Interview with Street Artist: SMC3

SMC3 is well known for both his paste-ups and painted walls throughout the Inner West. His creative characters brighten many Inner West walls and laneways and his sushi ninja in the Kuki Tanuki Japanese Restaurant in Erskineville is one of my favourites. Tomorrow night (Friday 3 May) is the opening of his solo exhibition ‘Upside-Down Underground’ showcasing his latest illustrations and paintings. Make sure you pop into the m2 Gallery tomorrow from 6pm. Huge thanks to SMC3 for taking the time for this interview amidst the busy exhibition preparations.

m2 Gallery
4/450 Elizabeth Street
Surry Hills

How long have you been doing street art and how did you initially get started?
I started around mid 2006 doing small A2 & A3 paste-ups around Redfern. After a mission, I would go back the next day and just watch peoples reaction to what they saw. It was a raw real reaction, that I couldn’t get from handing somebody a sketchbook, or a t-shirt design, that I was doing at the time. Then the paste-ups got bigger… then it got addictive.

How would you describe your street art identity and style?
Character based, hard line.

Do you prefer pasteups or painting?
Both. Equally. Paste-ups are chilled and quick to get up. Painting is more planned out.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
At the moment I’m reading psychedelic comics from the 60s like ‘zap comix’, Rick Griffin, Robt Williams. Also some Los Angeles ‘zoot suit’ cholo lettering, a bit of native american tribal art & hyroglifics, and an artist Stephan Doitschinoff  who uses a lot of symbolism in his images, is my biggest influence right now.

How do you pick a location for a SMC3 street art piece? Is it usually planned or spur of the moment?
We usually just pick a direction and walk for a paste-up mission. Painting is planned out; colour, time, and place specific.

If you could do a collaborative piece of street art with anyone of your choice … Who would it be? Why?
flying fortress‘. I think we have the same sense of humor, and both like to make any object or thing into a character. ‘fortress’ has also been a big influence from the start.

Do you usually work by yourself on the street or with other street artists?
Paste-up missions are mostly done with a few crew, walking around with beers, and having fun. Collab walls can be the same or more serious and planned out. Something like a rooftop, I usually like to do stealth and solo. Depends on the risk of getting caught? Higher the risk…less the people.

Do you have creative outlets other than your street art?
Fixing old bicycles and giving them names.

Where can someone buy your work?  Do you do commission work? How can someone contact you if they want an original SMC3 design?
Artwork commissions and commercial design and custom walls.

I’m looking forward to your ‘Upside-Down Underground’ exhibition at M2 Gallery this week. What is your inspiration behind the work in the exhibition?
I have started putting all my characters and icons into a story, or a philosophy. For example, a ‘three’ sided triangle is a pyramid representing mystery of the ‘underground’.  This exhibition is more a part book release explaining part one’ of this theory. All SMC3 art and symbols, will be based on this theory, and released in parts from now on.

Best place for a caffeine hit in the Inner West?
‘Clevelands’ Saloon, Cleveland Street. Right on the border of the west and the east.

What/where was the last great meal you ate in the Inner West?
Love Grub Cafe , Erskineville

What’s the Inner West’s best kept secret?
The porch!


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