November 6, 2019
A TALK BETWEEN FINSTA AND C.TORNOW
For those who haven’t heard from you yet, let us ask some questions to get to know you better.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Finsta, a Swedish artist working in many fields of expression. I am well known for making graffiti and illustrative art. I seamlessly move between commercial and independent projects.
How would you describe your style?
I think my style is personal, cool and fun, hopefully it reflects the way that I am. My work is idea based with a cartoony and simple, graphic look. Creating something personal and unique is important to me.
Could you explain to somebody who has no sense of art what makes art, especially yours valuable!? Who do you create it for?
I create art because I have ideas and styles that I want to express. I like to create beautiful, smart or silly things. A lot of my audience is young, and can’t afford my art. They can see it online, in a book or at a gallery, or buy a T-shirt or a poster. A small part of my audience has the means and the taste to value buying good art. What the art is worth is a combination between the personal value, how much the buyer likes the art, but also the demand for art by the artist, and how the future will look back at this period of time and style. Some of us artists will have made an imprint on our time, and the work we made will be seen as iconic, exclusive and important. To own good art, you need good taste, and a bit of knowledge.
Why have you become an artist?
I like to express my self not only in speech. Art can stay and express my ideas even when I am dead.Sometimes I have Ideas that pop up in my head that makes me want to show them to others. Art is the best way I know how to do that. Art also gives me the freedom to create things that doesn’t make any sense, something most people have learned to avoid.In arts, especially in graffiti, it is common that artists choose names for themselves.
Is there a reason why you call yourself Finsta?
I come from a background in graffiti where I learned that it is good to keep some privacy. To have integrity, and to not let everybody know everything about you. As an artist it also helps me develop my style, as I can do a bit of role play. The art that I do is made by Finsta, and Finsta is just my artist name.
I liked how the name sounded a bit like slang, and in Swedish it sounds like a place, a town. I try to create my own little world in my art so I find it suitable.
Some of your murals look like huge gangster rap comics, do you only listen to this kind of music? Do you consider yourself more as a consumer of this music or are you a swedish version of Bushwick Bill or Nate Dogg? ( by the way we would love to show some drawings of this style at your exhibition, would this be an option?).
I like gangster rap as it has a lot to do with style and imagination, things that I value highly. I like telling stories in my art, and I like to have a bit of edge in what I do, some dirt but also humor, so I can relate a lot to gangster rap.
Sweden has a long history of european graffiti. Some of the writers have been very progressive way before writers in other countries and had the guts to create originality. Can you tell us more about what are your influences are and how important it is to you to stand out?
I learned early on in graffiti that you have to be innovative and original to get respect. Life is to short to just copy someone elses work. I enjoy inventing new things.
We really like your style, it is very colorful and with strong graphics. Do you sometimes have the feeling that you are too radical for a main stream market? Do you think that one should take care about strategy when it comes to the art market!? I am not talking about who to work with and what to show. I am talking about being ‘too radical’ and probably ‘not decorative enough’?
I like to be commercial, but I’m not going to dumb it down just to be successful. I like reaching large audiences, but I want to be successful on my own terms. Just being successful is not my aim, I want to be liked for who I am and what I do. I want to stand by my values and ideas even if they might not be what most people want or understand.
You seem to be around the urban art scene not since yesterday. How do you see the influence of the internet, especially social media and the accessibility of materials like paint, markers ands spray cans in decent quality, other then 20 years ago. Does this create an overkill of artists that generate some fame quickly, but seem not to be relevant within the scene!?
I got into graffiti in 93. In that time you had to work hard to get material and information. Most of the materials have got better, and people learn faster. I had a lot of time to be bored when I was young. Being bored lead to me making things from my own mind. Today it is hard to be bored. You constantly have some other peoples ideas poking from every angle, so finding focus can be tricky. To be original you need time to think and make experiments.
What are you thoughts on: is it still graffiti when you are showing at a gallery? Is it important for an artist who uses elements from graffiti to have a recognizable past as a writer!?
I have a graffiti background, but everything I do should not be considered to be graffiti. When I make art in a gallery I do it different than if I spray a wall in a dirty alley. My background shaped my style, you can see in my graffiti that I used to draw a lot of cartoons, and you can see in my art that I have sprayed a lot of walls. I don’t value one artform over the other. I like to use all kinds of techniques to express my ideas.
How important is being relevant and financially successful for you as an artist!?
I make art as a way to express myself. Art for me is communication. I like when I have an audience, and preferably a big one. I try to stay relevant and challenge myself to try new things, so I won’t get bored of what I do. Financial success is also important so I can keep investing money back into my ideas, and so I can get some rest in between projects.
Where do your see yourself in 5 years from on as an artist?
I always aim to raise the bar, so I see my work getting bigger and crazier. In five years I am sure a lot has changed on the surface, but I haven’t changed much as a person since I was a kid. Everything I do is linked to what I did earlier, only bigger, smaller, more colorful or in a new medium, to keep surprising myself.