Why have you switched to writing SPUD1 instead of SPUD?
Because I'm the original. There's a couple of other people who write SPUD around the world now, but I'm the first one, so people need to know that.
What's the origin of the name SPUD?
It's a nickname I got years ago when I was skateboarding. But did I tell you I'm an urban gardener as well? You should see the little gardens I've grown. I love farming, taking potatoes out of the ground.
Tell me about the first time you ever painted graffiti.
Oh, wow. I dropped a pressurized aerosol can on a rock and it helicoptered, spraying paint over everyone, cars, everything. I went home that day fucking covered in paint. That's when I knew graffiti was for me.
When you paint a name on a bridge or a rooftop, what does that add to the space?
In Canada, you look around and all you see is grey concrete. It's depressing. I'd rather see a colourful fucking wall with yellows and oranges and pistachio greens.
Is Toronto behind the curve on graffiti and street art?
I've been to other cities where they might not have the development this city has - maybe they've been left behind a bit. But these cities are flourishing with art and embracing their artists. They're putting their artists on the map on the world stage. Whereas here in Toronto up until now they've been putting down the artist, putting down the people like me who create free street art for people.
What kind of sacrifices have you had to make?
People don't realize you put a lot of money into this game. I don't ask anyone who walks by to put a penny in the hat next to the art. Do they ever sit down and think that it takes people money to do art? No. They have their opinions. They might like it or they might hate it. But at the end of the day I'm putting it out there for all you people to look at.
What's your favourite among the pieces you've painted?
Probably at 5 Pointz [an abandoned factory in Long Island City]. 5 Pointz is basically a get-together for like-minded artists, people who choose to use the aerosol can as their medium. They gave me the opportunity to paint one of the biggest blockbusters on their building.
What do you want Torontonians to know about your art?
That I don't just do graff. Also, I'm not gonna stop.