Stinkfish is a world renowned street artist from Colombia. He’s been on a bit of a Euro jaunt recently and he’s dropping in on us folk in London this week for his first ever solo exhibition of work on paper. It’s happening at BSMT Space and the show ‘Portraits in Transit’ will run from Sept 22nd – Oct 8th.
Hey Stinkfish – how’s your European tour going? Where have you been/are you going to before you hit London?
Everything’s going OK. This time I was in Italy working on some walls in small cities near Bologna for the Cuma Project, and then I visited Vienna for a couple weeks, where I did a couple of big walls over the course of a week. And now I am here for some action in London.
Why are psychedelic colours so important to you?
It´s part of the graffiti influence I have, I just started to mix styles of colours from the things I used to see painting with my friends and other people that I met some years ago. Also it’s part of the idea of making a powerful image on the wall – the colours can catch the attention of people when they are walking by really fast to work, or from a bus, a car, a train.
You take pictures of random people and then use that photo for your paintings – has anyone recognised themselves and got in contact?
It’s happened a couple of times in the past, no one’s contacted me but I have met people that have said, “oh, that´s my friend!” or “that´s the ex-girlfriend of my brother!”
What’s the most dangerous situation you’ve found yourself in when painting a piece?
Around 10 years ago I was painting tags with a friend in Bogota and suddenly a car stopped and a guy came down pointing a gun at us, asking what we had stolen. Then he realised we just had a backpack full of paint and left!
When you go to a new city to paint – what are you looking out for in terms of places to get up? Usually I like to hit places with high traffic, and I prefer it when I can find old walls with rusty textures, which is something that tells you about the time that wall has had.
You’re very much a graffitist – do you feel constricted when your work is in a gallery?
I think it’s a different moment of work – my principal work is in the street. I understand gallery work as a moment to find new aspects of my work and be inside a place painting for more than one day.
This show at BSMT Space is your first solo show of work on paper. Why did you choose for it to be in London?
I have been thinking about doing work on paper for a long time; I think it’s a material that works well with my images. I found BSMT was a good moment to match this idea.
Where can we see more of your work?
Some cities in Latin America, other ones in Europe, a couple of places in the United States, China and some Asian cities.
Interview: Josh Jones