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‘Koibito’ – new mural by FinDAC is born in Ražanac, Croatia [STREET ART]

Posted on 16/10/2014 by Culture Vulture

Last week FinDAC painted stunning mural in small village of Ražanac in Croatia. This fantastic work on the wall on the streets of Ražanac is his first piece in Croatia. So far the feedback is really good. Local people are continuously stopping by and admiring it’s beauty. The school is next door and driving speed is limited, but only now finally everyone slows down properly. Comment from one of the neighbours was: Now many happy marriages will fall apart…. 🙂

text & photo : Stanislava Opsenica

The wrong attitude about graffiti is that they ruin buildings when artists tag their names and stuff… Not FinDAC! He is putting his pieces in the most unusual places. When we are talking about his work, we are definitely talking about beautifying places, not destroying them. Most artists who paint women paint them as sexual objects. This extraordinary artist wanted to do something different. He particularly choose Asian women because of western attitude towards them – servient and in the sex trade. He wanted to present them in a more colorful way. I don’t think that anybody paints like FinDAC.

Inspiration is a gift from the universe, talent is an ability to bring it to fruition and humility is the experience you should achieve when you share it.
Tell me about the early years. How did you develop your style?

I was a stencil artist in the beginning. The reason I started painting was because I would spend hours cutting stencils and that was quite therapeutic. I’ve been through breakdown of a long term relationship and my life was pretty fucked up to be honest. I just needed something to take my mind off it. Sitting in a room and cutting stencils for hours and hours was a good way to alleviate the stress. I was doing that for about 2 years and then I realized that I didn’t like the hard edges of the stencils. Most stencil artists have the same look and feel to their work until they start to develop something which removes them from the norm. For me that development came in the form of trying to blur the edges of the stencils. Most people when they paint stencils, the work is actually in the stencil. You cut the stencil and actually painting the stencil doesn’t take long at all. It’s cutting it that it takes the time and that’s because essentially the stencil is the artwork. I took that away… For me the stencil became just a tool or a template. It was the blurring of the lines that eventually brought me to this. What would stencil be is anything but totally black. Anything that’s gray wouldn’t be stencils. So, you paint all the stuff that is black with the aid of the stencil. Then you take the stencil off and you start shading. It’s this shading that gives the piece depth and blurres the lines of the stencil itself. That was the key to all of my work, really.

Probably within a space of about a year I started doing this what I call the spitting technique. This little spits of paint come about because I’m not using the spray can in the way that most people do. The paint in a can is in a certain amount of pressure. Because I don’t use the paint as normal, the paint doesn’t come out onto that pressure. It comes out onto reduced amount of pressure and because of that it forms this little blobs, the little dots. I started doing that and then I think within a space of 6 months I started painting Asian girls. At that time I was only doing portraits of either famous people or my friends and family. I’ve got a picture of an Asian girl online who I spoke to and got her permission and her parents permission. I literally just painted a straight up portret, there was nothing more to it. The reaction to the piece was really good. I really liked the look of the girl, so I contacted her again and said: „ Look, would you be interested in being a model? Like a continuous model , just sending me face shots or head shots and letting me do what I want with them?“. And she said yes. So it just came from there. Within a space of 6 months my work has changed completely.

You said that part of your influences are dark graphic novels. Can you name some artists that inspired you?

In novels I never particularly take notice of who draws them. But things like Batman comics and Sin City… those style of things really appealed to me and always have done. Even the artists that I like – Francis Bacon -he is very dark. Aubrey Beardsley is kind of dark as well, or certain aspects of his work are dark. I think a lot of people see him as a book illustrator but actually he has huge collection of other style of work as well.

How did you coin the phrase Urban Aesthetics?

I’ve been looking for a while for something that would differentiate my work from everybody else’s. I’ve read something online about a group of people called „The Aesthetics“ who were not just artists but they were writers, they were furniture makers…. And they were around the time of the turn of the 19th century. Weirdly, Aubrey Beardsley who’s one of my favorite artists was one of them and I’ve never knew it. It seems like they had a motto that their work should never be political or social, it should always just be about beauty. That basically is something exactly what I was doing. In London at that time there was a lot of this Banksy style artists doing satirical social commentary or silly pictures of like Prince Charles sitting on the toilet and stuff and I wasn’t interested in that…. Their motto just appealed to me and I sort of updated it for myself.

What do you think about Banksy?

The thing is Banksy is a very clever guy. He is the reason that we’re all doing what we are doing. He is the reason why we are all able to do it. If he hadn’t welcome through, the scene definitely would be completely different and who knows where would have gone. The problem with Banksy is that a lot of people want to copy him…. But he does it best. So why bother? Find something unique to do. Copying other people is pointless anyway. It doesn’t really gets you anywhere. You’ll always just be…as we refer to a „poor man’s imitation“.

Also some people are imitating you. I mean at least they are trying to.

It’s irritating…. And it’s particularly irritating because the work they do is never great. Maybe that’s why they are imitating. I don’t know…. The thing is I’m shocked by the amount of imitators because I don’t really think that there is anything that I’m doing which is particularly groundbreaking. It seems strange to me that there would be so many people focusing on it and ripping it off. Obviously my own take on my own work is different to everybody else’s.

Tell me about the piece that you are working here in Ražanac. How did you decide to do it? What’s the story behind it?

This piece was designed initially for something else but that project didn’t materialized. It’s just another one of the images that I have between the whole load of images on file that I can pick and choose from. This one just worked in this space. It worked much better then other pieces I have. A lot of pieces I have are long and vertically portraits, and then you find a wall which is square and suddenly you’ve got the situation that the image doesn’t work so well in that space. This one worked just perfectly. The Model/Muse is Lola Duarte Gelvez, a girl from Colombia. I decided to name this piece „Koibito“ which means sweetheart. How I decided to come here in the first place? Because of Miki Kotur, a friend of mine. He bought my work in the past and he really wanted a piece. He wanted something beautiful because he has some ideas that he’s going to do a street art festival. He wanted to see the reaction of the local people. I think he needed an artist whose work would be easily understood. Otherwise you have to know some things about street art to understand it. I think it worked for him. The reaction has been really good. So maybe the street art festival will happen, you never know. That would be very cool.

Is there a difference between doing commercial work for let’s say Red Bull or Armani and doing pieces like this one here in Croatia?

Yes, of course. I worked in advertising before I became an artist, in digital advertising. You do become very used designing to a brief. A number of times when you put your heart and soul into some job and actually when the client sees it, he just rejects it straight away. So, you become thick skinned, you become very good at adapting and maybe not understanding what the client wants exactly (because for the most of the time they don’t even know themselves) but giving them what they think they want. The corporate jobs for me are actually very, very easy. I’ve never struggled with them. In the time of consuming it can be a little bit of a pain in the ass but generally they are just few weeks work and you get well paid. I like doing them. When you’re doing a corporate job you’re never able to do exactly how you would wanted yourself. Sometimes you have to work differently and the one thing about artist is they tend to get into this frame of mind where they do things over and over again so they are like in autopilot or robot mode. When you’re faced with this situations, you have to adapt, you have to learn new things. But you’ve been paid to do it. I would always do them. I don’t understand why certain artists get sort of bent out of shape doing corporate work. For me they are great opportunity to learn and to improve.

Does one become successful by fitting in or standing out?

I’ve never fitted in. I’ve never felt that I fitted in but I also never felt the need to want to fit in. If people look at me and think I’m different then great. I don’t want to be the same as everybody else. I don’t understand the people who do. I don’t need to be around the people who slap me on the back and tell me how amazing I am and I don’t like to be part of those groups of people whose idea is supporting each other but they are actually holding each other’s back. When you’re in those circles you are not developing. You’re not developing because nobody is saying to you „you know, this piece is ok but it could have been better if you’ve done this and that“. I was in those groups when I first started out, but I got out of them very quickly. I know for a fact that the people in those groups still don’t like me….but I don’t care. It’s unimportant. You can’t please everybody all the time. Actually, I heard recently that somebody had said that I just use people to get to where I am. It’s really ironic. I deliberately avoided all kind of groups of artist and I don’t want to be part of the pack.

I’d say they are just jealous … and mean.

Well, I think there’s a reason for that. This people haven’t moved on. They’ve had exactly the same opportunities that I’ve had. They just haven’t taken them. I think when you find yourself in those situations it does kind of eat away of you. But that’s not my fault, it’s their own. You don’t take the chances coming your way blaming other people is never going to make it better. You’re better off just taking responsibility, and either move on or try something else.

You’ve painted all over the world. I bet you have some crazy experiences?

The reaction to the work is always good. Because like I’ve said, all I’m doing is painting pretty pictures, everybody understands them. Crazy stories? Hm…. Will keep those to myself anyway. 🙂

How do people react when you work on the street?

Generally they want to stop and talk. It depends if you’re on the ground or you are up on the lift. It can be problematic… When I’m working I don’t listen to music in on headphones. I don’t drown out the environment. I like to hear what’s going on around me. Maybe in some way that influences what I’m doing or how the piece turns out. A lot of guys just shuts them self off. I don’t want to do that. I can do that when I’m in my studio. When I’m out at the street I want to be able to hear everything, smell everything. So people will come up and they’ll talk. Obviously, it’s an open house. They can do that. I don’t think a lot of artist work like that. They already have in mind what are they going to paint. Often they just take their piece off their computer and transport them onto the wall. Like with the ship in Wales. The reason why her dress is brown is because that’s the color of the door. On the back of the ship it was rusted, and rather then paint over it I thought it would be cool incorporate her. Actually the fact what I did is I didn’t paint the dress, I just painted around it. All I did I was painted in white, surrounds it. Obviously, I painted some shadows and stuff on the dress to give it depth, but essentialy the color of the dress is the rusted door. Now is coming even more rusty.

Do you have any future projects?

FinDAC: I don’t tend to plan too much. The problem with planing is that you can’t be spontaneous when certain things are coming your way. The way that I worked until now was that I keep things pretty loose. I haven’t booked anything yet but I’m going to Hong Kong in November. Between now and then I meant to be going to Madrid and to Madagascar as well. Maybe neither of that two won’t happen but the loose plan is to be involved to those places before November. From Hong Kong I will go straight to Miami to Art Basel Festival. Essentially that’s it, there is no other plan.

You’ve said you don’t prefer exhibitions or galleries but you announced your exhibition in Los Angeles. What changed?

Yes, I’m doing a solo show next year in LA. The travelling will probably have to go on the back burner for a while, while I do all the work for the show. It is kind of 3 months thing whether you like it or not. If you don’t put that much effort in the show it will show. It’s the first one that I’m doing so I want it to be as good as possible and have an impact and be succesful. It might be the last one I ever do, you never know. I often don’t have a lot of interest in gallery work. If I don’t have to do it I won’t. The reason to do the show in America is because I understand that America operates differently to everywhere else. It’s so huge and the scene is so fragmented that if you don’t work with gallery you’ll probably never going to be succesful. This time I think I have to do it, although I never felt that in England or anywhere else. I can have a certain level of succes without going to galleries so that’s what I’ll carry on doing.

Are you coming back to Croatia?

Oh yeah, I’m definitely coming back anyway. Even if the festival doesn’t happen I will come back and paint. I know Miki will find other walls for me and I already have one wall on one island to do, even if I don’t know where that is, but whatever.

We should find you a wall in Zagreb as well….. 🙂

Yeah, for sure. That would be cool. 🙂