Saturday, July 23, 2011


James Kite bei der Arbeit vor dem Bahnhof in Sydney.
James Kite at work in front of the main station in Sydney.
Sydney (Australia)

Während es in Sydney nur den Straßenmusikern erlaubt ist, ihre Produkte wie CD’s und DVD’s zu verkaufen, müssen Straßenmaler und -künstler wie James Kite auf Spenden hoffen. Um Aufmerksamkeit zu erlangen, verschenkt er Kopien seiner Zeichnungen an die Passanten. Die etwas unfreiwillige Großzügigkeit lohnt sich: „Durch die Spenden verdiene ich nun mehr als durch den Verkauf von Bildern“, so James Kite (siehe Interview unten).
In Sydney only musicians are allowed to sell their products. They can offer their cd's, while other buskers like James Kite can't. He relies on donations. To get the attention of the passengers, he gives copies away for free. And this strategy works out: He earns more by donations than selling the originals now (see interview below).

Ein Straßenmusiker nutzt den Raum unter der Brücke als Verstärker für seine
A busker uses the space under the bridge as an amplifier for his Degeredoo
Pop Music
Sydney (Australia)

Would you like to tell us something about yourself?
I used to work in a book trade. I lost my job 2008 and I couldn't find a job. I sold books on Ebay for two years. Seven month ago I got evicted from where I was living. So I couldn't run the Ebay store, because that requires space. And that day I thought I need to make a living. How do I do this? I have always drawn so I decided to try street art.

How was the beginning seven month ago and what has changed until now?
Initially it was very difficult. Now I got at least to the stage where I'm surviving. I just need to get to the next stage which is being able live from my drawings.

So it is quite hard right now.
Although it is hard: Working in a retail for about eighteen years, where you got a regular paycheck, so you see exactly how much money you're going to have, where you know what you can afford... Yes I hated every moment of it, because I was treated like scum basically. So with this work you don't know if you are going to make enough money. Some days you'll do very poorly. Other days you may do absolutely spectacularly good. But you can't rely on it. So every day is different.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I have always drawn and I used to draw when I was angry or depressed etc. These days obviously I draw when I'm not angry and depressed... no, I still do that. Basically I draw because this is what I do now. To get back to the last point: Not knowing how much you earn, I am actually incredibly happy doing what I'm doing. So my basically inspiration is for example here (er zeigt auf eine Zeichnung die sich auf etwas zweieinhalb Meter zusammengeklebtem Papier befindet) the Australian history during the stockade in 1854 when the miners rose up against the government. Than I did Christmas because it was the time of the year. So I did different stories of Christmas and now I'm working on the Australian Royal Flying Doctors, which was founded in 1928. But sometimes people ask me to do something specific.

How long do you need for the big drawings?
It took me about four weeks.

It seems you have found you own technique because you only use a black fine liner, right?
I always used a HB pencil. I switched from pencil to pen about two years ago. It took about thirty different pens to finally find the pen that most suited me.

What does creativity mean to you?
Everyone is creative. I don't think there is a meaning unless you just simply go with the dictionary. I am not an artist and I do not create art because I am not trained as an artist that goes to the uni. I am self told. My view is everyone can be an artist and everyone can create art, it just doesn't mean that you are good at it. Art is very subjective and it always depends on how the work fits into society.

I see,you draw the Opera House. How does the city Sydney inspires you and your work?
Basically I'm drawing landmarks. I have done the Opera House and the Sydney Tower. They came about more to the tourists. This is something to get payed for.

So you found a gap in the market?
It is all about making money, but you need to attract peoples attention and you need to work out, what people like.

How much do your drawings cost?
I draw on A3 size then I get them scanned and print on A5 and give these away for free. One per person. Because in Sydney the only buskers allowed to sell are the musicians. They can sell their cd's. All other buskers aren't allowed to sell. So I rely on donations.

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