Hasan Kamil aka ‘The Hass’ Street Artist Interview

Hasan Kamil aka ‘The Hass’ is a Bristol-based designer specialising in a range of creative disciplines including custom-lettering, large scale murals and even 3D wood work. Having recently worked with us on our incredible NASS 2019 headliner reveal video, we wanted to meet the man behind the artwork. We spoke to The Hass about his journey into becoming an artist, his inspirations and heaps more. Read below.

Tell us a bit about your background and how you became a Designer.

I guess I got into design through graffiti which I got into through skateboarding. My teenage years were spent skating, filming and making skateboard videos in Swansea. I have always had a passion for drawing and just being into anything that allowed me to be creative. However, I didn't start taking my work too seriously until I started painting graffiti at around the age of 16. This was when I decided, like skateboarding, that this wasn't a phase and was genuinely something that I really wanted to get good at. Painting graffiti led me to meet so many other artists and creative people locally and a little bit further afield, travelling to surrounding areas like Cardiff and Bristol to paint on the weekends. I had a little taster of design at school but I didn't really learn much until I studied at college. I then went on to do a foundation art year in Swansea Met, finally making it into Bristol UWE to study graphic design. Since then I’ve worked as an action sports designer for 4.5 years and more recently have been self-employed specialising in Graphic Design, Murals and Signs.

Who or what have been your biggest influences? 

My biggest influences have always been the people I paint with and surround myself with. My friends are like-minded and are pushing themselves in whatever path they have chosen to pursue. It's these people whose attitude, work ethic and skills I let rub off on me, there are too many to mention but they know who they are.

What’s the street art scene like in Bristol?

The Bristol scene is concentrated. There is so much going on in a relatively small city, with lots of people supporting and building the scene with events, exhibitions and festivals, Upfest being the number one example.You are also spoilt for choice with the amount of spots to paint, however, not many are legal but the majority are tolerated and accepted. People's attitudes towards the culture seems to be more enlightened compared to other cities that I’ve visited, the public are used to seeing it and have a better understanding of it.

From your Instagram we can tell that you’re an immense skater, why do you think the cultures of skateboarding and street art culture work so well together?

For me, personally, the two just seem to coincide beautifully. This is because they attract like-minded people with desires to be individuals. If you compare skateboarding and street art, they both, as cultures, have many sub-cultures within them so there is something for everyone. In skateboarding you could be ‘fresh’ or ‘hesh’ with everything in-between. Similar in street art and graffiti, you can like traditional forms of painting or your work may be ‘anti-style’ focusing more on the process rather than the outcome. Either way, people on the most part are accepting of one another's differences and support each other. This like-mindedness from both art forms/hobbies allows you to meet people from all over the world who will look after you purely because you have the same passions.

Separate to the points above, geographically, both skateboarding and street art culture end up in the same places. Out of sight from the general view of the public, co-existing together in places such as derelict buildings, skateparks and DIY spots. My first interaction with people painting were at skateparks or at derelict spots in the city.

A lot of your work is surrounding action sports, was this a conscious decision or did you just fall into it?

I probably do it without realising most of the time, as skateboarding has been such a big part of my life for so long I guess, it is ingrained me! It also might be that I had a Graphic Design job at Shiner Ltd (the UK’s leading distributor of action sports goods) for 4.5 years creating the specification and artwork for over 10 different actions sports brands, ranging from skateboards, roller skates, cruisers, safety gear and dare I say it, scooters!

However, since I've been working for my self, offering  mainly graphic design, murals and signs I have found that my work has diversified so much with the need to adapt to each project with its individual needs. I often find my personal and commercial work cross over both ways and I use little bits that I've learnt from one another to progress the two different aspects of my work.

What does an average day look like for The Hass?

Since I broke away from the 9-5, the days don't feel so average, more random! I usually start the day with half jam, half peanut butter on toast with a cup of tea. I check my ‘to do’ list scrawled out on some scrap piece of paper, then my emails, I see what i’ve got on and then, GO!

Quick-fire round:

Whose caught your eye on the first drop of 2019 NASS acts?

Loyle Carner & Sika Studios

Favourite musician/DJ?

Guru & Premier

Current sneaks?

Adidas Busenitz in Cream/Green/Gum

Favourite artist?

Craola

Death Row meal?

Bamia (Middle Eastern dish) cooked by my Dad

Best skater of all time?

Bastien Salabanzi

Large scale murals or smaller designs (e.g. skateboards)?

If I've done one for too many days in a row then I have to break it up with the other! Both have their own qualities.I guess if I had to pick one it would be large scale murals as it gets you outside, meeting people and the process can be more fun. People generally don't ask you to make any amendments when its done as well! Haha! 

Skitch a ride
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