As a 10-year-old kid growing up in Athens, Woozy was intoxicated (both literally and figuratively) with graffiti. “I remember the spray effects and the dizziness of the toxic inhalations that I felt after painting,” he laughs. Graffiti books and movies from the U.S. flooded into Greece and encouraged him to paint outdoors.When he grew up, he attended art school and spent his spare time spray-painting everything. While balancing student life and street art can be demanding, he’s found the time to bomb France, Brazil, China, Thailand, Italy, England, Germany, Holland, Portugal, and Spain. “For me, traveling around the world is a great pleasure,” he insists. “It helps me express my views and interact with other cultural elements and people I come across.”
While urban spaces can be hostile, Woozy recognizes that they are an integral part of his work. “As you grow up, you can see that you enjoy illegally creating art,” he says, “but you can also judge things in a more mature way. The more you observe, the more you realize your creation is a product of the surrounding environment.”
One of Woozy’s favorite painting experiences took place abroad in São Paolo. “During my stay, I was influenced by society’s local structure and the intense social inequalities,” he recalls. “I attempted to add color to the big, grey surfaces. I wanted to inspire hope and change by adding a drop of paint to an endless grey reality. The potential audience is huge, too, because so many millions of people live there.”
While the action of street art is a radical statement, Woozy doesn’t believe his pieces are particularly revolutionary. “I don’t have the ambition to be the one who radically changes things with one intervention,” he insists. “I’m not someone who can successfully judge all issues. I try to be modest and make people think and analyze rather than just offering up complete conclusions.” The medium’s danger combined with a city’s unpredictable streets push Woozy to paint everywhere.
Woozy's 2010 is completely packed so far. This year, he’s planning a big exhibition in Athens and challenging new installations. In the future, he hopes to travel to Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. “I love communicating and interacting with local cultures and civilizations,” he explains. “I consider this a key part of my work; those elements are the basis of my perception and inspiration.”
Thanks, Woozy! For more photos, take a peek at his website. This weekend calls for warm weather, football get togethers, prom chaperoning, and a celebration for one of my best friends who's moving in a week. I can only imagine the exhaustion I'll feel Monday, but I've had practice so I think I can deal. Enjoy!