wild drawing – or WD – is easily one of the most versatile and active street artists in athens. his usually politicized works range from smaller stencils to pasting projects and huge freehand murals. originally from bali he has been painting in the streets of athens for about 7 years and can be found at almost all street art and graffiti related festivals and gallery openings. plus he is a pleasure to talk to. more about him and his work can be found on his website. i got to ask him a few questions about his influences, his political attitudes and his signature style.
where and when did you first start out doing graffiti/street art? what was your initial motivation?
i started out in 2000, in bali. i think i just wanted to express myself and to communicate my opinion and my ideas with other people.
what are your artistic influences?
i remember when i was a little boy i was always impressed with movie banners or campaign banners, how the artist made that huge painting? i was always wondering if, someday, i could make paintings like those. anyway, i think most of my work is influenced by comic style or some great artists such as norman rockwell.
were you involved in the street art scene in bali and if so how?
in 2000, when i was in the fine arts school, with some classmates i built the team POJOK that intended to make art projects in public spaces (murals, installations or art happenings). i love to put “my dirty” (as people used to call graffiti etc) on public spaces. i make a lot of drawings and then go down to the streets to stick them on the wall or make a mural if i have enough money to buy the paints.
when did you come to athens? did you start out doing street art again?
well, i came to athens in 2006 and after something like 6 months i was again in the streets.
much of your work is very politicized, is that something that has always been part of your work or has the greek situation boosted that tendency?
no, not because of greece. i always used to speak through my artworks, about social phenomena, lifestyle, consumerism etc.
how are you involved in the street art scene of athens? who did you collaborate with so far, who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
mmh…i just took my cans and executed my idea on the right spot. i have collaborated with many greek artists, writers, street artists, so far. i don’t have any target with who i wish to collaborate, as long as we can share the space.
are you collaborating with artists outside of greece at this moment as well?
no, not at this moment. in the past, i had the chance to collaborate with some italian writers and brazilian artists, during the ‘meeting of styles 2012’.
have you always been going as WD? what does it mean to you?
no, sometimes i use wild drawing as a signature or even my real name. wd means wild drawing because my early street art technique was drawing. i mean drawing that’s growing in the “jungle” of city buildings. at the same time, WD comes from the initials of my real name.
what about the one-eyed puppet that is a recurring character in your work, what does it symbolize and how did you come up with it?
i think as you see it, it’s classic, simple and easy to remember. a lot of artists have used it in a way or another. for me it’s a symbol of innocence and violence, at the same time.
is street art your only political outlet or do you participate in other social/political movements and activisms?
no, i couldn’t say i’ a member of any organization. but as much as i can i support some social movements.
this interview was conducted via mail in may 2013.
questions by julia tulke.