We had the exciting opportunity to talk with Matteo, one of the organizers of the Bloop Festival in Ibiza. Managing Director of the Biokip Labs, he won his space on the scene for his organisational skills for some of the best art events around. He has played a key role in putting Ibiza in the spotlight of the international street art scene and believes that all is possible as long as there is an objective!
(ISSA) – Hi Matteo, introduce yourself to us!
(Matteo) – Hi I`m Matteo. I’m the managing director of Biokip/ Biokip Labs. My involvement with the art/event industry goes back to the late nineties. Me and my brother organised parties, events and making electronic music. One thing we’ve always tried to do was including all kinds of disciplines, encompassing all forms of art.
We also worked in a shop where sold spray paint and vinyls for DJs. Damn! That was twenty years ago! We’ve been working with Montana ever since (the original one from Barcelona that’s now called MTN). We went from selling their spray cans to them supporting our events, that’s amazing!
In 2005 Biokip was founded. We started holding expositions and the BLOOP Festival in Ibiza, which is now in its seventh year.
– What is street art for you? What impact has it had in your life?
Street art is a form of expression that allows you to say something wherever you want, in any way you want and whenever you want, with no need to compromise. I like the romantic side of this word. I love the fact street art can be accessible to everybody but at the same time it can also be exclusive, for those who are more careful about the details. Most of the times, even finding the actual artwork means you have to make an effort and go looking for it. To me that’s really interesting and really has a value. That’s where the idea of a proactive art festival came from.
– What made you to start organizing street art festivals?
Ibiza is an island we fell in love with at first sight. We really liked the different values of freedom that it represented. Real estate speculation over the past decade really turned some bits of the island into horrible areas.
Our challenge was to get involved with a low cost tourism environment, whilst aiming a little bit higher, offering some stimulating alternative to cheap vodka drinks and clubbing.
We chose Sant Antoni as our headquarters, since back then it needed something that’d helped re-qualifying the area. A free and accessible to all, art festival indeed did the job.
Then the local city council changed administration in 2015, some events were cancelled due to the possibility of causing “public order infringement” and some of the murals even got covered. It was time for us to move.
This year we will be focusing on Ibiza Town, and since it’s such a different environment, there will be some changes: the festival will be a smaller edition reducing its scale and it’ll see us getting involved with design and virtual reality.
– Which street artists do you admire most and why?
Over the years we’ve worked with hundreds of artists, some of whom I really liked and some others really pissed me off. In some occasions working together developed into great friendships. But again, some artists only stayed for a couple of hours and decided to go back home. The best ones I met? That’d be those who were willing to adapt upon their arrival on the island. They were the ones who managed to adapt respectively like helping us clean after eating and the ones that appreciated how much effort and sacrifice went into getting them involved with the festival. I’m not one to make a rank list, but what I can say is that being important does not mean being good artists or good people.
– Street art in the last few years has had a big impact on society, a lot of artists being in the spotlight and trying to make a carrier out of it. What do you think about this evolution?
Nowadays street art is very different from what it was when it first got me into it. Street art and writing/tagging would go hand in hand. You’d be working anonymously, most of the times being illegal, and that’s what made it so poetic to me. But over the years there’s been a big split between these two worlds. What’s defined as street art today is nothing but the marketing some artists who sell their works at ridiculous prices. And the exposure they gain is usually through legal murals they paint. Now, that’s contrasting to me.
Writing stayed real. Writers go paint for the sheer adrenaline they get from it, they do it for fun. Now check this out: even though it’s considered illegal in most developed countries, it still saves a lots of people. This is the paradox and at the same time the miracle of writing.
Picture a young boy with 10 euros in his pocket: he buys 3 spray cans, he figures out what time the train he’s going to paint will be there, finds out how long it’ll stop for, paints without getting caught and then checks what time the train will be passes again to take a picture of his work. Everything has to be done without being seen, stopped, arrested, reported or beaten-up.
Yet, lot of kids won’t get mixed up in gangs or bad scenes because for them painting is a creative outlet or because the rush of adrenaline they get by doing it. Just think of how many big artists came for the world of writing.
– Which cities do you think have the biggest activity and influence in the global street art scene?
The communication makes 95% of an artwork: artists who are backed by big bloggers and journalists are able to have big exposure, regardless of the city. You obviously have to consider, Instagram and the many others visual social media too. They single-handed changed the rules of the game, making every place visible to everybody at any given time. That said, I don’t think there’s one place that’s more interesting than some other ones, because at the end of the day it’s the people that make the place, you know? You see, it’s quite challenging for me to answer to this. I’ve always been attracted to cities where there’s something missing and I love the idea of try and bring something new and personal to the table.
– What are you working on nowadays?
A few years ago, we opened a small agency. It’s creative projects based- from virtual reality, to video games to interactive installations. We’re lucky enough to have some really good clients that like what we do and how we do it. That’s allowed us to keep going and work on our ideas and projects. We showcased our virtual reality project during Design Week in Milan (the Designersblock).
We’re currently looking for the right partners to make BLOOP Festival itinerant, so that we can export our experience and keep growing, keeping Ibiza as the main base.
– What is the biggest challenge when organising a festival?
Making ends meet. Organisation wise, I believe no problem is insolvable if you have a clear objective.
– Do you remember any occasion in which something went horribly wrong?
Consider that a free festival, with extremely small funding where we decided to not accept certain types of sponsors, is quite difficult to put together. We are dealing with an event that lasts an average a month per edition. That means a month worth of events, all produced with limited resources. Every edition has brought us happiness and pain, but the good side is that each mistake we’ve made – and I guarantee you we’ve done tons – gave us the chance to learn and gain the right skills to avoid repeating them the next time round.
– Do you have a wild project that you dream of achieving some day?
We’d like to bring our projects around the world.
– What are your plans for the future?
Right now my focus is on the near future, the coming edition of BLOOP, that like I said, will come in a different format. We’re also launching our first video game! We`re also considering possibilities to take BLOOP also outside Ibiza.
– Is there a specific thought or message you would like to pass to our audience out there?
When we started to planning about this festival, few would have put their money on us.
Let’s say there was a lot of prejudice in regard to the idea that an art based event would have worked out in Ibiza.
It was difficult and it’s been a continuous learning process. But we are still here and Ibiza now has its own art festival. One thing I want to say to the readers is most of the times if you keep dreaming, things don`t go wrong.
Thank you Matteo! It’s been great to get to know more about the person behind such great projects. ;L
Tomás Cardoso/ISSA Team
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