We’ve tried to work the pricing so that the gallery, artist and buyer all win after the bill has been paid. It’ll be good. I’m excited.



DIY: A couple of months ago there were mysterious pieces of paper floating around asking anyone and everyone how they lost their virginity. What’s the deal? When can we expect to see this fruition?

Skullboy: The ‘Cherry Poppin’ project came about from a few drunken conversations with some friends about our first times. The truth of the matter is that sex never turns out to be what we’d been led to believe and I hope to explore this through the project. I’m still researching and working out the executions but I’m aiming for April next year. It’s a big project with a big theme so I want to take my time and do it justice, you know? The response has been great though – funny, sad, honest and thought provoking. Thanks to everyone who ‘submitted’!



DIY: Your artworks seem to mix religious iconography with drugs, rock ‘n roll and sex. Is there a correlation or do you aim to question the viewers’ own beliefs with the stark juxtaposition?

Skullboy: A bit of both. The use of religion, drugs and sex has developed mostly through my own life experiences. I want to paint what I know and what I’m thinking about and these things are what I mostly deal with. I also try to smash them together to get some sort of response from the viewer, hoping that they can relate to what I’m thinking of and exploring. We are all ultimately islands of thought and emotion so I think it’s cool that these questions and experiences can somehow knit us together. Never mind the fact that religious icons, drugs and sex by themselves are all actually bloody great!



DIY: Do you think Durban as a whole plays it safe in terms of design?

Skullboy: Totally. I like using drugs and religion and sex because it’s all stuff we fight with but no one really explores it. We save them for the thoughts we keep to ourselves the Morning After. Although I’m only speaking for the few – there are loads of people who are totally true to themselves through their work and that’s great. I wish I was more upbeat like them, haha.


DIY: You hear a lot about building a cohesive body of work in the arts, do you ever feel pulled in different directions?

Skullboy: Yeah. I really have been trying to develop a concrete style but I’m starting to wonder if that’s a bad thing. I’ve only painted in black, white and gold for the past year and a half and it’s starting to alter my personality, haha. Change is good. I’ll be looking for more in the future.



DIY: What characteristics make up a Skullboy piece?

Skullboy: You summed it up with the religion, drugs, music and sex. I’m stoked you noticed, haha. It lets me know that I’m not a nutter screaming in the dark.


DIY: Do you think your artworks respond to current situations in the world or does it serve as social commentary on pop culture?

Skullboy: I don’t know if they’re current on a global level but they’re current on a personal level. They explore what I’m going through at the moment and, what I assume, loads of other people are going through as well. Maybe not Pop culture but it’s commenting on OUR culture. I’m starting to sound self-obsessed at this point, aren’t I? haha.



DIY: Art for arts sake? Is it important to have meaning and message behind something or is creating something just for the sake of it fine?

Skullboy: I only own a few pieces of art. One is a signed Obey logo print which encapsulates 20 years of hard work and success for me. My favorite piece is a Cleon Peterson piece of a modern day battle scene – I fucking love that piece. It’s absolutely beautiful because it is all about the violence of everyday life. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a beautiful, clever, well-crafted piece but what’s the point if it’s got nothing to say? After all the tea and cake, we’re still all fucked up and looking for answers and for christsakes, why not at least explore those questions? It’s hard because often times an image of a whacky looking dude on a bicycle will sell four times before a piece questioning God and the future. I don’t think less about the former at all, that’s just how I feel about my work. I haven’t gotten to a place where I can just let an image be without some sort of emotional or physical journey behind it.


DIY: You originally become known in Durban for your street art, are you still feeding that hunger or are you more inclined to the confines of gallery walls nowadays?

Skullboy: Street art and graffiti are great because they taught me that everything rots eventually and will be torn down or defaced no matter how much you loved it. It taught me not to be too precious with my work. However, in the past year, I’ve realised that you can’t have it all. You can’t keep a steady job and paint all night and put on shows and trip tits all weekend and paint some more and have meaningful relationships and exercise and still go skulking around the streets at 2AM on a Thursday. You just can’t. I miss being out and putting up stickers and wheat pastes but they’ve taken a back seat to make room for the other stuff. Everything happens in seasons so I’m just waiting for the right time to get back into it.


DIY: Does your online presence increase the amount of commissions you get or is word of mouth still the reigning King?

Skullboy: Don’t talk to me about online presence – it’s the bane of my life. Agreed, it really is the only way to get any buzz about what you’re doing but it starts a trend of being ‘internet cool’. As in, something will be so rad on the web but you’d never actually part with money for it or invest emotionally into it. It’s easy to click ‘Like’ but hard to commit and pay for something for it to be a part of your life. It’s tough now, but I’m aiming for the hard route. And also I’m bitter because I’m shit at looking after a behance account, ha. I get most of my work through word of mouth, but then again, I have to organise all my own shows to actually get a chance to exhibit. Maybe that’s saying something.


DIY: Thanks for your time bro, amped for Wednesday’s show.


Check out the facebook event for Buy Art Not Drugs here and then go to the show and pick up some thought provoking art to give to a loved one for Christmas.

And check out more of Skullboy’s work on his tumblr and his flickr




8 Responses to “Skullboy”
  1. Michael says:

    Great interview, nicely done okes!

  2. Skullboooooi says:

    … and my Behance account ( Told you I was shit, haha. Shot ou’s!

  3. Leyton says:

    bloody brilliant

  4. Ozzie says:

    Louis, you one-man illie army general!

  5. Steemo says:

    I don’t really spend money on drugs, so when will you organize a “Buy Art Not Food” exhibition? I think I spend most money on food…. Although that could be misinterpreted… or how about “Buy Art Not Petrol” that shit is expensive. 🙂

  6. Graham says:

    Rad one, felt like I was reading one of my Juxtapoz interviews Stath!

  7. Stathi says:

    A team effort but shot man!

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