The artist behind the name Suso33 began to give form to the icon for which he’d later become known on the street, at the desk of an art college in North Madrid. It was the end of the ’80s. Graffiti was invading the minds of young people like him, hypnotizing with the message “‘you can do this, it’s in your hands”. And like many others, he enlisted himself in the war that would revolutionize the streets and underground scene in the capital, with the difference being that he had a prodigious imagination.
After passing through every level and style of graffiti, and after earning the respect of writers all over the world, his compulsive character wouldn’t let him conform with the ‘getting up’… he needed something more, needed to fine-tune his efforts so that he could satisfy the creative urge within, and this he formally presented to all of us, using as allies rhythm, words, and images, and leaving the path which he wanted to follow perfectly clear. From then until now, it has been his goal to tirelessly demonstrate in the International Biennials, Centers of Contemporary Art, and other notorious cultural events, his talent as an exceptional creator of the 21st century.
SUSO33 X HARDCORE. “TRAFFICKERS”
How did this project come about?
It was an idea that came from Laneta Productions and Montana Colors‘s creative team; for a while we had been wanting to do a collaboration which wasn’t a conventional video. Videos interest me as an artistic medium and I like to experiment, even with the risk that it entails. This was a chance to try to play and experiment, with the liberty that you get when money isn’t involved; you have all the creative liberty and an artistic result.
What went through your mind when pondering the possibilities that go with painting such a gigantic surface?
I want to start NOW!
You had a clear idea of what you wanted to do from the start?
Yeah, because we already knew we would do the video, though many different ideas did come to mind.
The creation process, when it’s done from night till dawn, seems like an exercise against time. It’s as if everyone leaves you to complete the mission, and then returns when you’re done. What kind of emotions did you experience during the creation process?
It was ntense, hurried, and done close to summertime when there are few hours in the night… it’s a situation that I like, working under pressure, which brings out your natural impulses, as opposed to thinking things through. There’s lots of adrenaline. It’s good to push and test yourself. And, yeah, it was one short summer night of hurried work; and if you take into the account the production hours and close-up filming, and the fact that it rained and that I had to dismantle and collect my things, I only really had 3 hours of painting.
And how did your body deal with all of this tension?
The process is intense; I like it. And I was surprised by my response to that, and my body’s capacity to work under pressure, what it can do in such situations and others in which there’s limited time and different factors. Though sometimes I cause myself damage.
This series of ‘faces’ has identified your work for over almost a decade. How have they evolved with time, and how have you adapted them? Have they changed in the same way that your ‘blots’ have changed since the ’80s, and your ‘silhouettes’ from the ’90s until now?
They’ve increased in size. At first, I did them with human proportions, in the divine proportion, using the body as the compass and the metric unit. Afterwards, I used the fumigator and high-pressure tools, as well as the Hardcore model, which is a high-pressure can that allows me to throw the paint from a distance. It’s a model that I’ve always used frequently.
You’re one of the first people that I’ve seen use the fumigator as a tool for art work on a large scale. When was it that you first encountered this instrument and realized its potential?
I’ve only been using this technique for painting on large surfaces for a few years; I used it for scenery pieces when I was younger.
Like few others, have you benefited from each of the different types of aerosol paint, due to the fact that there they’re all so different and varied?
In 1994, we had a sort of store in Madrid in which we distributed the first Montana products so that we could paint with good products. They asked us about the product so as they could perfect it, but I, amongst others, was just interested in playing and experimenting with the new possibilities which these new tools offered which I couldn’t get elsewhere in my city. That, for me, marked a delineation between ‘before’ and ‘after’ in reference to paint techniques and concepts. For those that used the products, it benefited and influenced us, either directly or indirectly. They created the models which other tried to copy, even though the idea may have seemed crazy or just a dream, as opposed to just a business idea. As they introduced new models and diffusers, I saw different possible applications and developments, and that is something which has enriched the possibilities of my work.
In your representations, you accompany the creation of your art with a series of rhythmic movements, like a dance, which help you to let loose on the wall. Can you describe these sensations to us? For you, what importance does movement and bodily expression have in the creative process?
The creative process is something which makes me feel very much alive, and it may be a key to my work, in a way that the body acts almost as a plastic element in which the work is an action in itself, and the quality of the final result is almost on a second plane, like when I paint for myself in places with certain pressure. Maybe that’s why I experiment with dance as a movement, like some of the heavyweight dancers.
You didn’t create your own website until 2010, and there’s only a small selection of your vast and varied work on there. Did you got ahead of yourself, or did you catch onto the new communication mediums late?
I don’t know… maybe I didn’t have clear aims, and I was more interested in exploring and experimenting in a natural way, without having to create strategies or use discourse to justify something so normal for me.
Your video creations have won awards year after year in some of the main video art competitions, but they can’t be found online. Why is that?
I don’t know why exactly they’re not online, perhaps it’s due to a love/hate relationship with what I called ‘TeleGraffiti’, which makes me question myself repeatedly. Also, they’re creative processes, so I never see them in their final state.
A few months ago the S.G. Crew (Madrid) turned 10. Every year that goes by, the multi disciplined hyperactivity of their members turns more contagious and the group magnifies its effects and presence in the capital city, the rest of Spain, and Europe. This video is a tribute to those guys and to their dedication and love for graffiti.
“It was a weekend journey. You can ask for Friday off work, but no more than that, so you have to be back by Sunday. Technically, we only had Friday and Saturday to hunt down spots to paint.”
“The plan was that the Valencian crew would get in on Friday morning to rent a van, find a place to sleep (no matter how many friends you have, no one’s going to let so many people sleep in their house), buy the paint, find the first spot, and then head to the airport to pick up the rest of the group.”
“As soon as we arrive we see that there’s snow everywhere, with more on the way. It’s freezing cold, and you can’t drive quickly, so we take longer than usual to get to the hostel to finish sorting out the reservation. After we confirm our place to stay, we head to the paint shop but it closes at midday, so we grab something to eat on the same street.”
“First mission: find a spot to start at dusk. We spend a while rambling the streets, and by the time we get to the spot, our feet are already soaked. We paint, with the cold being our only setback; by the time we leave it’s already night time and the cold is even more evident.”
“Driving towards the airport, the rest of the group calls us to say that their flight is canceled because Milan airport had been closed due to the snow, so we turn back around and head off to look at things by ourselves, with little luck. We end up, hours later, in the outskirts of the city, painting a ‘bilevel’ with frozen hands, switching between hands to fill in the color. When we finish, we draw straws to see who’ll be the first have a hot shower before going to sleep.”
“On Saturday, we get up early and, with our shoes still wet, head to a metro spot. We get there and, once inside, right before starting to paint, we hear something at our backs. We turn around, thinking it’s security, but instead we see another writer who’s equally as surprised to see us. We go up to talk to him; we don’t know each other but we have a few friends in common, and after 5 minutes we see lots of other writers arrive, so we agree on time slots, and then begin. It’s incredible to paint during the day, with the light of the sun flooding the hangar. Everything turns out well, we get some good photos, and then head off to eat something.”
“The guys let us know that the metro carriages won’t be in circulation till Monday, and that they’ll take care of taking the photos of when the metro first goes out. It’s now Saturday afternoon and we have to wait till the circulation ends before trying to do something on the private line. Later on, we head off with lots of time to spare, since we don’t know the spot nor if the roads will be blocked off. The thermometer reads minus 11 when we arrive. The worst moment is when you open the car door and put on your wet shoes, knowing that you’ve still a while to go before you get to the train. The up side of it is that hopefully the guard will be thinking the same thing and will stay in his control post.”
“We get in, paint, take photos, and run back to the car. We blast the heating once we’re inside, and then head to the airport. The whole thing went well.”
Special thanks to Vino and Royals Crew for the chronicle. Photographs by DHOS.
* More pictures clicking right here.
Last February, the guys from MIXED MEDIA (ARYZ – GRITO – KIKX – POSEYDON – ROSTRO – RGTD) presented a series of prints in the GKO gallery in the beautiful city of Tolosa (Basque Country). Here it is a short documentary by German Rigol.
Special thanks to: GKo Gallery
Cinematographer: Germán Rigol
Music by: Laura Llopart
Edit & Animation: Scar Studio
* Pictures by Germán Rigol.
This beautiful video comes to us all the way from Poland via the Rabeko Team. Everything starts the way so many other stories do; from the shop (Prosto in Warsaw) to the car, straight to the chosen spot to paint… in this case it was the Koloru gallery. The difference is that in this country the streets are covered in heaps of snow for the first few months of the year. The rest is pure talent from Rater (VHS), Saiko (MMZ), and Ogryz while working on a dope character next to the slogan “Straight Slavic”, along with a wide array of MTN94 at their disposal.
The piece is amazing and doesn’t miss a single detail, like them coming out of the store with one of our catalogues in hand…with a MTN-WORLD ad! Thanks to Bartek and all those involved!
A few weeks ago we discovered Benoit REVERT… and we went public with it. Now he’s back with another amazing project. He edited and produced “From Screen to Spray” with some help from Archie Mcleish. It’s only been up for a few hours on the Net and it’s already one of our favorite videos. This time he recreates the creation process of screen-print and put it on walls. Stamping shirts with chrome as well as ill lines and sparkle on the wall using our 94.
* Music by Black Sheep: ‘Victory’.
This won’t be the last time you hear us talk about REVERT on this blog, we can assure you of that… Thank you Benoit!