Ekosaurio is a Puerto Rican artist currently residing in Barcelona. He has somehow kinda flown under my radar until relatively recently. Now that I have found his work it seems like I’m seeing more and more of his pieces on a weekly basis. Weird how it works like that. Anyway, I really like what I’ve seen the past few months so decided to ask Ekosaurio for an interview. It’s been a wee while since I’ve done any interviews so I am delighted that Ekosauro agreed.
Hi Eko, How are you? Tell us a little about yourself…
Sup, I’m very good Thanks. Well, Im from Puerto Rico but living here for almost 3 years in Barcelona… i love donuts and I considered myself as a multidisciplinary creative freaky person. I enjoy to walk, create things and definitely the beach. I was the youngest of five in my family, (2 brothers and 2 sisters). So, people in PR also know me as “Bebo” like the baby of the family. Fun fact though hahah. I also have a background in architecture, furniture, product and graphic design because were the themes that I’ve studied and worked. Im a passionate with graffiti, art, murals and spray paint. My favourite hobby is being painting, a wall, a canvas, wood, whatever.
When did you start spraying on walls?
I think that the first time was in 2006-2007, that was when i started to being a graffiti writer, -well a toy you know-. But I remember that i had a friend with a golf car were I raised up, and with her was my first mission. I painted the walls of the basketball court, and the electricity metal cubes on the street. It was a chaos because everyone knows that was me, so the security of the urbanization came to my house, the administration send cards and penalties for the damages, blablabla. Its probably what was going to happened hahahah Im always been painting walls but in 2016 I painted my first big format my flower concept.
What was the original inspiration for grabbing a can for the first time?
I grew up seeing graffiti. In my home town there were many graffiti artists. I remember when i saw a graffiti on the top of the buildings, on billboards, roof spots, I get impressed how they can get there, how much time they spent , when the do it, what day of the week, etc… I loved to see a new graffiti the next day, on my way to school. I think this really was what inspired me to start painting a spray paint.
Do you like to work with a sketch or just freestyle?
I usually don’t do sketches. When I began in graffiti i filled black books and all my notebooks, but now its different. Also when I tried to paint from a sketch I never stayed the same. There was always a change or almost did not resemble the initial sketch. So over time, I used it rather to establish the proportions. I prefer freestyle.
All my larger murals have been like this, freestyle. I always arrive with an idea of the composition and the plants that I will draw. And usually use the colours I had, very rarely have I had all the specific colours I want; this is why I also have to improvise. I also like to connect with the place, sit, observe, listen, see the size and proportion of the space (a photo is not the same). Until I feel ready to connect my brain with my hands and start to paint. I used the same process for my studio works.
What’s the inspiration behind your work? A never ending list of things, right?!
Well, I was on a moment in my life, as an artist, that I wanted to find something that represent the lifestyle that i’ve been living on the island. By this time, I’ve been working with a new collection of my urban clothe line:
“KRMA DESIGN” . In the search to find something that will characterise us as an islanders, surrounded by vegetation, beaches, ecosystems, mountains and rivers. I selected a graphic of a vase with tropical plants. -The same plants that I saw since childhood in the courtyards of the houses of the family and nature-. I edited it with an urban style, more striking colours and on a black background. It is here when I make my first pot with tropical flowers. It was a very iconic and striking design at that time. Currently I continue to be inspired by plants, colours, old cloth patterns and definitely by the art and craft movement of the mid-19th century.
Is a piece ever finished in your eyes?
Yes, I think that many of my murals are incomplete. Some more than others. Because I had to improvise a lot, with materials, time, access (if I have stairs or not) etc. But I am satisfied with everything I have been able to do. If I had to choose one, it would be the mural I made in Humacao Grita, an art festival in the east area of Puerto Rico. That mural of approximately 6 meters per 7 meters, I did it with a ladder in 16-18 hours because I had to return to Barcelona the following days. The mural lacked shadows and a grid of lines in the gradient background. I have never used a projector to make my pieces, but in that we were going to do it but for lack of time it could not.
I’ve noticed that you do both street art and also more graffiti style work. Do you have a preference between the two?
No, I think that in both styles I have something to express. As a graffiti artist, I love letters and bombing. In fact I consider myself as a bomber, who makes bubbles and fast letters. I’ve done wild-style but I started to get interested in other things, not just focusing on making letters. If you asked me this at night, one Sunday, maybe I would have told you that hahaha graffiti.
I also feel that definitely doing street art challenges me more to do different things and in different formats. And that I can reach more people, without wanting to. I believe that graffiti is not yet seen as a true art – which for me, it is – but people usually see it as vandalism. And I understand, graffiti lends itself more to vandalism, but not all graffiti artists are vandalists, or gang members hahaha. You know, we are people that used that tool as a way to express ourself. Yeah a little self-centered. I will be a graffiti artist for life. It is part of my identity.
Do you have any crazy ideas/projects that you’d love to do one day?
Yeah, I would like to make oral arrangements with tropical plants that I can paint and cut. A little, how to move my pieces to reality. I would also like to take a closed space and decorate it full of plants, hanging from the ceiling, from the wall and leaving the floor. Try to generate the sensations that my pieces convey. That feeling of being redone in colour and vegetation and even being able to place sound and even humidity or heat depending on the living conditions of the plants. I also want to make collage with spring plants and leaves and see how they are decomposing, either naturally or by other organisms. Well these are some of my crazy things that I will do someday.
What do you like to do with your non-painting time?
Well Im a workaholic, Im always doing something, I can get ill if i’ve nothing to do… But my girlfriend taught me that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat rich, so I like cooking, drink coffee and eating out once in a while. My specialty is breakfast, the oatmeal banana pancakes. I also spend time watching movies and at the cinema. Especially on Mondays and Wednesdays there are discounts. Sometimes I run roller skates around the city. Sometime I travel. And I like to be in my house quiet, relaxed in peace, like being inside a bubble listening to your music.
What’s the ideal soundtrack to a day’s painting?
Woow. I have so many soundtracks, it also depends on who you are with. but when I’m alone I love to hear “That’s Playa” by Los Walters, I feel like I recharge batteries with that song, it energises me. I also listen to JUNGLE, Fanso, Melodiesinfonie, Nathy Peluso, Gorillaz, etc.
If you could have one super power for the day what would you choose?
Definitely flying. It would be the best power i could have.
What’s next for Ekosaurio?
I want to being more active on the street, painting more walls. Im always been experimenting and transforming myself and my art. I love to learn and try to do new things, because I still feel that I need to reach a more powerful and consistent style and concept. Inspired by plants, which is what characterises my work, of course. During the exploration very good series have emerged that I never contemplated that I was going to paint.
Recently I am working on a new series focused on immersing yourself in nature. It is a new concept where light, shadows, and composition are the main elements. I am crazy to continue developing this concept that can be moved to any surface and format. Someday I will be in the big leagues, along with Okuda, Felipe Pantone, Bik Ismo, Pastel, Dabs Myla, etc … this would be the next thing for Ekosaurio.