Whenever I came across the work of Pichi and Avo, I was completely stunned as I’m sure you’ll be. There are a lot of different perspectives on street art vs graffiti writing and these two have merged the two worlds together through the great art history that inspired them to pick up a spray can in the first place. Their perspective on graffiti culture and art is truly unique among writers today who do not look beyond their immediate mentors or writers for inspiration. Instead, to Pichi and Avo the whole library of fantastic sculpture work is fodder for their creations as they create truly epic pieces of art and graffiti writing. Here you’ll see see snapshots of art history with beautiful wild style writings laid over them, that suggest they probably fantasized about bombing these statues themselves but had to settle to create these murals instead. Whatever a graffiti version of the Sistine Chapel would look like it would probably look a whole lot like this. Below they took a break out of their busy schedule to explain a little bit about their inspirations and process.
You guys are from Spain which has a rich art history from masters like Velazquez, El Greco..etc. which has a pretty obvious influence in the work you guys produce. Today it seems like that influence of the older classical artists has been left behind, especially in the west, which is what makes your work so striking. What old master artists do you take your inspiration from directly and how has being classically trained in fine arts influenced the way you look at street art?
Our inspirations are from classical artist not just painters to graffiti writers, there are so many names of artist that we love and because of that we do what we do that is difficult and unfair to say a few names, we like Velazquez, Sorolla, Caravaggio… also we like to see how humans back in the days created amazing pieces like Agesander, Athenodoros and Polydorus creating Laocoön and His Sons, or graffiti writers like Dondi, Crash, Dare, people like Marc Quinn, Cai Guo-Qiang… also in same way influence us, so at the end we take a bit from everything mixed with our studies of fine arts and product design.
Staying on the topic of old masters, how did you go about studying the works of artists both old and new and is it something you still feel like you still benefit from now?
We always wanted to do something really personal that reflects what we are, during our initial learning process we started with graffiti, trying several thing and always with the influence of classical artist as we had always feel in love and connected with that, during that we were losing the graffiti essence and we decided to go back and mix everything we know, trying to give the value to the graffiti and revive in our way the classical essens
When and where did the two of you meet?
We meet in 2007 painting graffiti in the street, and since then we are painting everything together.
The piece in Belgium for the North West Walls in the Rock Werchter Festival is the largest scale work you guys have done to my knowledge, how long did this piece take for you guys to complete?
That piece was the first big scale piece in our live, thank to Arne Quinze we had the chance to do something that great, since then we have done bigger and smaller pieces and normaly a wall like that can take from 3-4 days to 10-15days everything can change because of the weather or other external problems.+
What do you hope people take away from the work you guys do?
We take care of the painting progress starting with the pure graffiti background as we know people still look at graffiti sometimes with a negative view and doing a 5-6 floors building full of graffiti and textures that with the days that graffiti wall will be mixed with a classical characters (sculpture) everything in one piece, make people think and value graffiti, classical art, and all the artistic progress an artist do in each piece. So at the end we love to do something that people can look at it and think.
You guys describe yourselves as “fleeing the egocentrism of graffiti and coming together to give birth to a single work”. Again going back to old masters, do you think modern artists put too much emphasis on expressing their own sense of style before becoming informed by the technique and history of the old masters?
We always say that we run away from the artistic egocentrism as we believe in a final piece and it doesn’t matter who is doing it, we have been in graffiti crews with friends and planning a wall all together everyone wanted to be the principal piece, highlighting the other, when we believed that we needed to contribute all together for the final art work, that why we ended painting together and you will never know witch part is made by whom.
Artist need to put emphasis on expressing with out thinking that’s part of the processes but is always good and necessary to be informed about the past, we always done that, do things with freedom with out rules and learn about everything, techniques history… the mix make us now be pichiavo
For artists that are looking to improve their own understanding of design, creativity and composition what do you guys recommend? Is there any study or practice that the two of you have picked up from the fine art training over the years that you feel is an overlooked element of creating art?
As we said in the last question, do things with ur thinking with freedom, be you, but is always important to learn, that will make you better, learn something with your interest and mix that with what you are doing.
Can you walk us through the process of creating a piece? Do you start with a thumbnail or a specific message you want to communicate and work your way from there or is it completely spontaneous in the planning stages?
In terms of walls, we like to know where is the wall and see the environment, ones we have that we play a lot, normally with concepts related to mythology as part of the classical art in base on that, we do a lot of research our self traveling searching for sculptures and we use that for our work, ones we have the idea of the character we do a sketch where we work more with colors, graffiti… but ones we go to the wall all that is just a reference as we normally freestyle all the background, so at the end we have freestyle work and more planed work.
Where did you guys travel throughout 2016 for your work and where can people expect to see your work next?
We are traveling around all the time, UK, Sweeden, Denmark, Portugal, Italy, Norway, US, Greece, etc and of course Spain, we are really happy to visit a lot of countries each year and learn new thing from them, so people each year can find something new around the world.
Interview by Wesley Edwards