Returning to the regular flow of interviews on Antonis Hambas’ work. Self taught artist creates portraits and illustrations in the urban landscape following his instincts and returning to his passion, as he mentions.
Have you studied anything in relation to visual arts? If not how did you got engaged with this sector?
If I told you I did my first painting exhibition at the age of 7 in my house and everything was sold out you’d laugh and yet it’s true. Unfortunately, my career as an artist and the appearance of my work started in 2011.
Do you remember your first artwork in public space? How did you felt and how did people respond?
My first piece in public was as a teenager when I was 16 in Mati of Attica, as I designed and draw the logo of our supposed gang “Acid Pigs”. As a first serious piece in 2015 I was fortunate to work with the top Ino and Leonidas Giannakopoulos at a school in Piraeus. It was really an unusual experience to hear so many nice reviews from the world because it was the first time people I didn’t know were interacting with my art. That made me fall in love with street art.
Even though your pieces aren’t plenty, your artwork has managed to become well known. How do you think this has come to be?
That’s unfortunately something I can’t say for myself… I couldn’t know nor imagine why it’s happening… Perhaps it’s because I don’t exhaust my audience by doing always something different.
Illustrations, portraits … which are your main sources of inspiration?
The man of the city and his personal moments, his psychology… Through this I express myself and I want to believe it includes others’ sentiments and points of view too.
Do you live near the city center? What do you think about the urban lifestyle?
I’ve grown up in the city… I believe that art contributes in world’s psychology, the need exists… People take the law in their hands to change the city, this is happening all over the world. Art always interweave with culture and history though they never provide it the needed space to evolve… This is why art takes revenge.
Athens is characterized by many as the new Berlin regarding fine arts. Are there in your opinion any similarities and if not what do you think should change to move on this direction?
Crisis always helps the arts to evolve. I guess money should be out of the picture in order for art to evolve. The times we are going through will be estimated as a creative period for Greece and will definitely result to a better future. We must overcome the decay.
Many describe street artists as untamed personalities and same goes for their artwork on the streets. Without a particular begging or end. Which is your opinion since you are a part of this team?
Unfortunately or not, half of the street art magic lies with the illegal, it exists within its culture. The only one who can change this is the state. I believe that in a while street art won’t be separated from the rest of the arts. Street art is definitely the way of communication those kids need. State should give to street art space to evolve, something that necessarily will happen. Street art shows that art is now at the brink and graffiti is like a breath of fresh air.
We definitely need more color in the cities. Is street artists’ work capable of changing the everyday life of their citizens?
Art will prove itself that it needs to enter the city and clean up the dirt left by the state.
What other occupations do you have? Do you make a living out of your job as a muralist? Is it easy for someone to ensure the necessary only from artworks in Greece?
I only do murals right now… I would say that it’s possible though very difficult, given the state’s and society’s indifference to the artists. It’s equally difficult to get by as an artist as it is for someone to become rich in any other way.
In ten years from now?
I hope I’ll still be creative.
The times we are going through will be estimated as a creative period for Greece and will definitely result to a better future. We must overcome the decay.
Unfortunately or not, half of the street art magic lies with the illegal, it exists within its culture. The only one who can change this is the state.