After a wee while with no interviews suddenly I have two in two weeks! This week, I am delighted to bring you this chat I had with an artist who’s work I have become very familiar with in my three years in Barcelona… Catalan graphic designer, graffiti artist, rapper, man of many talents – Degon!
Hi Degon how are you? Tell us a little about yourself…
Hi! I’m Ibran aka Degon. I’m 33 and I was born in Vic, nearby Barcelona. I’m an audiovisual designer and I’ve been painting since 1999. My aka has no meaning, just a combination of letters I liked when I was 14. My real name means “blade” Half of my friends call me Ibran, the other half Degon.
How did it all start for you? Were you one of those kids always scribbling on notebooks at school?
I think so! But I have to say I was also a good student too. Fuck clichés!
What was the first ‘spark’ for you to pick up a spray can and hit the streets?
I noticed what was going on the walls as I started hanging out with my friends as a teenager. Those characters, letters, drawings, that someone did just for the pleasure of showing of, attracted me so much. I guess is something that has all the ingredients to move you as a teen: It’s “cool” a bit bad ass and your group of friends becomes a crew with a cool, bad ass name too. Like our first crew name: NTL (acronym for “We Don’t Have Limits” in Catalan). Jokes allowed!
Your work is incredible, it’s taking ‘burners’ to a whole new level in my opinion. The pieces look like something you could only create on photoshop and not with a can. How did you come to find this style of working and how would you describe your style?
Thanks! I would say ‘graphic’. I try to bring graphic design to the graffiti world. Since graffiti brought me to my profession (design) I’ve tried to bring design back to graffiti. I don’t care about techniques or if it can be labeled as real graffiti or not. I prefer to try to push it more to the edge and play with ideas that surrounds the street art and the platforms where you can find it.
When working on a wall do you have a plan in mind when you start a piece? Or do you like to look at the wall and the surroundings and take inspiration from there?
I always have a plan. For me where I feel more comfortable improvising is in my computer. And I’m a very slow painter too, so I need all the time I’ve got to paint and take the picture before the sun downs. Barcelona it’s like a jungle where people paints over people all the time, so you can not afford the risk of walking away the wall without a picture.
With this in mind what do you find to be the most difficult part of the creative process? I’ve read other artists speak about the fear of the blank page/canvas, do you ever get this?
For me the most difficult part is choosing between options. Since I come from a digital background where I can do as much variations of an idea or shape as I want, sometimes I struggle to decide what I’m gonna put on the wall. My creative process is to evolve ideas without throwing the old ones away, which gives me total freedom to try new things without being 100% sure about it. But it also have the negative part of getting confused about the direction I want to take.Over the years I’ve understood that this is part of my process so when I get to this point, I just need to stop and sleep on it.
Do you have a favourite city or place to share your art? Is there a dream city or country or wall even that you’d like to visit and leave some of your pieces?
I like to share it in Barcelona, where I live, even though it doesn’t last that much.
Lately I wanted to paint in East Europe and Asia, and I know it’s a classic, but New York as well!
I know you are part of the NGFX crew and you all do amazing work, Do you feel like collaborating with the guys in crew brings something different out of you? And do you like to collaborate with other non NGFX artists?
I think it empowers you to go further. For me it’s been very important to grow up next to them as an artist and as person. Your crew pals are the safe place where you can experiment and have feedback from someone that have a similar taste and background than you. It’s not a coincidence that we have ended up together. They have been my main influence. And we’ve reached the point we have settled a design studio that is still active today.
And of course it’s also very important to collaborate with outside people to learn new dynamics, styles and techniques. The more inputs you can have the better!
Something I really enjoy is hearing which artists inspired other artists. Which artists inspired you growing up and who’s work do you really like just now? And is there any artist you would love to work with?
And I would like to work with any of them.
Just to speak about something different for a minute, tell us something about yourself that maybe not many people would know!
I have 2 audiovisual design studios with crew members and college friends: DEVICE and AMIGO TOTAL. I have a post-rap band with Ralp (one of my crew members and my studio partners) called JUDDER and I also collect/curate beautiful ugly logos TURBOLOGO.
I had no idea you were part of a rap group! I need to check that out ASAP! If you could be anyone or anything for a day who or what would you be?
Instead of being someone else, I would like to have three parallel lives in which I could focus in one single thing I like in each live. And somehow switch between them to see how that would affect me in terms of fulfilment and success. Easy, right?
That sounds pretty fucking interesting to be honest! Do you have any upcoming shows or projects we should know about? Are you currently exhibiting your works anywhere?
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before you go?
Thanks for the interview and good bye!
Thanks for your time man and all the best!