The Eastern European bloc doesn't receive nearly as much press as its Western counterpart. That's a shame, because writers like Lunar know how to hustle. This Zagreb native reps Croatia with pride but also takes his pieces to the far corners of the globe. While he's painted in Vietnam, the USA, and most countries in Europe, he insists he doesn't have a favorite. "I could speak about the good side of cities for days," he says, "but I think one of the keys to a great city is if you have friends there or you're traveling with good people. If it's only you, it's not nearly as good."
Lunar hasn't always travelled the globe, but he embraced his artistic side at an early age. "My parents fed my imagination with crayons and markers," he recalls. "When my dad taught me my letters, he created a blackboard and drew a noun starting with the letter, like "A is for automobile." When his parents weren't looking, Lunar doodled on his closet's walls. As he grew older, he took these sketches to the street. Copping his name from the ZX Spectrum game "Lunar Jetman," he completed his first solo piece in 1993 and never let up. "I felt an adrenaline rush every time I tagged or painted illegally," he confessed. "It used to be like that until the end of the '90s. Then I started focusing on work, not just experience."Solo pieces were cool, but Lunar liked painting more when he was with others. He's rolled with YCP since 1992 and collaborated with Croatia's Blackout Crew and Germany's GBF. Sometimes, he even paints with his brother. "Being out there with people you love, sharing a passion for painting, travelling, and living life with no prejudice are what drive me," he insists. "I'm meeting interesting people and I have the opportunity to work side by side with other artists I admired as a kid. It's like a game where I'm collecting experience points. Every time I rack up points, I upgrade to the next level.
Sometimes, the streets get pretty hectic. In the '90s, Lunar spent many nights in jail and knows how dangerous graffiti can get. "One of my worst experiences happened in Osijek, one of my favorite cities," he explains. "I'd been painting in that city for about 15 years. This time, four of other from other cities met up with two local friends. On the way to the city centre at night, we were surrounded and attacked by a big group of local football supporters. Luckily, we got out alive."
In spite of the risks, Lunar says writing is worth it. Writing opened doors for new opportunities, like designing CD covers for friends and painting internationally. At the end of the day, Lunar just wants to be happy. "I don't like sterile things," he argues, "and I get goosebumps from the idea of living in a cage. A boring life is a cage which results in frustration, anger, and aggression towards yourself or someone else." Through writing, he keeps it spicy and always changes up the tempo.
"It's hard to predict precisely where street art will go," Lunar adds, "but I strongly believe that the people who invest their work and love into the medium will reap sweet fruits and their work will look amazing." To the next generation, Lunar advises, "Think and work. No matter what you're doing in life, it's important to think about what you do, why you do it, and to be persistent. Talent is an important part of making that choice, but persistence is key. You must develop and evolve in order to get on top and stay there."
Thank you, Lunar! That first photo up there is mine; I snapped it in Amsterdam back in 2007, so I was super psyched when I got an e-mail from him. For more photos, check out his website. This week seemed super long, so I'm looking forward to a post-conference rocking out session. Snow won't stop me!