11 Nov An Interview with Hungarian Street Atrist Void
Hungarian Street artist Void found his own artistic style in the abstract depiction of faces. He has loved drawing from early childhood but exchanged this later for spray paint and walls. His work is mostly inspired by his environment, his travels, and the people he meets.
When did your first work appear on the street?
Void: I did my first graffiti in Budapest in 1995, on a retaining wall in an abandoned street. It was a godawful ugly thing.
Where did your artist’s name come from?
Void: I used to work more with templates, and making art with what was excised (void) gave the idea for the name. I liked that it had the basic shapes: the triangle, the circle, the rectangle (and also a semicircle).
Void street artist at work
How has your style evolved and what would you call it?
Void: I have loved drawing faces from early childhood. Later I tried doing more abstract faces, abstracting them to the point where they can still be recognized. This led to faces placed in round or oval fields, which have become my trademark since then. I don’t see these as a separate style. Faces are one of the most frequently used motifs, a lot of people do similar work to mine.
What does the creative process look like with you?
Void: I very much like to draw spontaneously, my strongest work usually comes like this, but as I’m getting older, I plan ahead more frequently and shape my work more consciously. I have a lot of black books full of thousands of faces, that’s where you can see the process better.
Who or what inspires you most to draw?
Void: A variety of things can serve as inspiration: my environment, traveling, people I meet, what is happening in the world. It would be difficult to list all, so I won’t even try.
What motivates you to go out at night to paint?
Void: I used to go out much more to party at night, but I think what motivated me was ego, adrenaline, and the desire to leave my mark everywhere. But of course, a sufficient quantity of alcohol was also necessary for courage.
Have you ever had any conflict with the authorities?
Void: Unfortunately, I have had the opportunity to sit in a holding cell and muse about what the hell I’m doing here… but luckily it hasn’t happened enough to deter me from illegal work in the future. But as you age, you also become more cautious.
Do you see street art as a hobby or as an earning profession?
Void: Street art will always remain a hobby for me, but I’m fortunate to say I earn money with what I love to do. I’d rather say this is an applied art, but I still make money with something other people call a hobby.
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How costly are your works? How can you finance them?
Void: This depends on the individual projects. Larger works are more costly, and spray paint isn’t a cheap thing. But I’m in a better situation than those who do not have this as a job too. From paying jobs, I usually have enough paint left over to use for my own purposes, and so I need to spend relatively little on this.
A sticker by Void. Photo: instagram.com/juditbernadett79
What is your opinion about street art?
Void: Since I’m in street art too, obviously all aspects of the genre are close to my heart. It’s good to see the paintings that break the greyness and stiffness of cities, whether it’s a most accomplished mural or only a nicely done tag.
How do you see the situation of this subculture here in Hungary?
Void: It’s a phenomenon with its highs and lows here, at times a lot of people do it, at other times fewer. At the present moment, I think it’s fewer. But there are a lot of street art “tourists” from abroad, and so the downtown area is full of stickers and posters.
Do you have a most memorable story that happened to you while working?
Void: I was painting an electricity substation at Madách square. The owner of Keksz asked me to paint something there because the concrete box was in very bad shape. He didn’t ask for permission from the local self-government though, so I had to paint illegally. The community support officers came and asked me if I have permission. I said I do, from the owner.
They didn’t believe me and called the cops. When I took the masking tape down from the metal parts of the lock in front of them, well, they looked at me in a way I’ll never forget. Of course, they took me to the precinct, but they told me that if it wasn’t the community support that called them, if they had just passed me on patrol, they would not have taken me in.
Do you have a message for those who are only getting to know the genre now?
Void: Be open and give a piece of yourselves to the world. Don’t copy others and don’t stop just because you’re told to!