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Vol #4 Hope

Get to know Belgrade’s street artists better. In the interview #4 we are talking with Hope.

Hope is one of the best graffiti writers from Belgrade. You won’t miss his tags, bombs and beautifully structured full color compositions all around the city. But if you visit New Belgrade Blocks on the banks of Sava river you will be able to understand this graffiti artist a bit better. And if you are there, grab a beer, sit on the bench and enjoy the new-old school view.

Check out what he shared with us.

Please, introduce yourself.

I’m Hope from New Belgrade Blocks. Writing graffiti since 1998.

How do you define yourself?

I define myself as a humble guy who is just writing his name, trying to revive the old school spirit that Belgrade once had and trying to have some fun while doing it. 

What is street art to you?

For me, street art is anything that has some sort of artsy vibe and it’s out there in the streets. Simple as that. Lot of people don’t like to mix graffiti with street art, or vice versa, but to be quite honest, I don’t really care anymore. I don’t consider graffiti to be neither art nor vandalism. But, really, at the end of the day, I think that nobody really gives a hoot about that stuff. If you like it, it’s fine. If you don’t like it, that’s also fine.

What are you trying to achieve through street art?

For myself, I’m trying to achieve the same feeling I had as a kid, writing graffiti, driving skateboard through the neighborhood, listening to new music etc. Some small stuff like that. It’s sort of nostalgic, but it’s the way it is.

For the people besides myself, I’m not sure. Maybe I want them to take some parts of my work and feel the same way I used to feel when I looked at old school pieces, or stuff like that. 

Do you find inspiration in other forms of art? (Beside visual arts)

I do. Music is big part of my life, so let’s say that it has the biggest influence on my work. Maybe even more than some visual arts, or even modern graffiti and street art. I’m not so familiar with graffiti and street art scenes around the world, but I’m more than an encyclopedia of music at this point. 

How has street art changed since you’ve started?

It changed a lot, and the main reason for that is because we, as a scene, got a hold of internet, magazines and movies. Around the year 2003. things changed for good. Before that we had some sort of original scene. Now it’s all mushed with genres and scenes around the world.

What do you love about Belgrade’s street art?

I used to like the uniqueness it had before it got big. There was handful of people who used to write something on the wall, and handful of people who supported that. What I would love to see in Belgrade is more space for domestic artists, because, right now I have a feeling that we don’t have enough artists or skills to pull out a murals by ourselves, so we need to call famous writers to help us out. That’s how I see it from my perspective, and I hope I’m wrong.

What are your plans for the future?

I don’t make plans for anything regarding graffiti.

Share with us one inspiring thought.

I’m not sure I have anything smart to share at this moment. Sorry!

Vol #3 Yoda Zguzvani

Get to know Belgrade’s street artists better. In the interview #3 we are talking with Inspektor Yoda Zguzvani.

If you find yourself on the streets of Belgrade, this famous pug will be following you wherever you go. At one point you’ll figure out that things should be the other way around. Start following him, because this little pug is not just a wrinkled cute face, he is a rebel, an activist who is constantly playing with you using words to change the way you think or just to remind you to start thinking.

Check out what he shared with us.

Please, introduce yourself.

Dalmatian from Belgrade, raised by both pop and alternative cultures. Science (fiction) freak, binge watching devotee and life hacking enthusiast.

How do you define yourself?

Free-minded/spirited benevolent (politically incorrect) lunatic.

What is street art to you?

Street art is a media where you are the only censor. It’s a form of communication and rebellion, but it is also a responsibility for the public discourse. For me it’s a cocktail of art, activism, and entertainment.

What are you trying to achieve through street art?

I was growing up in Belgrade as a gay guy throughout the breakdown of Yugoslavia and street for me was both the place of freedom and fear. It was a constant hide-and-seek game, avoiding the possible violent scenarios. Similar to a battlefield, as Sherlock would have said. It was in that period that I discovered the power of words, and how any differences and conflict situations can be resolved through communication.

Many street walls contained (and still contain) violent language, so I felt the need to reply and start breaking the walls of communication built around marginalized groups. I know it sounds political, because partly it is. All my life I’ve been forced by the society and media to observe myself as a political being (they would say subject); but it is actually the quality of everyone’s life that is in question. Why should one live a life of fear or hatred? The idea of violence has been publicly justified for far too long. I’m trying to instal a worm of doubt undermining it.

We all live under the same sky, and we might as well live in harmony.

Do you find inspiration in other forms of art? (Beside visual arts)

Other (art) forms are my biggest inspiration. Visual part is just a copy/pasted face of a being I consider to be extremely benevolent. For those considering life as an ultimate form of art, life of a pug can be a great source of inspiration. Capoeira is another one: what it represents (symbol of rebellion against the oppressor), life philosophy (improving for life through life), but also a weapon (hey it’s a martial art after all, and it raises the question of responsibility on how you use it), control and balance of mind through body.

Considering my work is word based, written forms help my permanent private brainstorming sessions. Other phenomena are inspirational. I enjoy playing with PR and Marketing slogans, news headlines, and the sensationalism that floods the media.

Comedy helped me a great deal in overcoming personal tragedies and it always helps to break the awkwardness that is often in the air when sensitive subjects are brought up

How has street art changed since you’ve started?

I definitely see more diversity. At first street art interventions were limited to cleaning the hate speech from Belgrade walls. It went regional. Also many organizations started using street art for noble causes.

There are more and more organizations promoting street art culture throughout Serbia, Revitalizacija crosses my mind. More and more murals adorn (not just) Belgrade walls.  

And god bless them internets.

What do you love about Belgrade’s street art?

Belgrade is a rusty city. It’s crumbling face was never restored. Belgrade street art constantly adds up to already pretty rich city art scene. There are parts that are an ever evolving etude, there are parts that keep scribbles for years and even decade(s). So, you never know what to expect. It is always a journey into the unknown.

What are your plans for the future?

1. Break current form - both written and visual

2. Insert more poetry and patterns

3. Travel and paint the region. Then the World.

Share with us one inspiring thought.

I’ll share more just to show my dark side:

The evolution (of society) is unavoidable and we only have a freckle of time to steer it.

The Universe doesn’t care of your pimple, it has its own supernova to squeeze.

Motion creates (e)motion.

Vol #2 Nikola

Get to know Belgrade’s street artists better. In the interview #2 we are talking with Nikola.

For Nikola simplicity is the core of everything. His artworks represent the way of perceiving the hidden dimensions of reality. He’s been seeking to find what lies beneath visible, material world, and the conclusion shaped his expression: simple forms of subconsciousness – square, triangle and circle in a relation to a primal nature.

Check out what he shared with us.

Please, introduce yourself.

Nikola Mihajlović, painter and architect from Belgrade, Serbia.

In love with women and nature, music and reading. Biggest passion – to paint murals.

How do you define yourself?

Complex and highly conscious emotionally shaped energy nod.

What is street art to you?

Way of life, passion... inspiration. Learning. One beautiful experience.

What are you trying to achieve through street art?

There is no achievement at the end, there is no end. Process itself is already an achievement.

Do you find inspiration in other forms of art? (Beside visual arts)

Of course. Mostly in music and sound, and if i may say, in written word and science.

How has street art changed since you’ve started?

It exploded over the years in most different ways. It became recognized and appreciated.

What do you love about Belgrade’s street art?

That special Belgrade vibe and atmosphere around it. Cleverness of expression.

What are your plans for the future?

To paint and travel, to find peace in myself and someday to raise a family in a countryside.

Share with us one inspiring thought.

Freedom is honesty, infinity is the truth, love is the key :)

Vol #1 Artez

Get to know Belgrade’s street artists better. In the interview #1 we are talking with Artez.

Artez is one of the best muralists from Belgrade. This street art nomad is in search of new walls and buildings all around the world to leave his beautiful marks. His style resembles Art Nouveau with a wonderful innovative street art twist.

Check out what he shared with us.

Please, introduce yourself.

I’m a street artist and muralist from Belgrade, Serbia. I’ve been painting in public spaces since 2003. under the pseudonym Artez that was made up in order to hide my identity while painting graffiti on the streets.

As time passed I shifted from graffiti to street art and started painting large scale stuff. After finishing my studies of architecture I’ve fully focused on painting in public space.

How do you define yourself?

I like to think of myself as someone who spreads positive vibes and energy.

It is very important that your own behaviour gives a good example to other people and if possible to inspire them to become better in any way they find appropriate.

As Gandhi would say „Be the change you want to see“.

What is street art to you?

Street art is something that makes me what I am, it’s something that I breathe and feel everyday.

I love painting and drawing, but I am much more passionate about it if it’s happening in the open, somewhere on the streets or on top of the scaffolding with a good view of the whole surrounding.

Moments I spend painting on the street are the ones that make me truly happy.

What are you trying to achieve through street art?

I am trying to inspire people to pursue their dreams, just like I did 4-5 years ago.

Painting is my way of communicating with others, it is a language that doesn’t need words to send a message or just to make your day a bit better.

I like to think that my work is making people happier.

Do you find inspiration in other forms of art? (Beside visual arts)

Music is definitely one of the things that moves me and I always listen to it when I paint. It helps me to stay focused and keep distractions away.

I have enormous respect for musicians, probably because making music is something I would really like to do but I never understood how. Music is like magic to me!

How has street art changed since you’ve started?

Main change is definitely the support that we get from the society. People are starting to make a difference between street art and vandalism, and that is very important for the development of the cities we live in and the cultural growth of its inhabitants.

Street art is bringing the positive change in local communities and in the same time it educates young people about art and culture.

I could freely say that street art took the the education role from museum and galleries because it is available to each and everyone.

It is a new movement that will turn cities into galleries!

What do you love about Belgrade’s street art?

Belgrade is my hometown and even if I’m not spending that much time there anymore, I am still emotionally attached to the street art scene and constant changes that could be seen on the streets.

That never ending change of the scenery when it comes to public art is definitely one of my favourite things in Belgrade – in my eyes, it keeps the city fresh and always new.

What are your plans for the future?

I am planning a lot of trips this year and I hope I will again have a chance to paint some large scale surfaces. At the moment, there are few possible destinations for this year – India, Argentina, Brazil, Peru and a few countries around Europe.

Let’s see what the year will bring!

Share with us one inspiring thought.

Never give up! :)