It’s really a honor for us to have Blaqk on Greek Street Art. A creative duo based in Athens. Read the interview bellow, two fantastic artists for the weekend…
What have you studied and how did you come up with your name and this collaboration?
Both of us have finished graphic design. Initially we met through a common friend and collaborator, Donforty. We started going together for painting and sometime we said to do both of us a bit and to combine the two different items together. We liked the result and something like this was the beginning in 2011. The name emerged from the connection between black with calligraphy and typography as well as with the purity of forms and contrast. So we picked the name Blaqk which refers to black with the difference that the ’ c ’ was replaced with ’ q ’.
Calligraphy and geometry how did it start the whole project?
With the calligraphy I deal (Gregory) and with the geometry more Simek, though the way we work both on a personal level each other and collaboratively is very similar. The combination of the two elements pulls out a most rich result improving contrast and dynamics of our pieces. At the beginning we started more ’ innocent ’ and somewhat random to combine these two elements, then knowing one another personally and at design we started more seriously and structured to combine them.
In Greek street art you did something completely different and there is no one at least for the time being who can do the same. What are the influences, the teachers and the street artists who you admire?
The influences of both are somewhere common and somewhere different. Generally common considerations are graphic design-architecture-design-calligraphy.
Gregory: Personal influences are calligraphy, painting and some schools of the past like Bauhaus, and abstract expressionism movement etc. , over the last few years great influence has been the Japanese and Chinese calligraphy-painting-philosophy. Greatest inspiration is nature. Like teachers I mention the man who brought me closer to calligraphy and is Vladimir Radibratovic, the last few years I have attended some seminars on the Japanese art of Bokusho with John Karabeli (Yaneo d athenes). Constantly I learn, read and practise on the techniques of calligraphy with my own way. The artists that I like is enough, I won’t mention anyone in particular. More can I say that I admire certain calligraphists – painters and designers of typefaces of the past.
Simek: Beyond some important artists – masters of the past who I admire as M.C. Escher, Frank Stella, Sol LeWitt, and some major schools-movements such as Constructivism, Cubism, Futurism, Bauhaus, a major influence and inspiration comes from architecture, industrial design, urban environment, the nature and the people that are around me. I think that there are many good artists in Greece and the rest of the world and I wouldn’t like to mention some specific.
Collaborations that you have enjoyed and what you earned from them?
Almost all the projects that we have done, made us happy. From the collaborations made with mutual respect only positives can be left and to go ahead. Anyway, our work is based on cooperation.
Is there something you want to tell through your work? All these typefaces in the series say something or you are just concerned about mold and the visual arts?
Through our work we do not want to say anything specific. That we are the source and comes from within us, energizes us and keeps us alert. It’s the way we move and live. Most I think that puts feelings. Sometimes tension and sometimes tranquility, sometimes purity and sometimes dirt, sometimes the chaos within us and outside us.
The walls in Athens have much spray this season. Art or vandalism and if you change something in the Center what would that be?
This season as long before Athens has much spray and color. Somewhere excessive somewhere not, it is certainly understandable and somewhat naturally what happens due to the events and the discontent that prevails. It is quite normal, people want to express themselves, they want to cry, want many which they do not possess. Athens as it has become needs changes at many levels with the exception of some beautiful buildings and neighborhoods of a pastime era that exist and reveal something real and human.
At the other hand it takes a lot of effort and will to change. The problem is that most cities like Athens, I consider that despite living nature, we have forgotten what is nature, fresh air, true communication, the eye sees and travels and not to stop at two meters ahead. We cannot live this way anymore.
In what other European city you’ve designed and what others will like and has not received yet? Ethnicity plays a role in Visual Arts we produce
We designed in various such as Rome, Sicily, Morocco, Munich, Paris, Instabul, Gdynia (Poland) as we had done works in other cities from a distance such as New York, Stockholm etc. We would like to go into some specific places but we are open and we want to travel as much as we can through what we do. Nationality always plays a role, depending on the manners, customs and traditions of each site, we are influenced accordingly.
When you work on a piece, this is designed based on the physical space that surrounds it or do you employ only your individual job?
Is one of our basic ’ rules ’ of our work to adapt our draft based on the point and the physical space that surrounds it. The physical space is the one that affects us and helps us in production of each piece. So they are interrelated.
The aesthetics in the big city all the previous years were formed only by the big companies and the products they wanted to sell – promote. Now we watch a change as we care more public spaces. Architects have specific requirements based on each city. Graphic designers but advertisers not. What do you think about this? We had to operate in frames?
Generally in large cities there is a mess with all the ads that exist. Anyway this is the world we live in, fictitious needs-material goods. There must be specific standards according to each city and it is advisable to operate in frames to have and to keep in time their aesthetics. Conditionally, sometimes it might be good to operate outside frame
Your desk – your cooperation is open to assignments? What projects are undertaken?
We are open. Generally we work on frescoes interior and exterior (façades, indoor), projects in various materials such as paper, canvas, wood, metal, etc. prints and some graphic applications, generally we like to do new things and experimenting.
Some of the works that you see are collaborations.
Contributors: Littll, Seikon, Donforty, Jacyndol
we have forgotten what is nature, fresh air, true communication, the eye sees and travels and not to stop at two meters ahead. We cannot live this way anymore
It is quite normal, people want to express themselves, they want to cry, want many which they do not possess