SP38 whose artworks with slogan as “Vive la Bourgeoisie” or “Vive la Crise” can be seen all over Berlin walls is now ending his cycle “Escape” for a new secret-kept artwork. Open Walls has met up with the artist while he was pasting his last “Escape” posters on his favourite wall. Discover a bit more about SP38, his work and his opinion about Berlin and street art.
How are you selecting your walls in Berlin?
This wall is a wall I use all the time, it is very symbolic for me. Augustr. was the place where all the galleries started appearing after reunification. It’s kind of my wall, I want to protect it.
You are pasting the last « Escape » poster. This is the end of a cycle, what are you new creations?
I have a new poster with a new typography, a new drawing –it won’t be the rabbit anymore- and a new slogan. I want it to stay secret for now as I am going to paste it for the first time in Seoul while it will be discover at Stroke Urban Art Fair at the same time. All I can say is that the slogan is inspired by consumption.
Why did you choose to end the cycle « Escape »?
I had been working on it for two years, so yeah; things got to end at some point. Plus, I used this poster for a festival named « Escape » so I thought, when the festival will end, I will go for something else.
For how long have you been in Berlin? How do you think the city has evolved?
It’s been sixteen years that I am in Berlin; I came as I was bored in Paris. I wanted to know Berlin, to see the Tacheles. I’ve always really liked the Tacheles, it was inspiring, looking like liberty… But Berlin has changed a lot, I think, if I was to arrive now maybe I would not stay. Before there was this great alternative life, alternative places, now it had became kind of bourgeois. Yet, Berlin is a place that is still renewing.
You said you were bored in Paris; can you speak a little a bit more about Paris and Berlin? Give us your opinion…
Regarding street art, Paris is business place. Of course a lot of people are doing things, as there is this fad for street art. I think it is too commercial though –apart from Belleville. I’ve got this feeling that people are doing street art to be seen, to become riche and famous… In Berlin, it’s still more free, even if things have slow down, it’s still a production of freedom.
Do you live in a street art environment?
Yes and no, I love to work with other urban artists but my friends don’t really come from this background. It’s more in Paris that I am only with urban fellows.
How did you start street art?
Well, I wanted to paint; I did a training indeed. I started painting in the 80’s in some artist squats. I was quite different from what I’m doing now; paintings, big format. The poster came naturally, I wanted something different. 1991 to 1995 was a fun time, I was with this group named « Zen copyright » and we were pirating events; we all had our slogan or image and we were pasting it together.
Did you start working with galleries quickly?
In Paris yeah, in Berlin the galleries were not so developed when I arrived…
Your artworks are very committed? Have you ever been feeling like changing style?
Yes it is committed, I don’t like decoration, I am fed up with decoration. I think in the street you got to say something. Still my artworks are balancing between political and poetry; the typography is very important too.
What are your projects for the future?
I am going to Seoul for the time for an exhibition and a festival. It’s going to be really nice being there as I have a lot of opportunity; I am going to paint a whole ruff with a crew. This is going to be a lot of fun. The festival is a performance festival as I am also active in the performance field.
Why Seoul? What do you think of the city regarding street art ?
Seoul was by chance, I met some guys, we became friends, you know the story.
Regarding street art, it’s totally illegal over there, therefore there is not so much street art. Yet, there are some quite good things. I remember I saw a « fuck japs » which I liked a lot. It is a really good place in fact as if you do street art in Seoul it will be notice right ahead . And the audience is so huge… Plus there is a real curiosity toward street art even if it what you would call « hype » over there.