The incredibly growth of the street art movement over the past few years brought a lot of interesting topics. How powerful the influence of street art can be in the life of people and can it help to find the solutions of the social, political and ecological problems?
Today I will talk with the street artist Guri who with the help of street art makes his impact in the life of the people.
Guri was born in 1991 in Gualeguaychu, Argentina. He started in the graffiti and stencil world in 2010 painting the streets of his hometown. He defined his creative process while studying Fine Arts at the National University of La Plata.
His art often deals with the artist surrealistic visual imagery. His “canvases” are the walls. Materials are acrylic, spray and pencils. His expressive brush stroke style reveals a precise academic technique that contrasts sharply with the rawness of the street content in his work. Many of his canvases act as a window transporting the viewer through a unique universe of symbolic compositions. His work has been exhibited individually and collectively. The murals can be spotted around the world including Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico.
Why did you choose the streets to express yourself?
I remember myself drawing all the time since I was a child. When I was a teenager I started to make graffiti, stencil and then murals. I discovered that painting for me is about communicating with people, being socially engaged with my environment. And the streets is the best place to do that.
I think there was always a part of me wanting to give people something else to look at. Something that with the help of the ideas I can express, make changes in social life. Its like making the revolution but in a peaceful way.
How do you find the places where to paint?
When I come to a new place I go to the neighborhoods, talk to people and from their places I have the ideas.
I am always really conscious of speaking with people in an open way that invites discussion. It helps me to solidify why this talk or this person matters to me; it forces me to think about their motives and intentions. I think these experiences help me to understand the world around me in a much more honest and stark way.
In a lot of your murals you paint colourful figures. What drives you to express them in the streets?
There was a point when I was studying at the University doing this kind of academic painting on canvas, and at the same time I was going to the streets to pain there, doing mostly graffiti and stencil. What I painted on walls, was more close to me, my view of the life around me, the problems. At some point I started to use more brushes and less spray paint on the walls to bring this kind of colourful figures onto the wall as my message to the people.
In this process, I also started to see how much connected my work with the place where I was painting. During my travelling I met a lot of people who inspired me to express more my art in the streets.
Do you believe that with street art we can change or help to change the environment around us and how do you see your impact?
I started to make graffiti and murals as a way of protest of the ecological situation in my city. More than 10 years ago the manufacture Botnia, located near Fray Bentos, installed two large cellulose processing plants, which polluted the river that was passing through Gualeguaychu. It was shocking how badly the people can be mistreated when the money is way much important for the government.
I was going to the protests, demonstrations and then started to make graffiti and murals as the way to show my protest of the situation in Gualeguaychu. Since that time street art has become a part of my life.
I do believe that art can help to push people think wider, outside of the common threads. The walls talk, telling tales of a turbulent past. And even though the graffiti and murals have been continuously harnessed as a tool of political communication, resistance and activism I see them as a part of the open dialogue that can bring to the changes.
You just have finished the work on a new mural in Cancun together with Gonzalo Areuz from Mexico and Felipe Cespedes from Colombia. How would you describe your work and the mural?
My recent mural in collaboration with Gonzalo and Felipe was challenging but I had great experience. It was my first mural in Cancun and my largest to the date. Together with Gonzalo and Felipe we created the design that was based on the symbology and cosmovision of the ancient cultures of Latin America.
All this work on the design led to some incredible discoveries about the history of Mexico, the culture and believes of the people living here. We decided to make focus on the indigenous cosmogony. With the help of the characters and symbols we honored the wisdom of our grandparents and their connection with the nature.
The symbols of corn, butterfly, Quetzalcoatl, and the jaguar were a part of our appreciation to the Earth , the Earth that has an ancient voice. The voice of its creatures, children, ancestors … I hope this mural will help to create a sense of place and be a symbol of our unity. At the end I wanted to thank World Art Destinations for the work that has been done.
What can we look forward to see from you next? What collaborations, shows or projects have you planned?
I’ve just had my solo exposition in Cancun and this year I will be paining in some of the festivals in Mexico and at the end of the year I’m planning to come back to Argentina and work a little bit more there.