Saturno and Harry Bones are part of a type of graffiti that’s difficult to classify. It’s a type of graffiti artist that is considered to be a part of the discipline, but their work isn’t based on the modifying of letters, but on an image.
Saturno is already a veteran in the aerosol world and his name is among the best in European realistic graffiti artists. Harry Bones, whose career isn’t quite as long winded is following a similar path with a more personal and spontaneous style. We’ve interviewed them both at the same time to try to get to know the different personalities behind each name.
-Who are you?
Saturno: Saturno AKA the CREATTER.
Since I was a child I always liked to draw. The walls painted in “graffiti” in the big cities I visited with my parents or on school trips always surprised me (I’m from a small town where there wasn’t any graffiti). It was the year 1994 and I was 14 years old when I started to do what I’d always wanted to do since I was a kid; paint in the street like they did in the city.
–Harry Bones: I’m Harry Bones, when I began in 2001 I wrote Bone, and decided to modify it years later because Bone was a pretty typical graffiti name. Unerl is the person responsible for getting me to start painting, and the one who taught me about bombing; since then we’ve always been linked through graffiti and being in the same crews. The most significant one for the two of us is P.Crew. That one started around 2004-2005 (I’m not too sure) and we were a group of teenagers from Sabadell who were all born in 1987. Today we’re the only two that are still active.
During all these years I’ve met writers who have influenced and helped me to become the artist I am today. Power and Krane especially guided me during my teens, showed me the way, and took me outside of Sabadell to get to know other places, events, and people.
–What do crews mean to you both? What level of involvement do you have in crews?
S: I don’t have a crew. I’m a person who does things on my own and being tied in a certain way to a crew forces you to a level of commitment that I’d rather not have. I prefer to paint when I want and with whoever I want to, where I can, and when I can. I respect crews in graffiti, and the fact that I’m not in one doesn’t mean the contrary.
HB: Each crew means different things for me.
P.Crew is innocence, growth, maturing, and eternal youth. We’ve been together a long time, we grew up together – as “people”, and as artists. We’ve had times when we were more or less productive, but all three of us always gave it our all (Unerl and Masive). With walls there was always a lot of work put into them before we would go to paint. It was great to sit down all afternoon and discuss how and where we were going to do the next wall. I will always remember the project we did in 2012-2013, EXPOFREE. We were doing exhibitions of spray painted canvases each month for a whole year and did a total of 13 exhibitions during which we were fortunate to collaborate with Noble, Emerock, Magg, Sener, Krane, Honorio, Josan y Jonasa, Enric Sant, Once…
As for the Future Classics, there’s an obvious bond between friends from different cities who are eager to work on a common project, and it was created with the idea of being a crew with a lot of members. The majority are letter writers with a wide variety of styles, from wildstyle to styles that are closer to graphic design. It’s exciting to see the mix of styles all on the same wall. Although it can be complicated to coordinate, each year we all try to met up somewhere. Sometimes it’s more important just all being together like a big family than it is to paint.
‘Remember when you were young and raced on your bike when you were getting chased by a dog and managed to get away but you fell off a cliff and got saved by a mutant hamburger? Do you remember that? Yes? Well that’s what my style is like’.
–What importance do you place on the different disciplines within graffiti? Tags, throw-ups, pieces…
S: I’ve rarely written my name whether it be in elaborate pieces, throw-ups, or tags. I’ve never been too good at it, hehehehe. I respect all the disciplines within graffiti a lot and actually, to me these ones that I don’t practice are its foundation: they are what make up the meaning and definition of graffiti. I’m just a person who likes to paint in the street with or without somebody who likes to write their name. In a certain way, they are different branches of graffiti and in the end, style is what’s going to make people recognize you and know who you are.
When we were young we used to go out and street bomb with homemade markers. The odd train or two in 96 and 98…we had a fun time but I had another needs and they weren’t so adrenaline filled, hehehehe.
HB: Before I used to pay a lot more attention to tags and throw ups. I think that the majority of writers should start out that way, tagging in the city. It forms a part of my foundation and I can’t imagine graffiti without all that. When I began, I only did bombing, but when I painted my first wall I saw that it could offer me many more possibilities. But, it still interests me and I often incorporate these elements into my work.
-What urges you to paint in the street? You both have more artistic preoccupations. What does the street give you that other aspects don’t? Why do you continue to paint?
S: Prepare the backpack, get out of the house early, the music while you paint, preparing the wall together with other people or improvising, the sun and fresh air on your face… I know, it sounds like a Tampax commercial, but leaving my monstrous style aside, I’m sentimental at heart XD. Painting in the street could be considered more than just painting. Painting in the studio is more solitary and has a different process with a similar purpose.
HB: What drives me to paint in the street is to be with my friends and learn with them. The laughs, the good times, and something always happens: the street is alive. I keep painting because it’s part of me. Starting this year I’ve been “painting” on walls for half of my life.
‘In the beginning I knew things with an eyedropper and it all seemed more interesting and complicated’.
-Has your opinion about graff culture changed since you started and if so, why?
S: I think that today “graffiti” has mutated into many other disciplines within and outside of hip hop. Changes for the better and changes for worse. A false meaning has been created. I know what I believe and respect the opinion of many who think that my painting isn’t graffiti. But then, I come across many others who use the word graffiti and identify with it, when in fact they are simply drawers/painters/muralists.
HB: Of course is has changed, in the beginning I knew things with an eyedropper and it all seemed more interesting and complicated. Now everything is so instantaneous, the criteria is different, originality is more limited, especially when there are 100 people in the world copying the same writer. It also seems like there’s more recognition in the culture of painting walls although in many graffiti events there are more muralists/artists than writers; it seems like the only things that are valued are the ones suitable for the general public, and that there is a self-censorship by the writer. Still, there are people who are really good at what they do and there are incredible pieces to admire.
-What are your influences?
S: 80’s & 90’s movies, He-man, arcades, movie posters, trading cards, comics, graffiti zines…
HB: Everything that’s surrounds me influences me, for better or for worse. Although what has left the biggest imprint on me is cinema (above all sci-fi, western, fantasy, and black cinema) and its posters, comics (Bernet, Pope, Toppi, Moebius, Latour, Oriol Hernández , Miki Montlló and many whose names I can’t remember), video games, the Star Wars universe… On a personal level, my friends Gerard, Andreu, Miki, Jeavy, Chuky, Josan…
-Is what you do purely aesthetic or is there a message behind it?
S: The majority of times it’s simply pleasure. It’s not often you have to read between the lines.
HB: I always try to make something happen in what I paint. It have to tell a story or transmit something whether it be through the colors or shapes. I’m not fond of postcards; pretty images with nothing happening.
–How would you describe your style?
S: Remember when you were young and raced on your bike when you were getting chased by a dog and managed to get away but you fell off a cliff and got saved by a mutant hamburger? Do you remember that? Yes? Well that’s what my style is like.
HB: I don’t like labels but what I do want is for ordinary people to be affected. I prefer that they find my paintings ugly, unpleasant, terrifying, horrible,… I try a lot to get contrasts and saturation in the colors, I have a passion for acidic colors, and right now I’m in love with mint green.
You should change the name to Harry Bones Green.
-Tell us about your work process and how you plan murals. Both, how you do it together and on your own.
HB: It’s easy to paint with Saturno, it is incredible to watch him work and you can learn so much being by his side. Although at times his way of approaching a wall is quite unpredictable and volatile. That messes with me but at the same time helps me to improve and put things in the right places.
When I’m alone aI prefer to have everything really clear, with a clear sketch and a good amount of colors so that nothing is missing, seeing as sometimes I’m guided by spontaneity, especially when I’m filling in the color; you could say I maintain a dialogue with what I paint and the piece tells me what it needs.
S: Harry is a real gentleman, he always picks me up at home on horseback and with his long mane (the horse’s mane… he’s bald) it’s a shame to live so far away from one another. XD no, really, jokes aside, he’s got a bit of hair.
–What do you expect from graffiti?
S: For it to bring my breakfast in bed
HB: I don’t expect anything from graffiti, it’s given me everything I could have asked for. I hope to be able to bring something to it.
–How do you see the graffiti scene on a local level…national? global?
S: A Street Art market has been created which they are attempting to market as graffiti’s evolution; a more prestigious off shoot. In it, everything revolves around the same theme and intention which is to please the public (a more commercial one), leaving originality and personality on the sidelines. A market of “beautifulism and rainbows” is being formed that is putting an end to the artists’ identities who need to express other things, and because of the fear or not being accepted into a circle (the business of art) where the biggest opportunities to paint in events occur, they leave their more personalized styles aside. It’s a shame that this is happening, nothing should deviate you from your path and nobody can judge what is good or what is bad. Paint and express yourself however you need to without thinking about others.
HB: I don’t think borders exist, there are really good people that are not well known and a lot of mediocre people living the life of luxury. I don’t like that there are graffiti events full of intrusive people from the illustration and “art” worlds doing gigantic things.
–Do you have any funny stories?
S: Once they filmed a porno movie while we were painting.
HB: Recently while painting with Krane and Emak in a particularly dirty, stinky river canal in Barcelona, a forest ranger came up to us and said we couldn’t paint there because somebody had thrown a bucket of roll paint and the Town Hall had to spend 1 million euros to clean it. It’s Spain, and it’s in a crisis…