Italian artist Gabs has been around the Barcelona graffiti scene for a number of year now. He’s been on my loooong list of artists who I’ve wanted to interview for a hot minute. Gabs pieces have just always really stood out to me. So, hot on the heels of the interview with his crew mate Jeba I can finally share what Gabs has to say.
Hi Gabs how are you? Tell us a little about yourself…
Well, I have been around Barcelona’s graffiti scene for three years now. Coming from London I have to say I had a quite different feeling here and I am enjoying very much painting in Spain.
I am in three different crews from different countries. The HITS from Turin, RM is my Spanish family and the Ghost Writers Crew from London which I recently joined.
As some of you already know I have been working painting murals for over a decade so my job and my passion mix quite a lot, not sure how much of a good thing that is…
When did you ﬁrst start spraying on walls?
I started in early 2000 in my hometown Turin going out night time by myself. I didn’t get to know other writers for the first year or so as well because people didn’t have internet at home
What was the original inspiration for grabbing a spray can for the ﬁrst time?
A very important role has definitely been played by a mural I used to see in Turin when I was just a kid, my attention got caught by the characters being so different from whatever I had seen on the mainstream till then.
Do you remember your ﬁrst piece?
Of course I do, It was a good adventure and a terrible piece.
Do you like to work with a sketch or just freestyle?
I sketch almost everyday but when on wall I often freestyle. I believe is important to adapt every piece to his surface and to be free to go with the flow but sketching is essential to evolve and to be able to freestyle when it comes to it
What’s the inspiration behind your work? A never ending list of things right?!
You said it! My first decade of graffiti has being mainly influenced by the 80s NY subway scene and the closer Munich scene (The Subway Rockers), and of course by the few crews there were in my city (ABC, KNZ).
While my second decade which is ending now has been influenced by a very huge range of input, starting from the UK graffiti scene and the French one and going through calligraphy, modern art and comic illustration.
Do you have a preference – legal wall or illegal spot?
I like to do a bit of everything, legal walls are great to improve your skills and chill but painting streets is a guilty pleasure, I love to take back spaces and see my name up! When it comes to painting on metal then you can feel the true essence of graffiti, a good blend of adrenaline, technique and ego all packed and ready to roll!
Is a piece ever ﬁnished in your eyes?
It has to be at some point, even if every piece can be improved I prefer to move on and keep a good rhythm.
Do you have any crazy ideas/projects that you’d love to do one day?
Like having a train car in your studio you mean? Yeah I’ve got plenty of crazy ideas, hopefully I’ll get through some of them in the near future
Haha yeah that would definitely apply to crazy ideas! What do you like to do with your non-painting time?
Sad enough to say but I don’t have much non-painting time, if I don’t have a spray in my hand I would probably be sketching or painting a canvas or looking at graffiti.
What’s the ideal soundtrack to a day’s painting?
Hip Hop of course, golden era and I love the UK scene.
If you could have one super power for the day what would you choose?!
I’d stop time, I always thought that’s the coolest power ever!
What’s next for Gabs?
That’s a good question really. There are so many things to do that I am trying to give priorities to the most important ones. On one side I am working to get my website online and I just got my first tattoo machine too which got me super excited. However painting remains my top priority. I am now looking for a spray sponsor that could allow me to keep a consistent production throughout the year and looking forward to going out and painting the outlines I managed to prepare during lockdown.
I want to take advantage to thank you and all the people that keeps on supporting this art form and to send a shout out to my mates which constantly inspire me and keep me going. The HITS crew, the RMs, my man JayKaes, Jeba and the Ghost Writers. My Russian fam SKPC crew, the VCG bros and a big up to all the Barcelona writers I’ve painted with!