Face to face with Kraser, the Spanish street art legend with a crush for Italy
At the Italian launch of neubau eyewear in Milan, we had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Kraser, a Spanish artist and graphic designer now living in Italy, and one of the most unusual and interesting figures of the European phenomenon of street art.
Kraser has a very personal style that mixes lowbrow art, old master and surrealism to create works that blend irony and dreamlike concepts.
A native of Cartagena, you now live and work in Milan. Why did you choose Italy and the capital city of Lombardy?
In my opinion, Italy has always been a very interesting country, a great culture and is home to many great artists. I had the opportunity to come here on a few occasions, and it seemed very familiar. I felt the same sense in other Mediterranean countries, but no one has ever made me feel at home like Italy has. I started going to Milan and got to know greatly appreciated artists that, with the passage of time, turned into great friends.
Cities often affect the work of an artist decisively. If this is true, in what way can we see this in your work?
This is also true in my case. Even if, more than the city I am influenced by the change of life.
When I first arrived was painting “Dom’s” abstract experimental graffiti; at that time I was only lettering, even if I was willing to make a change in my work encouraged by the need to tell things. Eventually, my work has changed from lettering to figurative.
In many European capitals quarters that were previously peripheral and industrial are being transformed into creative and cultural hubs of the city. This is also happening in Milan. In which quarter is this atmosphere more vibrant? What quarters inspired you?
Everything inspires me. I am obviously attracted to peripheral area like those near the Navigli. In this area I can stop and see the chaos of the centre from afar. I am not so good at remembering names of neighbourhoods, I am only limited to seizing what crosses my path.
Street art is one of the most evident expressions of these new creative quarters. How does your work interact and come into contact with the city?
When you work in a studio you are yourself and have music, the work and time at your disposal. On the contrary, on the street you exposed to the opinion of the public, time is limited to the light and varies according to climatic conditions. The creation of a mural is a new experience for the artist as much as for the people who participate in creating it since they will always feel a part of that piece of wall.
Right now your personal “Blue Habitat” is at Killer Kiccen, where you also participated in the launch of neubau eyewear. Do you feel that the collaboration between brands and artists can be a genuine route for promoting art and creativity?
I feel that any type of collaboration is fruitful. Often, generating new ideas and innovative concepts turns into something unique. This happened to me with neubau and Killer Kiccen; if it was not for this collaboration, perhaps I would never have produced the refrigerator installation, so I am very proud.
Is there one place where you would like to live and draw, where you have not been yet?
New York, even if I do not know if I would like to live there since I feel at home here. I would prefer working there for long periods. I painted in many cities such as Beijing, Athens, Miami, Berlin, and many Italian cities and, of course, in Spain. As of today, I would like my base to be Milan, but who knows, only time will decide on my destination.
Where do you get the inspiration for the subjects of your work? How does the study and inspiration phase take place?
Many things inspire me; I am a great observer of life. There are times when I am with my friends and I hear someone say, “what’s going on, why don’t you say something?”; In fact, I was alienated and was busy analysing the lights and shadows around me. I am inspired by anything that crosses my path including art, architecture and even the simple things of life. I normally generate the idea after having seen it in my head together with what I want to express. The next step is developing it on canvas or on a wall and adding or removing elements depending on the inspiration at that time, which gives added value to the work. This is why I dedicate a lot of time thinking when developing the work.
Is there a way to “train” creativity?
I guess so. I think it’s a matter of time and effort along with a good dose of curiosity and the desire to evolve. I know some cases where the artist has the faultless ability to shape a photograph on canvas without being able to create something of his own. The evolution of an artist is at the base of everything.