OKUDA | Interview
We talked to Madrid-based artist OKUDA about what inspires him, about his collaborations and future projects. Enjoy the interview and keep in touch with him on his website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
We know that you started your career as a street artist, in 1996, and the freedom to create art is very important to you. Is that why you chose to express yourself through street art? And is it also important to bring your art closer to people, on the streets?
Yes, the most important thing of work in the street is that it is the only art without censure, without limits… and it is a direct communication from the artist to every person, to different people, not just with public art people like museums or galleries.
Further referring to freedom, one of the main themes in your art regards the false freedom of capitalism. We noticed that you often use conflicting symbols (prison/ cages versus birds in the sky) and that most of the characters you paint in grey are female bodies, sometimes depicted as kneeling, suffering, with their hands tied up, defenseless and lost in space. When did you start becoming interested in these aspects, what influenced you and can you offer us more info regarding your characters?
I love surrealism… and I love Max Ernst, the BOSCH or René Magritte… but I do a special surrealism mixed with pop art and street patterns…
Yes, the fat female bodies are because the Renaissance beautiful women were fat too… and because I don’t want to do erotic bodies, don’t confuse concepts. Maybe the perfect bodies could be a different idea that I want to tell. And there are without heads, as I try to represent people without identity. It is more interesting to represent humans as nobody. Everyone is nobody… and nobody is everybody… nothing and everything… nowhere and everywhere… infinite and jail. It is an Existentialist idea, we don’t know who we are, where we come from or why. We just know that we exist for a short period of time.
While your grey characters have no head, we saw that you use colour mostly for big faces of animals or humans, good or evil (politicians, for example), or abstract shapes. How does colour together with geometry intervene and complete your works?
The geometric colourful architectures are ephemeral structures that symbolize capitalism, toxic and artificial things… and are sometimes heads, faces, animals, bodies, Obamas, skulls… but are made like architectural language. And the grey bodies represent organic forms, trees or concrete brains going out from the heads.
One of the artists you often collaborate with is Remed. How did you meet?
He has been living in Madrid for 8 years and I am living here since 2000. We have the same friends, artist friends, and go party in the same places, clubs. We started working together 3 years ago, because we have similar feelings, similar thoughts about how to enjoy life, the universal love… alchemy ideas… and we were surprised after we finished our first collaboration, as we got to create a new third artist, losing our personal egos.
From the land to the sky | with Remed
La copula | with Remed
You have been and still are collaborating with IAM project. Was this a great opportunity in your evolution as an artist?
Did you ever feel constraints regarding what you want to do? For example, is there something you really want to do, but haven’t done yet because you couldn’t?
In the past years I did everything that I wanted to do, because I have a big discipline… and I am doing a lot of things that I couldn’t imagine in the first years. I feel like I am in the best moment of my career. And I work a lot to grow each day.
Dripped dirty flags
Tell us more about your recent events and plans for 2014 – exhibitions, new murals etc.
Now I am working in my studio for my next exhibition, the largest solo one, in UNDER DOGS gallery, in Lisbon, opening on June 27th, and I almost certainly will launch my second book called INERT BEINGS.
Next week I will paint a mural on the exterior facade of a museum in Liège, Belgium. The following, I will participate in STREET ART AXA PORTO, Porto, Portugal. After that, in the first week of May, I will be doing a live painting with REMED in the project Streets of colours by Campo Viejo wine brand in South Bank London, and we will be involved in the same project in June, September and November in Miami, Toronto, Norway, Mexico.
In September I will take part in the street art festival called STREET KIT, in MOSCOW, and for next January, I will go back to INDIA for a solo show at the Cervantes Institute, part of INDIA ART FAIR, NEW DELHI.
Sonrisas & lagrimas
Metamorphosys of a Star
Photo: Eduardo Rivas
All images © OKUDA