Picking up artists, who we haven´t met, from the airport can be a little tricky. As most of the artists don't show their face in public, sending a picture is not really an option. Neither is, standing there with a sign (in one of the best policed and surveilled places). So we stand at the exit gate and go by profiling the passengers; we look for color drips on clothes and shoes, for leather jackets, for hip hop or a bit of Extravaganza in appearance. That´s how we spotted Roa. And that´s how we missed Aryz.
When we finally found him after a few phone calls, we met a casually dressed, innocent looking young man - the opposite of a vandal. Or so we thought for about one minute, because on the way to the car Aryz had already started doing business with a couple of stickers and a marker. In one of the best policed and surveilled places.
"Real hustlers move in silcence" they say and little did we know - or was it obvious - that Aryz is deeply rooted in the hip hop culture. It was a breakdancing video that first inspired him to by spray cans and go down on a wall at night with some buddys: "it was really bad work. I even went back there the next day to fix it, but only made it worse."
So here he was, the guy they called "king of street art" at the age of 19. Who has a degree in finer arts from the university of Barcelona. And he does not even drink, smoke or take Aspirin. Hell, he even eats food like a normal person, not even a vegetarian! His 2-week-program in Linz consisted mainly of 8 to 12 hours per day on a working platform 30 meters above ground and a dinner out in a restaurant (and one visit to the AEC when the rain got just too heavy). It may not be a lot of time to get to know a person, but we soon felt a deep respect for his talent, focus and his work ethics - and were heavily impressed (and influenced from then on) by his perspective on arts and contemporary culture. In those regards we learned two things about Aryz, that are safe to share:
The importance of change and evolution is a recurring thing in Aryz´ body of work. He keeps changing formats, motives and techniques yet manages somehow to maintain a signature style. He puts it quite bluntly "Nothing is more boring to me than artists who keep repeating themselves."
In Linz the young Spaniard did definitely not repeat himself. As an artist known for lots of details, many shades of colors, sliced and dissected bodies, his Linzer piece came as a surprise to many of his followers. He chose to do a very simple and very large portrait of mother and child. This exact simplicity was his challenge. How do you bring dynamics and tension…? What makes the viewer look a second time or a minute longer? We don't know, but we can´t stop looking.
…and bones. Which is no news if you know his work. Lesser known is the fact that he is also a fond collector of skulls and bones from all kinds of species. Further proof is the album cover he did for Aesop Rock named Skelethon which features a dog´s skeleton. Obviously the fascination and need to study the anatomy of human and animal bodies is a shared obsession among many artists. With some of them it just seems to run a little deeper.
Mural Harbor also happily received a skull gift from the spanish master (small picture). On his way out he took the time to paint two more small pieces in a session together with the local One Two Crew and Mamut.