There’s much to be said for placing street art in a museum. While some may try to wrap heads around how such a subversive form can be commodified, others might feel that it’s the start of another era — where perhaps art from the streets can finally be accepted by the general audience and pave way for street artists and graffiti writers in the now.
For us, it was a valuable lesson in seeing the combination of different works around the world. It’s difficult to erase the connection between these art and roots in which one has come from, even if it was not originally intended so.
What was enjoyable as well was the focus that Magda Danysz has put in place in ArtScience Museum — straying away from the familiar names like Banksy and Futura, instead providing a wide enough platform for artists like Speak Cryptic, Yok & Sheryo, Tarek Benaoum, Remi Rough and Felipe Pantone who created new site-specific artworks for the show.
Do you think street art has evolved with the advancements in technology? How does that affect, impact or motivate your work?
I actually think that technology has initiated street art, in a way.
Nowadays, we take three days to paint a mural because we have spray cans that really speed up the process, cranes, boom lifts and stuff like that.
Do you think technology affects people's way of perceiving art, and how so?
Yeah! I mean, what was it that I was saying before? Maybe it’s about how I think nowadays — everything is more immediate, free and do it yourself. We’re talking about the blogs instead of newspapers. Now everyone can be a journalist if you wish or with street art, everyone can express themselves easily.
You don’t [necessarily] have to go to art school. Just pick up a can, do it, put it up online and everyone will see it. And not necessarily that – you can paint in the middle of a big city and people will notice it.
Is it safe to assume that you're a believer of 'seeing the art as the artist'? How did you come to decide that it was the best approach for yourself?
With everything that I paint or create, I chose every single pixel of it. Whereas for my face, I didn’t choose any of it. It’s totally random and doesn’t say anything about me whatsoever.
This is not me, this is a piece of flesh and… (turns to mural) that’s me.
You once said, the best artist are the ones who are most honest with themselves. Where do you constantly find that truth to present? There are certainly moments in each of our lives when we feel that it's difficult to be honest with ourselves.
I think art is a really good means of finding yourself. It’s a good exercise to see who you are and as I was saying before, you find it through discrimination or differentiation — by trying things and realising what you are not.
If you ask me four years ago or way before, I’d have no idea who I was but now I feel really comfortable and confident saying this is me, this is what I paint and who I am. Obviously, I’m still finding but by doing things you realise who you are.
How would you describe the person you are as of now?
Someone who adapts a lot. I’m a son of my times and I try to talk about that in my work too. I feel very connected to everything that’s happening and I try to live it to the limit.
What's the most ridiculous experience you've had with street art so far?
Everything. I’ve painted all kinds of things but I’d have to think about that. I can’t really give you an answer now.
How does your work tie in with your education in fine arts?
I had a really bad time. I studied fine arts in Spain for five years. It’s horrible. I’m very good at painting portraits and stuff, but that’s really not who I am — which was why I felt that I was wasting my time. At the same time I realised by studying that, I understood the meaning of art. They made me read books which were really interesting. As a graffiti writer with that knowledge, I realised I could do something else with my time and that’s how I ended up doing what I do nowadays.
If there's one knowledge you've gained about the notion or principles of aesthetics from street art, what would it be?
The greatest thing that I’ve found is the careless condition of graffiti. The beautiful thing about it is that nobody cares about you at all. Sure, you get police chasing you but aside from that you’re completely free to do whatever the fuck you want. You don’t have to ask for permission or deal with censorship.
You can really find who you are whereas if you’re limited by a framework, you can only abide by those terms. In this museum, you can already see so many different styles. We’re not framed by anything, really, and that’s liberating. Seeing these works that are not constrained by anything, and having the diversity of works existing in each corner.
What's next for you?
I’m going home to prepare for my next show.