Image of KENOR by Justin Case
How did you get started with art?
Well when I started, I didn't really get started in the art movement as such. I started with graffiti when I was 15 years old. Through graffiti I ended up in the artistic movement, but I never wanted to be an artist! I started with graffiti, then tagging, this took me to calligraphy and graffiti took me to photography. The beginning was graffiti.
Its a mix of photography and digital collage, how did it come to that mix?
In the world of graffiti and street art the people are really worried about their faces on the Internet, most of them really want to stay anonymous and they asked me to censor them. So, it wasn't the idea of doing a new artistic project, it was more something practical. I really don't like the pixel censorship, it looks like some kind of police footage. So I started using the characters to censor the people. Well, the result was really fun and the artist really liked it too...
Has your style evolved since you have started?
At the beginning it was just really simple like copy and paste without caring too much about the technical details of the image. Then I got more into the work with photoshop and now I really care about the final image. It's really important to take the photo of the artist and the work with same settings that the natural look is given...
How did you choose the people? How do they react?
It really depends...I choose artists I really like. I started with friends I used to paint with, after that I asked people I didn't know personally, just their works. So I contact them and just asked. The reactions are very different, some are really enthusiastic, others are more shy, and some don't even answer the email. But in general the reaction is really positive. Finally the artists like the result!
You said:"I believe it is important to document the existence and environment of these artists, as it is very easy to find their works around,
but it is not so easy to find information about the person behind it."
But aren't the pictures more imagination than information?
Well, I think its more about having information about the way they work, the environment and the setting. It's like showing the people without showing their face. In the street art world there is a lot of mystery surrounding the people, BANKSY for example...nobody knows anything about. So my work show their world, work and their tools, something personal, but still keeping their anonymity.
Do you think it's possible for the camera to lie?
Good question. I think, the camera is capturing reality but more a artificial kind of reality. So the camera itself doesn't lie. What you actually see is the vision of the photographer, if he wants to capture a specific reality he can do it! The camera is just the tool, if you want to lie - it's you creating the lie - not the camera. In my case there is a lot of photoshop, so I do not capture reality, I create some fantastic mutants. So what I am showing its not true, but I don't want to be true, I like to be abstract. So yes, I am a big lier...:)
Are there any photographers or artists who you feel have influenced your work or that you feel you have an affinity with?
Of course, many....My favourite photographer of portrait is Annie Leibovitz. Especially the artist portraits she did, about Keith Haring for example. As well as David LaChapelle. I have been admiring and following them for the last years, of course there is a lot of inspiration coming from. Other artists, next to photographer, Niels Shoe Meulman, a dutch calligrapher which comes from the graffiti world and the Italian street artist BLU. Whatever you see is going to influence your work!
You said "its a lifetime project" - so you are going to continue...do you have any other new projects beside?
No, right now I am spending most of my time working on symbiosis. I don't have any other big projects right now. I am really happy how SYMBIOSIS is coming out. I'm not the type of guy who spend his time thinking about projects, in my case things come pretty naturally, SYMBIOSIS in a really natural way and I can spend a long time with it! And it's not just about the pictures, I started with a website first, then I did a exhibition and the last thing I want to do is the book. So it keeps me entertained!
„There are always two people in every picture the photographer and the viewer", Ansel Adams, where are you in your pictures?
What I give is the vision of someone which I admire in a way! It's MY vision!
© image by Elena Alger