Art student STMTS’s large scale portraits of children can be found pasted up on the walls of Athens since the beginning of 2012. His blog can be found here. He talked to me about his creative process and his concern for the future generations.

"i love life" paste-up by STMTS in gkazi

“I love life,” Gkazi 2013

Have you always been mainly doing paste-ups or did you also experiment with other techniques?

No, I started from the beginning doing paste-ups of sketches on notebook papers. I thought for a long time what I would like to put on the walls and how. I was trying for a long time to find my own style for my work and what suits me.

What are your influences?

Everything that I see everyday around me is an influence for me. Also I am getting influences from the music, I am a big lover of the art of music. Also old and new painters, street artists, illustrators, graphic designers…everything that relates to art.

What is the motivation for your work?

My main motivation is that street art is the best way in everyday life to bring art and people more closely together. I want the artwork to be immediate for all the people. this will never change for me.

“Unspoken,” Kerameikos 2015

How would you describe the Athens street art scene and your involvement in it? Are there artists you collaborate with or do you always work on your own?

The street art in Athens over the years has improved! The problem is that the state is still not giving licenses to the artists to paint walls legally and to beautify the city. So it isn’t all that easy for the artists. I still have not collaborated with other artists but I would like to in the future.

Do you feel that the recent political circumstances influence your work and if so, how?

I care about the social problems and more specifically about the kids and the new generations. The political circumstances affect all the problems of the society, so they possibly also affect my work and inspiration.

Regarding the future generations: are you only trying to represent a kind of despair/hopelessness or also a sense of optimism and hope? 

I want to highlight to the people the rights of the kids that they should have and how their lives are effected by the decisions and actions of the big people. We have to see the bad things and solve the problems but we should be optimistic as well and not forget about our rights.

STMTS's latest work in the neighborhood of psirri (photo courtesy of STMTS)

STMTS’s latest work in the neighborhood of Psirri, Photo courtesy of the artist

Do you feel changes in the street art scene of athens in general?

Yes, street art over the years has developed and it’s getting closer to the people. people love street art. There are a lot of amazing new artists. Street art has a great future.

How do you decide which image to post to a wall? Do you think of the place to put it up beforehand/while creating it or do you find it spontaneously?

I decide to put an artwork on the wall after much thought. I am making a lot of sketches and there are a lot of ideas until I end up with the final artwork.

Do you get reactions when you work in the street?

no, i don’t get reactions. when people see what i am doing and understand it, they don’t have a problem with it. i don’t want to damage any good and new walls. i choose to paste my works to old and ugly walls.

Pictures of your work are often used to illustrate media articles about the crisis, how do you feel about that? 

The crisis is a big problem for the society, and yes, to some extent I have felt its influence in my work.

Clown posse, Psirri 2017

This interview was conducted via email in March 2013.
Questions by Julia Tulke.