Paint and colors, graffiti and graphics, these guys know everything about the perfect marker, the best spray cans and where are the wall spots in Vilnius. Actually they are selling all the equipment in their creative shop, as well they are familiar with the streets because they frequently paint themselves wonderful pieces and huge murals around the city and make their surrounding more colorful. They are convinced of what they sell; surely they are using the cans and markers themselves and know what they are talking about. This article is about the fabulous WSUP graffiti shop in Vilnius and the SPRAY WAY CREW.
In the Lithuanian capital we have been at the alternative graffiti and burger place Keulė Rūkė during a remodeling of the building façade with a big painting session. There we met Darius Janonis aka TESKU, one of the members of the WSUP team and part of SPRAY WAY. A few days later we met the collective at their headquarters to get a closer look inside their archive of tools and gadgets and checked out the creative workspace.
The shop is located in an industrial area, in the building there are some other artful actors like graphic designer or tattooists. It´s the perfect location. Still they will have to move in a year to another place, but that´s already tradition. The concept stays. And this would be promoting the art on the street and as well the artists, bringing them together, organizing events and building up a family-like writer and graffiti lover network. And not to forget: To provide the crowd with the best equipment they can get. They are distributors of Loop cans, love as well Montana and Molotow, you can also get Belton there. The range of markers is wide, and they put in as well cloth, literature and even a skateboard or some construction pliers. Those are just for decoration of course.
Another whole section of their doings is about stickers and printings; as well they have some big printing machines and also a 3-d printer. Professional style with the best paper qualities and advanced painting instruments they researched for providing it at the shop to further circulation in the local community. But as well nationally and even internationally, shipping abroad is no problem. In the backyard of the shop they have a garden where they are doing barbecues and spray events, as well with children and non-artists to show them the beauty of painting and bring the community together.
Darius told us in an interview about the WSUP shop, its development and the dream of organizing a great and connective streetart festival. You can listen to the podcast below, as well there are most parts of the conversation written down in the following part.
When did you start with this shop and the idea about it?
It started maybe one and a half year ago. One of our friends already had this shop since some years and we were the locals who came here. He told us that he wants to finish with the shop and he wants to sell it. But then nobody will have a way to buy cans. So we thought that would be bad and planned how to get it. Without money and without anything we started to think about that we need it.
The shop was already existing since a while?
Yes, it first opened about three and a half years before we bought it. In 2017 we took over from our friend. He told us, if we want it, he would sell it to us. “I like you guys, you will develop the shop and you will develop something”.
But you said first it was in another building?
Yes, it was in another building. This one here at the moment is now the fourth place. Next year we already going to another place, because now we know that here will be some demolition and something will happen. So like every year we now moving to another place. But always in a better place, that´s good.
So it´s not only this shop here it´s actually your brand and you are not dependent on the location you can move around and the concept will be the same.
Yes. Our concept is more like that WSUP is like a shop and the main thing is to bring all the Lithuanian writers into one community and to show for Lithuanian people that we have a lot of people who are making creative and beautiful things. And they don´t need to go to other countries in summer, we have everything here. We want to show the people that we have a community and we have good writers. If you like something you can come to us and tell us you want some of the artworks, so we can give you contacts of people who are making that. It´s more like a community thing.
When I look around here, I see a lot of spray cans, but as well markers, pens and all type of colors. You have as well t-shirts and a growing library of graffiti books. It´s all around graffiti and streetart.
It´s most about streetart and graffiti. But we have as well cloth and we try to bring in not brands from other countries but more from locals who are making it. Everything is from locals. No Gucchi or other brands. We like what people are doing in Lithuania and we want to share it with everybody. You can come here and see what locals are doing.
This is your residence, but people can buy as well online and you can ship or send it anywhere?
Yes, sure. Now we are still building our shop but most of the shipping and sales from Instagram and Facebook, they just write us: Can you send us. And yes, of course.
In front of the shop you did this nice huge duck mural on the wall, it´s fantastic. Tell me a bit more about the artworks and the commissions you are doing in the city.
It changed a lot. Maybe five years ago you had to search a lot for buildings. You had to write some letters with: “Can we do something with our paint?” And now they are calling us and ask: “Can you do it for money?” And we can say meanwhile: “No, no, we don´t like it.” or “We don´t have time for more work.” When we started to paint around 2007, me and my friend STASYS, after three years we met some other guy. He inspired us and we inspired him. And we met more people and made our crew. First we had the ideas that it would be great to have in the near future something like a shop or like a studio. A headquarter where you can work on the project that you like. To draw big murals and to write big letters and to do some crazy projects. Now, I don´t know how the time passed so fast. But after four years I am sitting now in that chair that I wanted to have some years ago and now I think: “Ok, what do I have? And what should I do now?” And the idea was then, let´s do it for the other people who love what we love. And we started to think how we could help them. And when we started to help others, the others started to say: “Hey guys, I have some commission. Maybe you could do, because I can´t or don´t have time, and I see you can.” And it was like when you are helping other people will help you too. It was like Karma. When you are good for others they are good for you. This is like the main thing in our company.
When did you start with painting and getting into graffiti?
Maybe in the eleventh class, it was the main step in my life when I tried to think about what I am going to do all my life. What should I do? And one great day I thought: “Ok, wait. Actually I am painting since I am four years old.” Really every day I was doing that, but I didn´t understand that it´s so in me and I thought I need another thing. But that moment let me understand that I like drawing and now it´s about to think what I can do with that drawing. So what could I do? I could be a graphic designer, an interior designer or something like that. So I went to study interior design, I finished it and worked there a few years with it. But then I thought: “No, no, this is not my thing.” I am not in that to do buildings and stuff like that. So I ended with that job and started to freelance. There I really started drawing and making murals. I could do everything I liked but now with drawing. And from that day it was the main step when I understood it. I needed to make more illustration, I needed to make more drawings. But those drawings I wanted to put on bigger scale. And that was when I thought, that I have a graffiti can, and I like it. So why not putting a big mural or a big illustration in big scales.
You started doing it, you met other sprayer and the crew evolved.
Yes, then I met more people. More I didn´t know or some I only know from the pieces. And you respect that because the artwork is nice and you grow on that pieces and people who started maybe ten years ago. I was really like: “Wow! These guys are like my favorites”. Some of them we have as well here. One of my favorite artists from Lithuania is SHAPPA. It´s good when you can go to a local shop and you can see the local works, you can see the styles, you can see how the people think and in which direction they are going. It´s very interesting.
What´s the name of your crew?
SPRAY WAY. It´s like legal. We are five now. We started with four. Now one year ago we took another one in. One is BOKE. He is now in Chicago and is making the same thing. We are working together but more in a network and sharing with works. He is making some works for us or we are making some works for him. It´s about helping each other. And another one is KAROLIS from Conas, his tag is THERE. We have in Vilnius one more, his tag is ROLANDAS. He is making more media stuff.
Five guys but everybody is doing some different part and style of the artwork.
Yes, sometimes nobody has time. Sometimes only one of us has time, or one gets an offer and has no time. So we give it to the others. If we have interest in it and there is time we try to do it how good how we can. And of course we are doing artworks altogether. We like in our free time when we don´t do commission we go to some big wall and say: “Guys, let´s do what we like to do!” Then we are making it more spontaneous, more in freestyle. And then we have a color chart that we are bringing from the shop. We know then that we want to do it with this kind of colors but we don´t have the idea about what yet. So we just go to the wall and we will see what we will do. The most interesting pieces are born like this.
Just randomly started and without a plan evolving.
Yes, just working together and to say: “Well, I could do that or I could help you here with some details.” And you start like this and then it´s good. So we say: “Ok, let´s maybe make here two pieces and here another.” And during the process we communicate with each other and bringing it together.
How about the instruments and equipment you use and offer. I see here around a lot of cans from Loop.
Yes, now the most of our cans are from Loop because we are a distributor. But we like as well Montana and German Molotov. We had maybe two month ago a lot of Beltons. And then most of the Molotov. And that´s it, but most of the time we just paint with the paint we have and we can get. Because if you go to my other store there are a lot of cans from Lithuania. I have a huge collection with most of the cans from everywhere, like 94ers. In Lithuania you don´t have this kind, but somehow they got into my hands. It´s as well sharing from other people who are coming here.
Of course when you want to paint and there are not so many options you take what you get.
In our shop we are trying to research. Because in Lithuania everybody has to calculate the budget. And we are trying to offer good cans with good quality and good price. As well good markers maybe from other brands but with good quality. We have markers which are more used in the building industry and in construction but the ink is so good that you can put it on the streets. And we are researching and we are trying it and we see it´s good, and this maybe even better than other brands.
You have the experience about the products you sell. If customers are coming you can give them advices and good reviews.
Yes, we are doing this. Because most of the products we have tried ourselves. We always have a few markers which we use for trying. Or a cap or anything. And we try to get most of the information possible. But sometimes you just take some products you don´t know but you have very big interest in it and you want to try it. As well in mixed medias, when you are mixing your medias sometimes it´s like a good idea, but sometimes it´s not a good idea.
There is as well another room where there are some machines and printing devices where you produce stickers, graphics or prints on different materials.
Yes, we are making stickers. From little ones to few meters up to a lot of meters. Mostly we try to do work reproductions on very good papers. We try to do it on the best papers we can get because we have as well an interest to put on prints of other artists and we want to put it on the best material we can get. Because it is an appreciation. We have as well a 3-d printer. With this we are doing some details just for ourselves or for our prints. But when guys are coming to us we are sharing as well what we do. We are doing all stuff with graphic. With the 3-d printer you can do anything if you know how to model. It´s going into sculpturing. I had once a very interesting detail to make for the Ferrari company, for one of their cars. I didn´t know exactly for what it was, but it was a job to do that. It was for some rally cars or some drift cars and we made some details for them.
You showed me this nice yard in front of the shop, there you are going to have a place for doing barbecue. You are also doing streetart events and you visit others as well.
In the near future we plan to do more events but at the moment we don´t have plenty of time. But in the near future we have a yard where we want to have a spot for graffiti and streetart for all artists. We have big plans for a festival. We want to make a streetart festival. A graffiti and streetart festival where we are taking a lot of artists from Lithuania and from other countries and showing that we can do a lot of great things if you put it in a good way. So it´s the main plan to make a festival. But first of all we want to do it with our garden and to make some events. We want to make some painting sessions where we are trying to show like always that we have a lot of writers and some others are coming and they are all doing together with markers a big work on canvas. And we can sell it if somebody wants for supporting the artists or we just hang it in our shop for showing the others that some guys can make great things.
Here in Vilnius you have the Old Town and the modern city parts, but a lot of areas are just with run down dodgy industrial buildings and grey walls. People go to work, watch these ugly facades and get depressed, but you put on color and that changes the environment and the perception completely. So actually you are on a mission to make the city nicer.
Yes, that´s true. Every time when I´m doing a mural you see that people are smiling more for you. And you are better for yourself and for the others. It´s like sharing good vibes and good emotions with others. And when you put out all the emotions on the wall and the people can say: “Oh, it´s very good.” When you see that, it works. It works what you are doing and what you express. It´s a nice feeling.
But I´m sure you not only doing graffiti only here in Vilnius. Are you going abroad for painting?
Yes, sure. In Lithuania we made pieces in all the cities. In every one. We have been to London as well, we went to Poland and to Latvia. Also in Estonia and in Finnland. And we want to go more abroad, maybe to do something in Asia and to see some different culture and the different graffiti styles. That would be interesting.
If others come to Vilnius they can come here or contact you and do artworks together with you.
Of course! Everybody is welcome in our country and in our shop. If we have free time, we always try to make barbecue and a little event with locals as well to show how the culture is here and how everybody is doing.
Adress: P. Vileišio g. 18, 10306 Vilnius
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 11 – 18, Sat: 11 – 15
Phone: +370 648 80697
Website: Coming soon, at the moment link to Facebook (www.wsup.eu)
SPRAY WAY Crew
Phone: +370 648 80697 (WSUP Shop)
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