Q&A | Trollz B Trollin’ on money, art & politics

If you live in Auckland, New Zealand, chances are you’ve seen a little troll guy pasted around town, brandishing messages like ‘Are you awake?’ ‘If the people lead, the leaders will follow’ and ‘Consume, Deplete, Repeat’. I was curious about the human behind these Trollz, and finally got to chat to him. Here he shares some of his thoughts on money, art and politics.

What is money to you?
A pain in the arse! Ha ha, as someone who has tried to make a career out of being an artist, money quickly becomes a very puzzling entity. You need it in some form to survive – to eat and put a roof over your head, to feed your pets or kids. You also have to learn very quickly how much your talents are worth so people don’t take advantage and rip you off, so in turn it can be a huge source of anxiety and fear as you live week to week to make ends meet.

As you get older you also start to see how it is used to divide people in a society. All the people with money, live over in this part of the city where you can easily make use of all these things a modern society allows – and all the people without, you can live on the outskirts of town where it’ll always be slightly harder for you to do the same. It seems rigged to me now, especially when most of our politicians come from money!

What should democracy look like?
I feel like we need to get away from parliament being filled with businessmen at the very least. Where are the scientists, the teachers, the doctors or artists – the leaders of industries that better humankind? As I see it, governments today seem to be structured the same way. What was built as a decision-making entity to represent society and best move us forward has been hijacked by money, men with money and private agendas to support. And it’s so hard to feel respect or even trust for a group of people I feel so jaded with. I can’t even remember the last time I saw a politician I thought came across simply as a compassionate human being and not a fuckin’ robot.

In this day and age it’s hard not to imagine the internet playing a major role in future governments or democracies, and allowing we the people to use it to play a more active role in creating policies, and choosing who should represent those policies in parliament.

What are your key frustrations with how the world works?
I guess one of my key frustrations – and one that ultimately led me to start pasting – is that I feel like there’s a massive numbing of people, of the public, a huge blanket of apathy that I didn’t use to notice. I would chat to other people about the things that angered me or frustrated me with our government or what’s going on in the world, and got very weak responses. Granted, I can get pretty passionate and loud about stuff that fucks me off but I couldn’t quite believe the lack of feeling towards some of these issues. It’s the kind of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude that people fall back on that really fuelled me to use street art as a way to get stuff off my chest.

I think our leaders, our politicians, really don’t represent us anymore. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve wanted to slap the smirk off [New Zealand’s] Prime Minister’s face; he’s been so continuously dismissive towards how the public feel about certain issues or his performance. He doesn’t seem to like people, and I think that anybody being that fake all the time will eventually be found out.

Why do you think street art is effective?
Is it effective? I dunno. I know I get a lot of positive feedback from people all the time that I really appreciate, so that’s cool. I guess it can be pretty effective in engaging a certain topic because people are confronted by it in a space they wouldn’t usually see art. The city tries so hard to grey everything out and dull everything down like that’s what the public asked for. So when something that’s full of colour or has a message pops up out of nowhere, on top of all the grey, it can really grab people.

Why do you think humans cling to norms and absolutes?
Hard to say. Part of me thinks it’s because, in the scheme of the entire history of the universe, we’re not that far away from when we were monkeys. We’re still mostly just chimps, stuck in some ancient ways, fighting over manmade ideas. Change is hard and often scary, especially when it challenges something your parents taught you, that their parents taught them. But I do think technology and how fast it’s progressing will bring us out of most of these old ways of thinking.

Check out some Trollz below, or find him on Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram. You can also buy Trollz t’s, hoodies and other things here. All profits go to the Auckland City Mission.