home > Interviews > HULK


November 2009

First of all, let's play the police officer vs. writer game. We need the following information for our (fancy-)files:

- Your tag?
HULK ‒ VS team

- Where are you from?
Brussels, Belgium

- For how long have you been writing graffiti? At which age did you start?
I have started when I was 14 years old, but for security reasons I can't say my age.

- What's your prefered surface to paint on?
Metal. Especially subways.

Why the name HULK? Was it because of the letters or have you been that impressed by the green man?
Because I searched for a new name when I came back from a trip to Holland a long time ago. I wanted it to have the letters H and K included and after some brainstorming I found this one. Now it's forever! BUT the green man is an amazing character, too. Sweet and furious like me ... Hahahah!

Compared to you, are there any similarities with the real television HULK? Does your t-shirt sometimes explode from your muscles when you get angry?
Hahaha ... yes especially when I get chased.

What makes you angry? Personally and graffiti-related?
Injustice. When the Belgian government spends money for shit, or takes it for themself, and stuff like that. They prefer more to keep up the appearances of a good state to other countries than helping Belgian people who are really in need of support. I hate stupid people with close mentality, too. A lot of stuff makes me angry.

Graffiti-related, I think it is when I do my stuff and I can't finish it because I get chased!

Let's talk about the time when you started writing. Is there a special situation you remember that brought you into the graffiti thing? How was the situation in Belgium back then?
Holalala ... In the beginning it was amazing, but also strange because only few writers painted. The yards were really easier, but in 2009 I am again in the same "adrenaline" than years ago. The yards have changed, but not my approach to do it!

If you think of it right now, what was the best thing you remember from the times back then, compared to these days?
It's different now, police knows a lot about graffiti. They check the yards a lot, ambush writers etc. back then, it was just 1% of their occupation, now they use more time for graff stuff. It's normal, because more writers are in the game! But the best was when I was doing whole cars anywhere without stress like now ...

What were the names that you have been impressed of? The names that kept you going on until now. Are there any?
I am impressed by people who do a lot and everywhere, I don't understand that. But I can imagine the time they use for travelling, checking the yard, doing the stuff you have to do etc. When you have a normal life it's impossible to do all that. You have to make a choice, and mine is the normal one.

I have got some names in my head, like BANOS, TAPS, MOSES, ... actually for doing what they do, with quantity and quality. You wake up really early!!!

Tell us a little about the graffiti scene in Belgium today. Is it still a big movement?
50% of the trains are painted by foreigners and 50% by Belgian writers. In most cases the trains aren't buffed and it's cool to see running panels and whole cars. But of course you have some mad people who make destruction in every big city.

Are there differences between the big cities (Brussels) and the rest of the country?
The differences are mainly in style, but not the mentality, Belgium is a small country, and so there are not that much differences at all. I also prefer driving 150 km or 200 km from the capital and visit some cool places in the south of Belgium. I stay some days and visit the yards where not everybody goes all the time. It‘s more safe for me ...

For any reason we don't see too much stuff coming from Brussels (especially the subways) at the moment. Are we blind or is it one of the less European capitals that seems to have won their fight against graffiti? Excuse me if I'm wrong, I have never been there. Just an imagination from internet and magazines ...
The subway is a really small system, that's the reason. But it's not totally impossible, the problem is that the subway is a target for every interrailer, and they do it of course, also some Belgian "rats" but we have not many places to do it. Also, I think they don't send photos of their stuff to magazines. Personally, I made my part of contribution. Now I don't want to take the risk for it, I left my place!

There are a lot of graffiti-tourists travelling to Belgium each year, what do you think of the interrail movement? Sometimes it seems, that especially for the younger generations, it has become more important to paint every European train system than to paint high quality ...
I also have done some interrail before, it's a nice adventure about other cultures, other cities and meeting new people. It's also normal for many tourists to stay here for some days, because Belgium is between Holland, Germany and France ...
Young generations paint what they want, I was also doing more quantity than quality before. It‘s just a period. After some time you more and more want to see a real good panel on the train than three dirty ones. The number compared to the quality is a big difference, but it's possible to do quantity and quality as well. Like the three names I have mentioned before ...

Did you travel a lot? Where?
Yes I have visited all of the capitals in Europe, but before I did quite often interrail, now, I prefer taking a flight and staying in a city for some days, chillin‘ and discovering all the secret corners.

The best trips for me are in the south, like Spain, Italy, etc., the people are really fresh, crazy, and the sun is shining ... what else do you want?!!!

What are the main experiences you brought back from travelling?
Brown skin from Italy, meeting really crazy guys, see other trains, swimming in the sea, doing party with amazing girls ... and of course, some cool panels. The best when you travel to another country is that you just to pay the flight, some food etc. You live at the place of your contact and pay maybe just the food and the petrol. You do holidays for low price.

How does a HULK piece has to look like?
I do what I have sketched. What came from my brain. I know I don't have a particular style, but I am so happy to do my panels, choose the right colours and see a cool photo.

Is there anything you still want to do one time in your graffiti life?
I have never done a one man full-colour whole car, because it takes too many cans and too much work. I hate to do a whole car, but the result is incredible, if you know a place where you can paint easy on platform, tell me ... I will come for it hehehe ...

But maybe, I also I would like to do the legendary New York subway. For its history.

What was the greatest moment during all the years?
Always when I arrive save back home after a fucking crazy chase!

How is the political situation regarding illegal graffiti in Belgium? What are the fines if you get caught? Are there special graffiti task forces or anything people should know? I think especially tourists often paint in countries without knowing anything about it, don't they?
We have a special police of course, and they don't smile at you if you get caught. They do a good job sometimes, but on the other side I think they don't have the experience for that, or they don't care too much, because graffiti is just a little piece of the big problems here. It's better they can use forces to catch dealers and rackers. The real gangsters, they cause more problems to society than children painting on trains. You don't play in the same game, between a "artistical vandalism" and using knifes or selling drugs, rack etc ...

Did you ever had any problems because of what you were doing?
Just some problems with my girlfriend, because before I was spending more time in the yards than with her. But now, I am more at home. Graff is no more 200% of my life. I do stuff when I have time or motivation.

I have never got caught by the police but saw them often very close of course! It's maybe why it was better to quit the full-time action at some point. It's better to do one panel every second month for life, than ten a month and to go to jail one year after.

If you get caught and the police realizes that you are really wanted, for sure you lose your life and go to jail!

People normally can't understand why a grown-up person still paints graffiti on trains. Everybody thinks it's a teenage thing. You are not a kid anymore, right? If somebody would ask you, what would you say is the reason for you to still paint, still take the risk?
Believe me, I know I am a stupid man doing that. Taking risk for that. It's a teenage and unconscious thing, but when you love to create something, it‘s different. Personally I don't cause pain or injuries to anybody, just maybe to a train. It's also the reason why I don't do too many actions now, I know the risk.

Are you interested in every facette of graffiti or do you just look at the trainbombing pages?
I am also interested in photography, and I am really a fan of the walls of MSK, like REVOK, RIME, GARY, ROID etc ... They do crazy stuff, fresh and if they would do trains, I couldn't imagine the result! But sure, when I get a magazine, I look at the train pages first!

I am not sure if I know any legal spot you did - not interested at all? (ehh - I am also not sure if I remember anything different as trains from you to be honest ... )
If I quit the trains, maybe ... because for sure, I will never stop doing graffiti. And it's better doing a legal wall than nothing, first it's the pleasure you have!

How does a normal day in your life look like?
Wake up early, take a shower, go to work, come back and pass at the supermarket, cooking, doing sports like swimming and running almost three times a week, stay quiet at home with my girl, read nice books about countries, expedition, etc ... The most normal life.

For the people out there. Is there something you want to say?
Take care of yourself and your close friends, girlfriend and family. Do sports for running faster and longer than the cops!

Beside the graff-game - any special interest you wanna share with our readers?
The real friends know what. Speaking about life etc ... The best thing around is a coffee at home.


This Interview has been published in

Stylefile #31: