24 years old. Barcelona. Impatient, resentful, and critical; would be the less nice description of him, but the impression that we get is the contrary; an open person with an intense look that analyzes all around him…and he doesn’t mince his words.
He studied graphic design and worked in the skating section of Decathlon in France for a number of years, designing boards, stickers, and such. Now, he works with his brother in the ‘RRarmy Studio‘ and runs the website for the Finerats magazine.
A fan of manga (‘Fullmetal Alchemist’)and TV series (Breaking Bad); this is Edjinn. Enjoy the journey.
* Read the interview clicking right here.
They say you have to grab the bull by the horns. El Mac in Tudela de Navarra (Spain) at the Avant-Garde and then Barcelona? What brings him here? Is he going to paint one of those huge portraits of his on a wall at the Montana factory and possibly do a few other things!?
We used this opportunity to get to know El Mac and interview him. Fortune was smiling upon on us and we met up with El Mac in the person.
This writer prefers painting at night. We found him asleep on some cardboard boxes in a corner at the Montana factory on the first day of work because he was “watching over his grapes” all night long. He really showed us that aside from all the labels he is a super dedicated to what he does; trying always to reach humanity and the ideal of beauty with each one of his pieces.
Here are a few pieces of his reality…
How did you get into graffiti?
My mother is an artist and I was always drawing as a child. I started doing graffiti in ’94, more or less. When I first started I wasn’t sure if it was going to be one of those fling things, or if I was going to be into it for the rest of my life. I don’t really believe there is much difference between doing murals and graffiti. There’s a clear distinction, but they come from the same roots.
I got my start painting out in the street thanks to some guys I went to school with. I saw them tagging and the book Subway Art,… thats what really set it off for me.
What would you say the first link in your creative chain is?
I always listen to music when I paint: jazz, music from the 60′s, 70s, stuff that’s got rhythm.
What attracts you most when you’re walking through the street?
It depends on the city. For example, in Barcelona I look at the buildings, the graffiti, and peoples’ faces. Amsterdam is another city with a lot of culture, though the whole red light district strikes me as pretty interesting, I like to look at the buildings and the gargoyles there.
Do you have a plan?
You mean a five year plan? HA!
I guess I mean to ask if you have been headed in a particular direction since you got started?
Well, life is full of surprises, but ever since I knew that I wanted to dedicate myself to art some way or another whether it was graffiti, murals, or paintings, I wanted to paint for the people so they could have something to look at. That has always been a big part of my life.
What are your strong and weak points and what might be your biggest challenge?
I have problems organizing my time between my work and my life. When I’m painting I put everything aside and totally focus on what I’m doing. I think I paint really slow. I’d like to be able to paint faster and make better use of my time.
When one begins to paint, there’s a type of freshness and a sort of innocence they have, that with time, technique always seems to transform… how has your transformation been?
When I started I never thought much about concepts nor ideas, because I love to paint and I felt that I was learning on my own about body, and shading, etc… But recently I’ve been working on the abstract angle of my paintings, giving them a bit more soul.
Is that what you want to convey? Your paintings are generally gentle, and very human-like, and if there´s any criticism is “smooth like silk”.
I’ve painted some real ugly, negative and dark stuff. It is part of my sensitivity, but I feel it is my responsibility to demonstrate positivity to the people, stuff that elevates the spirit to get them inspired.
I like dark stuff, like Goya’s art… it’s hard realism. Sometimes I do things like that, but I´m an idealist and I like to do things that convey perfection.
How have you developed your technique?
In the beginning I had almost an airbrusher technique, smoother and more refined, but after years of painting in the dark with out seeing what I was doing, that changed. I started seeing photos of fatcap lines in portraits of friends and others, and hundreds of mexican farmworkers.
Are you very critical of yourself?
I´m the worst, I´m so critical of myself.
Which artists do you admire?
I’ve recently seen some new stuff done by Aryz and Os Gemeos, and a bunch of graff writers that are doing a lot of very good work, though my biggest inspirations come from the more classic artists such as mexican muralists like Ribera and Siqueiros. Jorge González Camarena is one of my favorite muralists. They were doing an earlier version of what we’re doing right now. It was art that wasn’t necessarily for the rich or for some religious organization. They were doing a huge part of social work with their art.
Apart from the muralists, I like the masters. Caravaggio, Miguel Angel, Vermeer… I could go on and on.
What do you think about the controversy over painting on public property… respectful or not?
Public space is public space. I have a problem with people that hit up on churches, monuments, and peoples homes, but we live in cities and in essence, if you´re going to paint in a public area, my opinion is that you should do it as best you can, even though you are risking it. It’s not only out of respect for others but for yourself. If you tag, do it nice. Practice your writing style, it represents who you are. No one was born knowing everything.
There’s another thing as well. They’re trying to shut down everything in cities like Barcelona and Los Angeles. Wherever you want to paint you have to ask for a permit, even if it’s a private job. Thats why the murals are disappearing and now it’s all bombed out. I don’t have a problem with that at all, I like it, seriously, but I´m a bit sad to see everything else go.
What do you lose sleep over?
Good question. Well, normally I work a lot and have that problem, maybe that’s why I work so much.
What makes you feel like you are at your best?
In general I feel good good after I do something good, an art pieces, something good for my friends (maybe I could do more), and when people come up to me and tell me they like what I do.
What do you like more, painting big or small?
I prefer to paint big, or as big as possible.
What do you looking for in a can?
I want it to cover nice; it has to be thick. I use a fatcap for my technique because I need it to make a perfect circle but empty.
I have a lot of things to do. I am very fortunate for the opportunities I have, to do what I do, and I’m able to travel and all. Soon I´m going to Mexico where I’m really looking forward to painting, getting to know the culture, and the people. I have a few prospects here in Barcelona in a gallery next year as well as another show coming up next year in L.A.
* Special thanks to Musa for the interview, MTN Team and Jorge Gerada (Avant-Garde) for make it happen, Mar Roig for the pictures and, of course, to El Mac for giving us this amazing gift… A video will follow soon.
The 3rd Estria Battle of the 2011 season took place on September 3 at the Honolulu Academy of Arts, in Honolulu, HI. 12 artists battled it out, KATCH1 took 1st place, and Ckaweeks came in 2nd. Both competed in the battle finals in Oakland. More info at Estria Battle website.
Thanks to all the Estria Battle Production Team for the incredible work you are doing.
7 days and 7 nights is the amount of time these three local artists; Serge Nidegger “Lowrider”, Giom, Michel FR, along with HONET from Paris; took to paint 700m2 wall of the Fri-Son concert hall. Paint and sweat in abundance went into this great feat, and here at Montana Colors we did our bit to help.
We need more events like this to invade urban spaces with color!