Donforty \ Talks

Graphic designer – artist from Chalkis based in Valencia (Spain) and Athens. He creates in the public space, mainly in abandoned factories and houses with the nickname Donforty for Vangelis Sarantaris. Illustrations of animals, birds and other elements on a large or smaller scale for the purpose of repositioning them to their natural habitat that’s increasingly destroyed by the human factor.

When does your relation with visual arts begins? Have you studied anything when it comes to this subject?
My relation with visual arts begins during adolescence, same time I started graffiti, when learning and exploring various things lead me to graphic design.

When did you begin to create in public space? How does something like that comes up and which is the need that nothing else fulfills?
I started to create in public space almost 15 years ago in Chalcis. Back then it was a relatively clean city where people doing graffiti were very few. It was when I met Simek, Tensa and Snake that my journey began and  we started painting and hanging out. Creating something on public space lies with your need to interact with the city, express yourself, interfere and leave your mark, time by time you get addicted while continuing your artwork.

Are there any required conditions for you to choose your place of work? Is visual art related to the surrounding area?
In the past few years I prefer either abandoned buildings or factories, their sense of decay deriving from time and damages caused by nature has something that appeals to me. I like being in a place that once had life but no one cares about it anymore, I enjoy the calmness there. Most of the times I don’t really know what to do, although I know the exact  feelings I want to express. I search for the perfect spot and I begin to draw based on the feeling within, the place and the its vibe.

Graffiti, street art and mural art. What is the difference between the three of them? Where do you place your self?
There are certainly differences but now I see them simply as labels and I wouldn’t like to label myself, what matters is doing something that I need while it makes me happy.

Representations of nature, animals but mainly birds. What has attracted so much your interest that makes your love for them so great?
I opt to focus on nature rather than on people. Every species has its own characteristics, assets, defects and feelings. So I somehow started to give them a more symbolic meaning, a kind of rearrangement through the place from which they seem to have disappeared.

Small pieces – lines which repeat themselves and become bigger visuals with a lot of detail. Describe us the stages of your work.
On this period of my life I draw motives being affected by nature. They usually are combinations of small sticks  which create a chaotic effect. At the beginning I observe my space and approximately decide where the setup and the balances will be and I begin to build it. Other times I start with a small piece and I slowly enrich it to have a result until at some point I decide to stop. In the majority of times though the result isn’t what concerns me the most rather than the joy of the journey.

The past few years you’ve changed your base and you stay permanently in Spain. What’s the cause and which are the essential differences in relation to the visual art in Greece?
They both are Mediterranean countries so there are obviously many similarities and essential differences mostly existing at the matter of acceptance. In Spain art is part of the education. Several visual events that someone can watch for different tastes happen and it’s important that a parent can take the child from a young age to an exhibition or an action. Respect in art exists whether something is likeable or not.In Greece we are less organized which has its pros and its cons. Many times criticism is on the brink of irrationality, it focuses on irrelevant issues and we lose the essence.

What’s something you miss and something you don’t from Greece?
I miss the Sunday painting with my friends unlike the sound of the horn.

Your last exhibition took place in Poland, apart from the painting part, there was installation too. Essentially it was an overall experience connected with nature offered to the visitor. Tell us some words about it, is there any chance to bring this exhibition generally in Europe?
Installations are something I adore, my first thoughts are to interfere in a space in this specific way but you are not often given the opportunity to do it. I don’t want the viewer to experience a simple walk between drawings, I prefer to add elements that will stimulate them, to move in a more vivid space. The exhibition was a presentation of what I’ve been working for the last year. I always try to do various things in which the main logic behind them might be the same but every experience is different like every different place.

In ten years from now?
The journey goes on.

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Some artworks above are collaborations with: Blaqk, Boohaha, SImek, Greg Papagrigoriou

Photography by: Dimitris Vasiliou (shape On you), Dimitris Bouras, Alka Murat, Despi Naka

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