Interview: Puzle – Paint, Promise & Prints

Puzle is one of the Australia’s top writers and still in the game after 25 years. We catch up with Puzle to talk about the Kings Way book released a few years back, the rise of graffiti in Australia and his latest print project. 


aahh: Tell us a bit about how you first got into writing and the graff scene?
Puzle: As a teenage kid looking for adventure and mischief. Graf was new and magical. I always liked art and drawing as a kid so when graffiti started to appear in my neighbourhood I gravitated towards it. I had no idea how obsessed I would become.

aahh: Who were some of the early writers that you were inspired by? Obviously the scene in Australia was still in its infancy, was there anyone to look up to?
Puzle: I was directly inspired by the early writers and breakers of my neighbourhood. People like; Dynamic Force, The Magic Makers and Town’s Koolest United.


aahh: It’s been nearly 4 years since the release of the Kings Way book. For those that don’t know tell us a bit about the book and what it represents in terms of Melbourne graff culture?
Puzle: It’s a comprehensive snapshot on the evolution of Melbourne’s graffiti scene, over the first decade. It follows a loose linear chronology, and focuses on individuals that committed their entire teenage lives to painting letter styles. It is not a definitive publication, as it’s purpose was to inspire others to get out of the closet and write their own histories. Having said that it does showcase the best and most iconic that Melbourne had to offer during that period. The biggest re-occurring insight in my mind is that all the work showcased was produced by teenagers under the age of 20 years old. I find that phenomenal on every level, especially when you look at the level of energy and creative detail involved.

aahh: There was definitely an early connection between graff and the hip hop scene back in the late 80’s early 90’s, what were you’re first experiences with local hip hop?
Puzle: Yeah the majority of writers were always bopping to hip hop, although many of them, including myself were diverse in music taste. I remember Velore & Double O making an appearance in Melbourne followed by the Run Dmc, Derek B concert at Festival Hall in 88, that was pretty special. Plus we had Central Station Records which was a one stop shop for all new releases. The early 90s techno era changed a lot of things with many writers tapping into the electro connection within that genre. Rock and metal were always big too. Same with funk and house music. I was never down with the elements concept of hip hop culture. I always thought graffiti had a right to stand on its own, rather than be packaged with parameters. You only have to look at all the old New York graf to see how diverse the music tastes of writers were pre-hip hop.


aahh: What do you think has been the biggest change within the graff scene over, say the last 10-15 years, locally or internationally?
Puzle: There’s been a lot of reinvestigation of old styles. Which I really like. I think that graf is a visual microcosm of how homogenized as a global society we have become. Mainly due to the internet. Writers all over the world are working in global groups of style rather than local styles. I’ve got no problem with that. There’s an overwhelming amount of lazy style that doesn’t make for a very inspiring and evolving subculture. Originality and having something that is your own, is what being a writer is all about.

aahh: How would you describe your style?
Puzle: I like to work in groups of style. Depending on how I feel. Sometimes curvaceous and flame like, other times, rounded blob style letters, other times, straight interlocking semi-wildstyles, other times, block busters, other times, character letters and other times, concept driven pieces. Mixing it up is the only reason I’m still in the game.


aahh: Tell us more about your new project Puzle Posters?
Puzle: I’ve always wanted to do a series of posters. I released a bunch of limited edition prints a few months back that have been received really well.  They are a combination of ideas. The Classic Throw-up and Old Spraycans, are excerpts from Kings Way. The rest are concept drawings and sayings. There’s a Puzle subway map, where I’ve drawn my name into a train line and listed most of the yards I hit. There’s also a Puzle Says series, where I take the piss a bit, ‘it’s ok to paint slow’ and ‘it’s ok to cut back’. Plus probably my favourite Puzle says ‘Famous online is the new famous on the lines’. This rings very true.

The print quality is amazing. Every grown up b-boy needs one of these in their house.

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You can check out more here and also pick yourself up a print.