It’s interview time again on Nogreywalls and this time we are graced with the time and words of Barcelona based illustrator and designer Edjinn.
Edjinn’s world is one full of imagination, his bizarre characters brought to life through his colourful satirical art. Also he really likes Bacoa Burger and as a fan of all things burger I like him even more now.
Hi Edjinn, how are you? Where does the name Edjinn come from?
My nickname comes from the initial E from my real name and Djinn from the fantastic creatures from Semitic mythology.
How did it all start for you? Were you one of those kids always scribbling on notebooks at school?
Well, kind of! When I was a child I didn’t play with my toys too much. My family gave me toys for Christmas and instead of playing with them I had fun drawing them. I have always been drawing. At some point my brother Ibie started painting graffiti. One day I went along with him and he taught me how to use the spray can, then I started to draw on the walls.
What was the first ‘spark’ for you to pick up a spray can and hit the street? Did you start off as a writer and then progress to larger more moralistic pieces?
I have never been to much into traditional graffiti. I never painted letters or wild styles with lots of arrows haha. When I started painting I was a teenager and doing vandal stuff seemed so inviting! And also to change the paper sheets for walls was a fun challenge. But I have always been more interested in doing more muralistic pieces than other stuff.
Where does your artistic inspiration come from? How did you come to find your current style of drawing/painting?
I never studied art, I’m self taught. I’m just doing the stuff in the only way I know. When I started on the streets I was doing more complex stuff but I’m a perfectionist so I was never happy with the final result. I started to simplify things until I was happy with them, I think it’s a good way to learn. Start with the simple stuff, then you can focus on the composition, the colours, the lines, the concept, the development of characters. If some day I master this I can start learning other concepts to do more complex pieces. I just need to feel it happen progressively.
As for inspiration… There are so many things inspiring me like cartoons, Manga, Anime but in the last few years a lot of what I’ve done is inspired by the classic video games from the 8/16 bits era. The pixels are so reinterpretable and when I play and see them I feel the need to draw.
You are a multidisciplinary artist (and a very busy one) I see you on the streets, I’ve seen your t-shirts for Caradura, Your involvement with Fine Rats magazine and also recently your work with Bacoa on their In-Restaurant zines. Is there one area you enjoy more than the others or do they all give you the same satisfaction? And where do you find time for it all?
Well, it’s not really like that. I’m not as busy as I would like to be. I try to keep myself busy as I have bills to pay but it’s a hard job. In relation to Fine Rats, it’s not my magazine, it’s a project from Ibie and Rotor, I only helped them where I could. Sadly the project is in standby. It was an expensive project and it was’t easy to find sponsors to help continue it.
As for Cara Dura, in the last few years I received some proposals to collaborate with some fashion brands but I was’t happy with the results so I decided to start my own brand and produce my own stuff. Also, post Fine Rats, its a cool way to keep collaborating with artists I like. I really enjoy my time when I’m working on the brand.
And finally the Bacoa collaboration I really enjoyed doing. First, because I love their burgers and often go there to eat. And also because it pushed me to work with a briefing and forced me to take my work to the next level. I’m really proud of that Collaboration.
When working on a wall do you have a plan in mind when you start a piece? Or do you like look at the wall and the surroundings and take inspiration from there?
Usually days before painting I check the format of the wall, the surroundings and if possible I take some photos. After, I draw at home until I feel satisfied. I put my soul into drawing at home. When I come to paint at the wall I don’t stop much to think about it, I do a kind of mechanical work, stain my hands and enjoy the wall. Really relaxing, a bit Zen!
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 far of the blank page/canvas, do you ever get this?
For me, the harder it is to find the idea, an idea that is complete. Sometimes it’s a pain in the ass but when I complete it it’s very rewarding. The rest is an easy and fun job.
Do you have a favourite city or place to paint? Is there a dream city of country or wall even that you’d like to paint?
Lately I’m not doing so much illegal walls, I’m getting older! For legal walls, right now Barcelona is so chill.
Do you like to collaborate with other artists?
When I started painting the streets I never painted alone, each wall was collaborative with different artists. I really enjoy painting with more people but I also need to paint alone to have the control in order to develop my personal work.
Something I really enjoy is hearing which artists inspired other artists. Which artists inspired your growing up and who’s work do you really like just now? And is there any artist you would love to work with?
Without doubt I have to say the work of my brother Ibie, he is so inspiring. I have grown as an artist so much thanks to him. Right now I really like Sawe, HuskMitNavn, Todd James, Motohiro Hayakawa, Benjy Brooke, James Jarvis, David Jien, Jesse Moynihan, Misaki Kawai, James Ulmer, Simon Hanselman, Brecht Vendernbroucke, Quentin Duckit…
In regards to working with other artists, what I can say at the moment that with Fine Rats or Cara Dura I have worked with all the artists I’ve wanted too.
Just to speak about something different for a minute, tell us something about yourself that maybe not many people would know!
My first wall was a portrait of a schizophrenic neighbour!
If you could be anyone or anything for a day who or what would you be?
If it was for my whole life, I guess I would say a millionaire. Then I could focus on all my work and projects and not care about bills. If it’s just for one day, then… nothing, one day doesn’t change anything haha.
Do you have any upcoming shows or projects we should know about? Are you currently exhibiting your works anywhere?
I did a lot of shows, most of them in bars and shops. At this point I’m not interested in doing this anymore. I will do shows only if I have the option to do it in a gallery. If not… then you will have to see my work in the streets!
I have some projects on the way, like the new collection of Cara Dura but I can’t reveal too much about it yet.
I look forward to hearing about Cara Dura related news for sure!! Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before you go?
As Marty McFly would say, see you in the future!