KS Interview with Mentalgassi

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KS: Hello,Would you please let us know how you started you Work as creating Images in Streets? We would be glad to know how you start and how you arrived at this point now through your career?a

mentalgassi: We started out as graffiti writers in Berlin, where we became friends in the end of the 90’s.After a couple of years we felt like exploring something new in the streets.Graffiti is really cool and I would say that it is one of the last truly rebellious and free art forms,but at the same time it is very restrictive in the way it communicates.

Mentalgassi-Amnesty International -Berlin

KS: Would you please let us know about Your Point of view on Street art / Graffiti scene in your Country or City ?a

mentalgassi: We live in Berlin and in Hamburg and both cities have quite a lot to offer, art wise.Berlin certainly has the more prolific artists, as it it attracting artists and people fromall over the globe right now.We do not mingle too much in the scene though, as we never did so.We like to focus on our stuff and digg

KS: Do you think the street art scene in your country and the world is now different from the Past?a

mentalgassi: Well at least we see it all from a different perspective now.I think we learned important things through graffiti and hip hop culture, that arestill important. Originality, dedication, respect and truth are things you can alwaysuse besides putting in hard work for what you believe in.

KS: How do you see Street Art ? (do you see it as a profession, a Hobby ,a mission? Or what?)a

mentalgassi: Right now I think it is hard to define for us. We are having two museum shows this year,as well as a gallery show in November, we do work for Amnesty International and stilltry to experiment around a lot. Sometimes we have to do things very professionally, anothertime we have all the artistic freedom you always like to have and sometimes things just happen and nobody can explain how and why. That’s one of the advantages of a collective:You have different points of view and different roles in a team and by updating each other and doing many different things it becomes an organism. Mostly we do this for fun though.I think it is really important to keep things playful and fresh. Fun makes it possible.

KS: what do you think about bombing and illegal graffiti? do you think it is good to be legal or illegal? does it matter?a

mentalgassi: there are a lot of works, that are cool because they are illegal. a lot of artists wouldn’t reallybe very strong, if their work was legal. it depends on who much you want to communicate with your artwork and what you want to say. or a big part the issue doesn’t matter, as a lot of works are really beautiful, well crafted and of elaborated style. for artists working with an aesthetic priority, legal or illegal doesn’t really matter. style is style.for artists that want to make a point and yell out loud it matters to be legal or illegal.

KS: Do you make a living out of Your Art? if yes ,did you know you were going to make money out of art when you started your career ?a

mentalgassi: We still have regular jobs on the side, which is pretty good to keep the spirit independent.It wasn’t our intention to make money of this but it’s good to know that people want to have commissioned work from us.

KS: Do you Feel a Gallery Fever in Graffiti world today?every young writer aims to show up in galleries as fast as possible?a

mentalgassi: It’s okay to do that. I mean a lot of bad artists are good salesmen and get up in the galleries like crazy. I must say I like the rect that a lot of young artists are doing shows. It’s a sign that we are in a big movement, maybe even the biggest art movement the world has seen.

KS: Last question… do you know something about Iran? any image you may have in mind? any thing you may have in mind?a

mentalgassi: A friend of mine has his roots in Iran and his dad told us about the revolution back then and how they fled the country. I love the calligraphic history of the country and artists like Shirin Neshat or Saeed Ensafi.There are many artists that I wished to work with on a photography/calligraphy mix project.

mentalgassi website[www.mentalgassi.de]

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