Dabs & Myla are artists from Melbourne currently based in Los Angeles. The duo mix and match both of their skills, creating whimsical and chromatic pieces, whether it's on canvas or on walls. Infusing both letters and characters, their pieces turn blank walls into exciting and colorful interruptions in between the mundane. Here, Dabs & Myla discuss a bit about all things art!
1. How did you first get interested in art and how did you veer towards street art and murals?
DABS:I had been interested in art and drawing since i was a young kid. I would always be drawing and making little comics and cartoons. When became a teenager I started hanging out with some kids in my neighborhood that where all bombing a lot. I started tagging with them and paying attention to the culture of graffiti and noticing pieces on the train line. I loved it and started sketching letters a lot!! I was lucky enough to have a few people around me who where older and where already pretty established graffiti writers, they took me out and showed me how to get a piece done. From then on I was hooked and have spent the past 17 years painting on walls...and I think I will be for a long time!
MYLA: I also have been drawing and painting since i was really young. I met DABS at Art School..and we ended up falling in love. When we first started dating he took me out and showed me how to use spray paint and how to draw letters and paint a piece. I had always loved graffiti..but had never known anyone who did it..or much about the scene. Once I started painting pieces I slowly developed my own style.
2. What is the process like for you guys?
MYLA:We collaborate on everything we do. So with our paintings we sit together and draw up ideas and start working out compositions and concepts. From there DABS will start working on the characters and figures and I will find a reference of a city or building that fits. Once we have all of that worked out we will start painting. We always have 2 paintings going at one time. DABS will work on one and I will work on the other, once we have both finished our bits we swap over and do the same...it's pretty crazy way to work. We are really luck to be able to work together like this!!
DABS: It's a bit different of a process with murals and walls that we paint. We will both draw up a concept together and then just paint it together. Each one of us doing what ever has to be done.
3. What are your inspirations or influences?
DABS: Our main influence is each other! Being a team of 2 people, I think we bounce back and forth from each other so much that we are constantly inspiring each other.
4. What do you feel is the difference between the US and Australia in terms of street art culture?
MYLA: There isn't much of a difference between the 2 really! Australia has a really strong graffiti and street art scene. Maybe one difference is that there are a lot more people living in the US compared to Australia...so there are more people who are part of the scene which maybe makes it bigger and therefor provides more support and infrastructure from outside sources.
5. How do you pick the spots for your pieces?
DABS: We don't really have a specific method? Just depends on what we are planning to paint...or what we feel like painting. If we are painting letters, we look for spots that are long enough for us to be able to do both our names..and if we want to do a BIG character then we will be looking for a spot that's tall enough to make it work.
6. Is there a main medium you prefer over the other?
MYLA: Not really...we love using spray paint..but also love using acrylic paint and a brush just as much!!
7. How far in advance do you plan out a piece and is it always fully mapped out before you start?
DABS: For walls we usually work something out a day or 2 before we plan to paint. We usually do a rough sketch, but it always changes once we get to the wall!! It's good when painting walls to not be too stuck on one idea or sketch because a wall is always different to a piece of paper! Its good to be flexible and make it work in the space it is!!
8. What do you want your pieces to convey?
DABS:Our work is usually about our life together. We don't try to convey any heavy messages...We just like to make things that are fun and reflect our life, travels and relationship together.
9. Are there any stories that stick out of getting random people asking about what you're doing in the middle of working on a mural or anything of the like?
MYLA: You always have people saying funny things when you are painting in public. There are too many to be able to single out! People love to assume that you are either a gang member, homeless or doing it just to get a buzz from the fumes!
10. Where is someplace you'd like to put art up on, if you could choose anywhere, anyplace?
DABS:We love painting anywhere...I don't think there would be a specific spot or place!We really enjoy painting murals and always have a blast doing it no matter where we are. We have never painted in India..and MYLA loves it there so hopefully we will be able to paint a really BIG wall there some time!