Kakao Rocks Interview | Greece

Kakao Rocks Interview | Greece

Cacao Rocks is a street artist from Athens (Greece). Cacao Rocks, born in 1985, in Athens, is a Greece street artist who has developed his own distinctive and vibrant style of working. Raised by a French mother and a Greek father, Cacao Rocks grew up near the harbor of Piraeus.
At the age of 12, Cacao Rocks moved to the island of Corfu where he spent his adolescence. Back in 1999, he was influenced by hip-hop and skateboard culture, as well as by the surroundings of the island, which led him to discover his passion and talent for art, so he started experimenting with graffiti. At the same time, Cacao Rocks participated in a graffiti contest, held by Greenpeace in Corfu, and won the first prize. From that moment until 2003, Cacao Rocks was devoted to the art of graffiti, creating numerous graffiti pieces and lettering by using spray cans.
In 2004 Cacao Rocks moved back to city where he was born, to study French Literature in the Philosophy School of Athens. Due to the fact he had to be dedicated to his studies, Cacao Rocks decided to take a break in the street art, and to construct sculptures made off polyurethane, wool, wood and found objects. An Interrail trip around Europe gave him the urge to carry on as an urban artist. Mostly inspired by the European scene, Cacao Rocks started doing street art again. Because of the lack of resources, his materials were quiet different than earlier. He used duck tapes and neglected objects found in the streets in order to form installations and sculptures.
A triggering event happened in 2009. A person very close to Cacao Rocks gave him a camera as a present, and that was the reason he started to experiment with video art. In 2011, one of Cacao Rocks’s projects won the first prize in the National Film Festival Shoot It, and Cacao was rewarded with a scholarship in Focus school of art, video and photography. Finding himself in a very productive period, artist started painting all over the city, using spray cans as a media. Cacao Rocks created a blog in which he publishes drawings everyday in order to make a whole year calendar.
Cacao Rocks has exhibited his work in galleries and museums in Anthens, including Benaki Museum and Onassis Art Foundation, as well as in the UK, and Italy, among others. He has participated in many street art and graffiti festivals in Greece and abroad. Additionaly, international media were closely interested in his work, including New York Times, Reuters, the Huffington Post, French TV chanel France 3 and German TV Das Erste. Cacao Rocks lives and works in Athens, Greece.

Graffiti tags often have a hidden meaning. How did you come up with alias name? Where does your alias the name originate?

Once that i was high on mushrooms i was halucinating that i was climbing onto cacao rocks…

Who are your biggest artistic influences? Who inspired you to become a street artist?

My biggest artistic influence is Nature. Jean Michel Basquiat, Rammellzee,Akrithakis and Jean Cocteau were the artist who inspired me to go out and make street art.

Did you want to become something else and draw as a secondary job?

When i was a kid i wanted to be Like Jacques Custeau, exporing the seas. Later i wanted to make science fiction movies like George Lucas but it was imposible. When i was 18 i went to a marine school cause my parents didnt have any money to support any studies and i had to get a real job immediately. I was kicked out of this school cause of my behavior. Then i traveled to italy to find my way there but i was accepted to the univercity of athens to study French Litterature. After 5 years of hard studing and working in part time jobs to survive i became a French teacher . Later cause of my graffiti photos i won the first price in a photo/video contest and i had a scholarship to study photography and video in a private school so i became a photographer. None of my 2 studies helped me to survive. I still do part time jobs and i try to make some money from my art to survive and help my family.

You seem to create magnificent pieces of art in unexpected places. Do you intend to catch people by surprise?

It is my goal.

Have you ever been collaborated with other famous artists before?

Not really, im planing to paint with David Silinglaw in the near future.

Have you ever been jealous of any other street artist? If yes, who?

Yes of course. I’ m jealous of Palito Zeh from Brazil. I’m jealous of his energy and of his style.

What do you think of Athens, during crisis?

Its a hard place to live. I see people starving in the streets every day. A lot of heroin in my neighbourhood. its really sad. Most of my friens have no jobs and no hope for the future.

Do you enjoy seeing your work in a gallery?

I prefer working in the streets. But it’ s the only way to make money and do work that can last forever.

As you are getting older, does your aspect of street life change?

I try to get over of all the graffiti complexes.

It seems that death is a subject that preoccupies you. How come?

I’ m happy that i am alive but sometimes i wish i was dead.

How do you describe the current artistic trend in Europe?

Boring. Only Voina and The Pussy Riot excites me now.

Where does your inspiration come from and could you describe for us your typical ‘start to finish’ workflow?

I read a book, watch a movie, i start drawing or go outside to paint a wall. Most times i do freestyle and improvise.

How do you advance from the initial idea until you develop this final piece?

There some chemical reactions that happen in my brain and move my hands to pleasure my eyes.

What do you especially like about being and artist and what do you find most challenging?

I like that girls like artists and i find overpassing myself a great challenge.

Do you have a precise forecast for European Art Scene?

Athens is the new Berlin!

Do you consider yourself as an artist? If not how you describe yourself?

Yes, everybody is an artist.

What is it about street art that you like so much?

That it is accessible and inviting to everyone.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when you got started in making street art?

I m a victim of the western civilization propaganda. Renessance is a lie! I ve’ been doing graffiti since 1998 ac. We are city and concrete blocks primitives!

What motivates you to go out and put art on the streets?

The fact that i don’ t have a chicken farm anymore.

How often do you put your art on street?

Once every two weeks at five p.m.

Do you have any idea how many works have you done on the streets, so far?

I have no idea.

What are you trying to achieve with your art?

To travel!

Where the inspiration for your characters comes from?

The animals and science fiction.

Do you choose where to put your pieces in advance or do you improvise?

I locate the spot before i paint.

Where is your favorite town and neighborhood to show your work?

Cyprus,the green line.

What do you think about street art inside a gallery?

It’s not street art anymre when it’ s in a gallery.

Do you have a day job? Do you like to support yourself just with your art?

I try to live by my art because i don’t have a job.

Why have you chosen to do street art?

it is the best way to communicate with people i dont know and express myself.

Is there a message or story you would like to tell through your art? If so, what is it?

People have destroyed the planet. they will be forced to forget their god and will change their D.N.A.

How long have you been active? How did it all start?

It all started when my mom became pregnant and i’ ve been active since i was born.

What makes you to put all the effort on street art?

I don’ t like being lazy.

What do you think about high prices in art?

It`s not fair to sell art in really high prices when a worker makes less money while doing something more important.

What do you believe about the impact of the street art to the public?

I dont think street art has impact in the lives of the people in the streets. It`s just decoration.

Any turning points in your life, which give you the greatest impact?

I went on an interail trip in 2007 and that impacted me, The Simpsons, The Ninja Turtles and Herman Hesse.

On a scale 0 to 100, how would you weight the importance of art to your life?

90.

LosOtros Mj Tom is Writer, Curator and Urban Artist. For more on his work please check here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.