Etnik (Florence, Italy) has been doing graffiti since the early 90's. Over time he has developed a signature style, transforming his letters from graffiti to what he calls an 'upside-down city landscape' with geometrical and architectural figures. Responsible for tons of amazing pieces, murals but also fantastic sculpture, we're honoured to present you with the work and words of Etnik!
For those who don't know you, could you tell a little bit about yourself?
I'm Etnik from Florence, Italy. I've been drawing since I was a little kid and started painting graffiti in 1992 and shortly after I painted in all of Italy and some cities in Europe. After 20 years of painting and writing my name I had to move into a different direction and evolve my style and concept of painting in the city. So about 13 years ago I started to transform my letters from graffiti into some upside-down "city-landscape" and working on the geometric / architectural side of things.
Thinking about my art this way gives me the possibility to experiment more and allows me to (try) and paint my message about the city as the playground of every person and contradictions in our society.
What are you working on right now?
This summer is a little bit different for me. In the last ten years I spent spring and summer traveling to paint murals. Now I'm working on a big indoor production for my two exhibitions in France and Italy this October and December.
I can't tell you more for now. Stay tuned!
Cubes seem to play a special role in your work, where does that love for cubes come from?
Cube is not really the correct term. I work with geometrical and geometrical forms. I use my five letters (ETNIK) as a 3d composition in the first step of the sketch. Then I transform the whole composition in a mass of volumes to represent a futuristic and fantastic view of a "City", and sometimes to criticise it.
When did you start creating sculptures?
I've always tried different techniques since I started painting graffiti. Sculptures came naturally after about 15 years of modelling my letters. I use wood, iron or resin. The last couple of years I prefer using wood for my sculptures and installations.
What can we expect from Etnik in the future?
I hope to go on like this and go bigger. My wish is to make some very big sculptures in a park or museum.
We'll see what happens...