This week we’ve hooked up with young ‘’artivist’’, Apset. His variety in styles, combined with his talent and experience make him one of the most respected Greek street artists. In this interview we also discover his authentic character and get to learn much more about what drives his passion. Enjoy the read.
(ISSA) – What you choose to drink? Coffee, Tea, Beer, Soda or something else?
(Apset) – Beer for sure!
– Please Introduce yourself to us.
I’m Apset, graffiti writer and artist from Greece (Thessaloniki), born at 84’ and actively dealing with graffiti since 98’. Studied graphic design, worked for some years into sculpting, drawing and designing theme parks around Greece and now I am working as an independent artist and dealing with artistic decorations, illustrations, projects, murals, exhibitions, etc.
I am an organising member of ‘SAF’ Street Art Festival Thessaloniki and a member of ‘Urban Act’ artistic team, while at the same time I am studying at the department of visual and applied arts, of the School of Fine Arts, at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
– (Optional) where does your tag name come from?
First it came up from my name Stelios-Ste-Set and became into ApSet for certain notional reasons.
-How do you define yourself? Artist? Street artist? Anything else?
Graffiti writer, muralist & artist.
– How did it all start for you, and what is it nowadays?
It all started as an act of defiance, wandering around with friends and crew back in the days (AGB-2G), gradually becoming a way of living and turned out more like an expression. I miss the days we were hanging around at parks and streets, drinking beers and painting everywhere just because we could. Nowadays, most of my guys are tattoo artists, graphic designers, or have picked their own ways. The few remaining no longer seek Sunday’s walls but meetings like fests and exhibitions.
-What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Check my mails, finish my late night sketches and getting ready for the next paint.
-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?
I think each graffiti has a unique noise, everyone gets it his own way. It could be the style, lettering, character, or even the whole production theme of the wall that can have numerous ways to sound. Sometimes it’s rap, techno, punk or even pop or soul. I think mine is more like a chill out funk step kind of stuff.
-In all forms of art, inspiration is crucial. What is it that inspires you?
‘My daily world of kind & my daily world of mind.’
-What is the hardest part while working on a piece of art?
I think that all periods of painting have their difficulties, measuring the first lines, finding the right colours, going up and down the ladder or scaffolder, etc. The most boring part is filling in the blanks, while my best is making effects and details.
-Do you have an artist(s) you admire and what for?
I can’t say there is a specific graffiti writer that I have as an idol. There are several I admire a lot, with whom we share the same concerns, as well as age. Speaking of art, I really like some Dada and Pop artists, but generally I think Duchamp, De Kooning & Francis Bacon were really fresh for their time. They could have also been great graffiti artists if they were born today.
-Which cities are the most inspiring for you?
I think there is a whole different kind of energy and inspiration in every city, especially if you spent time in it. I think the city that has defined me is the one I live in (Thessaloniki). Regarding the art and graff scene, New York would certainly be one of them, as well as Berlin, London, Barcelona, Tokyo, (even though I’ve not been in some of them yet).
-What other passions do you have apart from art?
Mainly it’s art. The other ‘passions’ at this time refresh my body and soul so I can be more creative and effective in my true passion.
-Do you have a wild project that you dream of achieving some day?
I am fulfilling my dream practically day after day.
-Tell us about your art, does it include symbolism, messages or repeated patterns?
It is a mix of different techniques and symbolism, affected by graffiti and art with elements of photo realism. The point is to create a piece which combines lots of styles, united with my personal touch as I don’t want to get stuck with one style or movement. The idea is to feel, experiment and find solutions. Maybe it’s contemporary pop art, maybe a bit of pop surrealism but in the end it’s all about freedom and expressing yourself.
– How long time does a piece of art work of yours usually survive for?
Graffiti is an ephemeral art and it’s not meant to last forever, even if I think everyone gets a little upset when a piece is gone. A piece at a hall of fame may last a day, murals last a lot longer. I just recalled that all the murals I’ve ever made from 2003 survive till now.*
-What do people first think of, or feel, when they see one of your works on the street?
There is a variety of first reactions. The younger and older people’s reactions are particularly interesting. It’s really intriguing how these two categories’ minds react to this kind of art while they observe a work in progress. I’ve realised that some years ago, 80% of the passing people where threatening to call the cops (even if it was a legal wall), whereas nowadays, only 10% may don’t like some stuff about it. The way I see it, that’s kind of a success for graffiti, as people get more used to it in time and becoming more graff-friendlier.
-Do you have a secret you would like to share with us? 🙂
The secrets are hidden in the walls… ‘The walls Chico, they never lie’
-What are your creative plans for the future?
At the time I am planning to stay active, with participations at festivals, projects and exhibitions in Greece and mostly abroad. One more goal is to continue growing our fest (SAF-Street Art Festival Thessaloniki) by inviting as many creative young people to participate and encouraging expression through creative collaboration year after year. Last but not least the plan is to complete my Art School University studies and evolve at practicing art more and more every day. This is a never ending game.
-Is there a specific thought or message you would like to pass to our audience out there?
Do it your way, no matter what. Stay True!
Thank you Apset – It’s been great to get to know more about the mind and person behind these great works.
”I Support Street Art’’ team.
Check out more works of Apset here.