with a history going back about 15 years, D! is a true veteran of the athens graffiti and street art scene. over the years he has arrived at a distinct aesthetic and typographic vision that stands out quite clearly from the chaotic walls of the city. here’s some more on his artistic evolution and intentions, his recent “Their True ID” project and a very interesting account of the recent political situation in greece.
when did you first get involved in street art/graffiti? what was your initial motivation?
i started to paint in 1998. at the time graffiti was something closely related with high school culture and this is what got me in.
how has your style since developed. what about attitudes – political for example? would you say your work is political? is your artistic agenda a different one these days?
during the last five to six years i have simplified my typography and selected some “limitations”, including the use of certain verbs that start with the letter “D”, along with a colour pallet that consists of green, purple, orange and white. these attributes contribute significantly in achieving what i have in mind, both conceptually and aesthetically.
while the act of painting on a public space, or on a private space that is visible from a public space, has a somewhat “neutral political context”, i don’t consider all my work as such, although anyone is free to find their own meaning in anything, i believe it’s a matter of perception really. at the moment i’m working on an ongoing series of works i started in 2011, entitled “Their True ID”. there is a vibrant political and social character to it, as i negate the superficially rightful identity of politicians and other public figures. i’m aiming to highlight not only criminal, but immoral acts, facts and intentions that portray them, including the deliberate mismanagement of national wealth, the violation of democratic laws and the direct or indirect stealing of state assets. events that designate the total degradation of the country and the quality of life of its citizens, causing a tremendous social, cultural, democratic and economic disaster.
i intend to awake a small part of people and strengthen the tendency of pressing charges towards liable figures, suggesting indirectly that this very moment we could be experiencing a very good reality, regarding anything related to the state in one way or another.
do you feel that the crisis has had an influence on what you do? if so how?
firstly i’d like to clarify greece is not having the so called “crisis”. the word denotes an unplanned situation that can often be out of control and against the will of those who handle it, often a truly unexpected situation. the situation in greece is planned and controlled by state officials who pretend to be incapable of handling what they present as the “crisis”. you have to be very naive to believe what the political parties tell the media to tell the world, i believe in facts, not in irrational press releases and absurd statements. the correct “word” for what happens here is Gradual Degradation Scheme of Greece or GDSG.
if greece was not run by the eu, perhaps usa and some unethical criminals from greece, pretending to be politicians, greece would be the “switzerland of the mediterranean” as we have the ability to develop so many different economies, that would be more than enough to boost the overall economy of the country if developed individually. i understand that this may sound impossible to some people who don’t really think and just look at what is currently happening, but if we consider:
1) oil, natural gas and gold
3) traditional greek products
4) solar and wind power
5) important eu location for ports
we can easily understand that we have more assets than belgium and many other eu countries that are doing well. even if we just had number 1, without number 2 to 5, we could be the “swiss of the med”. so since we don’t have only oil, natural gas and gold, but also a number of beautiful islands, delicious traditional products that can be exported, a lot of sun and wind and a strategic location for eu imports and exports, there is no excuse (nor euro excuse) for not having something more than a healthy economy.
in regard to the question, i think the GDSG affects everyone, directly or indirectly. it affects people around me and the whole city around me. we have some of the worst streets and pavements in the balkans, the cities of istanbul and tirana are ten times cleaner and better, but this is nothing compared to the problems we have in healthcare, education and culture. the latter is often underestimated, as its loss is not clearly visible to some people, but it really affects everyone in a number of ways. i cannot fully describe how wrong the situation is, perhaps the worst part is that very few people understand greece is run by the eu, perhaps usa and some unethical criminals from greece, pretending to be politicians.
have you collaborated with other artists? which ones?
i enjoy collaborations with other artists, mostly because it is a good opportunity for an interesting blend of different aesthetics. i have painted with dreyk the pirate, anthony vilanova from montreal and ATH1281.
how do you decide upon where to put up an artwork? do you think about places while crating a design or a poster or do you just go out and decide spontaneously?
i tend to select mostly metallic doors and specific walls, as i like to work on surfaces with clear boundaries. i rarely do posters, but for the series of works “Their True ID” i selected locations while having the posters.
do you have a favourite place in athens to work at? if so: what do you like about it?
i like the entire, wider centre of athens, if i could call it a place. i really like its diversity and some of its architecture, which has a key role when painting on public space.
this interview was conducted via mail in june 2013.
questions by julia tulke.