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MIEDO12 for Artillery

INTERVIEW 003

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image MIEDO12 FOR ARTILLERY

I discovered MIEDO12 as I was leafing through a rather bulky UK magazine many moons ago. As tends to happen, there was something about one particular piece that leapt off the page at me. Usually it’s a contrasting selection of colours that makes a style of letters pop, other times it might be a strong concept sewn tightly across a solid production that draws you in for a closer look. For me personally, it might simply be a bold design that strikes out and commands my attention. In the case of this particular MIEDO12 piece, it was all of the above.

MIEDO12 is a passionate character, laid back as they come from his part of the world. As easy as it is for many of us these days, I was luckily enough to snag his attentions for this interview via the almighty interwebs. After bridging the language gap and delving deeper into his endless portfolio of walls, it became clear that this Spaniard has one major and all-consuming force in life: rocking masterpiece productions. -Jamfingers 

So MIEDO, what is your hometown? Tell me about the scene there.

I was born in Valencia, Spain, in the neighbourhood known as the “Cross Cover.”

For a city its size, there are a lot of talented writers in Valencia. In the 90s we had much more union amongst the writers, well… unity perhaps, not so much union. Back then there was another way of understanding graffiti, but they were the 90s, now, it’s different.

In Valencia there are many quality writers with very different styles. The scene is very strong, so it is always good to see friends and acquaintances in magazines. For me the best times were the 90s and half the 2000s. There was another sense of understanding graffiti. 

Tell me more about growing up in this neighbourhood. What was your childhood like?

It was not a “neighbourhood” as you know it. It was very dangerous. It is a community of working people. When I was small there were almost no homes built and being just outside the city walls, there were many, many junkies haha.

For me, a neighbourhood is more or less a dangerous or difficult place depending on where you go.

My childhood was normal for my generation. We watched the older kids paint, spent our days skateboarding and the rest of the time we tried to take money where we could.

What does MIEDO mean to you? And the 12?

The name “MIEDO” (meaning FEAR in English) is a name that called my attention when I first started. It sounded bad in Spanish but is a name that remained. The letters are also aesthetically very easy for me. The “M” is an “E” horizontally. The truth is that it was given by my friends when I was very small and it eventually stuck.

The 12 is there by superstition, but it’s not like a number that always haunts me. In fact anyone who knows me knows that there is always a 12 nearby… For me it’s good luck.

When did you start writing?

I started in 97-98, doing characters and it was very bad ha ha ha.

I met people like ICH or EROZ who for me were gods. In 2000 I met SEB, as he had started to travel outside of Valencia. Then came Milan (Italy) and it all changed, for the better. 

Tell me more about SEB?

SEB was a great writer and has long since stopped painting. The truth is that he was smaller than me, but he was a genius with colour. He was not as important an influence with my style as you could say EROZ, ICH or BERS were… They were my teachers who followed.

SEB was the one who led me to discover traveling to other cities to paint and this opened a new world for me. TBS was his crew and the truth is that to this day, for me TBS is one of the most authentic Valencian crews with the most style. When I started to paint, they were already working on murals and they were people of my age. The truth is this greatly influenced me.

What crews do you represent?

I am currently in two crews; BN and GFX… and ahhh in 6C6.

BN is an Italian crew, and to me, it’s the reason I continue painting. The crew is 25 members strong; a collective of some amazing writers who are wonderful people. I am very grateful to REBEL and PHANTOM for making me a part of this. They opened my eyes. Every time I travel to Italy, I improve – for me, they are like my family haha. My foreign family.

GFX, I have only joined recently, it’s a Spanish crew with people of my generation that we have all put together now. It’s usually very difficult to find people that paint a mural and even less, a group where everyone does their part for the mural and don’t only think about their particular space.

The truth is that I can’t really say how GFX started, but what I can say is that we all travel, we are crazy on graffiti, not a bombing crew or anything like that, but within the group everyone specialises in something which causes us to be very homogeneous and compact. No one would ever change GFX, in fact, this crew will be the talk of the future.

And 6C6 is a secret…

Why do you love graffiti? What keeps you painting?

I love the freedom of graffiti, I mean, there are nobody’s orders to follow, plus there is no support for everyone to be equal. For me the brush is boring… the brush cannot compete with the freedom of movement and speed that a spraycan gives you. Something you don’t understand if you’ve never spray painted.

To answer why I paint I should say it depends on the time you asked. At first painting was cool and I was a kid. With growth came a bit of competition and today, I think I paint for self-improvement and that makes me happy.

I can see that you work very hard on your productions. Will you keep painting graffiti till you die? Will you always push yourself to improve?

Not that it’s making a future, I do not know if I will continue to paint until I die. For now I enjoy painting. In the end the important thing in life for me is trying to be happy, so do whatever makes you happy. 

Your productions are all very “polished.” Letters, characters, colours, concept/themes, all with so much style – do you strive to be the ultimate writer with all skills?

The truth is that I strive to be a complete writer. When I was little I dreamed of burning walls, just like the ones I saw in magazines.

What is your history with illegal graffiti? Do you still paint illegally? Or only legal work?

I no longer paint illegally, mainly due to the problems involved, so I do not paint illegally. In a small town like mine, the more people people you know, writers upon writers… you can live calmer.

I enjoyed bombing, but I like to be in front of the wall and take my time to make it perfect.

Your productions have a very strong graphic style, do you also work as an illustrator?

I’m starting to work now as an illustrator.

Since I was a kid, I was rarely seen to draw characters and even less to draw things that related to graffiti. It was not liked by my parents or my girlfriends, or my teachers, I had to hide it so I could draw my own style of drawing. Alcoholics always draw characters with no hope in life, sad and angry, or women with suicidal tendencies. Normal people do not like to see a pictures of what happens in a normal neighbourhood, they’d rather see colours or Teletubbies. 

What do you do for work?

I’m working as an industrial engineer, designing furniture, and the rest of the day a graphic designer, sometimes working in 3D animation. Whatever it takes to make money.

I’m starting to work now as an illustrator.

Since I was a kid, I was rarely seen to draw characters and even less to draw things that related to graffiti. It was not liked by my parents or my girlfriends, or my teachers, I had to hide it so I could draw my own style of drawing. Alcoholics always draw characters with no hope in life, sad and angry, or women with suicidal tendencies. Normal people do not like to see a pictures of what happens in a normal neighbourhood, they’d rather see colours or Teletubbies. 

What do you do for work?

I’m working as an industrial engineer, designing furniture, and the rest of the day a graphic designer, sometimes working in 3D animation. Whatever it takes to make money. 

Do you read comic books? What other art forms that influence?

I read many books on ancient history and existentialism but also a lot of graphic novels. The truth is much has influenced me, I have not just found a style for drawing characters but it helps me to look at books and comics. 

Who are your favourite writers? Artists? Designers?

For me the best of all time is MODE2, the greatest. I also like ROID, ARYZ, AROE, WOW, WON, K Bomb, MIST, MORSE, LOGAN, ZETA, SMASH, WILDBOYS, SCIEN, KEMS, INCA, BOOST, SPARKI, DOSHER, RESO, SWET, FONS, AKUT and MADC… There are so many.

What do you do when not painting graffiti?

Partying… A man cannot live without women ha ha. 

Ha, I hear you! So which European country has the most beautiful women?

Depends what you like, ha ha. I’ll always be in love with Russian women in Moscow, but then there’s also everything in Ibiza or Italy. 

And in Spain? What city has the most beautiful women? And what about the food?

This is difficult to answer. There are beautiful women and good food in almost every city, although the major cities you can find everything you want and in greater quantities… Sevilla, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia.

Tell me more about your Valencia, about your culture.

Valencia has been a population long dedicated to tourism and techno music. This makes it look like a constant party, but that’s not quite accurate. It is true that the climate is very helpful, so we spend much time on the street.

Now with the crisis there is no dinero (money) for parties, but usually no one here likes working and prefers to party. The problem is that the parties need money.

If I dropped into Valencia, what food would you recommend I try?

Paella is a typical rice dish, there are a thousand variations and if you head to the towns outside the city, about 15 minutes drive, you can eat very very very well. 

And to drink?

Cazalla, it is a strong anise, or sweet wine that is sweet as Valencian water. Almost all are very sweet.

Is Valencia stronger in graffiti than other cities in Spain? Is there much competition?

It is not a question of strong or not, it’s different. Firstly, the Valencian community (Alicante, Valencian and Castellon) has fewer people, but there are many good writers here because graffiti came into Spain via Madrid and the U.S. military bases. The people of Alicante have always been very strong.

Every city has its style, Madrid’s graffiti is more pure and classic, Barcelona has very good writers, but the city has always been more artistically aware so has more contemporary forms of graffiti. Valencia is a blend of these and failures (the parties are here).

Tell me more about Madrid and Barcelona?

Before, these two cities were well ahead of the rest of Spain. The first time I went to Madrid it was like going to NEW YORK, murals were so worked, wildstyles, it was incredible. The problem was that the city said it was a bad image and created a special squad of police to stop a lot of painting, but it is still good. The only thing the council has done is that now there is more bombing and less masterpieces.

Barcelona in 2000 was a paradise for writers, you could paint wherever you wanted and the police said nothing. It was a very European city, there were walls there that you could see writers from everywhere: Australian, French, Danish… everyone. The problem was that it turned into chaos and ultimately the city council had to put on the brakes. Autonomous styles appeared, closer to street art, and suddenly the wild style became rare. Today if you want to paint in Barcelona you have to go out of town.

You mentioned early that you love graffiti, “because there is no support so that all are equal.” Do you support the younger generation? Do you encourage young writers to develop as you have?

The truth is that we are beginning to set up a workshop for young writers. Before there was less information but it was more authentic and as there was little in the end we all knew the same thing… Now any child can grab a spraycan and do what he has seen in videos or in video games; like crossing out the work of other writers who are technically higher.

The purpose of the workshop is to teach painting, to teach the history of graffiti in this city and the rest of the world, besides that, teaching them the rules of mutual respect – to really appreciate writers and graffiti… not just because it has many colours and they will get better.

You said “there was another understanding of graffiti” in the 90s. How has graffiti changed? How is it different now?

Everything changes, such is life. Now there is too much information. In the 90s until you were painting on a wall, you did hundreds of sketches. Also if you lived in the neighbourhood where you painted, you had to know somebody that painted. If you didn’t you had problems and could end up going home without clothes.

Today as gated communities no longer exist, sprays prices are very cheap and above that, there are a lot of videos on how to paint graffiti. Before you only had this knowledge through what you had seen painted live. That information had a value, today it does not.

What I mean is that today, everyone from my generation holds value in that time of graffiti, it is not the same in the younger generation.

Before we painted for ourselves, we did not expect anything out of it, to be in magazines was something very very very far away. We had so much respect for our elders, since all we knew was from them.

Now kids just want to be important, appear in magazines, on television and instead of painting something personal or something that represents them and makes them unique? They choose to copy, to be famous for a day.

There are always exceptions, but generally I think that today eye movement is shown walking and talking behind a screen.

Is there more potential for writers in Spain? Do you feel your art form is more accepted or appreciated?

Graffiti is Spain is still thought to look bad and is associated with uneducated people, criminals and people without a future.

I think there are cycles, in each cycle some new writer appears with something new and revolutionary where you live. In the early 2000 in Spain was SAN’s cycle, PORNSTARS, etc. Graffiti is not forever, nothing is eternal.

In Spain there is a brutal potential, what surprises me is that so much talent is wasted. Writers here are treated like sign writers, and the only ones who have a bit of social respect are ‘street artists’. For me ‘street art’ is a label that the galleries have applied. To me they try to capture the surface of graffiti, or at least what they think graffiti to be, then use it as a product.

I don’t care if you want to do ‘street art’, but what I don’t like is that people only do it to get money and be famous. The great thing about graffiti is that nobody knows who you are.

For me the basis of graffiti is that you do what you want. It makes me sick to look out a window and see a giant advert of a man in his underwear, but it pays someone well. In the end, ‘street art’ is about selling a product for which the usual can make money without doing anything and because those above can handle the content of the work.

Any final words? Shout-outs?

In closing I would like to say that the best part of graffiti for me, apart from painting, are my friends like NASE, JN2, REBEL PHANTOM, BEPS, NELS, WOLF, DIBS, DNT, OMARCORE, WILDBOYS, SPRA, IMPO, PEO, Chapu, FOLK , ICH, STON, RAZER, BEAR, HEIST, GROWXO, TEAR, SKY4, WALTER, MADE, BOOGIE, SAKAR, SUZIR… I’m sure I missed someone.

Visit:
miedo12.blogspot.com.au
www.flickr.com/photos/miedo12

Published: 23 March 2012
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