The Colombian artist Gleo was happy to speak with us and shared her views as well as some of her daily routines. Beautifully detailed, Gleo’s colourful scenes and fantastic creations catch and hold your attention, like a hypnotic Chimera dancing in the urban landscapes.
-What you choose to drink? Coffee, Tea, Beer, Soda or something else?
A cold beer with a good company.
-Introduce yourself to us!
I’m Gleo, from Cali (Colombia) – a small tropical city to the south west of my country, in the Colombian Pacific. I am a little awkward person in many aspects of life that founds in painting a bit of order to the daily chaos that crosses me.
-How do you define yourself? Artist? Street artist? Anything else?
I consider myself a person who simply paints walls, trying to believe that in this work I find a way to be free.
– How did it all start for you, and what is it nowadays?
It all began at the age of 17. I wanted to paint a white and flawless wall in front of my house.
Then I started painting the neighborhood with sea creatures. Why? I don’t know, I just wanted to do it…I always liked the street and it was a way to have fun in it.
Over time I began to question why I painted fish? Why the street? Why walls? Why the public space? And with that word “public” I began to understand that it is a very complex definition, this space belongs to everyone and to no one too. Go out and intervene is a position of dissatisfaction with a cement grid we call “city”, an element that conditions the way we relate and live our lives, then paint on the street for me is an act of political participation.
All this led me to think that my speech should be more conscious or at least try to question why I do it, and so I am painting today, mystical beings that invade concrete structures inviting us to remember that we are living beings and part of an ¨all¨ that It’s outside the cities.
Well, soon my thoughts may change in a few years, we’ll see what happens…
-What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
The first thing is to turn off the alarm and pray that the next 5 minutes will be long and pleasant, after this I start the day eating a fruit and drinking a cup of coffee.
-Street art is mostly a visually stimulating form of art. To add one more sense to it, what music would you pick to accompany your art work?
While I’m working, I rarely listen to music because I’m too scattered. But I definitely love Salsa old school, the Fania All Star, Ruben Blades, Willie Colom and Ismael Rivera always accompany me in my days.
-In all forms of art, inspiration is crucial. What is it that inspires you?
I have always been curious about antiquity, about the beginning of time. That is why I am inspired by ancestral cultures and the primary arts of the world, as the first manifestation of man’s need to create.
-What is the hardest part while working on a piece of art?
The most difficult part of my job is always time, which never stops or forgives your actions and decisions while painting a mural.
-Do you have an artist(s) you admire and what for?
It’s a very difficult question. It would be an endless list, because every day I find many artists that I admire.
I really admire all those who dedicate themselves to art and defend its principles, who take this discipline with responsibility and dedication. To many artists that their human quality every day grows with his work.
-Which cities are the most inspiring for you?
The last 2 years I have traveled through different cities and each one has its magic. But definitely Mexico always steals my heart. It is a country full of energy and inspiring places.
-What other passions do you have apart from art?
I take my favourite sport very seriously: “sleep”. I am a professional in sleeping before I fly with a plane, in armchairs, at work and anywhere I can do it.
After this sport I really love mathematical logic games. If I didn’t paint I would be scientific, of course the worst scientist in the world.
-Do you have a wild project that you dream of achieving some day?
Of course! I have many projects and plans. But the most complex is to found a territory with several friends where a new country is fused with our own laws.
-Tell us about your art, does it include symbolisms, messages or repeated patterns?
My work is well known for the yellow-eyed masks.
But I try to be more than masks, it’s about beings and stories of characters that represent elements such as fire, water, earth, the universe, disguised humans, hetereo beings that are always in the duality of the real and the oneiric.
My work tries to highlight that spiritual part of which we are all ashamed lately, to represent that we are part of an infinite whole, we are energy that is transformed infinitely as the yellow eyes that I paint, they are a constant element that is symbol of the cycle and the infinite.
– How long time does a piece of art work of yours usually survive for?
This is interesting, because when painting on the street the final work is not yours, it is the context, of the people who inhabit the space. People decide if it is preserved or eliminated, people are the true critics of things that are on the street.
I have walls that have lasted for days, like pieces that last for months and other years. It always depends on the inhabitants.
-What do people first think of, or feel, when they see one of your works on the street?
It has two processes, the first days many people hate it…they disagree to paint the space and the first lines of the drawing.
With the process and time many people question why all the symbols, some people are afraid but at the same time they like it also and ends up liking them.
–Do you have a secret you would like to share with us? 🙂
I am always afraid, and to overcome it I think of a bigger fear.
-What are your creative plans for the future?
For the moment, I am finishing the year preparing an individual exhibition for a Museum.
-Is there a specific thought or message you would like to pass to our audience out there?
When I plan to do something, I just do it with determination. I think things are easier than we sometimes think, I would like to remind you that you just have to do it.
Thank you Gleo! It’s been great to get to know more about the mind and person behind such talented and inspiring works.
‘’I Support Street Art’’ team.
Check out more works of Gleo here.