ABOUT: Small / Smalley

ABOUT: Small / Smalley

Name Smalls
Country of Residence Germany
Instagram @5m4ll.no1


When I began my journey in the world of stickers, I admired various artists, and one of them was Small. His work is consistently creative and clean, and I'm not only referring to his character design, but also his lettering skills. He adds that extra touch of Smalley stuff when contributing to themed collaborations. It took some time, but I'm delighted that he was willing to participate in the Octulos Interviews.

Let's start off with a beer. What beer would you say is your favorite?
"Hahaha... what a funny question to start this interview 'cause to be honest i'm takin a break from drinkin alcohol at the moment to be more focused on some things. But that's another Story. Apart from this fact I would have to say "Brinkhoff's no.1." That's a local brand from here in Dortmund."

Your artwork has always inspired me from my start with Octulos. Where did your journey in art began?
"Oh really? ...Wow! I do always feel honored everytime someone tells me he gets inspired by my artwork. This really puts a smile on my face. So thank you very much indeed! My journey in art began as a child I guess. I always loved to draw. Even at early age i was drawing my favourite cartoon characters . Later on at around the age of 10 I started to draw my own short comics just for fun."

That, in turn, automatically means a lot of practice. And with a lot of practice, you get better with time. For me, that's the key!

As a young individual with a love for drawing, what inspired you to become an artist as you grew older, and how did you go about developing your artistic skills?

"My Inspiration was just my love for cartoons. As a child I lived with my grandparents. They had build up a collection of videotapes with cartoons they recorded from TV or copied from other tapes to make sure I coud always watch cartoons whenever I wanted to. They had recorded all kinds of different stuff. I can remember there was a lot of Disney cartoons but also stuff like Popeye ,the Smurfs or the last Unicorn for example. Oh,what a wonderful time that was. I LOVED to watch them tapes again and again."

"I really was soaking them up at the time. And that's the reason why I wanted to try out to draw cartoon characters by myself. I was motivated to get creative just by watching these tapes .So for me that's definitely my source of inspiration. Needless to say I still love to watch cartoons till this day.At the age around 12 i began to get fascinated by graffity and the art of playin' around with letters. Especially the combination of styles and characters made me fall in love by first sight for obvious reasons. So of course I also wanted to try this out by myself. And so I did. But later on in my teenage years some things seemed to be gettin' a little bit out of control. I was gettin' more and more in trouble with the police and because of that things became more and more stressful with my family. Those really were wild times."

"My problems began to multiply at top speed. So at some point I had to make a decision to get my life back on track. I decided to take a break from doin' graffiti to avoid further trouble. At that time i also had become a big fan of rap music and had already started to write my own lyrics. I saw this as an opportunity to put more of my time and creative energy into this other passion. I never stopped drawing completely but I kept it to a minimum. For almost the next decades my main focus was music. For one of my last musical projects i asked a good friend of mine (@sm111le) if maybe he would like to do the artwork for a sticker to promote the album. We had known each other for some years but we didn't hang around that much."

"He liked the idea of doing the artwork, and while we met more often in this context, he told me more about sticker art and street art, something he had been channeling his creative energy into for several years. The funny thing is, at this time, I was contemplating taking a break from making music because I had developed some health issues with my vocal cords over the years. For me, it just felt like the right time to shift my main focus and get back to drawing. That was around 2018, and now I'm still here doing my thing. You asked how I developed my artistic skills. I just love to be creative, so I automatically invest a lot of time. That, in turn, automatically means a lot of practice. And with a lot of practice, you get better with time. For me, that's the key."

If you would have to describe your artistic style, what would you say?
"Smalley's stuff."

Can you share some of your favorite or most significant artistic projects or pieces you've created?
"The first thing that comes to my mind is a customized piggy bank I did for a tattoo shop. I really had fun doing it."

In this creative world we live in. What do you like the most about what you do ?
"I've had lots of great times with lots of great people. Many funny conversations with other great artists. And I even had the opportunity to connect with some other awesome artists from all around the world. I also had the chance to collaborate with many of them. So what more can I say?"

What tools do you use to create your artwork?
"I use whatever I can get my hands on, but most of the time, I use alcohol-based markers and acrylic markers. When it comes to acrylic markers, my favorite brands are definitely Posca and Molotow."


Everyone has their way of working. How do you approach the creative process, from conceptualization to completion
"I'm very spontaneous, and it all depends on my mood. But when it comes to the process, I always start by making a sketch with a pencil so I can erase and make changes if necessary. As soon as I'm satisfied with the sketch, I start with the colors before doing the outlines last."

Every individual has a different "life" situation beside their artistic/creative side. Now and then I see artists losing their motivation to stay creative. How do you stay motivated and overcome creative blocks or challenges in your work?
"I'm doing this just for fun and for the love of it, so there's no need for extra motivation. Fortunately, I haven't had to deal with creative blocks until now. My bigger problem is that I don't have enough time to bring all my ideas to life. Maybe there's no room for creative blocks because I don't feel any pressure to do that. And if I'm not in the mood, I'm just not in the mood. I don't stress myself out. I do something else."

Critiques can help you get better and grow as an artist.

Not every art, is for everyone. How do you handle critiques or feedback on your work, both positive and negative?

"Take it as it is. Critiques can help you get better and grow as an artist. So my advice would be not to be narrow-minded when it comes to critiques. And when it comes to feedback, I'm glad to say I haven't really received much negative feedback so far. I'm thankful for that! And, of course, positive feedback just makes me feel happy."

The most thing I like to see in an artist is progress. What are your long-term artistic goals, and where do you see your art career heading in the future?
"Honestly, I'm not thinking about any long-term artistic goals. I'm just trying to get better at what I do to keep myself satisfied because who knows what the future holds?"

Some artists feel they have a deeper meaning regarding their artwork. Does your art have a deeper meaning to you?
"In fact, there is a hidden message or deeper meaning, or whatever you'd like to call it. As you may have noticed, my characters always have these empty eyes. To me, it symbolizes that they are blind to prejudices, reflecting my way of thinking. For me, it's not primarily important where you're from, what skin color you have, what gender you are, what religion you belong to, your sexuality, disability, your eating habits, or any other prejudices some people might have. I don't care about such things. I believe everyone has the right to live their life the way they want to, as long as nobody gets hurt. No one should judge anyone solely based on prejudices. At least, this is my opinion, and this is how I incorporate it into my art."

Do you have anything else to you would like t share with the world?
"First of all i would like to thank you for havin' me on this interview! I really appreciate that ! I like to give a shout out to the CO3 Gang and the Sinistercreations Krew! And to everyone else: keep the love and creativity alive! Peace"


3 thoughts on “ABOUT: Small / Smalley

  1. avatar Future says:

    One of the greats,
    Love collaborating with this guy, and he always brings the fire in any Lab I send him. Great interview

  2. avatar Lotus says:

    🥹 That’s my broski!! One of the most genuine and amazingly talented people you could ever cross paths with. Im so happy to get the chance to know a little bit more about “smalls”…. I love ya broski you always never cease to amaze me. ❤️SCK 👈🏻🫶🏻

  3. avatar Mario says:

    Nice interview! One of the best out there when it comes to art. Small has always been that lay back person that you could talk to about anything. He’s definitely good people with some dope skills. Always been an honor to have him in my crew “SinisterCreationsKrew”. Big ups bro and keep doing what you do best.

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