At the end of September Urban Skills is held in the town of Alcoy in Levante, Spain. This is a event for urban culture which has has started many large scale murals all over the town, Artists like Sebas Velasco, Smithe and Dems, Dulk and Nuria Mora are all confirmed to visit the event where also Fasim has come through in a intervention with new measures in style. A quite surprising aesthetic change which has made us want to ask him some questions.
Pictures by Jordi Arques and Juani Ruz.
-This is probably your biggest intervention so far… Is it the first time you work in such a large scale?
The first one I painted was in France two years ago, I spent two weeks on a crane since it was the facade of a whole building, but the one in Alcoy is probably a bit higher. In France I painted parts of the wall, and here we are talking about the whole facade. I also did a large one made on scaffolding for Nau Bostik in Barcelona.
But the experience is exactly like the first time, even if there is a huge change in dimension from painting in the workshop, from the floor up, with a ladder or a scaffolding.
It is an amazing experience for a artist to be able to paint huge works using skylift.
‘A good friend of mine once told me “If you are not having fun, you are not doing it right”.‘
-The work also offers us a change in style.. Does this new expression present an adaptation of your style for these types on interventions?
The urban arts festivals are great opportunities for me, with all the materials you have to your disposal while making truly potential works that you have been thinking of for a long time. Also to experiment with fantasies you have had, and one of those is painting large collages. A good friend of mine once told me: “if you are not having fun, you are not doing it right”. So I try to live by those words, and here in Batoi / Alcoy I’ve had a lot of fun.
The collage is one of the first pictorial techniques which made me feel passionate about it, and even if it looks recent in my works I have still been doing it for many years, and this time it is the first time that I do a collage in gigantic measures to the scale of building sized material.
‘The one I have painted is the so-called Attic pottery, where the background is painted black, cutting the figures of the color of red clay.’
-Can yo explain how you have developed this idea?
It has a lot of style from the surrealist group fronted by Andre Breton, and some inspiration from the group of Paul-Émile Borduas ‘Les automatiques‘ and the avant-garde Dada; the automatic drawing. It was about provoking the accident, about playing with the images until they altered its meaning, suggesting unexpected connotations. I wanted to take part of this game and turn it into a mural dimension.
I have recently begun to study Greek ceramics more profusely, its artists and their different styles and periods. This past August I was in Paris and I could see some of the pieces that they treasure in the Department of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities of the Louvre Museum. I spent many hours inside and left the museum with many ideas. I wanted to make a series with this fascinating art and I started working on it as soon as I had the chance, although without reinterpreting the old art, playing with it.
I have always had a great passion for ancient art; Greece, Crete, Egypt… among Greek ceramics we find one of my favorite artists who has influenced me to carry out this project and of which I declare myself an absolute fan, it is about; Euphronius, (End of the 6th century BC and in the first half of the 5th century BC in Athens), a true master craftsman who in his time came to produce a highly sought-after production of painted pottery. The one I have painted is the so-called Attic pottery, where the background is painted black, cutting the figures of the color of red clay. Eufronio was also a pioneer in this technique, and he gradually replaced the technique of the black figures on the red color of clay.
He is known for six signed pieces (euphronios égraphsen, “Eufronio has painted”) and on the wall we could say that I have taken the form two artists, because I have experimented with Eufronio and am amused by the idea of; “Eufronio and Fasim have painted together.”
-It begins to seem indispensable for urban artists to participate in projects of this type … is that so?
It is a good way to project your work outdoors for the general public and to promote yourself. The technical development of urban art has registered a dimensional change since about two decades ago, with the elevating cranes went from ground level to a birds perspective, and this perspective has changed a lot. It is a return to muralism on a large scale, such as hand-painted advertisements on the facades of North America in the 70s and 80s or the great walls of Orozco and Ribera, but it may be a bit more colossal today thanks to the cranes.
“When I made murals this big that I had to overcome some personal challenges in each piece, either with a crane or scaffolding.“
-What can you tell us is interesting about his way of painting?
When I made murals this big that I had to overcome some personal challenges in each piece, either with a crane or scaffolding, I guess in the same way but at another thing that the climber must overcome is to face their own fears to take the next step and be able to pass it to the next stage.
I’m still a little new to the heights, there was a part of the wall that II was afraid to do, I admit it, and not because I’m especially afraid of the heights. The place where I had the most respect for the height was the upper left corner of the building, because to get there I needed to extend the three arms to the limit of the elevating crane and looking down gave me a feeling, by the law of gravity, that I was going to fall. The mind understands it this way… it does not understand that the machine below weighs 3,000 kilos and you automatically become a bit paranoid.
Mastering that anguish has been my personal challenge in this project (laughs), in the end I solved it because I put myself in the place where I was most afraid, and turned off the crane, I stayed up there in silence and I relaxed, getting used to the situation, from the top I observed the beautiful mountains that Alcoy has, the clouds, the sunlight … And I calmed down, I was very happy because I was already getting used to it. I could work in that area, I had overcome the challenge and I could move on to the next stage.
“The wall that most impressed me was the wall of Sebas Velasco and Derok. Alot because I had the privilege of witnessing the whole process from the beginning.”
-What interventions of the Urban Skills have you liked more?
The line-up of this first year has been quite strong for being the first edition, Vincent Company aka Kaniz and the Councilor for Youth, Maria Baca have organized an incredible festival that has brought together a very good group of artists, and we have seen a good show in Alcoy by the most recent avant-garde urban art.
I went to Alcoy very motivated to paint because I knew I was going to participate with great creators and colleagues and that encourages a lot to give the best of your work.
The wall that most impressed me was the wall of Sebas Velasco and Derok. Alot because I had the privilege of witnessing the whole process from the beginning, from the random choice of the represented model, which turned out to be a huge half-length portrait, to one of the most emblematic local painters; the writer, musician and abstract painter Manuel Solbes Arjona (Alcoy, 1945), until when the idea arose randomly in the study of Manuel while we chatted, to the first brushstrokes on the wall that Sebas gave. I liked the choice of the model in a romantic, poetic, randomly sought way… Like Monet wandering around in his garden looking for some interesting composition. But not only was I surprised by his way of choosing the model, but also his unconditional gesture of support from one artist to another which reminded me of that phrase which so good and so unheard of: “support your local artists”.
-Has a new path opened up for Fasim?
I do not rule out doing more of this, and I do not have it as a main objective, but I prefer the creative routine of my workshop, which is a relationship with painting that is much more intimate, more poetic and artisan, it is more my site and my goal, but if you want me to paint facades I will continue experimenting and taking it further and further away, it is a lot of fun and I already have ideas to make another wall in a more complex style. I am not really a muralist, although I take advantage of all the opportunities like this to be able to say what I feel, “emit my screams through the roofs of this world” as Allen Ginsberg howled.
‘Jon connected me with some painters that I did not know because I was very absorbed in graffiti. Later they would be fundamental for me.’
-Will it hide this side of Fasim to his side as a wildstyler?
I do not think one skill can hide another. It happens a bit like with the Egyptian scriptures, the ones who knew how to write hieroglyphs also drew the figures, they did both and both were equally important. I am even better known for my facet as a graffiti writer or as an urban artist, but my facet as a workshop artist is not as well known. I dedicate most of my time to it, it comes from a distance. I began to paint fabrics and to be interested for serious paintings only a few years after starting writing in 86.
I had already painted some primitive things on canvas, but it was in 92, a year after I entered 156allstarz when I lived for a time in the studio of Jonone and the BadBC in L’Hôpital Éphémère in Saint-Denis when I really started painting, in Paris.
I witnessed the key step of the bombing and the walls to canvas fabrics and exhibitions in art galleries, because many do not know that the history of European urban art began there, in L’Hôpital Éphémère.
Jon connected me with some painters that I did not know because I was very absorbed in graffiti. Later they would be fundamental for me; among them Jean-Michel Basquiat and Miquel Barceló.
–Why does orthodox graffiti not seem to have as much room in this format?
Well, we also see buildings with letters, I just saw a whole Swet71 building with wildstyle in Graffuturism, they are also made.
I remember that the first wall I saw painting with a skylight was in Montpellier in 2002,; Loomit, Dare (RIP) and Toast made it in just three days. It was a spectacle to see how they worked with the crane and they were really developing the mural. I remember that Dare made a huge piece and it was very good, and Loomit made lyrics around the facade, Toast nuanced a scene in the central part with characters and very powerful lighting effects. It was a wall of great skills, letters, drawings, backgrounds … Everything together.
All the best family ♥
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