Urban Art in Portugal – an interview with Target

by alrou on May 2, 2011

In an exclusive interview for bestinPortugal, the artist Target talks about Portuguese Urban Art expressed through his stenciled works and also through spray paintings in graffiti art and gives his point of view on Street Art in Portugal, and more particularly, in Lisbon.

You have been doing Street Art since 2005. What was your first piece of street art? Is it still visible?

None of my pieces are currently up. In fact, usually they don’t last over a month, if so. Therefore, the only way to keep a track of them is actually going online. The first piece I did was on an abandoned car, which by the way, gave birth to 3 other car interventions.

You have a definite advantage over the very Portuguese art of Azulejo. These can be stolen, while with your art, nobody will want to carry a wall home (well, except for the Berlin Wall, but this is a completely different case).  Does it bother you that your art will deteriorate over time, in comparison with the Portuguese Tile/Azulejo wall?

Actually, the fact that nobody would steal a wall is not true. I would like to give the example of the British Street Artist, Banksy, in which people are starting to take down complete walls to later try to sell them on eBay for hundreds of thousands of pounds. See some examples here , here , here  & here amongst many. The fact that I use paper is from the very start an acceptance of the ephemeral work I’m doing, since paper is not bound to last for too long.

You work with both, paper and spray. Do you change the medium doing them alternately or do you go on a spraying spree to then dedicate yourself to paper?

My preferred medium is paper, so that’s the one I work with the most. Spray has only served the purpose to stay longer on a wall, and while performing for a wall of fame, spray is always better over paper. However, my detailed works would take far to long to put on a stencil, print and then go out to paste it up. So I always go for paper & glue for most of the times. 

In your presentation in the Florida After Seven event last March, you said that Lisbon is becoming known internationally in Street Art. Could you expand on this?

Something like 4 years ago, Barcelona was the Mecca of street art. Warm weather & nice people were the perfect conditions to take street artists from all over the world to go and paint in Barcelona, as the movement was very acceptable by an ever growing audience. Only later, there were taken some very drastic measures by the Authorities on their policies vis-à-vis graffiti manifestations, making it almost impossible from then on to find any graffiti work in the streets. What used to be an authentic outdoors’ museum, got shut down by the Authorities that condemned those acts. Lisboa is now following a similar beginning, in which the streets are getting covered with pieces of art, and more and more international artists are loving to come down and visit our city.

Why is Street Art important? What is the purpose of creating your art in public spaces?

In my case, street art has the element of surprise that it can create on people’s routines. Finding that same abandoned car everyday, won’t make you stop and look at it, but if you add some elements to that car, surely you can make people smile for 2 seconds.

If you could choose a wall in Lisbon to redecorate, what wall would that be? Why?

This could be a good question if I would be looking for a big wall or a wall in front of a place with massive visibility. But since I pick my spots first, and then work on an idea for it, I think I’m still looking for that “special one” wall.

 Which piece of art are you most proud of and what does it mean to you?

If I would have to pick a piece I’ve done in the past, it would probably be the Suicidal piece. I believe it was the one it gave me more immediate feedback and pleasure to do. The fact it only lasted 1/2 hours and a sole picture made it available forever to everyone.

The environment of the city influences very much the motivation of the artist. Some cities have more political influences, while other more social, and still others very colorful and cheerful.  What kind of art does Lisbon inspire the most?

I love getting to know the neighborhoods, and that’s why I try to interact with the people that live in it. One of the pieces I enjoyed doing, was actually based on neighbor gossiping and shouting from the windows that people sometimes experience.

Do you have any new project in the works?

I’m preparing a new group show coming in May, but solely dedicated to artists and videogame geeks. Other than that, there’s always a project or two in the making. Go to Stick2Target to find out.

More information on Target can be found in
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Image Credits: Stick2Target.com

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