As we learned in our recent chat with the SOBEKCIS twins from Belgrade, creativity does not have to stop due to viruses developing. As we saw that their graffiti practice had been as prolific as ever. However, as we went deeper into the lion’s den, we learned the artists have also been making in-roads in their mural practice as well. Although not the same, however very connected, the brothers SOBEK and KCIS manage to create murals that are independent of their graffiti practice. The extension of their graffiti is present in their larger scale mural work.
The graffiti orientated use of varied spray widths, clean and rough lines, mixing mark making, colors from the Montana GOLD, BLACK and ULTRAWIDE can ranges, and fast application seems to be very comfortable with their tendency for vertically placed murals carried out with studio precision.
The juxtaposition with acrylic-based paints in rolled line work, crisp masked surfaces, and patchy aerosol covering is far from an accident. Every element, a conscious result of a previously executed graffiti moment. Or is that the other way around? We weren’t sure so we figured it was worth asking about. Here is what they had to say:
MC- Your murals often use vertical space; do you prefer this over classic horizontal graffiti composition?
SOBEKCIS- Yes, because then you can aim to find a higher but narrower wall, compared to the constant struggle of finding a long enough wall to cram an 8-letter piece onto.
Let’s say, it’s a good option to have if the wall is more vertical than horizontal.
MC- Does the creation of your murals technically, also inform your graffiti. For example, do you achieve things when playing and experimenting with ULTRA WIDE cans in a vertical composition?
SOBEKCIS- Yes, of course, most commonly we try to keep the graffiti as basic as possible with the least number of possible add-ons, and true to the essence of what we believe it should look like with the ideal situation being that the letterforms come first. But sometimes we like to take the ideas which we have developed in abstract paintings and in a way, just apply that on top of a letter form structure. Through this process of actually doing the opposite of what we would usually do, we deform the basic letterforms to the edge of them almost getting lost. At the same time, we introduce a different perspective and more possibilities to a graffiti piece. To take your example of the ULTRAWIDE, yes, after using the ULTRAWIDE can for abstract works the second thing that came to mind is how would a graffiti piece look like if we applied the same logic. We are still waiting for the right moment to execute this idea. 🙂
MC- Does the Serbian graffiti community appreciate your mural work as much as your graffiti?
SOBEKCIS- This is an interesting question, maybe we would break it down like this: As the subculture of graffiti itself is very opinionated, what is or isn’t graffiti, and what is or isn’t appreciated, is very disputed. So, in a way, we could say that the mural work was excepted much smoother in the community than how things went with our graffiti throughout the years.
MC- Have the residents of Belgrade learned to appreciate your mural work as much as we do?
SOBEKCIS- In a way yes, we are starting to notice that people are communicating that we are actually from Belgrade. Because of traveling and studying abroad in the past, we have somehow created this appreciation void of our work in Belgrade. Slowly but surely, things are starting to change, and people are starting to take notice. But to be quite honest it is far from the appreciation we receive everywhere else and it will take a while until it is on the same page.
MC- Did that man really ride past your painting on a horse, or did you pay him for the photo?
SOBEKCIS- Yes, that really happened, no payments were involved :). And after him, there was another old-world horse rider that passed by with a maiden behind him. The wall is located at the Belgrade hippodrome horse racing tracks, so in a way, it’s not that surprising that this guy passed by. But still a great moment and we are glad it was captured.
All images by the artist SOBEKCIS