Iakovos Volkov \ Talks

Special Iakovos Volkov! Born in Russia, first in Thessaloniki and later in Athens begins to create using Spray. He quickly changes into other materials, making colorful installations, mostly in abandoned areas.

Where are you from, how did you end up in Greece? Do you think your origin ·has affected your work? Have you studied anything related to visual arts?
I come from Novorossiysk of Russia. I came with my mother and my brother after a three day trip in 1991. I don’t believe my origin has affected my work more than the place and the circumstances of life. I have a degree in thermohydraulics that’s irrelevant to the field of art but it may as well proved useful.

How did you decide to move from Thessaloniki to Athens? Most describe their first days at the center as chaotic. Fast pace of life terribly anxious people. Is there anything good about urban culture after all?
In May 2014, I participated in the ‘No Respect’ exhibition at the Onassis cultural center.That’s where I met Cacao Rocks and Billy Gee who urged me to make an exhibition at the Sarri Gallery 12. I tried to stay in Athens two years before in 2012 but I didn’t socialized as I wished I had and thus I decided to return at my parents’ house. I already had a kind of experience so I wouldn’t say I was amazed, it’s just that the city is bigger than Thessaloniki comparatively to the town-plan and the population. I like the chaos and the buzz of the city. It has something that appeals to me.

Aesthetics in the urban public space used to be shaped by the huge products’ advertising campaigns. Now this has changed and the center is now full of tags, visuals, messages and more. How much does all this affect the everyday life of the citizen?
if you asked me some years ago, I would say I don’t care that much. Now though I think It’s a little dull and somewhat tedious, especially because of the tags.

You started out with the traditional materials of a street artist but quickly changed into others. How did this transition go, and why do you do this? Is there a message you want to pass in the world?
There was a period in my life that I faced some financial difficulties and I had to find other ways to create besides spray. So I started gathering various materials I was finding in factories, roads and next to rubbish bins. Creating and making things in general is the main reason I do what I do. I can’t stand the inactivity.

Where do you find so many clothes and how difficult is that? Describe us the process you follow for the placement of the articles of clothing.
I had gathered the first clothes from Elliniko area next to the old airport where refugees used to stay. Some others next to rubbish bins and the rest from what people had left at the bazaar of Elaionas. When it comes to sculptures I have to buy some from the bazaar as I can’t often find children’s clothes on the streets and they can really be easily handled with the glue I use.

It seems like you give at second handed objects an other chance. Is it a conscious choice? How do the words you create are relative to the clothes themselves, fabrics, wire…?
At the beginning this was somehow the goal but personally creating is more important. Along the way, I reduced the words but I never stopped using them.  It’s the most direct way of expression. The place I visit more often has pushed me to create more abstract installations.

Your job is a category itself in Greece. Large, colorful installations in abandoned buildings. How easy was it to assimilate at the already existing Greek scene?
I don’t know whether it could be relevant to the greek scene in general and I wasn’t intending to achieve something like that. It’s just something I feel the need to do which offers me satisfaction.

How difficult is it to create in public space? Have you experienced dangerous or even pleasant and funny incidents?
Until now, I had no problems, especially because people wouldn’t mind me painting on an abandoned factory.

Collaborations that you have distinguished? Future business plans?
I prefer working alone as I feel more concentrated. A collaboration that I could point out is Anabel Jujol at a festival in Essen, Germany.

In 10 years from now?
Things are uncertain, but for the time being everything is going smoothly.

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