Graffiti artist, painter, illustrator and, above all, creative mind, Jürgen Fetz is the creator of 'Holy Mafia'. He also works with mixed media, taking his graffiti art from the streets as inspiration for his creations on canvas. In this interview find out what inspires this artist, and be inspired by his words of wisdom!
Do you have themes, in your artwork, that recur?
Well, before I begin to paint, I always try to create a kind of “story” or content for the next series of artworks or pieces. Sometimes there is a series of twenty paintings about one topic and sometimes there are only three or four paintings that apply to one theme. It depends on these particular background stories, which characters and elements appear in my work.
There are a lot of lines and geometrical shapes in your art. What’s the appeal, for you, in working with these shapes and lines?
The geometrical lines and shapes contribute to the picture‘s visual density and making it more interesting for the beholder. They are important for the specific ambiance in my paintings. I also like to play with the difference between the dirty, rough, chaotic parts and the strictly geometric, ornamental elements. With their help, it‘s possible to single out particular characters perfectly or give the pictures a clearer overall impression. Generally, to play with different patterns is a very important part in my paintings, and some of them I use again and again, especially in Graffiti.
How does color factor in, or does color play a key role, on its own?
I think, color can help to point out different meanings and it plays definitely a very important role for every visual artist. In case there is a series of paintings, color helps to connect them.
For our own graffiti aficionados and budding graffiti artists on Lomography, what advice can you give, in developing their own style and in finding inspiration?
Do not look so much to the Internet but paint, paint, paint. It is all about practicing.
Does the medium influence the pieces you create? As, from what I’ve observed, you are able to transfer your signature style from medium to medium, without it shifting at all.
I would not say that the medium influences my style, but I like to paint on different surfaces. I enjoy the challenge you have when you paint outside on an eroded wall. It is interesting how the functioning changes by different media. But in the end it‘s only important, that I like the piece I’ve done and not the question if it looks like my style or not.
Does this take practice, or is being able to work across mediums a sign that knowing, firmly, what you want to create, all that’s necessary to ‘realizing’ your piece.
When I started with Graffiti and painting outside, it was hard work to get my sketching and drawing style from the paper and canvas on the wall. It took me a lot of practice to be on the level where I am now. It was especially hard to learn the right proportion between dark density and empty spaces and I am sure that this development goes on and on. But when I look nowadays on my latest works, it looks like that my graffiti influences more and more my paintings on canvas.
Who or what inspires you? Artists, periods of art, mythology, anything!
There were lots of artists that inspired me, although most of them do completely other stuff than I do. For example: Horfe from Paris, Roid, Alexone or more traditional painters like Kokoschka or Francis Bacon. Another topic that often plays a key role in my work are religious artworks (from different cultures), myths and fairy tales.
How did you get into art and, more specifically, graffiti?
I wish, I could tell the story about the early 80‘s, the Wildstyle and Stylewars movies, but I can not. To be honest I got addicted to graffiti when I was thirteen and visited cities like Berlin or Paris which were practically covered with paint. So it was a logic development for me, from drawing at home since my early childhood days to going out with spray cans in my bag.
What is some advice to Lomographers, photographers, artists and creative types in general?
Art is not about talking, art is about doing…
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