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.