The X-ray is a helpful medical tool when your at the hospital and the doctors think you may have a broken leg. But we never get too intimate with this form of technology and its ability to see other “layers” inside us, due to its toxic radiation. But what if you could see inside and the outside of the person you were standing in front, of right now? What would that be like? This combination of simultaneous layers of inside and out is what Greek artist INSANE51 specializes in.



Creating another dimension

Through the creation of two photorealistic layers, one red and one blue, he overlaps the two and essentially creates a third dimension. With the aid of 3D glasses or red and blue light filters, artworks can be dissected like a positive and negative. Together they form two successful layers that each within themselves are single masterpieces. But to the naked eye, the cleverly executed murals are one incredible package.

Insane51 aka Stathis Tsavalias has been creating these amazing conceptual murals since 2007. Considering he was born in 1992, INSANE51 has accumulated an unbelievable level of skill in a short period which comes to even more fruition when combined with the use of Montana GOLD and BLACK cans. His formal education at the Athens School of Fine Arts enabled him to focus on both applied and graphic art. Study which has proven to of assisted his take on creating public art that is beyond the description of graffiti.


We managed to exchange words with INSANE51 and find out more about where he comes from and where he wants to go. Here is what Stathis Tsavalias had to say.

Was your introduction to creating murals based on graffiti practice or was the spray can just a tool to realise your ideas?

It was based on graffiti practice. Actually, I started thinking about becoming a graffiti artist, when I was 14 years old. I was a huge fan of the “Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure”, a video game where you play as an amateur graffiti artist, who creates pieces and tags. After finishing the game, I decided to go out on the streets and practice.

Were there any role models or idols for you that inspired you to work in the technique you do? If so who?

Regarding realistic murals, I was really inspired by many artists around the world, such as Sake, Belin, Smug, El Mac and many others. When it comes to my technique, to be honest, there was no inspiration from others, because I had never seen anything like that. My “muse” was actually a pair of 3D glasses. I came up with the technique because I really wanted to become innovative as an artist and I started using the 3D glasses in order to practice to anaglyphic pieces. I loved the idea of people watching me paint my murals and thinking “Wow, why/how did he do this on a mural? It’s really unique, it’s really special” or “difficult”

Considering the high level of which you create your murals and the relatively short period you have had to develop your skills, was there one pivotal moment that put you in the artistic direction (layered murals) that you are currently working in?

To be honest, the moment I decided to spend time on mural art, I was determined to evolve and develop my skills to the maximum possible. However, there was a moment that helped me believe in myself. I had an accident. So after that incident, I came up with my technique and decided to work harder and reach my goals, no matter what.

How do you cope with painting in colder climates? Do you like it or does it even matter?

I have a lot of experience in painting in cold climates, due to the many projects I did in Norway. I mean… painting at temperatures of -20 oC is harsh, although I think it is as challenging as painting in hot climates. 

Do you have any specific requirements when choosing the tools you use or are you able to use whatever is offered to you for the project?

I am really flexible with tools and materials and I strongly believe that if you are not flexible, you make your work and your life, in general, more difficult and there will be a limit to your skills. When you are flexible, you can adapt to every situation and complete each and every challenge. 

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Photography by Insane51