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.