Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday ProFile: Señor X

Señor X’s pieces may be in the streets, but don’t call him a graffiti artist. “I prefer the term street art,” he says, “because it encompasses many things and more. I think it has more to do with what I do.” 
He’s been bombing streets in Spain and around the world for the past five years. During this time, he’s never experienced a negative reaction from the community. “One of the things that surprised me is that no one has told me what I’m doing is wrong,” he says. “I have seen older people and people from all sorts of social classes and none of them believe what I’m doing is vandalism. I think that the authorities should take note and do something about it.” 
However, Señor knows that not everyone views street art with such rose colored glasses. “On the one hand,” he says, “Street artists have a high aesthetic value that I see at any other level of conventional art. It’s a shame that you have to do it in hiding. On the other hand, there are people who bomb over everything they can: furniture, inhabited buildings, stone, windows, vans. I personally believe this activity harms the image of street art in the eyes of society.” 

To avoid tarnishing street art’s already disputable reputation, Señor avoids painting on new or clean buildings. “One rule I follow is to not harm anybody with what I do,” he adds. “I look for façades of ruined houses or walls beyond disrepair. I also take into account the visibility of the area.” Once he finds a suitable location, he spruces up the wall with stencils and wheatpastes of all kinds.

Señor X is driven to create art because of the joy he experiences when he finds a piece. “I love going down the street and suddenly stumbling upon a piece of street art,” he explains. “For a moment, I am happy. It breaks up the monotony of brick and concrete and makes you think or smile. The important thing is that you are not left feeling indifferent. I seem to succeed fairly well.” 
Señor X’s bombing style may seem haphazard, but his pieces are actually carefully planned. “The subjects are never random. They are things that have been maturing for some time until I am ready to go. I like the idea of interacting with the urban environment. Some of the locations are chosen in advance and ideas are designed specifically for that environment; some aren’t.” These ideas come to him in different ways. “Sometimes you have a small idea that is evolving and has turned into something completely different. Others look totally clear from the start. You’ll walk by a location and think of something that would be perfect there. It is usually in bed before sleep, where I get the best ideas.” 

Hopefully, those Stage 1 brainstorms will come through for Señor X because he has big plans for the rest of the year. “I have been invited to go to London to paint in a concert hall,” he says. “Its walls are decorated by different artists from time to time and I think I have an interesting idea.” In the future, he hopes that street art will continue to grow and flourish. “People need places to paint more freely within the city,” he insists, “but these places must be free, not assigned. Thus these spaces become dynamic and enrich the urban living environment. When issuing fines, the city should also distinguish between people who are doing something good for the city and those who are destroying it.” 

For more info, check out Señor's blog or his Flickr page. Gracias, Señor, and have a great weekend, everyone!

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