On November, 11 the 'Unforeseen Circumstances' group show opened in RuArts, a prominent Moscow gallery. It's been organized in collaboration with a creative association called Artmossphere and curated by its co-founder Sabina Chagina. Along with Finsta, the line-up includes two Moscow-based artists with graffiti background, Dmitri Aske and Alexey Luka, and SatOne from Germany. We've talked to all of the participants and asked them to share their thoughts about working in the streets and indoors, to talk about the stories behind their artworks and their plans for the future. The show will be open till December, 5.
Finsta (1978), a famous Swedish artist, illustrator, and animator, whose art has been developing under the influence of graffiti, skateboarding, and comic culture, was born in 1978 in Lund, a university town in southern Sweden. He started drawing as a kid and decided to become an artist at the early age of 5.
As a teenager, Finsta along with some friends was into drawing comic strips, making zines and radio programs.They would do the so-called pranks or creative happenings in public space, and, according to the artist, those years shaped him a lot.
Finsta began writing graffiti in 1993. As most of his mates, he wrote his nickname but later moved to painting different characters. Finsta graduated from Konstfack, the largest university college of arts, crafts and design in Sweden. Over the years, he has been constantly developing and exploring new forms of visual art from creating graphics to logotypes to murals to illustration and animation. As stated in the book Finsta Graphics, childishness is his chosen position: children spontaneously question rules and limitations. (You can read our big feature on Finsta in Russian or just enjoy a big selection of his works here).
Have you been to Moscow before? What were your impressions of the city?
I came first time in 1990, only for a few days. I was 12, and it was Soviet era. I was heading to India with my mom. We had exchanged for rubels but the few restaurants we could find only wanted dollars. The memories are quite dark and scary. I remember begging kids grabbing your legs and wouldn't let go.
In later years I have come twice to participate in graffiti events in Moscow. First, a big hip hop festival arranged by the government, and then for Faces & Laces festival. I have come to know some nice people in Moscow. I can see that the graffiti scene is very alive, and that the country is changing very fast. But I've mostly seen one perspective of the city, through the eyes of young graffiti writers. I see that a lot of them are really eager to find out about this culture, and the world. There is a lot of power in wanting things.
What kind of art do you like? What's the most important thing for you in an artwork?
It's a bit like love. It's hard to say exactly the type but you know when you find it. I usually like colorful simplistic and fun art. Art that gives energy and inspiration. Like a great VHS cover, you just want to bring it home.
Different art fits in different spaces. Sometimes I like it delicate and bright, sometimes dark and gritty. Art in the streets I generally like dirty and raw. Art in a gallery, I prefer it to feel classy and fancy. Art in a museum, I like it big, bold and in all media. Then there is art in the commercial field, which I like colorful and graphic. I know what i like, that is a strength for an artist.
What's the main difference for you between creating a mural and an artwork for a gallery show?
In the streets it's about the raw energy. I generally do one big image and I don't try to polish it. In a gallery show, I usually take some decisions to clean it up. And it is about several images working together.
What do you want to translate to the viewers through your work?
I want to inspire their brain to think, to imagine. I tend to paint a small piece of a bigger story. I don't want to tell the audience what to think but rather give them a good start to come up with their own story.
Does the city where you create works for a show influence you or not?
I like to make or select my work to fit the surroundings it will be displayed in, to make the best result. But at the end of the day, I make the art that I make because it comes from me. It reflects my mind, and I feel like a lot of it could be understood or liked by any age or ethnicity.
What do you think is the key thing for a successful group show?
The selection is the main part. That it visually works together, and at the same time gives all artists room to show their particular style and ideas. I am happy to join the 'Unpredictable Circumstances' show with my fellow Russian artists. Alexey Luka and I have met a few times over the years around Europe, and I feel a connection to Moscow from coming here a few times.
What are your plans for the future?
At the moment. I am working on a series of short children's movies, a project close to my heart. I am also developing my skills in creating electronic sounds, and I try to connect this in new ways with my art through animation. Being an artist is like being a scientist. Every day is a research day. I'm just trying to get better and better at what I do. I want to keep creating and spreading good culture, and I am pretty much going with the flow. I'm happy for the commissions, trips and possibilities handed to me that keep me on my way.