It’s Friday so that means artist interview time! This week I have the good fortune to share an interview with local artist Raul Salvatierra aka Rage who tells us about his career in the world of graffiti.
Hi Raul (Rage), how are you? Tell us a little about yourself? How did it all start for you? Were you one of those kids always scribbling on notebooks at school?
I started painting graffiti on the year 99, after a few years already fascinated by the culture of hip hop and everything that surrounded it. I had always liked drawing since I was a child. The truth is that I left my mark on many agendas and notebooks…hahaha. In my teens I met, thanks to other graffiti culture a friend who was already painting several years and after accompany him several times in his murals, I decided to try the sprays.
What was the first ‘spark’ for you to pick up a spray can and hit the streets?
The need to feel free doing something forbidden, at the same time being a way to communicate and express themselves on the street. At that time painted graffiti was not something so normal and popular as it can be today. The truth is that the essence of the culture and graffiti was more pure.
Your pieces are a mix of burner and character work. Do you have a preference between the two styles?
The truth is that lately I like to combine both things. In my early days I did practically only letters, none of the characters. About the year 2005 I started to do what had always lived on the paper on the walls. Draw, draw, and draw more free and personal. Characters, geeks with a touch of humor. I have been, since practically the year 2011 until 2016 only painting characters or format graffiti illustration. But now I’m back to my early days and I also combined with words.
The majority of your pieces have characters from the animal kingdom, where does your artistic inspiration come from?
I have always felt admiration for the animal world, they are a continuous inspiration. By another hand, after having studied illustration and graphic design, I started to feel passion for children’s illustration. A world where I feel very immersed and try to react somewhat on my 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?
It depends on the day but normally I prefer something more freestyle.
Abandoned places or blank walls I prefer to improvise in the moment or take a very basic sketch.
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?
The hardest thing for me is to try to create something when I’m very stressed or have a lack of mental skill because of fatigue or other reasons. If that is the case then normally I end up not very happy with the outcome Although painting graffiti usually is a remedy and my best therapy
Do you have a favourite city or place to paint? Is there a dream city or country or wall even that you’d like to paint?
The truth that at the moment I have not had the luck to be able to paint in many cities except for the area of Barcelona and other parts of Catalonia. I’d love to travel to other cities and to paint, as well as meet its people and culture.
What do you think of the scene in Barcelona? Do you like the legal walls or do you prefer to keep your work to the ‘streets’ so to speak.
I think that there are a variety of artists, for all tastes and all levels. I think that in that sense we are fortunate. As for the walls, I like that there are legal walls and also “non-legal” I believe that everyone must decide where he feels better when it comes to painting.
Do you like to collaborate with other artists? Do you feel that working with other artists brings something else out of you?
To me personally I like to paint with people that I feel comfortable and ready to have some fun without taking into account their artistic level. It is not something that I have ever become obsessed about.
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?
The first graffiti artists who attracted my attention since 96 and with those who I grew up with are Rostro and Poseydon, the PDM. Their characters were and continue to be at a different level today. As I said there are lots of variety and very good people. The advantage of the social networks is that each day you can discover people with great potential who contribute their personality in their works. As for work with any artist, as I said, my current painting goals are more to have a good time and to paint freely. So I’m always open to new collaborations
Just to speak about something different for a minute, tell us something about yourself that maybe not many people would know!
I started working at the age of 15, different jobs but for a lot of years I was gardener . I was completely self-taught until the age of 27. Then came a time in which I felt the need to learn and after many efforts I started to study illustration and graphic design, combining study with work. Many did not believe in me, but now I’ve been living it. Everything is achieved with effort and humility
If you could be anyone or anything for a day who or what would you be?
An alien, and to travel around others worlds
Back to the art! Are you only painting murals or are you also doing canvas work, commissions etc?
I usually work illustrations and some commissions. But I’m currently not very active in this regard. It goes through times.
Do you have any upcoming shows or projects we should know about? Are you currently exhibiting your works anywhere?
Right now I am exposing 2 canvas in a collective expo, 12 + 1 Sant Feliu de Llobregat, organized by Contorno Urbano. I told you I’m a bit disconnected from the world of art and exhibitions. At the moment I enjoy painting more freely and outside
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us before you go?
In reference to graffiti or streetart, I think that each one is free to do what you like, with respect for others and trying to not fail himself.
Thank you for your attention and for making this interview possible and I hope that people can know a little more about my person through my works too.
Many thanks for your time Raul (Rage) and all the best with your future artistic endeavors!