LOSOTROS Mj Tom | Interview
Curriculum Vitae on My Own Words
There is no Reality | Until You Create One. Urban Art is my way to conciliate with reality. In some cases, I can bring it close to my standards. And psychoanalysis too. Both of them are hopeless. It is a try to put an order in the hectic world around and inside me. To value better what had happed and possibly what is happening, at least a part of it. It is a lost war. Before I can understand what had happened in reality, or at least what I perceive as reality, the latter flips and turns to something else. I ‘m a witness, an eye witness. I revise meticulously what it is around me. I examine, select, collect, put in order emotions. Stating what is important and what is not, what could be regarded as beautiful, or ugly, what would be funny or sad. If I can’t change it, I can barely transform it, good enough in order to compromise with it. Sometimes the attempt is successful, sometimes it isn’t. I ‘m urban. I like nature but I feel comfortable only in the city. It is my battlefield. Especially, the afterhours, when everybody sleeps so I can walk quietly in the streets and hear the sounds. My paints they are made for me, but in reality they refer to others. It is an attempt; to speak enough for me but not in a verbal way. What is entitled inside the frame, presuppose my aesthetic viewpoint. But what they produce is beyond my control. I exist in both of them. It is a miracle, when it happens. Unfortunately isn‘t an everyday experience. Or, I believe so. And, they constitute my curriculum vitae.
Graffiti tags often have a hidden meaning. How did you come up with alias name? Where does your alias the name originate?
Everything has a hidden part, and it is the most interesting one. LosOtros X is an Anonymous Artistic Cooperativa, which carries out Urban Actions. We are coming from different backgrounds but we want to apply our creativity in a common effort. Mj Tom has a meaning at least for me, and with your permission I don’t want to share it. It originates from the Space Oddity, a song written by David Bowie in 1969.
Who are your biggest artistic influences? Who inspired you to become a street artist?
I don’t know if I ‘m a street artist, although I work on the streets. Anyhow after Gödel and Wittgenstein definitions are of very limited value. But to give you and answer Marcel Duchamp and Guy Debord are big inspiration for me.
Did you want to become something else and draw as a secondary job?
I became something else, and after that something else, and so on. Life is a process. Everyone has various phases, why not me?
You seem to create magnificent pieces of art in unexpected places. Do you intend to catch people by surprise?
My intension is to produce thoughts and after them emotions. In the first place in me by creating something that doesn’t exist and then to transfer them to others. The later doesn’t happen all the time, but even if it happens sometimes it worth the effort. Surprise is one of them, although it is not my primary target.
Have you ever been collaborated with other famous artists before?
Have you ever been jealous of any other street artist? If yes, who?
No, particularly, but sometimes I envy the work of others.
Is it the first time you come to Athens? If not, what do you think of Athens, even during crisis? If yes, what do you except to see after the harsh critic of the European medias?
The issue is what I expect to see after reading Greek media.
Can You read Greek? How come?
Usually Greeks can read Greek, although sometimes they don’t understand what they read, starting by me.
Are you familiar with the Greek street art scene? Have you heard of any Greek street artist?
I left the country a long time ago, so I don’t follow things very closely. But there are some that are very interesting.
Do you enjoy seeing your work in a gallery?
I enjoy seeing my work in public view, as a common good. I ‘m not particularly interested in putting my work in a living room, of someone who paid for. The later happened in the past and can happen in the future. But it isn’t my first priority.
As you are getting older, does your aspect of street life change?
Dying is a natural process that is affecting everything. And fortunately death is inevitable.
You should read JL Borges “El Inmortal”.
It seems that death is a subject that preoccupies you. How come?
The primordial decision of each and every human been, either understands it or not, is between life and death.
How do you describe the current artistic trend in Europe?
Where does your inspiration come from and could you describe for us your typical ‘start to finish’ workflow?
Creation regardless the field lies on the borderlines. Where you can see something from a different angle. It is what is called inspiration. After that it starts a tiring process of addition and subtraction. You end up with the so called work. At that point you must make the important decision. Does it worth it? Am I going to keep it or through it way? I throw away most of the work, I do.
How do you advance from the initial idea until you develop this final piece?
As everything in life creations needs physical effort.
What do you especially like about being and artist and what do you find most challenging?
Being an artist is a state of mind, not a profession. That is what I like.
Do you have a precise forecast for European Art Scene?
No I ‘m biased, cause I’m part of the problem.
Do you consider yourself as an artist? If not how you describe yourself?
I consider myself as a human been of limited abilities, who eventually has some interesting “idée fixe”. Not a very healthy situation. I guess.
What is it about street art that you like so much?
It is a form of art that it is addressing to a vast population.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when you got started in making street art?
In my case I prefer to remain in the background. Personal details divert the interest of the public to things that has nothing to do with the work. I avoid photos and personal details, because what’s important to me, it’s not the person behind the work, but the work “per se”.
I don’t want to influence people by duck faces or “clever and intelligent” comments about my work. Everybody has its own interpretation and any interpretation is valid. The world tells people every day how to act and think, and this is not my intention.
If someone is interested on my work the best thing he can do is to watch it and think for him. Every other detail is nonsense. I read a lot about art and it is amazing the nonsenses people write in order to explain things they cannot understand. I don’t want to be a part of it. I don’t want to be a part of [The Society of] the Spectacle.
What motivates you to go out and put art on the streets?
The need to communicate.
How often do you put your art on street?
When I have something to say.
Do you have any idea how many works have you done on the streets, so far?
No. I don’t count them. Anyway a lot of them are destroyed, hopefully.
What are you trying to achieve with your art?
Nothing. Art is useless, but for me is a bad habit, some sort of illness. Not a very healthy situation, indeed.
Where the inspiration for your characters comes from?
Of everyday life.
Could you explain a little about the alter ego in your work?
As an art collective we work alone or in pairs. But my alter ego is sIsteR jANe.
Do you choose where to put your pieces in advance or do you improvise?
Where is your favorite town and neighborhood to show your work?
Barcelona, Paris and Berlin and in that order.
What do you think about street art inside a gallery?
Do you have a day job? Do you like to support yourself just with your art?
Yes. I prefer it this way.
Why have you chosen to do street art?
I have chronic insomnias, so I go out at nights and walk.
Is there a message or story you would like to tell through your art? If so, what is it?
Magritte resolve that issue by saying “My painting is visible images which conceal nothing… they evoke mystery and indeed when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question ‘What does that mean’? It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable.”
But as I told you sometimes there is no story, just an idea. Don’t you think it’s better to create your own story than listening to one?
Who says that I don’t create my own stories? It is exactly what I ‘m trying to do. I put my art in public places and the public perceives what he wants. A sort of collaborative work with the public, although it isn’t documented somewhere. One days the work dies like us human been and everything starts all over again.
How long have you been active? How did it all start?
What makes you to put all the effort on street art?
The Political Beauty I can eventually create or help for.
What do you think about high prices in art?
Art became a commodity, since the 17th century.
What do you believe about the impact of the street art to the public?
I don’t know anything about that. You should ask the public about.
Any turning points in your life, which give you the greatest impact?
When I diagnosed with cancer. I understood the notion of mortality, a difficulty but extremely useful experience. In a manner of speaking I ‘m graceful to the illness.
On a scale 0 to 100, how would you weight the importance of art to your life?
You want to add something?
“..rassurons-nous ! Il est trop tard, maintenant, il sera toujours trop tard. Heureusement !”