Sunday, 16 December 2012

Off The Wall


We first saw Smates art on Face Book when his impressive 'Shark Attack' mural caught our attention!
It turns out he is a prolific artist who works on walls as well as canvas and with has extensive galleries shows which capture his impressive style and realism.

We sat down to have a natter...

RDC: Hey Smates great to meet you dude, where are you from and where do you live now please?

Hi, I’m from Belgium and I live in Mechelen a small city close to Brussels

RDC: What media do you use?

Spray Paint on walls and canvasses...

RDC: We love your style, are you self taught?

I’ve always been drawing since I was a little boy and at the age of 16, I changed from a ‘normal’ school to an art school. Later when I started working I went to an Academy and attended a paint class for 2 years. So I have a solid base. Still have to learn a lot though...

'Shark Attack'

RDC: Can you tell us how you got started in graffiti and about your IKS Crew and what IKS means?

I started at the age of 17 and did graffiti till the age of 20. I don’t really remember why I stopped but I stopped for something like 10 years. In 2009 I met a guy Mr81, at a party and thanks to him I started again with graffiti. After doing graffiti for a while I met Steve (Locatelli) and he asked me later on if I would join IKS. So I’m one of their newer members. IKS means X. IKs crew is founded by Steve (alosta) en skul +(durex en trev, neva(95crew)) from Belgium. Other Belgian members joined and later on also writers from Switzerland, France and the Netherlands...

RDC: Do you prefer working on walls or canvas?

I like both of them but I prefer walls. The bigger the better.
A wall is also a part of a place/spot/location and that’s interesting.

RDC: Where does your inspiration come from for your work, in particular for your amazing ‘Shark Attack’ creation?

I’m a photorealistic graffiti writer and in the beginning I just took a picture and painted it on a wall. I’m a huge fan of 3D graffiti and mainly Daim. The way he uses light, shadows, the right colors - you have a real feeling of depth in his work. And it’s that feeling of depth, perspective and volume that I’m trying to put in my photorealistic work. But I’m not yet achieving the results, I'm still working on it! The shark is my latest work and also the one I’m most satisfied with. It’s also a good example of what I’m trying to do for the moment and going for a sense of depth. 

I first check the spot where I’m going to paint and take pictures of it, then I ask myself what would be interesting to paint on that particular spot. I’m starting to involve the location in my work. Something I also didn’t do before. With the shark it just started with the idea that it would be cool if the column/pillar (?) would be transparent and filled with water. And putting a shark in the water was just the next step. I also would like to say that it isn’t finished yet. I’m working together with Defo, another amazing artist from Brussels, and he is doing the other side. The water will continue on all sides of the pillar. As soon as all the sides are finished I’ll post it on line.

A lot of people say about photorealistic graffiti that it is just a picture on wall. That it isn’t really showing a lot of personal input from the artist. And in a lot of cases it’s true what they’re saying. I want to keep on painting photo realistic, because that’s what I enjoy the most it is as simple as that and I'm trying to find a personal touch/approach. 

The power of painting is that everything is possible. So I'm going for photorealistic paintings that look really real and interact with their surrounding. 

RDC: It is truly a master piece dude, please keep us posted on the finished product! 

RDC: Have you travelled a lot in pursuit of graff spots and which is your favourite place to paint?

No I haven’t travelled a lot. I went to the UpFest Festival in Bristol a couple of years ago and that’s it. Of course I would love to paint all over the world.
My favourite spot is PEDE, that’s in Brussels. It’s the spot where I painted the shark. I like it a lot because there are A LOT of pillars (different sizes).

RDC: Have you ever been caught painting illegally… tell us what happened?

No. But I painted illegally just twice. And that was when I was 17, simply because I didn’t know any places where you could paint legally. I prefer to work 3 - 4 or more days on a wall. I think it is important to put the same effort in every part of your work and that takes time. And illegal has to be done fast!

RDC: Hat on the head or hair in free flow?

Hair in free flow

RDC: What new stuff are you working on?

I'm creating a new design for a pillar in Brussels and I'm going to start on a new series of canvasses.

RDC:  It was great to meet up Smates and remember keep us in the loop on the Shark mural, thanks man

 this big wall was a collaboration of 10 or more writers

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