Fanakapan is a prolific artist based in London whose art leaves smiles on peoples faces. He has travelled the world leaving 3D balloons and other 3D murals in every port he visits. Tim Jentsch from the ISSA team met with Fan and found out more about himself and his art.
Where does your tag name come from?
FANAKAPAN– comes from my childhood. My mother used to call my sister “fanny fanakapan” ,“ come on fanny fanakapan! We are going to be late! “ type thing. I think there was also a song from the wartime called “Fred fanakapan “ by Gracie fields. It explains the useless nature of a man I’m assuming was her husband. I liked the word and thought it sounded a bit strange so it suited my imagination quite well. The shittest name to tag though and “FAN” isn’t much better.
(FANAKAPAN- was also a racehorse).
How do you define yourself? Artist? Graffiti Artist? Street artist? Anything else?
I have always been an artist for as long as I can remember, at one point that turned into vandalism, then that developed into street art which seems to be moving into urban contemporary art.
How did it all start for you, and what is it nowadays?
I have been producing art my whole life but I started messing around with spray paint in the early 2000’s running around late at night putting up stencil pieces in Dorset. I stopped painting for a fair while and picked it back up when I moved from Bristol to London in 2008.
Now I paint every day and I enjoy my job ( most of the time ).
What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Now I don’t have a daily hangover after quitting all poisons -I get up, have a coffee, walk the dawg!
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 love uk jungle music. Always have and always will. It may not suit the aesthetic of my work but that’s what I listen to. Hip hop ,Jungle, Trip Hop and Breaks. Currently going through a Manchester faze on Spotify though – stone roses – charlatans etc haha.
In all forms of art, inspiration is crucial.
What is it that inspires you?
I come from a prop making background, So I take inspiration from actual 3D objects mainly. I can’t use photoshop, at all, so I figure out ways around that and can see the potential in objects to suit what may be rattling around my head.
What is the hardest part while working on a piece of art?
The hardest part of my job is usually the weather. I was up a 9 meter ladder in high winds and rain a few weeks ago in Shoreditch, London and that was tough. Access to walls sometimes stops plans. I had to use a forklift with a wooden pallet on it in Florida last year and just tried not to die.
Apart from that it’s usually pretty straight forward.
I admire any artist with originality. I won’t drop names but I admire a lot of my piers and have massive respect for those who paved the way from the early graffiti days in NYC. I have been lucky enough to meet and hang out with a lot of those people more recently and will never take that for granted.
Which cities are the most inspiring for you?
Being inspired by a city in particular might not be my thing, but London seems to make me try harder at what I do.
What other passions do you have apart from art?
My other passions have taken a back seat now my life has been consumed by art, but I used to be a half decent skateboarder. I’m a bit more protective of my wrists now but I still love to ride the mountains on a snowboard as much as I can manage.
What do people first think of, or feel, when they see one of your works on the street?
I’m not sure how people react 100% of the time but it’s always a compliment when they say they thought it was real at first glance.
Do you have a wild project that you dream of achieving some day?
I’ve always wanted to revisit my sculpting and have been lucky enough to have the chance to through Urban Nation next month in Berlin. I will be “live sculpting” with a chainsaw. Making my own art , not for someone else like for Anish Kapoor (one of my old jobs). I’m looking forward to it !
Tell us about your art, does it include symbolisms, messages or repeated patterns?
Some of my art has a hidden meaning depending on what I may be painting or where I’m painting it . I usually like the viewer to read into it what they want to though. I get some pretty strange suggestions from different minds and I like it like that.
How long does a piece of art of yours usually survive for on the streets?
My art can be destroyed very quickly or it can last for years. It all depends on where it is and if anyone wants to go out of their way to paint over me.
What are your creative plans for the future?
My plans are to carry on painting as much as possible while growing as an artist and developing my skills . Hopefully people will enjoy it or hate it all!
Do you have a secret you would like to share with us? 🙂
These aren’t really secrets but I’m petrified of moths for some reason. I had a baby tooth up until this year, and I love eating goose eggs.
Is there a specific thought or message you would like to pass to our audience out there?
There isn’t much of a message I’d like to leave, I just hope people continue to appreciate Streetart and the advertising doesn’t ruin it for everyone. Nothing is sacred anymore so we have to try to enjoy it while it lasts.
It’s been great to get to know more about the mind and person behind such talented and inspiring works.
Interview by Tim Jentsch – I Support Street Art team
To see more of his art visit his artist profile:
Please also visit his instagram: