With everything from acrylic to car paints, he creates art with a spin. Meet Chennai's own contemporary graffiti artist Joyston Christopher Vaz.

“I'm working, so please don't mind the way I'm dressed,” he warns before we meet. And, when he walks in dressed in a huge tee and khaki shorts, there are dabs of fading spray paint on his face.

Joyston Christopher Vaz began by scribbling on walls. The 25-year-old Visual Communication graduate from Loyola College is a graffiti artist today.

“I was working in an advertising department when graffiti began as a hobby,” he says, downing a mug of hot cappuccino.

“A friend of mine who owns a shop on Mount Road wanted to do something about people spitting on the wall around the shop. I painted a few of the Kollywood stars on it, and that became my first wall art. I continued to juggle this and my job for a while. When orders started coming in and I was confident of making this my career, I quit my job.”

It's different!

In August 2009, he started Coloured Particles and his career — painting graffiti for corporates and homes took off.

“I was fortunate to get a project in Malaysia as soon as I went solo. Ever since, orders have steadily come in. I keep researching and looking for forums to come up with different ways of representing things. Graffiti began as vandalism and I've sort of given that a different spin. People tend to call me when they need something different or out-of-the-box,” he says. “I have had no critical evaluation, but I only do things I can be excited about.”

With no professional training in the art form, Joyston creates his own styles. Joyston, who calls himself a contemporary graffiti artist, says: “Everyone has a guru when it comes to art such as this. Because I've had no formal education, my methods are crude. I paint using everything from acrylic to car paints.”

Variety works

From majestic eagles and retro rock stars to a serene Buddha surrounded by dripping trails of paint, square 3D blocks that change shape at different angles and surreal space cities, he's done them all for his clientele that includes Titan, Hindustan Engineering College, Rediffusion and ITC.

He talks of his art as art with mystery, where clients aren't readily shown what they will get.

The traditional way

“Nowadays, with technology, you can see everything, make copies and modify it as per your liking. I work more traditionally. I give just two pencil sketches and the client has to wait to see the finished project. This helps him appreciate it more, and also, each one is like your masterpiece. I don't compromise on quality, and unless there are problems such as leaking walls, it stays for a long time.”

As Chennai's only ‘contemporary graffiti artist', he hopes to make a mark, globally. “I've always wanted to be an artist, but I went about it the wrong way. I'd thought if it had something to do with computers I would be happy. I worked on Photoshop and all that, but was never feeling good about it. When I got into graffiti, I realised we needed to Indianise graffiti. I use the same spray format, but not the art itself. I love this,” he exclaims, pointing at his clothes, “getting dirty and working with colours. This is what I like doing.”