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Waterfront Festival

Under Cover Artist: Carrot

5 February 19 interview: Alex Kuster

Carrots. If you’re looking, you’ll see them painted all over these streets. We got the notorious graffiti artist Carrot to dob us a cover and pull-out poster for this issue, and asked him what’s up, Doc...

Why carrots?
My grandma made amazing carrots. Me and my family loved them. She’d boil them in sugar, then put honey and butter on them. I started drawing them, and the first time I went out to do a painting, it was a carrot. I forgot all about it, and three years later I came across a 35mm film photo of it and remembered. It kind of went from there.

Is there more meaning behind the tag?
Food waste is a big one. It comes down to consumerism and our wasteful society. Making things out of found objects. As I was painting the carrots, I started living a really basic lifestyle: not buying anything new, always buying second hand, trying to buy from little local stores and trying to do the right thing. But I always f**ked up; you can never do everything.

What are you thinking when you’re painting?
I used to paint while thinking about sustainability, but still ate meat. I was still going to the chicken shop, eating loads, and not really thinking about what I was putting in my body. I realised I was a massive hypocrite by preaching all this stuff with the carrot symbol. Loads of people thought I was a vegan activist. It was a joke. I changed all that and became more intrigued by how meat production is the number-one polluter.

What reactions have you had to the carrot?
A lot of people can’t understand a tag, but some people say they like it. I think there’s a relatable aspect. Maybe it’s quite childish. The carrot speaks all languages; one minute I’m in Indonesia, then I’m in New Zealand, Spain, Portugal... I can go to any country and people know what it is, although some might think it looks like a tapeworm or a chode.

Why do you paint?
To learn how productive I can be. It’s like skateboarding in that you have your go-to tricks that you start repeating and falling out of love with because you’re not progressing. With painting, you have to keep breaking it and changing it up too. You’ve got to find new ways of doing things and loving what you’re learning.

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