Barcelona is a great place to see and point out the relation between the Street artists and the government. This article dives a little deeper in the mind of a Street artist. We’ve posted this interview on our blog because this artist has his own interesting perception of streetart and the city.
Read the original Kenor Interview in Spanish
What do you want to express when you paint?
The essence of the village comes from the people. This is our vital space, and we don’t want a grey Barcelona. We exist and nobody asked us for our opinion. This is the unity of the grey. Decorating your own street is something illegal! The worst vandalism, comparable to Franco’s era, nowadays, is painting in grey without asking anyone.
Do you think that if Barcelona had a Banksy, the Government would leave his paintings in the street?
Recently there was a problem with the people and the government because the government had painted a banksy wall in gray (a lot of money lost?) There are people like Banksy in Barcelona. But the problem is that in spain, they instruct us how to live. They don’t want the meetings in the streets, and the skaters are not welcome. They made their own city, and their evolution goes the way they choose, and it also contaminates the future, keeping marks for another kind of culture in our streets. You have to live with their kind of thoughts: the city is much more turned off when it’s only full of shops.
They want to promote only for their interest. What interest do the government have in paying us to paint their parking? the public will think the government is with us, because they give us a place, pay for the paints, and pay the artists. Also there are the break-dancers, even they cannot practice that in the streets. They support for a day the same people they punish to win the sympathy of the young people. This is not support. It’s called despotism.
I’m getting depressed from answering this interview. Everything is depressing. On wednesday I’m going to sevilla, and maybe I don’t return. I cannot feel that: The evolution of a city that goes with government ideals: you cannot eat a sandwich in a park (you will be punished if you do), as an example. We haven’t got cold weather, so we are used to living in the street.
Tell us about painting the parking in Montjuïc for the Government
Our excellence, the government with their four thinking heads, which is also a big dinosaur, when speaks throw fire, demolish our houses and makes daily much more difficult our own lives. Is this government helping in anything? We met on the 5th of july to paint in the parking garage, they want to show the tourists how cool the city is. It’s the most expensive parking in Barcelona. The same people chased by the government were called to paint their parking. This government is full of contradictions. They promote art for the tourism but they hunt us.
We paint in dead places, where they destroy the buildings, demolitions full of garbage, rats and other dead animals, and while the building is not going to be used, the walker can enjoy a painting. And it is his work: a change to better the deteriorated things. They only build, destroy, and build again, and this way, they all can take their big portion of the cake (in spain the big brands directly influence politics). The parking score was: street artists: 5, BCN government: 0. They don’t want us and they invite us to their courtyard.
What about the actual situation in Barcelona?
The other day I saw a train end to end, top to bottom, whole car in vinyl to advertise for a brand. That is not vandalism. For money they copy us, and for money they can make a party in the middle of a park, put a big big advertisement in the middle of Plaza Cataluña. As all the cities in the world nowadays, everything is moved for the money.
What about the relationship between the artist and the laws. Does it make lots of problems?
This stupid law made by four friends, are destroying our reality. It’s walking in reverse. They have lost 30 times the money they use to spend on cleaning graffiti. It’s like 1920. The cowboy is a reality, as an example. We are indigenous. This is the west and the people go as they want. The people must express themselves, because if not they become repressed. This is the art in the streets.
Also there is the other way, we decorate the prisions (galleries) because we don’t want to work for others and live a factory life, and we eat, shit, sleep. We have to paint for money. The gallery is only in my life in order to live from my own work. Galleries are money and nothing else. The buyers want to have the list of prices and that shit. I look them as dolls in my kaleidoscope.
An exhibition here in Barcelona is a zoo full of characters without culture and any artístic education for example. It’s people that come to stay a time there in the gallery. To have relationships and think they are cool. Oh! we drank 2 beers at the Os Gemeos exhibition! Each thursday we have monkeys at Iguapop and Montana gallery, they are at the exhibition eating peanuts, in caves. Their caves. I have been at Iguapop and I have seen Boris Hoppek! an invention of the brands as were the Spice Girls. Without painting on the street the brands show him as a representation of our art!.
You don’t enjoy your own exhibitions?
All is a lie: The art has been done to promote the culture, not to make parties. Promoting the art is another thing. It’s not JB company and his 4 drunks that like your drawings. The people must be educated. A brand puts money to advertise themselves with urban art, for example Barcelona. In the middle there are people, like the Rojo boss, who takes the money.
After that the artists, who have vital needs are manipulated. The publicity is in the newspapers, and it’s very cool to attend because they give you a drink, and a bag of promotion. They throw parties full of people. It’s easy to move people when you have the money. The result is that many of the visitors don’t appreciate the culture or the art. JB wants to have their own addicts, and Rojo too, enjoying their “artistic career”. It’s concluded with bigger party, and a lot of drunks. A lot for appearance and nothing for the art. It’s a present with 1000 *wrappings*.
Why do you feel this way about Rojo magazine?
They have used my name to make bigger than 1000 *wrappings*, without telling me anything. I have had to read the newspapers for information about my events, without me participating. The roman empire is nothing next to them. and they do it all as big commerce: the little stores, or galleries, must go and close, because the big ones finish them.
As always, the fewer intermediaries, the better. Maybe we will have to make a large cooperative of artists. United and without intermediaries. I can never again be deceived. They give you an apple with a worm inside. This worm sells your art, but you don’t see any money, and your pieces get contaminated. This turns off the senses.
Street Artist Interview: Elkenor was published by BCN Style. This interview was translated by BCN Style.
Be sure to check out www.elkenor.comSources: BCNstyle, Interview with street artist kenor. Consulted October 7, 2011, 2011. From: http://bcnstyle.ekosystem.org