Graffiti is communication, a message from one to the others that there exists another world beyond the set patterns and paths of civilised society, free forms of interpretation playing amongst conditioned architecture. Petro is a Russian artist who creates vibrant, energetic and expressive work that is happy to cross genre boundaries with a style founded in letters but mixed beautiful with a more abstract temperament. I caught up with him for a few words on process, meaning and intent.
Where each flat surface is a new task, where the writing and the environment become unique and living message to the open space.
Who are you?
I represent myself as Petro. I’m a member of the Aesthetics group. I live and work in the suburbs of Moscow in the town of Zhukovsky.
The moment when I saw guys writing on the wall was the beginning of my great interest to graffiti. The process, letter painting and paint as the means became the reason of my deepest interest. The first experience with spray was in 2000 and as there were no internet or graffiti shops we got little information, just the help of friends or video clips on TV. So each of us who began in those times, formed our own understanding of culture till the development of the internet and shops. After I had seen the writers from the whole world on the internet and the opportunities in graffiti, my desire became greater.
What is the Aesthetics Group?
Nowadays it is the duet of Petro and Slak whose conception and working stylistics have been formed due to an interest in development and search for visual language. Our creative work is based on vanguard and constructivist movements.
What continues to appeal to you about graffiti?
Firstly the freedom, script and peculiarities in composition. Handwritten script as abstract form of self-expressions is closer to my inner world. It is also the breaking of patterns in arts and of course street work, where each flat surface is a new task, where the writing and the environment become unique and living message to the open space.
Music is the main inspiration during the work but silence is also incredibly important. Concentration and calmness give full access to the inner world and mind. Sitting at the table I like to stop to do some physical exercises to accelerate blood and ‘frozen’ thoughts then continue my work with fresh mind.
How would you describe your style and approach?
My style is a mirror of myself, of my experience gained through years of improving my own language of self-expression. Over the years I have formed my personality; forms and colour have become closer to abstract lettering but the experiment with letters is not limited, it moves to other forms such as abstract compositions and graphics. Nowadays I spend more time working on abstract forms, I find more interesting ties with my inner world. It gives me new ideas and forms new approaches and desire to experiment with crossing of letter compositions.
Everything depends on the task. There was a period when I made experiments with improvisation, so I found interesting ways of realization in composition and freedom of forms. Nowadays I pay special attention to the workup of the whole process beginning with the inspection of the potential wall, sketch on paper, delineation in vector form, transference of the sketch on the photo of the wall and then the corrections and transference on the wall itself and of course there are also revisions on the wall. So I achieve the best result in all nuances.
(Petro x Slak)
How would you describe your creative journey?
My artworks are constant search and dialogue with my inner world. This experience shows me necessary qualities.And again, my works are the mirror of my qualities. They may be illusionary to some extent
In every action and work there is the reflection of yourself, your qualities and accumulated life experience. If you are honest to yourself in self-expression there is truth in your works and the positive aspect we get while working is important and straight dialogue with the artist’s world, though it may be abstract. Any form, colour, composition is the combination of all these qualities that every artist finds inside, answering every time new questions of life, and so comes to promotion. I believe that this link which goes through the whole creative work is the mirror of my inner qualities and feelings, but not always, for example for other things. That’s why any development is a two-side moment, when internal and external keep pace, if it can be compared so.
Everything that brings people sense, development and joy due to the process and the result.
Understanding the infinity and meaning of actions, I try to go to clarity of everything that is inside and outside me, to harmony.
What do you like to do outside of graffiti?
I like movement, but it is great lack of it in painting, that’s why I substitute it for sport, such as big tennis, riding a bike, swimming and walking. Our town is connected with aviation, institutes and testing centers and its atmosphere is full of rich history. There are many interesting places where I can find different surfaces according to my mood for creation of new works. But the town has a lot of natural places which give the opportunity to rest and think alone.
We see in Petro an artist who is inspired by everything and reflective of how these influences resonate within his work. Far away from the circular graffiti-inspiring-graffiti that can become of writers his willingness to use graffiti as a primary means to encounter and explore the world is what I would deem most interesting and inspiring about his work. Graffiti isn’t just the shapes and spaces we put work on, it’s an entire method of interacting with the outside world, Petro represents the purity of the boundary breaking creative force that exists within the purveyors of this culture.
To see more of his work go to his Instagram