Street artist with a degree in architecture and certainly a pioneer. He signs his yellow characters as b. While online you can also find him as “this is my b. world.”
How do you begin to create in public space? Do you remember your first piece and the feelings that followed?
I’ll usually walk through the city and instinctively notice the walls I like. Many times I may like a neighborhood which will lead me to search in this direction for walls. I prefer an old dirty wall in a building with architectural interest rather than a clean white wall that I’d never notice. After many tags from place to place, usually in in Kypseli and Patisia, I made my first piece in a wall of my school and I still recall the high adrenaline even though when I think about it now I realize there was no need to worry since no one would’ve seen me there.
With the yellow figures you gain great popularity, relatively quickly. Those involved in visual and applied arts are searching for your pieces in the city. What would you say stood out at that time?
At that time I was constantly in a state of painting in the city and searching for walls, when this field was quite open for us. I can’t say it was pre – planned to create the yellow figures. It was when I realized that yellow and black made a massive difference on the old walls I used to paint and after some experimental stencils I did, when I began to make some freehand figures with paintbrush on the wall. I loved its freedom in contrast to stencils and sprays since I could adapt my designs to any wall I wanted. Another important element that helped me was the selection of walls in areas such as Psyrri, Kerameikos and Metaxourgeio and the idea that someone would walk on a path seeing a series of works on the walls.
How much does luck actually help an artist in his process and how much his own character? I mean you’re a creator who’ve traveled a lot abroad to do what you love which I imagine is far from easy and requires sacrifices.
Everything plays a role, I believe that the artist and especially the street artist must have persistence and continuity in what he does, follow it faithfully and never stop trying. It’s certainly not easy and it requires great courage to leave and try to create in a city abroad. Everything is completely different and I’ve been in difficult and dangerous situations where I said to myself: “What am I doing now, should I do back?” but I continued without giving up.
Have you ever been afraid on any of your trips? So much that you wouldn’t go back and why?
Yes, there were times I was afraid, particularly in places like the favelas in Rio where I saw children holding Kalashnikovs and cocaine bags in their hands or in Tokyo in yakuza-controlled areas. Though there were times in Athens when I was afraid too. When I come to think about it now, there are some things I might never repeat, but when you live on the exact moment it’s different as you may not realize the danger that exists.
Exhibitions in New York, Tokyo, London… Is it possible for someone to make a living by doing exhibitions abroad? What’s the difference in your opinion with those in Greece?
Nowadays that a more global field in street art is shaped, it’s easier for an artist to exhibit abroad in comparison to the old days. Certainly I believe that after devoting a great amount of time and work on it someone can make a living out of the exhibitions, but it takes responsibility and professionalism like in every other specialty of course.
Having this blog for some years now I’ve met people with a strong belief that graffiti, tags, street art generally can’t be considered as art but vandalism. On the other hand art critics remain hesitant and possibly snob. An other topic worthy of discussion is Athens becoming the new Berlin… ☺ What do you think of all this?
I share the view that it covers the entire spectrum starting from vandalism to art. We can’t characterize all the street works in the same way. World of art has now accepted street art, maybe 10 years back hesitations existed but not any more. Athens becomes the new Athens, I don’t think it turns into a new kind of Berlin since the characteristics of them two of are much different. Nevertheless I believe that we are on track despite the great difficulties we all know and experience here.
Going out and paint on certain areas like Exharchia, Psyrri, Metaxourgio is almost legal. Doesn’t Street art culture however consists the sense of the unexpected? Meaning that something will be created in a wall where the citizens don’t expect it so that it will affect them somehow?
In each region there is a phase when not everything is completely covered in paint , I find it to be its best phase. Of course there are areas where like you say it’s almost legal but there are also areas that begin to gain interest. I think it’s better for someone to be able to observe the walls recognizing something new that recently happened.
When it comes to this point of your life you continue creating with claims, silently. Your work has evolved like your personal life. How much do the pictures a visual artist produce change when he starts a family and how much and in which way does the coming of your daughter has affected you?
I always feel that an artist should follow his obsessions, but also his experiences to create, without overthinking situations. The fact I have a family and have become a father has affected me on being more sensitive as a person and reevaluate important things in my life and my work.
In 10 years from now?
I hope to continue traveling and painting in various places around the world. Evolving as an artist and doing what I love.