Steen Jones is a Brisbane-based artist who was inspired to make the move from being a tattoo artist at a Hawaiian Street art festival.
Steen says (from his Facebook page):
It started in 2009 when I moved to Melbourne with my girlfriend with the intention of picking up my tattoo apprenticeship where I left off. As you’ll see, it all didn’t go exactly as planned…
We moved into the heart of Fitzroy, which was perfect for us. Not only were we surrounded by an abundance of amazing bars, food, and coffee; but we were also strategically placed next to couple of my favourite tattoo shops at the time – ones at which I was hoping to work in. Looking back, I can now see that I was living and breathing in arguably one of Australia’s most active and prominent graffiti and street art suburbs without realising. Little did I know at that time that it would later turn out to play a huge role in the rest of my life.
As exciting as it was moving interstate into an old reconditioned warehouse overlooking the city in a street that would literally change weekly – I needed money to pay for it. That and my regular visits to all of the amazing food, coffee & drinking spots in the neighbourhood. I decided it was time to brush off my old carpentry skills and work for a builder. It wasn’t my ideal job at that point, but aside from working in a tattoo shop, it’s all I knew. The two years I did this were some of the hardest. I was both physically and mentally wrecked by the time I could start doing what I actually wanted to do everyday, but the money was good and my boss was a legend. For example: He’d go a little easier on me those mornings I’d roll into work like a zombie because I had been up working till all hours (If you ever read this – thank you Brian). Carpentry by day, by night I was painting my ass off, blogging, and occasionally giving into curiosity by dabbling with aerosols from time to time. It was around this time I also started my first online store.
Two years later, It was time for a) a holiday and b) to take the jump and work for myself. Coincidentally, around this time was Pow Wow Hawaii, a huge world-class street art event. As fate would have it, we actually met one of the guys behind it while he was out visiting Australia. All thanks to some crazy cheap flight sale at the time and Jeff’s loose invitation, we went. We thought it was going to be good, but it was actually incredible. And a lifechanger. I went from occasional aerosol dabbler to a passionate one and found the inspiration and confidence to finally start Few and Far Collective.
Getting home from Pow Wow Hawaii meant it was do or die time. “Do” being creating the life and work I wanted. And “Die” being going back to working for what someone else wanted. This was also where I really focused on my career and found myself more driven and determined than ever before. In between juggling watercolour commissions, my growing online store, and the occasional skateboard or random collectible piece, I was teaching myself the ropes of basic acrylic and aerosol (which included the art of convincing someone to let you paint their property with no portfolio). On top of all this I released my few “Steen Jones” garments. Every spare minute I found inbetween, I worked on Few and Far Collective, something I’d wanted to do for years.
Three crazy, sleep-deprived, coffee-fueled, ruthless, and amazing years on, I’m still here – fortunate and grateful to be doing what I love, next to the girl I love, day in, day out. It hasn’t been (and never is) easy, but I get to meet and work with so many amazing people, artists, and my favourite brands all while being at the helm of my own brand – It’s crazy. And awesome.
You can contact Steen and see more of his work via: