Thursday, October 1, 2009

September 2009: Escif in Valencia

Escif's work toys with your expectations and throws off viewers with unexpected flourishes. As a woman slashes her wrists, doves spurt out instead of blood. On another wall, a couple embraces in a pile of fish. (What?) Tourists photograph giant entities carrying eyeballs and cats use the W.C. just like people. In Escif's world, forgetting convention is the only way to make sense of it all. Today, he fills in the gaps about how he got to this point. He writes:
"I live in Valencia, but I try to travel whenever it's possible. I'm 29 years old and I started painting in the streets in 1997. I was influenced by some friends who were graffiti writers. At the beginning, I started doing traditional graffiti pieces. Two years later, I studied fine arts at university and my ideas about painting in the streets progressively changed."
"I attempt to reflect thoughts that I have in my life: concerns, conflicts, and contradictions. I attempt to highlight some hidden mechanisms in power strategies from the post-capitalist system in which we live. You can build a critical focus out of seemingly normal situations."
"I am influenced by many things in my daily life. Fortunately, I have been influenced by many artists like Dibo, Os Gemeos, Logan, Herbert, San, and Blu, as well as many others. Besides admiring their work, I admire them as people; they're really great friends.Conceptual artists have also influenced me, like Mauritzio Cattelan, Santiago Sierra, or Teresa Margolles. Over the years, I've tried to make my style simpler. I would like to make the concept the focus and keep technique in the background, balancing concept, poetry, technique, and context. To paint walls, I use plastic and sprays paint. I like to use wall texture on my compositions."
"I usually paint alone. I really love to paint alone, but I also enjoy working with other artists. Eight years ago, I joined a group called XLF. Each member has its own style, but we work well together. XLF is not only a graffiti crew; we are a group of friends who shared a love for street art. I try to stay informed about what happens in my surroundings. I think it's very important to be aware of what's going on in the world. People should form their own opinions about it. I believe the world could be better if each person developed their own criteria about what's happening in the world around them. Paying attention to conflicts is difficult, but it's necessary if we want to build a better world. Through my work, I try to give my vision of different conflicts. Street art has a big potential because everybody can see it without going to museums or galleries. The street is a very powerful tool. Politicians and businesses constantly mangage citizens. Street art can be used as a tool to combat this management. It's away to build the city from the bottom up, from the people who really live there."

Gracias, Escif! For more photos and info, check out his Flickr. For folks in the Hartford area, I think I'm going to the Tanlines show at the Atheneum tonight. If you're going, come and find me! I'll probably be wearing obscenely crazy leggings and snapping photos all around.

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