Interview with Bustart

Combining his graff background with comics, cartoons and pop-culture, BustArt creates street art that really unites each element together perfectly.

BustArt took some time out to speak to us!

Where are you from and how when did you start painting?

I am from Basel, Switzerland, and I started painting graffiti actively in 1999.

Why do you paint?

Growing up, I was always interested in the graffiti in my city. Seeing the big, colourful paintings on the streets was the biggest inspiration to learn to paint graffiti and to do the same.

Not knowing who made the artwork gave a special kick to it. As I went deeper into the sub culture, more and more things just added up for me. It was not just the creation of a nice graffito any more, it became much more than that.

What made you choose the style you paint?

I never really had one style. I painted letters, characters, cartoons, pop-up images, and as I started with street art in 2005, I did stencil, paste-ups, installations, stickers and everything else with tons of subject matter that was in my head at the time. For me working on the streets was to express myself in every way possible. I could not just paint one thing for so many years.

However, in the back of my mind, I was searching for that one style that I felt comfortable to call my own. One day I just started to mix all the things I had painted for all those years on the street. Since I painted most of them in grey scale or black and white, I gave myself the goal to produce only colourful artworks, the colours CMYK play a big role in my artworks.

My style is a mix of graffiti, pop art, cartoons and comic. The last two are especially recycled elements from my childhood, which is why you won’t find me painting Shrek anytime soon!

How do you choose the subject matter of your pieces?

Like I mentioned before I look for the right mix of graffiti, pop art and cartoons in my artwork. The main subject of the piece fits mostly with the place I am painting or the story I want to tell.

For example, a painting that I did in Berlin shows a train, a fire extinguisher, a no entry sign, elements of the horrible window design on the subway, which everyone hates and more things that I connect with Berlin.

What techniques do you used to create your work?

Since a lot of my work is based on the 1:1 copy of the original I mostly make a raster on the wall and on the sketch. The outdoor walls are all painted with spray cans, if i go bigger than 8 metres, I paint with acrylic and roller.

What’s the public perception of your work?

Mostly positive! Kids love my work for the cartoons I include, some of the older folks appreciate the pop art elements, even older people enjoy the colours, and even some writers who hate street art like my work because of the graffiti elements.

What challenges do you face when painting?

This always depends on the location and the wall. There are always challenges, which can just be reaching the spot on a ladder with 40 cans, a bucket of paint, rollers and a 6-pack.

Which has been your favourite piece to paint?

Most of the time it’s the great people I paint with that counts much more than the piece I’m painting I have painted countless numbers of walls with my crew Multi- Syndicate and I can remember every bike ride, train travel and all the things we did whilst painting but don’t ask me where I painted which artwork!

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

There are too many to choose from! Maybe painting a not-so legal wall in Dubai 12 years ago? Or possibly when I lived in Amsterdam for almost 4 years, where I painted every day? Or the time I painted as the first non-Egyptian in Cairo illegal? Or painting a massive 20 -metre wall in New York last year? Or the massive 25 metre walls with the Mickey with throw up face, which I painted in 48 hours?

No, none of those times! It’s the day I married my love Zaire who has supported me for over 15 years now and has gone with me through the good times and the bad.

Do you have any projects coming up?

Always! The next project will be a massive wall at Teufelsberg in Berlin, then soon after there will be my first sculpture, handmade of course, in a super low edition cause I am a broke artist!

For me, as a huge toy collector, this is a dream come true!

Interview with Zabou

It’s safe to say that Zabou is a very well-travelled artist.

From Israel to Columbia, Portugal to Cyprus; you’ll find her work all over the world spreading her message of love, fun and rebellion!

Zabou was born in France but currently lives and works in London. Her artwork, both in the street and the studio, are striking and thought-provoking.

After a busy year of festivals and travelling, we caught up with Zabou to find out more about herself and her artwork.

Enjoy!

Where are you from and when did you start painting?

I’m from France, but I’ve lived in the UK since 2011. When I moved to London, I was really impressed by the street art and graffiti scene and I started painting the following year in 2012.

Why do you paint?

I’ve always been drawing and painting since I was very little, it has always been a part of my life, my self, and part of my daily activities. Creating is like breathing for me!

What made you choose the techniques and the style you paint?

At first I started with stencils because I had no clue how to use spray cans and free hand techniques seemed extremely difficult to master – it still is!

Over time I switched from strictly stencilling to free hand, I enjoy the freedom of movement and exploring its effects. I feel that my style will evolve a lot over time, who knows how or what I’ll be painting in 10 years!

I use mostly grey scale for my characters that I divide into ten shades, from darker to lighter. I combine the characters with colourful background or effects to make them pop.

You paint a lot of well-known characters like Dali, Robin Williams and Charlie Chaplin, what inspires you to paint a certain person?

Sometimes I paint anonymous faces, sometimes famous ones. Usually that person would inspire me in some ways and I would want to pay tribute to her/him. Robin Williams and Charlie Chaplin were painted on a comedy club for example, so they fit into their environment perfectly.

It’s safe to say that women are a big part of what you paint, can you tell us more about why this is?

That’s true, I usually paint more feminine characters than male ones. I found that the female body and its traits inspire me more, and I like the aura it gives to a mural.

Looking at the festivals and events you’ve attended around the world, it’s obvious that you travel a lot – which has been your favourite place to paint so far?

I love travelling to old and new places, it’s one of the best part of the job. I’m usually on the road half of the time, especially from April until October when a lot of festivals and events take place.

Honestly, it’s hard for me to say which place has been the best, people are friendly and welcoming everywhere!

Does travelling have an affect on your work? For example, do your surroundings and experiences in different cities influence what you’ll be painting?

The environment and surroundings have definitely an influence on what I’ll be painting. If I can, I try to create a mural that takes inspiration from its social, historical or political context – or a piece that will play directly with the structure of the wall/space.

If I can’t, then I let my mind wander and create an image from scratch.

What upcoming projects do you have planned?

As we are approaching the end of 2017, and winter is here, I’m focusing more on studio work like producing screen prints, T-shirts or commissions. I don’t know yet where I’ll paint in 2018, what projects I’ll be doing and who I will meet – but I cannot wait!

Big thanks to Zabou for taking time to speak to us!

Interview with Sabek

You know straight away when you see a piece by Sabek; his distinct style, the block colours and generally the animal subject matter.

The piece below was one of our most liked images of August, so we thought we’d get in touch with Sabek to find out more about his background, his inspiration and his artwork.

Enjoy!

street art sabek woman and birds

Where are you from and when did you start painting?

I’m from Madrid, Spain, and I start to paint around 15 years ago.

Why do you paint?

Because I need it, I can not imagine my life without painting!

What made you choose the style you paint?

It chose me! It’s something that was happening over time, the theme I choose to paint and the practice of doing it, drove me to my actual style.

street art sabek Caballo chucaro

How do you choose the subject matter of your pieces?

Animals turn out to be the driving force of my work, in which fierce and entrenched values reflect on the places that we have relegated them as mere resources for food or recreation, denouncing the need for human beings to control and tame the wild to dispossess the animals in their essence.

What techniques do you use to create your work?

Mixed media of spray can and wall paint.

Who and/or what influences your work?

All our environment, the people what I have around, animals, the relationship between human and animal behaviour.

street art sabek wolf

What’s the public perception of your work?

Mostly the people who pass by the walls I’m painting are happy with my paintings, they shout things like ¨love it” ¨thank you to make our city more beautiful, but of course, some of them are not really into art or culture, or just don’t like the colours or characters I’m painting and they complain.

In something like public art is difficult to make everyone happy, actually what we do sometimes is difficult to understand, traveling around the world making our work (with the best wishes) to everyone who is living there, but most of the times is small time to understand the local culture, and there could be some misunderstandings.

But in the end like the 95% of my experiences were completely positives, meeting amazing local people which gives you a good feedback and lend you a helping hand in all aspects.

street art sabek bird

What challenges do you face when painting?

Rain, problems with the lift, bad coordination, there’s always something that goes wrong but everything has a a solution! The most challenging aspect is not having a lot of time to make the piece. Painting really big facades in just 6/7 days, sometimes you need to be very focused and active even if everything what I mentioned is working well.

Which has been your favourite piece to paint?

It’s difficult for me to choose, I was really comfortable in many places with great people which makes it a formidable experience.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I was on a road trip in the USA, working on severals projects. It was a month and a half painting almost everyday, it was really challenging and exhausted but in the end, when I realised everything what was done, it gave me an idea of what I was capable of.

street art sabek wolf deer

Do you have any projects coming up?

Yes some, I will be traveling to Buenos Aires for Color BA and then Washington D.C for a commission project. And some more projects coming up.

Many thanks to Sabek for speaking to us! Find more of his work on Global Street Art or on Instagram.