Wednesday, July 11
NEW:
Pi: Mysterious naked ladies and some very short shorts...
interview with SNUB
post difusor fun
Sinboy bombs the Ministry of Labour

This is a report about my experience at Difusor 2007 Barcelona. I had a great time doing it and i would like to thank everyone who made this event happen. Please note that this blog is not an "official" Difusor blog, but just my account of the event which I attended as an observer.

If you would like to add to this blog (pictures, comments, interviews, anything) you're very welcome to send me an email: carovan@hotmail.co.uk

New posts will be added at the bottom, unlike a normal blog, so make sure you scroll down!

Over 90 artists from 18 different countries in one city for one weekend, this was Difusor stencil art festival’s colossal achievement.

Thanks to the people behind Coolture, Borbo and Schhh, from Friday 29th June to Sunday 1st July, Barcelona was proudly hosting the international meeting of stencil art with artists such as Pure Evil (England), m-city (Poland), Vhils (Portugal), Orticanoodles (Italy)...
For 3 days, 6 spots around the city saw amazingly talented artists cover their walls in a jubilant and welcoming atmosphere.

However, the aim of the event wasn’t only to gather a bunch of artists for a happy few days of painting in the streets of Barcelona; its purpose was also to raise issues regarding street art in general as well as showcasing the diversity of the stencil art scene: diversity of styles and techniques, from Artiste Ouvrier’s intricate and colourful pieces to Xpome’s effective geometrical graphics; diversity of philosophy, from those like Spliff Gachette who have a strong political agenda to others like Is Bach who illuminate walls with stunning detailed stencils; and diversity of background: graffiti, illustrations, architecture, old school, new school and “hole school”: it all came together… beautifully.




video by Berberecho Productions




thanks to Marcos Zender for helping me with this video
Vhils and Target at Niu Gallery
On Thursday 28th July, one day before the official start of Difusor, Target and Vhils (Portugal) offered a live performance at the Niu Gallery, Barcelona… these two young artists bursting with talent who are also good friends set the standard very high that night by painting a large mural inside the gallery in front of a very appreciative crowd. The mood that night was of excitement and anticipation: artists couldn’t wait to show off their work on the walls of Barcelona and stencils enthusiasts were equally eager to witness the treat that Difusor was about to offer.


Target


Vhils



Vhils also on the net at:

wooster collective

juxtapoz

veracortes art agency
m-city's largest piece
The Difusor festival hadn’t even officially started that something rather special was already taking place: m-city was in town to create his biggest and most difficult to photograph piece to date: his building blocks were about to spread over a 30 meter-long and 6 meter-high wall.
On Thursday, with the plan of the piece sketched on a scrap of paper, he placed his first stencil on a very intimidating white wall. However, his flawless technique and precious help from his friend and artist Ludzik enabled him to work rapidly across the wall: each stencil is made out of one white wall, one black wall and the roof of the building block; only the needed part, wall or roof, is then painted. This modular approach means he can create a seemingly infinite range of building combinations.
By Friday morning, the plan had changed slightly and was now just scribbled on the artist’s left arm, yet the stencilled city was relentlessly sprawling across the huge concrete canvas. By the end of the day, the piece was finished and had already gained notoriety around
Barcelona.

Witnessing m-city at work was both a privilege and fascinating, the implacable speed of the construction perfectly reflected the urban growth we’re witnessing around the world and surely enough, just as any other city, m-city’s latest piece had been graffiti-ed only a couple days after completion.




After Difusor, m-city went to Sao Paulo for the street art festival A conquista de Espaço to work alongside artists like Blu, Sam3, Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, Mark Jenkins... Pictures of rather impressive work have already started to appear on Blu's blog.

stencils, stencils and more stencils
Difusor officially kicked off on Friday night, with an exhibition of some of the artists’ stencils… In fact, the exhibition continued over the entire weekend… in the workshop used by the artists… on floors… on walls… They were made of paper, plastic, cardboard, x-rays… and they were everywhere!

Fremantle


Ludzik


Royal fish club (website?) and Target


Sten


Is Bach

Team effort
On Saturday and Sunday, the action was taking place in the streets in 6 different spots around the city. One of them was shared with painters involved in the street art festival FAC 07 which was running alongside Difusor. The meeting of the artists from both festivals resulted in interesting collaborations such as m-city/Pez.

Collaborations were really the theme of the festival as Difusor offered a unique opportunity for artists all around the world to paint together. I had feared that the finished walls would lack coherence as the stencil medium doesn’t allow much spontaneity, but artists often managed to take into account the surrounding work of other artists to create beautiful pieces.

Throughout the festival, I asked many artists if they there was anyone they particularly wanted to meet and work with at Difusor, the answer was unanimous: EVERYONE!


Sinboy // Sten & Lex


Royal Fish Club spots eight bit’s bats


Don Silencio finds a voice with Ripo


photo credit: Pure Evil

photo credit: Pure Evil

Don silencio VS Pure Evil




Pi & Pure Evil



m-city shows the versatility of his style with Pez



Btoy & Purple dog crew

3 cutters exhibition: Fremantle, Don Silencio, m-city
As part of the Difusor, the 3 cutters exhibition was launched on Saturday 1st July at the Miscelänea gallery. Fremantle (France) Don Silencio (Denmark) and m-city (Poland) brought their different styles together for a show illustrating the diversity of stencil art. The polish artist used doors from old fridges instead of canvases; the public was then invited to arrange stencilled magnets depicting buildings, vehicles and people to create their own cities. By then m-city had shown throughout the Difusor festival how strong, versatile and original his concept is (if he ever needed to) and he was quickly becoming the star of the event!



fremantle


photo credit: Don Silencio

Don silencio


m-city

i loved...
Some artists created quite a stir at the Difusor festival, m-city of course with his gigantic wall, but also with his tiny piece on a rock. What a great spot!



Sten and lex (Italy) got a lot of attention with their insanely detailed halftone stencils. They call it “hole school” and yes… they are all hand made!



Pure Evil did his own version of Guernica.


photo credit: Massoud


When Einsamkeit sent me a picture of this little girl a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was a wheat paste rather than a stencil… then I got to see it for real, I had to touch it to believe it…



There was one artist in particular I was keen to meet at difusor: Fragil from Barcelona. His work is all over town, I’ve counted about 6 pieces in a 20 meter radius around my house including one right outside my front door. A few weeks ago, I went to Madrid by bus; on the way we made a stop at a service station in Zaragoza. I got off the bus and there he was again! Whether he does stencils, wheat pastes, graffiti… it’s always looking great.





Bandit: efficient, omnipresent with effective designs... Everybody loved Bandit



photo credit: umc + tiny bit of photoshopping






I had never seen one of FKDL's pasted figure other than on photo... now they're all over Barcelona. Merci Franck!







FKDL came to Difusor with his 20 year old son who did his very first stencil at the festival: a rose

important issues are raised
Difusor’s success didn’t just rely on the artists’ talent and dedication to their work but also on the organisers’ well thought out concept for the festival. As well as showcasing the versatility of the stencil medium, they wanted to highlight important issues linked with street art in general: on Saturday, a debate took place with guest speakers Tristan Manco author of Stencil Graffiti, David Garcia from GSA and Israel Rodríguez and Gemma Galdón from the malababa project.

Tristan Manco opened the debate by questioning “the place of street art in the perfect city scenario” that most councils around the world are trying to impose. This is a particularly hot topic in Barcelona where a law has recently been passed to crack down on any kind of public art. The city used to be a playground for street artists but with this change of legislation, painting, pasting, tagging or even doodling in the streets are now regarded as criminal vandalism as opposed to art and penalized by heavy fines up to €1500. This led Mr Manco to question the way we view and accept art: every major city strives to have important art galleries recognised worldwide and yet, at the same time, fights free public art that can adorn its walls: shouldn’t the public be instead encouraged to recognise and appreciate art outside the safe and controlled context of the art gallery?



This is an issue that was also very important for the artists involved in the festival. I asked many of them why they felt the need to hit the streets as opposed to just paint in private locations and the most common answer was that they were trying to get art out of galleries. Their aim was to expose art to an audience that would not normally go to art galleries, to get art out of the obvious context of the gallery and place it in unexpected places to provoke thoughts. The Belgian artist Bandit, who is very active in the small town of Altea (Spain) with large and quirky black and white stencils, once received an email from a 13 year old girl: “my mum and I love your paintings” she said “every time I see one, it makes me think”. This perfectly summarizes the kind of response public art is aiming for.

Israel Rodríguez and Gemma Galdón, the people behind malababa, discussed the importance of public art in cities that are increasingly becoming impersonal and profit-driven. Gemma Galdón highlighted the disappearance of the public space in urban environment. She used the example of the shopping mall, a fake public place owned by private companies where people’s behaviour is controlled and geared towards profit making. These types of places are quickly taking over the cities and this shift from public to private, from open to closed is spreading to the streets too. In this context, public art provides bubbles of fresh air, “blinks from the routine”, as Gemma put it. These blinks are vital for any city to retain its identity, before it becomes just another grey and beige pile of concrete.

I therefore think that I am not the only one who would like to say “thank you” to the artists and Difusor’s organisers for bringing hundreds of wonderful “blinks” to the streets of Barcelona.

Discussions are already taking place about where to hold the next stencil festival: Lisbon (Portugal), Hamburg (Germany), Ljubljana (Slovenia)… Do it on the moon and I’d still be there.

Tristan Manco interview
1) What excites you about events like the Difusor Festival in Barcelona?

I think what's to be applauded with this festival is how they have made links with the local community which is hosting the event.
Instead of operating in a bubble - there is a dialogue taking place.


2)For many years, Barcelona has had a strong tradition of public urban art; however the city council is now enforcing a zero tolerance against it. What impact do you think this will have on the whole public art movement?

I have been visiting Barcelona once a year for quite a while now so I can feel the difference in the last couple of years. Zero tolerance has meant less graffiti and graffiti tourism particularly in the historic centre. Whereas a few years ago Barcelona attracted artists from across the Europe and the World who came for holidays and left their mark on the graffiti scene (with or without local artists. I think the local scene is strong artistically and politically but today they do less work in the centre of the city or make work in other cities. Another consequence of zero tolerance is that the graffiti in the centre tends be more vandalistic - quick tags as opposed to murals.

If you talk about "public art" in a more traditional sense - for example commissioned murals and sculptures. Its possible that this pervading conservatism and zero tolerance could lead to less public murals being commissioned. As was discussed in the Difusor talks - cities are becoming grey, homogenous and more commercial spaces where economics are placed first. It would be a shame if Barcelona a city famous for its its Miro sculptures and Gaudi buildings turned into a grey shopping mall.


3) Could events like Difusor make the city rethink its zero tolerance approach to public art?

Difusor's main base was at a local community centre with open access - people at grass roots level could experience everything for themselves. The idea was to take away the stigma and mystique surrounding street art - to openly display and promote its creativity.

Events like this provide a focus - bringing people together. While they are great fun for the artists they are a good public relations exercise and an open dialogue. It was nice to witness local people remarking on the new murals which they could see from their windows and to hear them congratulating the artists on their work. If the work is being appreciated by the local community then at least you have made a positive statement to make about graffiti art and artists.


4) In the talk you gave at the festival, you spoke about the strange relation between public art and galleries; do you think street art, graffiti art and all kind of public art should remain in the public space? do they have a place in a gallery?

By definition street art and graffiti only exists in public space. The gallery space imposes parameters which are not found in free space therefore altering the context of the work. Price tags are applied to works in commercial galleries, while cultural institutions present art in an formal vacuum. In monetary and cultural terms this changes the work. This is not to say that work created by graffiti artists should not be shown in galleries, just to point out the obvious differences. There have been some successes in presenting new art forms particularly in shows like Street Market and Beautiful Losers which were curated and presented in original ways. Personally I have been to some terrific gallery shows by Graffiti artists such as Blu, Os Gemeos and Barry McGee. The art contained is not "graffiti art" but what's been learnt on the streets has informed the work presented: Os Gemeos's intricate installations, Barry McGee's innovative use of space and materials and Blu's drawings all have an street influence - alongside many other personal influences.


5) You've seen the walls where the artists have been painting during the Difusor festival, has any particular piece or artist caught your attention? Generally, what did you think of the standard of the work you've seen?

Difusor owes some of its history to Stencil Project which was held in Paris in 2004. It was great to see some of the same artists in Barcelona too. It would be unfair to pick out some artists over others but there were some great artists that I didn't know before. I would advise anyone interested to explore the Difusor flickr pool to find their own new favourites.


6) Where would you like to see the next stencil art event take place?

I heard a rumour Poland - which would be great.

7) How would you like to see public art evolve in the future?

It would be interesting to know what survives in the future. We keep discovering tombs and frescos from the past, I wonder if anything will be left of spraycan culture in thousands of years time.


stencils and petanqua: Difusor exposes street art to the local community... on that occasion though, they couldn't have cared less! Silencio and Fremantle, on the other hand, were fascinated by the petanqua.


Labels:

from Orticanoodles...
I’m Orticanoodles,



I live and work in Milan, which is the place of my street-art propaganda.
The first stencils with some attitude hit the streets in 2005; they were quite
different from the ones I make now and not only from a technical standpoint…
subjects were koy carps which, being so coloured, are suitable for a pictorial
treatment, colourful backgrounds and interactions between spray and brush.
I have never made writing, I don’t know why I started pasting carps in the
street but it was fun and I’m still learning a lot: it suddenly became
something I have devoted myself to.
Now I spend a lot of time on it, my stencils are getting cleaner and bigger. I
mainly paint legally in jams or authorized events, I want to do things
properly, I don’t care about vandalism, I don’t like tags all over the places,
the only illegal thing I do is poster affiche.
Shepard Fairey is my favourite street artist, his style surprises me all the
time. I also like very much Logan Hicks’ stencils.
I have spent a lot of time preparing new stencils for difusor and after long
solitude and silence now I’m looking forward to having fun with my x-acto,
working with and meeting as many people as possible: this will be a dream come
true.
In the future I’ll participate in all possible events as I always find the right
attitude for working and sharing experiences with no police problems. I have got
stopped by the police several times while pasting up, it’s not a big deal in
Milan, the city is pretty well covered with posters and the police knows street
art: once they ascertain posters do not convey political messages, they let you
go.
Recently in Milan there have been two illegal events in abandoned industrial
sites, Whereis101 and Whereis107, where everybody was invited to participate:
they have been wonderful days, something like a street art fairground (the
police too let us work!). I wish other events like these will come soon.
I must say that in Milan things are not so bad, media and town authorities too
are trying to promote this kind of artistic expression: it’s a good moment for
street art!

Now I have to get back to my stencil...

Ciao. See you soon,

Orticanoodles









www.orticanoodles.com

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Btoy
Who is Btoy?

Btoy is made up of Ilia Mayer and Andrea Michaelsson, we are both self taught and our work and techniques are different. Ilia is specialized in illustration and musical production, while Andrea is more focused on stencils and photography. Sometimes we work together, sometimes we don't.

Why on the street?

Barcelona was full of spontaneous pieces by different people, with different styles and colours. I started documenting all this with my camera. But it was so great i wanted to take part myself, so I decided to have a go and went out in the streets with simple stencils, just one or two colours, that's how everything started...

Why did you start making stencils?

With the stencil technique I was able to develop my knowledge in the field of photography and give it a more graphical approach. I could use the pictures as a basis to create an image and then paint it with spray, plastic or acrylic paint.

Can you describe your work briefly?

Usually, what we do is like the plot of a tale, an old story or something that will happen in the future, unfinished stories, trailers of an inexistent movie, small periods of time...

What message, if any, are you trying to convey?

I try to express a subtle feeling of freedom and spontaneity with my images. To give the viewer an open message about the subject I choose, like the female pilots and the panda bears.
The female pilots represent the search for freedom, adventure and risk. The panda bears are a warning about the paradise we are destroying and disregarding.

What your philosophy regarding street art?

For me street art has to be a spontaneous and illegal intervention in the urban space.

Who or what are your main sources of inspiration?

We have many sources of inspiration, Japanese culture, Manga, science fiction, novels by GJ Ballard, Stanislaw Lem or Ray Bradbury, old ruins, second world war, Dadaism, Warhol, Basquiat, electronic music...

Is there anyone you're really looking forward to meeting at Difusor?

Yes, m-city, Fremantle, Dr. Hofmann, and also someone whose work will amaze me without knowing his name.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

We'd like to collaborate with people with whom there is an artistic and personal exchange.

Any interesting plans for the future (new work, exhibition...)?

This year has been really busy for us, we published a book with Belio magazine. We went to Mexico for a month to prepare Byloa, and also Brussels and Berlin... We have some other projects for the future, but we still need to work on them.

Is there anything that could kill street art?

anti graffiti policies imposed by city councils:
_ persistent graffiti cleaning campaigns
_ very high fines for people who make any type of urban intevention without permission from the city council (stickers, paste ups, graffiti, installations, etc)
_ advertising campaigns that consider any type of urban intervention an act of vandalism
All this has already happen in cities like New York, Barcelona, etc.

If you could choose one place in the world, where would it be?

Barcelona is an important city for me. It's also the place where I started making street art. Between 2002 and 2005, the street art movement in Barcelona was really big, it was allowed to make interventions in many parts of the city.
Local, national, international artists visited the streets of Barcelona on one or more occasions to leave their work on the walls. As a result, there was a great variety of high quality street art in the city, and this was recognized all over the world.
Currently, due to the anti-graffiti policies, all this movement is over. So now I would try to find a city with similar conditions to the "old" Barcelona, maybe Sao Paolo...

(...)

What do you think of the increasing zero tolerance regarding public art in cities such as New York, Barcelona...

It dimishes street art both in quality and quantity. It is a step backwards for ART in general.


Labels:

Don Silencio
1) How and when did you start making stencils?

I started back in 2001, I have a background in graffiti (since 1994). Then i got out of that but really wanted to get back to the street and make new stuff. I did handmade stickers and that eventually evolved into stencils.

2) What was your first stencil?

I think the first one was of a gun and in block letters it said "think". I also used it for a canvas , it was pretty shit but you have to start somewhere!

3) Why in the streets?

Well, for starters, the whole Silencio project was about free expression and since i have a background in graffiti, i just naturally wanted to bring it to the streets. I didn't even think about it.

4) Can you describe your work briefly?

It's a little difficult, but it's a mixture of different techniques like scripts, stencils, images and shapes.

5) What message if any are you trying to convey?

It depends, when i do my street thing, i try to make a strong and simple message. My work on canvas is more introvert, in some kind of way. I use the same tools outside and inside but there's a different perspective.

6) What or Who are your main sources of inspiration?

Well, the usual suspects, really... but the first I really checked out was Acamonchi.

7) Is there any artist in particular at Difusor you're looking forward to meeting?

Well, I met a lot of them in Paris in 2004 during the Stencil Project. I was looking forward to meeting the guys i'm exhibiting with, Fremantle and m-city. I don't actually know half of the people here so i'm just looking forward to having a good time and meeting nice people.

8) Is there anyone, at Difusor or not, you'd really like to collaborate with?

I don't really have a lot of plans about that... there are so many people... But it depends on the context. I've been to Mexico
a lot, so if i go back there, i'd like to meet Acamonchi and do stuff with him. But if i go to Barcelona, for example, I'd like to collaborate with local artists because everybody has their own flavour, they know the good spots too.

9) What are your plans for the future?

I have a pretty busy fall, with exhibitions in Copenhagen and then i hope to get around. I have some plans to go to India. I don't know what the scene is like there, but it'd be nice to explore and see what work can be done there.

10) Have you had trouble with the police while painting in the streets?

Actually, I haven't had that many problems. The only time when i have some kind of trouble is when I do my graffiti work. If you go postering, people don't really crack down on you. But i've never had that much trouble, you can mostly talk your way out of it.

11) What has been your best experience in the streets so far?

everything! since I don't get much trouble with the police, I haven't really had a downside to it. The only thing is that it fills up your whole life and that can be both a good and a bad thing. It can take energy away from other projects... But then again, why not?

12) If you could do anything in any spot, what would you do and where?

I'd do more landscape work, something that involves nature more. I wouldn't want to paint all over the Eiffel Tower for example. I'd rather do something with nature on a bigger scale, like make a whole boat out of leaves... But stencil wise, I dunno. I don't really have big plans for stencil work.

13) How easy is it to paint in your city, Copenhagen?

It's nothing like Barcelona used to be, you really have to watch out but I guess it's like any other place where the locals know their way around and know when to hit a spot.

14) What do you thing of the "zero tolerance" regarding street art in cities like Barcelona or New York?

It costs a lot of money and worsen the quality of the work in the streets and in the public eye. I myself do tags and throwups, but i can see why people don't really connect with it. I think they're just going to crack down for a while and the work is just going to blossom in a new form... maybe something bigger and quicker. But on the whole, i think that it hurts both the culture and the surrounding society. For example, in places where they've had a zero tolerance and then loosened up a bit, they don't get more graffiti, they just get better graffiti.


www.silenciowarfare.com

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Polish vodka, a circus, windmills and vision from outer space... It's Pure Evil!
Just before the start of the festival, I met up with Pure Evil in the lounge of his very nice hotel and he kindly answered a few questions...

How did you start making stencils?

I started about ten years ago, I had a project where I was doing stencils for an MTV video. I just went out and spent the day doing stencils on location for this project. At the end of the day, I had all of these stencils left and I thought "that was fun" so I carried on doing that. The first stencil I did was just of a hand, it reminded me of the first cavemen paintings, when people just painted their hands.

Do you paint a lot in the streets?

yeah, all the time. I do more freehand in the streets and use stencils on canvas and on paper. Recently, I've been collecting antique paper from the 1920s, the 1790s... There's been a real fetishization of paper, there are people who like printing on heavyweight, beautifully made paper and I wanted to go a bit further back and look at really old paper and see how it was produced. I've also researched Japanese paper like Hoso paper.
I had a garden shed in Wales and now I have a garden shed in London, that's where I do stencils and it's a lot of fun because i've taken the scale of what I've been doing up quite a bit. I like starting with a small stencil and then project it onto a larger scale. I do find that a lot of stencil stuff is limited by A4, A2, A1, A0... but it doesn't have to be. The important thing is to break away from that... like Blek, he's broken away from that.

Why in the streets?

Because it's fun. People get to see it and it surprises people; also you don't have to ask permission, nobody tells you what you have to do: for example, if you do a project for a company, they can say "Ok, we don't like that."
Also, if you put 5 hours into a stencil, everytime you go out to the streets and do that stencil, you multiply that time; so if you do that stencil 10 times, it's 10 times 5 hours: 50 hours. Everytime you do that stencil in the streets, you add 5 hours of work in the street.
I also just get a thrill out of it: doing a stencil, getting away with it and coming back to see it. Sometimes people will destroy it so you have to be quite zen about that. Sometimes people will almost forget that it's there and they don't destroy it. It's really nice when you walk past something that has been there for years and years and years: it starts to decay, the wall starts to crack and the paint starts to fade... I like that.

Do you have any favourite spots?

I do a lot of painting in London, in the Eastend. Brick Lane is also really good. I've recently moved to London Fields so I'm starting to explore that area and think how I can interact there.
I went out to Palma about a month ago and I discovered painting on windmills. There are a lot of old windmills there. That was really cool, I'd never painted on a windmill before.
The last time I was here in Barcelona, in 2005, I had a really good time painting. It's one of my favourite cities to paint. But it has changed a lot, I've had a walk around today and it's been completely redone.

What or who are your main sources of inspiration?

Pop art is my biggest source of inspiration and then popular culture, what's happening in society, the way society throws up new forms of society and also strange things that happen to people. Horror films and all kinds of modern art.

Is there anyone you're particularly looking forward to meeting at Difusor?

Yes, I'm just looking forward to meeting m-city and having Polish vodka, that's gonna be fun!
But, I was on the plane this morning, thinking I've no idea what's going to happen, who I'm going to meet. Maybe I'll meet people and we'll argue about where to paint or we'll make friends. It's good not to have any preconception about what's going to happen, just like I had no idea of what was going to happen in Paris (for the Stencil Project) apart from that I was going to meet Blek. Last time, I had brought sketches of what I was going to do, this time I'm more open. I just want to break out of the rectangle, the square, the box and take it as big as I can.

Is there anyone you'd really like to collaborate with?

There's no one in particular, I want to interact with everybody. Last time, there were some Italians stencils artists who were really good and I didn't know them before. So I'll probably want to collaborate with someone I haven't encountered before. They're the ones that are going to be interesting. That's what makes it good: seeing something new that I'm not expecting.

Any interesting plans for the future?

some exhibitions and then I'm planning to go out to Sarajevo. I'll do the Guernica here in Barcelona, that'll be part 1 and I'm planning on doing more in different cities. So I'll do it next in Sarajevo if I can get permission. If I can't get permission, i'll just do it anyway.
I also did a Pure Evil solo show in London and I'd like to turn it into a circus, like a touring show. I don't really have a lot of desire to work with galleries, I'd rather just have a space and do it independently like what we did for Santa's Ghetto in London: we rented a store and actually set up the exhibition in there. I'd like to be able to organise that, to find that kind of space, come down, set up, do it for 5 days and then disappear and go somewhere else.

So it's quite important for you to show your work outside of art galleries...

Yeah, I think so. I think that the most important thing about working in the streets is that you don't have to discuss it with anybody else. In the past, I've had various jobs, I've done textile design, graphic design and it was difficult to work with a company because you got an idea and they came back with something else. There always was that kind of artist/client kind of thing and with galleries, you also get an artist/gallery thing. If you make decisions by commitee, you always have a bit of this and a bit of that; but it shouldn't be a democratic thing. That's what makes a Picasso a Picasso and a Warhol a Warhol: they just did their own thing.
That's why we work in the streets; maybe someone will walk past and say "wow!", maybe someone will walk past and not like the work but maybe a thousand people will walk past in one day; and also not the kind of people who normally go to galleries. There's a kind of poetry about having something in the streets, in a doorway...

Have you had any trouble with the police?

I've been caught 3 times but I haven't been arrested because I don't really look like a graffiti artist, so I can always pretend that I'm not. Because I don't fit the demographics, I can just say "Oh... I'm just standing here with paint... I'd just thought... I'm really sorry, officer". They haven't really worked out that I'm responsible for thousands of bunnies over the Eastend of London.

What has been your best experience painting?

Barcelona, last time. I did a really big piece behind the MACBA and I met up with the guys from 1980 crew, Chanoir and a bunch of other guys. We did two whole walls together.
And then the Stencil Project in Paris was probably just as good because you feel you're part of a community. It's also nice to be able to paint legally, to have a city say "welcome!" to you. It's nice to feel you're bringing something creative to a place.

If you could paint anything anywhere, what would you do and where?

I'd like to do a whole city, paint all the roof tops so you could see it from space or something like that. Or something like the architect who designed Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil. It was a space in the middle of nowhere and he designed the streets, the architecture, the important buildings... Doing something like that would be pretty amazing, to do it in a way that you could see it from space.
It'd have a signature or something that you'd recognise but when you're living on the ground, it wouldn't be an artist fantasy, it'd be practical to live in. It could be seen as a metaphor for how art can transform people's lives.

What do you think of the zero tolerance regarding street art/graffiti in cities like Barcelona, NY...?

I think it's pretty scary but in a way it's OK because the underground will always exist and fight back. If everyone was like "Yeah, come on... paint everything!" it'd be completely different. It'd be good too, i remember when I was walking in Barri gotic and finding a Miss Van on a door or finding all these different characters (characters are my thing, not letters), that was amazing. Having a whole city that actually had a 100% tolerance rather than a zero tolerance is pretty good.
But having a zero tolerance here makes me want to go out and paint tonight... but we'll see.

What impact do you think these policies are going to have on the artistic movement in the streets?

It's suddenly a big thing. Suddenly everyone's focusing on it, discussing it. People go painting in the streets, politicians are screaming about it and then they'll find something else to worry about. In 5 years time it'll probably come back. We're not going to stop, it's been going on since caveman time. People have always wanted to be able to say something and to feel like they're not just an ant in a city. It's like saying "I'm here".


www.pureevil.eu

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Interview with Bandit
How did you start making stencils?

In Belgium, I had seen small stencils around and I liked the impact, the instantaneity of those stencils. I had never been into graffiti but stencils appealed to me. Then 3 years ago, I found the Banksy website and that inspired me, I realised what could be done: bigger stencils. I thought about how i could make stencils of that scale and I started using a projector to draw my designs.

what was your first stencil?

My first one was a picture of Bob Sagget outside a school saying "Welcome back, boys and girls". I did it just before the first school day in September.
Around that time I also did a picture of Picasso on the town's cultural centre. It said "Picasso would prove us right". That one got covered up the very next day.

Why on the streets?

For the kick! When you go out in the streets, you own that moment. You don't normally get that feeling in everyday life. It's a way to break from the routine and to feel accomplished.

What message are you trying to convey?

I'm looking for a reaction from the public. Once a 13 year old girl sent me an email saying that her and her mum loved my paintings "they always make me think" she said. That's what I like about doing stencils.

Can you describe your work briefly?

Big stencils with a big impact. Black and white only, I think that colour is a waste of time.



What is your philosophy regarding street art?

Street art is about getting your thoughts out there, to counter advertising, to claim your piece of space and share it with people.

What or who are your main sources of inspiration?

Banksy. he's the main one, I love what he does. But normaly, ideas just pop into my head at the most unexpected times, when I have a shower... Good music is also great for inspiration.

Is there anyone you're looking forward to meeting at Difusor?

Everyone, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's way of doing things. I'm also looking forward to seeing the final result, the walls.

Any artists you'd like to collaborate with?

Faile and Blek. Blek because of his experience, I'd learn a lot with him.

Any interesting plans for the future?

I'm going to do some work for a gallery in Belgium and an art shop specialized in graffiti called Artifex. There has been talks of doing something for Montana too, and for Subaquatica gallery in Madrid, canvases and T-shirts.

Have you had any trouble with the police?

I live in a small town where there's a lot of police. I've been very lucky so far; on a few occasions, the police turned up only minutes after we finished a piece.
Although, I feel the council likes my work... they often clean up all the graffiti around my stencils and leave my pieces intact!

If you could hit any spot at all, what would you do and where?

Highway tunnels! Because nobody does graffiti there, it's too dangerous. I could come up with good ideas for these.

What do you think of the zero tolerance that's being enforced against graffiti in cities like Barcelona and New York?

The problem is that people are less likely now to take the chance and do really good and big pieces so we're left with quick and small stuff and tags. It's stupid, tags are precisely what people want to get rid of and now there are more of them because people don't bother doing anything else.

http://www.bandit.es/

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El Sinboy
What has been your best experience painting so far?

When Ripo and Above came over last year.
In Bucharest, there's a huge building which used to be the Ministry of Labour during communist time. Most old government buildings had been broken into, but nobody had gone in this one and three years ago, we went in through a window, it was fantastic... There's a very good story too: at some point, they wanted to build a heliport on the roof so they pumped some cement and more cement and more cement until the foundations of the building fell apart. The building collapsed a bit on one side, not completely but everybody had to leave the building and it was boarded up. So when we went in, there were all these desks still with papers, with post-it notes saying "I'll be back in 5 min"...
It's a very tall building in the center of Bucharest so we had a great view of all the town and we just bombed the place, we painted all over the rooftop. Then bit by bit, more people got to know the spot and for one or two years, it was bursting with energy.
When Ripo and Above came, we did a huge roller piece on the rooftop, we were on a small ledge above a 14 storey drop. The piece was visible from all of Bucharest, some people
even started calling it the Sinboy building.

Why in the streets?


Because I'm really tired of this monotony, this monochromatic state we live in. There's so much art that could be out there, on all these unused spaces. Cities could be bursting with colours.
I like the exploration side of it too. Walking around in a city, finding all these corners that most people don't go to, using rooftops which have incredible views, but nobody ever goes up there. There are tunnels... well, there's so much unused space in a city.


Are you trying to convey a message?

Depends, sometimes I am, sometimes I do a piece with a concept, relevant to the location and sometimes I just do a nice colourful piece that reuses some old wall. I like using garbage, stuff I find on the streets. My message is usually humourous, comments on society, my views on how we function with cultural references.

Who would you like to collaborate with?

Sooo many people... Here in Barcelona, I'd like to meet up with Pez, the 1980 crew. I just like the way they paint, it's so physical, you can feel the paint on your hands just by looking at the piece.

What are you main sources of inspiration?

I grew up in Madrid next to the very big wall of fame in Barrio de Pilar, so I grew up seeing a lot of Suso. Everyday when I got back from school, I'd check out that wall, it was my first introduction to graffiti.
I also find inspiration in cartoons, illustrations, comics, action figures (I have a large vintage Star Wars figures collection); I've kept everything from when I was a kid.

Any plans for the future?

I've done a lot of characters lately and I think I need to evolve, do more conceptual stuff. I'm a bit disappointed with the whole art world lately: what is it worth doing it for? For example, at the moment, a musical piece moves me more than a visual piece and I'm trying to figure out why that is, if I can change that.



www.sinboy.ro

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