Peeta is an exceptional graffiti writer and artist who has fundamentally approached the graffiti writing game from a entirely different perspective then most writers. His background education in sculptural design has allowed him to create 3D designs that are truly mind blowing. His understanding of volume and form has allowed him to stand out by creating pieces that look like he actually paints through the building itself. Based out of Venice, Peeta is one busy guy travelling the world producing his art both on walls and canvases for his more than 50,000 fans on instagram. He is definitely one to keep tabs on if you don’t know of him already!
Please introduce yourself sir! Where did you get the name Peeta and how long have you been involved in graffiti?
Hi, I’m Peeta, I’m currently a painter and sculptor and a graffiti writer since 1993. I got my name from the nickname my classmates gave me as a kid which was Pita so I’ve started tagging with it and just turned it into something more graphically appealing using “ee” instead of “i” to produce the same sound.
Your style reminds me a lot of the modern art stuff I see, but it also clearly has a legacy in graffiti writing. What were your influences when you were coming up? How did you learn your sense of design?
I’ve been studying sculpture at high-school and interior design at University so my shapes come from the study of plastic objects as far as the way I proceed in designing pieces and sculptural objects is the one I’ve learned while designing products. Indeed, while building my style I have not only been influenced by the work of previous graffiti writers exploring 3D style but also from professionals coming from different disciplines such as the architect Zaha Hadid whose work has large similarities with my shapes.
How important has the blackbook been to you in your process? How often do you spend your time working in your sketchbook?
Really not much, I’ve been working freestyle for the most of the time. I now spend more time working on my sketchbook in designing anamorphic pieces which are rather complex indeed.
When did you make the transition from doing graffiti as a hobby and doing it as a career? What steps did you take to make this happen?
It has happened fluently. Initially I was just travelling around, painting on walls and then I’ve started receiving requests from people asking me to reproduce on canvas what I was doing on walls as they wanted to own one of my pieces. I’ve started doing that in order to pay my University fees and I’ve continued my studies as a designer in order to get to this profession. I’ve been working as a designer while keeping on painting until I realized that all I was doing and had previously done in regard to my school or job choices was finally aimed at teaching me things and skills I could apply to my graffiti, painting and sculpting production, so it just came automatic to stop wasting energies on other stuff and devote my whole attention to those. I did it and then things have just grown slowly with everyday dedication and effort. I have started being contacted by galleries, fairs, collectors, brands and public and private institutions and I’ve been finally able to earn my leaving just based on that.
Do you get to travel a lot and if so what is the favorite place you have ever been to and where would you like to go next?
I can tell you my favourite places between the ones I’ve most recently visited which are on one hand metropolis like Hong Kong and on the other isolated, uncontaminated spots like Panama’s jungle. It is great I can reach such different places in the world through my job in order to create so many different works for the most various occasions.
In the future I really want to explore Asia, I don’t have a precise destination, so many places are stimulating there for me for different reasons.
Your murals have a sculptural quality to them in terms of their shape design, so I’m curious what came first the graffiti or the sculpture work you do?
Well that is a good question at the very base of my production. As I told before I started painting graffiti in 1993, they were not immediately 3D pieces, they passed through different shapes and finally got to the 3D. In order to do that I have started studying sculpture in parallel and the two disciplines have always been living on a biunivocal relationship: I learn volumes from sculpture and apply them to painting and I project through paintings new shapes for sculptures.
What kind of books, movies, music or artists are you looking at right now that is inspiring you?
I’m not so much into books or movies at the moment. The artists I am currently following are:
Boris Telligen for his unique approach to 3D style and his continuous ability to break the rules always finding original ways to play with geometry.
Sainer from Etam Cru and Aryz. They don’t work together and have their completely different style but they represent for me some sort of “painting masters”. Their path comes from painting and gets to muralism and it is somehow the contrary of mine. I have always looked at them as great, experienced painters which have been able to develop a unique style and to stand out inside a wide panorama of hyper-realistic figurative street artists.
Sten&Lex for their ability in the use of black & white.
Does, belonging to the world of graffiti, who is revolutionizing what the concept of letters’ shape is by breaking them and imagining a new way of composing pieces.
Cinta Vidal for her 3D representation of the world which is so close as far from mine, her high talent in representing the real world while, at the same time, her ability in reproducing a surreal world without gravity.
Who are your favorite writers or graffiti artists out there right now?
Epok, Soda, Plus, Zeta, Roids, Never Crew, Onur, Wes21.
What music do you have on your playlist right now when you work?
From Hip-Hop to electronic through other rarer genres.
Where would you like to be in 5 years? Is there anything you haven’t done yet that you would like to do?
I would like to work on more and more complex multidisciplinary productions mixing for example muralism, sculptures, videos, mapping, etc.
Also, I want to work on public sculptures.
Any shout outs or last words? Where can people follow you these days?
I’ll be spending some time at the studio and leave for China at the beginning of 2018 for few months. Then I’m planning some large mural works around Europe for Spring and Summer in order to get back to Asia with a personal show in Autumn.
You can follow Peeta on Twitter and Instagram.
Interview by Wesley Edwards