Nancy Musinguzi, who American Beau interviewed in July for our Rutgers Student Profile series, recently conducted an in-depth interview with D.C. street artist Mensa Kondo at the 2013 Afropunk Festival this past weekend. In the passage, Musinguzi details her time at the festival, in which she actively discusses intially meeting Kondo. Later in the feature, Kondo shares his artistic background ranging from printmaking to graffiti and his thoughts on graffiti being a political art form. Head over to GoldPyrmdz to view the full interview. Visit her Flickr page to view exclusive photos of the Afropunk performances and concert-goers. View a snippet of the interview below:
N: Do you think it doesn’t get as much respect as other forms?
M: I mean, it got washed up early and after it got big. The commercial world took hold of it, everything – really – took hold of it. Graffiti as art, or even an element within a culture, is not really something I really like. It’s very very very competitive and sometimes negative. And that’s what I’m really not about. So, it’s something I don’t do really. I’m a fine artist. Graffiti is a quiet hobby. I actually just got into my favorite crew of all time, but I’m not telling anybody back home. I’m just gonna keep this one close me. It’s just a personal, quiet kind of thing I do. And sometimes, I don’t tell anybody about anything. I just, do it sometimes to do it. But, my fine arts stuff is like a separate life completely, even though this [referring to work on a wall] is a thin line between fine arts and graffiti, mostly because it is aerosol paint, you know? This is closer to my fine arts stuff than anything else.
N: So, have ever thought of graffiti as a political form of art? Or is it just aesthetic based?
M: Well, I wouldn’t it’s a political tool. It’s really an honest form of art. That’s the one thing I do respect about graffiti. It’s very honest, and it’s almost like if a person has something to say, and they just wanna go right out and say it, it’s very very loud. It’s about as loud as a billboard. But that’s probably why it’s illegal because only the people who have money are allowed to do legal graffiti, and to me, that’s horrible.