CARPENTRY, ART HAPPENINGS, THAI BOXING + ROCKPORTS: AN INTERVIEW W/ GRAHAM SAYLE

Jack of all trades, and determined to be a master of as many as possible; Artist, Carpenter, Teacher and Thai Boxer Graham Sayle AKA Graham Made is a young versatile creator, who, since making his name in the London creative community with his range of rings, sterling coined based jewellery and distinct style of carpentry having found his way surviving young London life comin’ from skirts of the Merseyside via Goldsmiths university.

G: I was born in Birkenhead. And grew up in New Brighton which is like a shitty seaside town. So, it’s Meryside but when you’re down here, it’s much easier just sayin you’re from Liverpool. But as soon as I go back home I’m a Woolyback. I couldn’t say that round there…*laughs*

T: So, your from the Mersey. When would you go Liverpool?

G: I spent all me time in Liverpool; like every evening. It’s like 20minutes on a bus.

T: You still got an L postcode?

G: It when I was born, but then it changed to CH… They changed it to put the prices up. I guess it was just because Cheshire sounds “posher”…

T: It does and I guess… how old were you when that happened?

G:10 or 11… So 95, 96…

T: Yeeah. I suppose you don’t want the Liverpool postcode then coz it’s the hangover from the Football Casuals. I mean you would now, but when you think about it John Major would’ve been in then (I think). You’ve just conquered football Hooliganism… so, a Liverpool postcode is only gunna have those connotations.

G: *laughs*

T: So, whats I’m thinking. But, that’s still good answer. Just staying on the topic of growing up in Mersyside and considering you’re a teacher. What cultural contrasts can you identify from Mersey and London with regards to school kids. I mean, I spent a year in secondary school in Coventry for just under a year coz my dad was living there at the time  and I got culture shock when I saw Rockports for the first time

G: Yeah,that was a standard. Argyle socks and Rockports. But they were fuckin’ expensive.

T: Yeah I never got a pair..

G: Me neither. I had to settle for Kickers and that was it *laughs*

T: I got Kickers too. They were the next best thing. Similar look, and credible brand…

G: Yeah man. But in school. Rockports; that was it!

T: You were a badman if you had Rockports.. if you were the hardest guy in the school you wore Rockports!

G: You were ‘ard yeeah *laughs*

T: What were the pass times back in the day?

G: I rode BMX for years (still do), we had trails and things round the area. Got into graffiti and that as a lot of people did too… one of those things that teaches you a lot (culturally). I’ve always been hyper active so I’ve always wanted to do everything…

T: Jack of all trades, master of none?

G: No I wanna be fuckin’ good at everything! Master of all the things that I do… and if it’s shit I’ll fuck it off! *laughs*

T: *laughs* I respect that. So, when and why did you move to London? Was it a student ting? Or a lifestyle change?

G: Hmmm…. Well, it was both. I moved down and went to Goldsmiths and did Fine Art there. I did 2 years and then good mate of mine up north was murdered. So, I moved a year out of Uni and lived in North Wales and built a house with me Dad – which was nice. And then I moved back down here.

T: I see. So, that incident derailed your focus. So you just had to take some time out; naturally. So, bringing to the work you do today. Would you consider yourself an Artist or a Carpenter?

G: Definitely an Artist. Like I was saying before about being Hyperactive; I wanna do everything and I wanna be good at everything. So, I started doing Carpentry, and I did a lot of work with metal and concrete and I kinda just started to make to furniture to make money to make Art. Making is what I like to do. Making Art and making “happenings”, like what VBLOCC are doing – publishing and stuff-, and I feel like the Art I’ve always made was more action based. Like I used to break into buildings and strip rooms apart…

T: Kinda like The Lurkers; doing an installation for the photo. So instead of painting in an abandoned warehouse, you’d build something in it?

G: Yeah, so that was the work I used to make a lot. A lot of the work I made was based around control and defensive architecture, and how the city we live around is being designed against us, designed against comfort… And I liked to make work that explored that, and see how we can circumvent it, or opening the possibility of it not being that way.  So I’d do that and just leave it their or bring people down. I wanna do more things like that. Like, me and my friend Kingsley Ifill – who’s also doing well for himself Art wise, we’re gunna start doing shows in the back of a Luton Van.  So, we’re just gunna drive up and be doing exhibitions… Just pop the location and make a happening. I mean making art outside a gallery is more inclusive… And it’s not some Utopian ideal of making art for everybody; just doing things a little bit more interestingly. That’s what I wanna pursue. And showing people the possibility of that’s something they can do.

T: Okay, so it’ll not directly be about the art it’ll be about the experience…

G: Yeah. And I just wanna do stuff when I want. And not have to go down the traditional avenue of doing proposals for shows and all that…

T: What inspired the rings? When was that light bulb moment.

G: My cash cow *laughs*

T: Yeah how did that come about. I remember hearing some scouser selling pound coins as rings; trust a scouser to come up with an idea like that *laughs*. Nah, but that was genius…

G: I just did one day and wore it out. And people just kept sayin “I want wanna them”. So I did it and stuck it on the internet and it just went mad. And then I started making other bit of jewellery with coins just coz I liked it…

T: And that’s kinda your trademark. But carpentry has taken precedent, so your gunna focus on that.

G: Yeah, that stuff comes organically. But atleast I know I can consistently make furniture and people seem to want it..

T: Yeah man you got your own style. But, let’s talk about the Thai boxing. How long have you been doing that for?

G: I got started about 5 or 6 years ago. But I’ve fallen off this year because I’ve been focusing on work, so I can only train about once a week; so it’s kind of annoying…

T: And how confident would you say you are in your abilities; would you take a fight?

G: Yeah yeah yeah. I’ve been fighting for ages…

You can listen back to our full 40+min conversation in more detail from the battle cruiser covering ‘Youth, the future of style tribes, Spiffy, Happy Hardcore, discovering Grime, social boundaries in middle England, love, life and loss, being a teacher, redefining Art, Kappa, and Netto bags’ below:

POSTED BY: @TIMI.WATSONROSE

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