SPETO
Brazilian street art

Interview with legendary brazilian street artist Speto.

When I interviewed Rodrigo Level, the brazilian street artist cited Speto as one of his influences. As a matter of fact, Speto is one the graffiti pioneer in Brazil. Nothing would have been the same without this guy who as been involved in the street art for the past 27 years. Who can beat that?
More about Speto.

speto portrait

Portrait of the brazilian street artist

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF
I am Speto , I am 40 years old, I was Born in Sao Paulo City, and I have been doing graffiti over the past 27 years.

brazil graffiti

Black and white mural typical of Speto style

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
A lot of passion for Brazil and brazilian culture, especially The Cordel style. I portray things in a simple and playful way.
I mix several technics , I do graffiti like wood-carving and everything else as a reflection of how I see the world.

graphic design street art

Some artworks mix illustration and graffiti influences

PLEASE SHARE WITH US YOUR WORKING PROCESS
I began graffiti in 1985 and in 1986 I started to do illustrations for Skate magazines and Record jacket’s . I had two different styles, My graffiti style was very traditional , hip hop based and my illustration style was a mix of everything else , like tattoos, wood carving prints etc- but it was only in 1999 that I
blended both styles. At this stage I was working for a brazilian band named O RAPPA, doing live painting performances during their concerts. I became very skilled and agile doing live pantings ( a concert had a 1:30 hours ) , my drawing was super bold, it needed to be sharp enough to be seeing from far distances – I travelled around Brazil painting for a public of more then 10.000 people at some concerts
and ended up doing more than 360 paintings in total – I’ve learnt so much from this period, from the live paintings. As I started working when Computers were not around, I learnt lots of technics in a classic way and I try to blend them very subtly. The artwork value is in it’s contents, in the capacity of arousing emotion and visual stimulus.
I always study and do lots of research , my mind is continuously painting and processing images.

speto colorful graffiti

Colorful and slick graffiti artwork

HOW DOES YOUR ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE YOUR ART?
I came from a neighborhood where the children would play freely on the streets- Riding their bicycles and skateboards , playing with kites ,lantern balloons … My grandfather was a Sambista (samba musician) , My uncle was a soccer player, my father used to sing and my
mother was extremely catholic . All those elements were very important through my childhood and youth. I am a self-taught artist , I did not go to school nor to the University. Graffiti was something completely new back then and there was no school other than the Streets .

speto urban art

Speto urban art

WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
There are several , here is the list: Picasso, J.Borges, Samico, Portinari, Lucien Freud, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Ezra Jack Keats, Miroslav Sasek,Aubrey Beardsley,Richard Downs, Clayton Brothers, Guy Le tatto, Thomas Hooper,Posada, Hanna Barbera, Thunder Bird, Russian, tattoos, cartoons, posters, Muhammad Ali etc.

ANY LAST WORD?
Ciao Bello!

SINGAPORE STREET ART
Interview with Antz

Interview with Antz, one of the most talented artist of the Singapore street art scene.

During a recent trip, I met cool Singapore artists. Among them was the really talented Singapore Street art creative called Antz.
I interviewed the man, and he talks about Singapore Street art, his influences, his working process, and the cultural environment in the Lion City.
Discover more inspiring artworks by the Singapore street artist Antz.

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF
An Asian urban artist + Designer + Sometimes a party monkey.

antz painting

Great painting for the Singapore-based artist and party monkey

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
My style makes heavy references to chinese culture, from mythology to dialect to identity. I managed to create an interesting juxtapozed mash of contemporary urban styles with traditional chinese visuals and influences.

antz street art

Who thought you would find such cool street art in Singapore?

PLEASE SHARE WITH US YOUR WORKING PROCESS
I do a lot of travelings around the world, gaining influences and challenges to push myself. Understand a culture, digest it, and output the final artwork.

antz art

Art sculpture from the talented Antz

HOW DOES YOUR ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE YOUR ART?
It’s pretty tough in Singapore, as everything is too globalized. I rather slow down my pace and look into details. The only advantage i have is that Singapore offers access to most cultures… Therefore i get my references and can do my researches easily.

illustration

Slick and nice illustration

WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
From UK band Gorillaz creator Jamie Hewlett, to Asian star Bruce Lee, a good pal MC Yan from LMF hkg, to my cremates of RSCLS.

antz graffiti

Antz graffiti in Singapore

ANY LAST WORD?
Stop and smell art!

Swoon
STREET ART OF THE WEEK

Swoon, inspiring street artist

Street art can be poetic, touching and beautiful.
Swoon is American street artist who specializes in life-size wheat paste prints and paper cutouts of figures. She started doing street art around 1999, after moving to New York City.
This urban art recognized veteran is still very active today with a lot of exhibitions around the world.
Surprisingly, one of the influences of this American artist can be found in Indonesia. Some of her artworks were inspired by the “Wayang Kulit”, which is the traditional Indonesian shadow puppet theatre.
More about the inspiring female street artist

Swoon indoor mural

Swoon indoor mural

Portrait of the street artist Swoon in action

Portrait of the street artist in action

HONET
Interview with the French street artist

Honet brings French street art at its best

According to me, Honet is simply the best French graffiti artist ever.
I did this interview in French back in the days for a magazine called BPM.
More about HNT.

Portrait of Honet painting live

Portrait of Honet painting live

Vers le milieu des années 80, les premières pierres du graffiti sont posées par des rockers, skins et autres punks dans un Paris aux accents sauvages. C’est dans ce contexte que débarque Cédric en 1989. Pour combler son ennui à l’école, ce jeune Parisien décide d’accompagner quelques amis dans les tunnels du métro pour y peindre ses premiers personnages, goûtant au plaisir de pouvoir “faire des conneries en groupe.” Un an plus tard, la Zulu Nation d’Afrika Bambataa arrive en France. Ce mouvement dont la philosophie est basée sur le respect prend position contre les tags. C’est justement à cette époque que Cédric commence à poser les siens, “histoire de faire chier et de pourrir les murs avec des trucs bien dégueulasses.” Il devient alors Honet, un nom choisi comme une provocation pleine d’humour à une époque où la tendance dans le milieu est aux noms hardcore, de Nique ta mère à Crime Time Kings.

Huge street painting by Honet

Huge street painting by Honet

DES TRAINS AUX MURS
Honet deviendra peu à peu un activiste respecté du “trainisme” hexagonal (l’art de peindre sur des trains, ndlr). Depuis ses premières armes sur la ligne du RER A avec les DKG jusqu’aux métros de Barcelone avec les SDK (crews de graffeurs français), il peindra tous les supports que les voies ferrées d’Europe auront à lui offrir.
Quelques années plus tard, le graffiti explose et de plus en plus d’artistes de la bombe passent leurs nuits à défoncer des wagons. Honet recherche l’originalité, mais sortir du lot devient alors plus difficile. “Lorsque ta peinture n’est jamais qu’une de plus au milieu de 500 000 autres, et que tu es noyé sous une masse de jeunes de douze ans qui peignent dix fois plus que toi et qui apprennent dix fois plus vite, c’est logique” explique l’artiste. En parallèle, il développe donc un nouveau style, plus personnel, plus simple et efficace en abandonnant les lettrages du métro au profit de formes figuratives épurées qu’il commence à peindre dans la rue. Honet devient alors HNT.

Honet street art in Paris

Honet street art in Paris

POLITIQUE ET POLEMIQUES
Motivé par un revival visionnaire des années 80, il détourne l’esthétique communiste pour peindre des Redskins stylisés en noir et blanc, qui seront son premier véritable thème de prédilection. Skinheads proches de la classe ouvrière et du mouvement punk, les Redskins sont traditionnellement engagés dans des luttes anti-racistes. La motivation de Cédric est cependant liée à l’aspect graphique, et complètement apolitique. Il explique : “Mes grands-parents étaient communistes et j’ai baigné dans cet univers que j’ai retranscrit en jouant avec les faucilles et les marteaux à la manière de logos.” Mais si le grand public de l’époque ne comprend pas forcément toutes ces subtilités et se contente souvent de le prendre pour un fasciste vandale, cela ne lui pose pas de problème particulier. “Plus il y avait de vagues et de polémiques autour de mon travail, plus j’étais content” dit-il, “car le but reste avant tout de faire parler de soi.” Cela commence à le déranger davantage lorsqu’il réalise que la plupart de ses amis sont des Redskins qui ont été interpellés par son travail et qu’il est en train de s’enfermer dans une catégorie sociale et culturelle.
Quand quelques années plus tard les jeunes graffeurs arrivent à leur tour dans la rue avec de nouveaux supports d’expression comme les stickers ou les affiches, Honet retourne à ses premières amours et recommence à peindre dans le métro. “Je m’efforce d’être là où l’on ne m’attend pas et de surnager à contre-courant des modes et des tendances” confie-il. S’il lui arrive aujourd’hui d’exposer dans des galeries, cela ne change en rien le sens et la valeur de son travail. Exigeant sur le choix des lieux, il n’accepte les projets qu’au coup par coup, et ne voit dans ce nouveau médium de l’art qu’une prolongation de son activité dans la rue. “Que je peigne dans la rue ou dans une galerie, je ferai toujours du graffiti, l’art contemporain ne m’intéresse pas. Je suis simplement content de pouvoir m’ouvrir à un nouveau public.”

Honet graffiti

Honet graffiti

NEW WAVE ET ETHNOLOGIE
Plus que dans les musées ou dans l’art contemporain, Cédric puise l’essentiel de son inspiration dans la musique. Il se retrouve dans l’ambiance des années 80 “où écouter du punk et du rap revenait à la même chose et où les skins étaient encore des racailles de banlieue.” Dans les années 90, il découvre les premières raves et le mouvement hardcore. Et raconte : “Je suis fasciné par ce phénomène qui consiste à se regrouper autour d’une passion commune pour un genre musical et à essayer de retranscrire cela dans des codes vestimentaires particuliers. J’ai toujours été un véritable fétichiste du vêtement. Je me reconnaissais dans le mouvement des free parties avec ces gens qui étaient habillés comme moi en treillis et avec ce côté illégal dans les forêts la nuit. Je ne me retrouvais pas dans le hip-hop et les baggies XXL inconciliables avec la pratique du graffiti.” Aujourd’hui, même si Jean-Pascal a porté un jour un tee-shirt Honet sur le Prime Time de la Star Academy (véridique !), ses influences se situent dans la New Wave et dans l’électro influencée par les 80’s, avec des labels comme Gigolo ou Leitmotiv.
Il aime fréquenter le microcosme parisien branché des dj’s et des soirées pour mieux en comprendre les attitudes et les codes vestimentaires. “J’ai toujours aimé m’immiscer dans des petits groupes sociaux pour les étudier et les analyser. C’est chaque fois une nouvelle aventure, comme un voyage avec la frontière qu’il faut réussir à passer pour ensuite arriver chez l’habitant et découvrir ses us et coutumes. Ensuite je retranscris ces éléments dans ma peinture.

Honet wall painting for an exhibition

Honet wall painting for an exhibition

“NOUS SOMMES TOUS DES EUROPEENS”
Honet ne fait pas du graffiti français mais du graffiti européen. Il a toujours beaucoup voyagé, explorant les moindres recoins de l’Europe, arpentant les dépôts de trains ou les galeries de Barcelone à Bratislava. Les nouveaux acteurs de la discipline qui commencent à apparaître dans les pays de l’Est sont pour lui autant de sources d’inspiration et de motivation. “Chaque continent a une identité propre, des États-Unis qui représentent le passé jusqu’à l’Amérique du Sud qui possède sa propre culture et donc un style vraiment particulier. En Europe il y a énormément de styles et pourtant les frontières restent floues car les gens voyagent beaucoup et parfois il est difficile de savoir si quelqu’un vient de Hollande, d’Allemagne ou de Suisse.” Il découvre lors de ses expéditions une ouverture d’esprit et une acceptation qu’il ne trouve pas en France où les gens restent encore majoritairement fermés à la nouveauté. “Un de mes combats de toujours est d’essayer de faire chier ces gens sectaires qui ne croient que dans le passé. Une de ces personnes est d’ailleurs venue me voir un jour pour me dire que j’avais “détruit le graffiti à Paris avec mon style chelou”. Je crois que c’est un des meilleurs compliments que j’ai reçus…” Ne cherchez pas Honet là où vous l’attendez, il n’y sera pas !

Honet artwork printed on a bag

Honet artwork printed on a bag

Interesni Kazki
STREET ART OF THE WEEK

Interesni Kazki is a street artist duo from Ukraine.

Sometimes street art feels like classic wall painting.
Interesni Kazki is a street artist Ukranian duo from the new generation.
The duo’s member are AEC and Waone.
Their art feels lie it could have been made in an other era.
And I mean that like a nice thing.
Because maybe that’s what happen when your art is timeless.
More about the Ukrainian street art duo Interesni Kazki.

Inspiring street painting on a building

Inspiring street painting on a building

Interesni Kazki wall artwork for an exhibition

Interesni Kazki wall artwork for an exhibition

Huge urban painting

Huge urban painting

Ukrainian street art

Ukrainian street art

Vhils
STREET ART OF THE WEEK

Vhils is a Portuguese street artist who became first noticed when his work appeared alongside an artwork by Banksy in London.

The Times put a picture of him on its front page, get support from Banksy’s agent, and he became a new star of today’s street art. Unlike others (no names) I think that he really deserves his recognition.
More about the portuguese street artist Vhils aka Alexandre Farto.

It's All About Make Up. Indoor art by Vhils

It’s All About Make Up. Indoor art by Vhils

Artwork by the Portuguese street artist

Artwork by the Portuguese street artist

Reality. Alexandre Farto Exhibition

Reality. Alexandre Farto Exhibition

Vhils street art

Vhils street art

Inspirational street art on a street building

Inspirational street art on a street building

Discover the working process of the artist Alexandre Farto in this cool video.

Old school graffiti
Nostalgic memories and vandalism

Old school graffiti. Nostalgic memories and poor quality pictures by Mega.

Yesterday I found pictures of some of my old school graffiti from around the year 1998.
The quality of the pics is really bad.
I’m actually sorry about that.
The sad truth is that I actually lost almost every old school graffiti painting that I made.

Vandal painting on a bus

Vandal painting on a bus

This graffiti was consider new school in 1998

This graffiti was consider new school in 1998

To make the story short, we are back in the late 90’s.
I’m not that old, but I was really young back then.
Please don’t be nasty or too judgmental because those street art pieces are 13 years old!

This graffiti was made in collaboration with my friend Mant on a 40 meters wall

This graffiti was made in collaboration with my friend Mant on a 40 meters wall

Old school vandalism on a train

Old school vandalism on a train

Believe me or not, but that kind of style was pretty new school for that era.
At the time I had to get into physical fights because I didn’t want to do wild style letters or B-Boys.

Another Mega old school graffiti piece

Another Mega old school graffiti piece

Peper and Mega paint on a 50 meters wall

Peper and Mega paint on a 50 meters wall

But you know what?
If you want to paint on a wall, you better do what you want.
Create the trends, never follow.
For those who wonder, my graffiti name was not Mega yet, but Rustr(e) or Core.
I recently took a decision: this year I’m going to paint again.

So be prepared, because I plan to create nothing less than the new definition of what new-school is.

Rustr aka Mega old school graffiti

Rustr aka Mega old school graffiti

Graffiti on a train

Graffiti on a train

Vandalism feels good

Vandalism feels good

Silver urban graffiti

Silver urban graffiti

Aryz
STREET ART OF THE WEEK

Aryz is one of the best street artist from the new generation.

For some reasons, Spain tend to produce the best street artists in the world.
This young artist is another example with his personal and powerful work. I love it. What about you?
More about the Spanish street artist Aryz.

Character design by the Spanish street artist

Character design by the Spanish street artist

Building graffiti

Building graffiti by Aryz

The graffiti characters are really inspiring

The graffiti characters are really inspiring

Aryz paint huge characters on the city walls

Aryz paint huge characters on the city walls

Massive street art painting

Massive street art painting

Rodrigo Level
Interview with the Brazilian street artist

Rodrigo Level is a Brazilian street artist I interviewed for this art blog.

Peace and chaos.
I wouldn’t find better words to describe this land of contrast. Living in Brazil for a year I saw those 10% of the rich brazilian people living in a mental and social ghetto, afraid with the guns, sex, music, soul, friendship, violence and love that you find everywhere in the other 90% of the population. Rodrigo Level is a real artist with both the talent and the brain. His art is beautiful, real, brazilian.
More about the Brazilian street artist Rodrigo Level.

Brazilian graffiti by Rodrigo Level

Brazilian graffiti by Rodrigo Level

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF
My name is Rodrigo Level and I first started to paint the streets in the mid 90’s in my hometown, São Paulo. At first my work was influenced by the traditional graffiti but as I got older new experiences such as living in different cities had an enormous impact in my art. Today I live in a small town in the south of Minas Gerais where I develop my art.



Exhibition of paintings by the street artist Rodrigo Level

Exhibition of paintings by the street artist Rodrigo Level

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
I never worked with a specific message, I believe my eyes reflect like a mirror my daily life, the people who surround me, peace and chaos together. I’m a great observer of myself, everyone and everything around me and all the inversion of values, human behavior and the world we live in are transferred automatically into my art.



Illustration artwork by Rodrigo Level

Illustration artwork by Rodrigo Level

PLEASE SHARE WITH US YOUR WORKING PROCESS
It’s a unique moment when I truly find me, myself and I and all my thoughts, it’s the time I’m able to let go and translate everything I observed before this moment. Not one trace is only a trace, the symmetry reveals the density of the character’s imprisonment. Sometimes these moments are much lighter and free, when I just let the brush run aimlessly trough the canvas to get something dirtier and dense.



HOW DOES YOUR ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE YOUR ART?
My influence comes from the mistake and conflict behind the average human behavior, the need to hide from one’s self, turning life into an endless run from your roots and values.

New school Brazilian street art

New school Brazilian street art

WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
Since an early age I’ve been surrounded by excellent artists who influenced me in one way or another, be it by their actions or art. I’m always open to absorb influences in every way, I’ve always admired and followed the art of artists such as Hebert Baglione, Vitché, Speto and can honestly say that they have influenced me a lot.
Nowadays that relationship has changed but it’s inevitable not to find details that I admire and respect, lately my respect and admiration go to artists like Fernando Chamarelli, Medo & Dementia, Olivier Vrancken, Remed and Fefe Talavera.



Rodrigo Level graffiti.

ANY LAST WORD?
Good Vibrations to all!

Os Gemeos
STREET ART OF THE WEEK

Os Gemeos is an inspiring duo of Brazilian street artists.

Every week, I try my best to bring you a selection of the best Street Art images.
This week, I show you some nice artworks made by the Brazilian duo of artists Os Gemeos.
Gemeos means “Twins” in Portuguese, the language of Brazil.
The street artists are actually identical twin brothers in the real life.
Their artworks built one of the biggest influences in the Brazilian graffiti scene since their beginnings in the late 80’s.

If you want to know more about the leaders of the graffiti scene in Brazil, don’t forget to check my interviews of the legendary Speto and Rodrigo Level.

Their artworks are a clever social comment of Brazilian society, and in the meantime their art is clearly influenced by the folklores and cultures from the country.

Their graffiti have been internationally acclaimed.
Their street paintings have been featured on the walls around the world, and prestigious galleries like the Tate Modern, the Art Basel, and much more.
Os Gemeo’s graffiti are well-know for the huge scales they never hesitate to face.
They often paint the full face of a whole building with a single character.
You have to respect the commitment and dedication it takes to paint such big surfaces..
The street artists from Brazil helped to define what is the best of today’s graffiti.
More about the Brazilian street artists Os Gemeos.

Exhibition by Os Gemeos

Exhibition by Os Gemeos

Whole car train graffiti by the Brazilian duo Os Gemeos

Whole car train graffiti by the Brazilian duo Os Gemeos

Clever street art by Os Gemeos

Clever street art by Os Gemeos

The Brazilian graffiti duo paint a mural in New York

The Brazilian graffiti duo paint a mural in New York

Artwork installation for an exhibition by Os Gemeos

Artwork installation for an exhibition by Os Gemeos