Crew: TOBO Gang
City/Country: Pamplona, Spain
When did you start writing? I started painting in 2008. I used to draw random forms when I was bored in class and my classmates always asked me: “what does that say?”, assuming it was graffiti. So I decided to try to start writing something. I picked the worst name ever and a few weeks later I was doing my first piece.
What’s graffiti for you? Probably the only way to stop thinking about my everyday issues. Is the best routine to avoid the bored one. For me is also a way of self-improvement. I try to make every piece better than the last one, and always try to change some things too, as much as possible. I want to take a look at the photo some months after and notice the evolution into better and way more original forms.
Influences? Everyone who I paint or painted with. You learn something from every writer. It can be a way to do something, skills, tricks… many things that you keep unconsciously and apply when you paint. Obviously, the more time you spend painting with someone, the more you get from him and he gets from you. That’s the only influence I have, no internet graffiti and things like that. I like to know that everything I paint is original and that I didn’t paint that because I saw it somewhere else before.
Tell us about your city, how is life and graffiti there? I’m living now in Pamplona, a small city in northern Spain. Life is pretty quiet there but it can be outdated at some point and become boring. Graffiti is almost completely banned in the city. You’ll never see a piece in the center, just flops. There are no hall of fames at all, and the walls or productions you can find in some quarters are just a few lucky exceptions. Fortunately, Pamplona is surrounded by a high number of villages where graffiti is more accepted. Talking about writers, there are an interesting variety of styles and points of view. There are people hitting the streets and roads, and others doing just pieces and walls. We are not a high number of people, but looks like everyone who is still living here is quite active.
What keeps you still writing? That feeling of self-improvement that I described before. Always more, always better. I remember I painted a piece back in 2008 at a local contest, you know, people watching, painting with other writers who were doing cool stuff… I made such an enormous shit (I think it was my 4th piece), that I promised myself I had to do something to fix that, just for my personal satisfaction. I have always been a big stickler. So, from that moment until now, I paint every piece or flop trying to make them better than the last one.
What trends are you seeing now in the graffiti world that you don’t like? I think some people think the only style that works or is valid is what they paint and I’m not one of them. I probably like (or know how to appreciate) every style or trend, but is true that some people go from one point to another too quickly. I’m not a fan of huge changes and I’ve always admired these writers who keep and evolves their own style like there’s no limit. In our society, everything aesthetical evolves according to some trends, and for me graffiti isn’t an exception, but for me is important to always keep your identity untouched. That’s happening now a lot with ignorant style. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, but come on, you can’t do a piece with a lot of fill effects, perfect and clean line… and then be the freshest man alive next day. Believe a little more in your work. Or don’t listen to me at all and keep having fun, that’s what it’s this all about in the end.
What do you do when you’re not painting? Now mostly drawing and illustrating. I work as a graphic designer and illustrator now and I love it, so I do the same thing in my free time but in personal projects. However, I’m an engineer in industrial and product design, so I hope some day I can develop some projects in that area too.
How would you describe your style? I’ve always said my style is like a Tetris game. I build the letters with very geometric forms and then everything has to be connected and fit perfectly. I’m quite strict while painting, always using just horizontal, vertical and 45 degrees lines, mixed with curves, so the piece will look more dynamic. Also, I’m a big fan of simple fills, always with plastic paint (spray paint is getting very expensive). I like to see the forms without trouble, not trying to find out where is the letter between hundreds of colors. And obviously, the piece has to end as clean as possible and in visual symmetry. I’m completely obsessed with that.
Can you remember the first piece you did? For sure, I remember buying some green colors and end up painting in an abandoned building, on the first (and worst) stone wall I could find. The spot was so awful I couldn’t even take a picture of the whole piece, so I made a video that I think I’ve lost. I need to get that video back.
Future plans? Keep doing what I’m doing.
Do you adapt your pieces and tags to the spot/surface? Maybe if I like the spot a lot I can make a piece exclusively for it, but usually I don’t adapt them, I just adjust the size. However, spots are for me as important as pieces. A picture is the only thing you bring back home, so I always search for a good spot ant take the better possible photo. A good spot and a good picture will always make you see the piece in a better way.
What do you think about the new generation of writers in your city? I was a little worried a few years ago because I didn’t see any new generations. It looked like mine was the last one here, but some kids are now starting to paint and we see a lot of young activity. That’s great and really interesting, we’ll see what they end up doing!
What are the best and worst aspects of graffiti? Writers.
Who do you paint for? Myself and children.
What writers have inspired you? There are a lot of writers that I like and their pieces are amazing, but I enjoy seeing them randomly, I haven’t got any idols or favorites. As I told you before, my influences and sources of inspiration are my friends and the writers I usually paint with, especially Sega75, the one who has been painting with me all these years. I think you will end up having new ideas by sharing experiences better than just seeing graffiti.
Can you ever feel tired of graffiti? There are too many things to feel tired of before.
What do you hope people will think and feel when they see your stuff? Really don’t hope nothing, they can like it or not. I just invite them to take a closer look and see all the mathematics behind every piece.
Spray Paint: Plastic Paint
Markers/pens: Pencil and rubber
Surface: Clinker brick
Cap: 94 Skinny Cap