Interviews | S. Selva | 04-05-2021

Salvaje Selva is an artist who became interested in graffiti at the age of eleven. He started out writing lyrics, following the old-school style. At the institute he studied the Baccalaureate of Art, later he did the degree of Fine Arts, he was in Naples studying engraving and later he went to Madrid to do a Master of the same discipline at the Casa de la Moneda. While he was studying art he was doing graffiti in parallel. For years, his work as an art student and what he did on the walls were two different forms of expression that he carried out simultaneously.

Currently, he continues to investigate the techniques and possibilities offered by a spray or his older brothers (compressors, sprayers, turbines ...) Professionally he has created Gesto with his good friend Kako, to carry out commissioned projects in which they adapt his work to specific spaces, both indoors. as exteriors.

Your technique is truly amazing, and your mural works convey a lot of authenticity and character, besides, we see a type of work that is not very common in muralism. How would you describe your artistic style?

My style is a material abstraction, it reflects my concerns and my way of seeing art. I must say that I am a lover of graphic-plastic techniques. A few years ago I understood that I was more interested in the way of doing it than the motif or theme itself. In other words, I understood that form was my theme. I have drawn and painted with many techniques, but the one I feel most accomplished with is spray painting, when I spray paint I wink at other techniques and effects that I learned.

I believe that my form of abstraction is closely related to my experience as an engraver and draftsman. My passion for texture or ACABADOS?, or my way of understanding wall painting through layers, comes from the period in which I was studying stamping techniques and experimenting with finishes. Some of my stylistic resources are inspired by engraving effects. Others come from my way of drawing, in which I investigate more the form and the line than the motive itself. I do a lot of miniature sketches where I practice a lot of line types and effects that I later translate on the wall. I also look for new textures and colours in watercolour.

What other surfaces and styles, apart from urban art, have you experimented with?

I attach great importance to supports and tools, they are decisive in the result. My work travels through various surfaces before reaching the wall. I carry out experiments on cardboard and paper of different types, looking for gestures and imprints. When I later work in a large format, the textures that I have previously worked with within the studio, in a small format, have an influence on the ones I create on the wall.
As for the murals, the variety of surfaces that you can face is immense, both for the construction materials and for their condition. You can find concrete, brick, walls plastered with plaster... At the same time, these can have dampness, be chipped, contain attached elements... Everything is textures and qualities with which to be able to play and it is a challenge for me to be able to integrate and mimic myself to generate a dialogue with the environment.

As for styles, before abstraction, I performed figuration, with a rather expressionist style.

I honestly consider that it is a necessary good for the development of more technical urban art. I know that other more purist urban artists consider that "illegality" is one of the characteristics of the idiosyncrasy of urban art and believe that painting in a "legal" way is less authentic. I do not disagree with them, however, I believe that clandestine artistic expressions will always exist. What Wallspot offers is a battlefield for the investigation of contemporary mural techniques, which would otherwise take a long time to develop. The fact that there is a free space for artistic experimentation, where artists can also meet and share knowledge seems very positive and stimulating for urban art.

One of the characteristics of muralism is that the artist is in constant interaction with the urban space and, at the same time, with the people. Could you tell us an anecdote that you lived while painting a wall?

Well, it is true that when you paint in the street you are exposed to whatever comes your way. Currently, I am appealing a fine for a mural that I painted with some friends, with permission from the neighborhood community, in a deteriorated alley, which was also already painted. The police took the data from us and told us that there was no problem, then we received a fine that we are currently recourse to… Sometimes when you paint in the street you have to face these injustices.

During these months you have been actively participating in the opening of the Wallspot walls in Madrid: Puente de Vallecas and Moratalaz, collaborating with other artists, participating in the events organized by the platform ... How have you lived this experience?

The experience has been very pleasant. I came from painting in abandoned spaces, where the environment has a lot of weight, there are objects, damp spots, and other elements to intervene. There my game was different, more than dialoguing with what I found in space. In the walls of Wallspot I have found more neutral walls and I have used them to immerse myself in technical experiments. I have done, for example, works in monochrome, where I explored the different nuances that derive from the different techniques to apply the same spray color. I have also met artists like Savelga and we have made a mural together where we have experimented playing to mix our styles, it was a very stimulating experience and the result speaks for itself.

Have you seen any artist, also an active user of the platform, who has inspired you or you want to recommend?

I think very good and diverse works have been done. I would like to recommend the work of my friend Gerbos for its freshness and expressiveness. I also recommend the work of Savelga and Demeseone. As for traditional graffiti, that of letters: I really liked the pieces by Hinak and Asben at the inauguration of the Puente de Vallecas wall. I also think that Jueves’ piece at the closing of the Moratalaz wall was very good.

Would you recommend the Wallspot platform to other people? How do you think we can improve it?

Of course, I think it is a very good initiative that in the near future will allow it to be painted without legal problems in many cities around the world. I think that the thematic jam initiatives that are being carried out are very positive for bringing certain styles of urban art closer to the general public, and it is also very appreciated that the materials are provided to us. However, what we urban artists need is more financial support, as they have in other sectors such as the Film Industry. In my case a few years ago I decided to dedicate myself to muralism in a professional way, I became autonomous and live precariously from the assignments that I am carrying out. I find basically two problems regarding this. The first is that urban art is not valued socially as it should be, I think due to a lack of culture, and more so when it comes to abstract painting or other genres that do not generate images as obvious and direct as those of other artists who work with a visual language more similar to that of advertising.

 There is no market that consumes this type of images and if there is, it is a very minority. The second is derived from the vocational aspect of the profession: in no other sector is it the case that the artist has more desire to make the proposal than the client himself, to the point of charging very little or directly painting for the love of art. Institutions obviously take advantage of this and in many cases the works are paid at a lower price than what a house painter would cost, in other cases they are not even paid, under the pretext that they offer us visibility and the opportunity to do large-scale work.

I know that Wallspot's philosophy is to provide spaces where everyone can paint freely without having legal problems, it seems like a great idea, however, I think it would also be very positive if they considered the possibility of financing artistic and research projects that have to do with urban art, to support professionals in this sector.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/salvaje_selva/

WEB: https://gestoartworks.com/