I don’t know if any of you have watched the television show Mr. Robot. In short, it’s about a young, anti-social computer programmer Elliot, who leads a double life as a cybersecurity engineer and vigilante hacker. Eliot’s psychotherapist has some idea about his anti-establishment hacker ethic, and questions him:
“What is it about society that disappoints you so much?”
Eliot’s response is telling:
“Oh I don’t know. Is it that we collectively thought Steve Jobs was a great man even when we knew he made billions off the backs of children? Or maybe it’s that it feels like all our heroes are counterfeit; the world itself’s just one big hoax. Spamming each other with our burning commentary of bullshit masquerading as insight, our social media faking as intimacy. Or is it that we voted for this? Not with our rigged elections, but with our things, our property, our money. I’m not saying anything new. We all know why we do this, not because Hunger Games books makes us happy but because we wanna be sedated. Because it’s painful not to pretend, because we’re cowards. Fuck Society.”
A pessimistic view of society to say the least. But some underlying truths hit hard. Our political systems are surreal enough to entertain cartoonish xenophobes while the incidence of bomb attacks provide the all-too-real-backdrop for political theatre. For what cause do both of these phenomena occur? It’s always “us” against “them”. History convulses in violence and irony whenever it repeats itself like this.
Personally, it’s all too depressing for me. This encompasses too much pain. I like street art and graffiti. It makes me smile and reflect on many subjects, especially when the murals are charged with politics and emotion, with a very immediate interventionism and social realism. Art is beautiful for these reasons, has a great reactionary power in these dialogues, brings people together by rendering stark truths. Like Elliot’s ‘Fuck Society’, street art is as nourishing as it is true.
Since 2012, street artist Dourone forms a team and travels with Elodieloll. Their project is to bring “Art For The People” in various countries. Sometimes, the work is black and white, sharply silhouetted and message-driven. Other times vibrantly-colored murals, geared toward respect, inclusivity and freedom.
[FP]: I’ve picked up from past interviews that your background is carpentry, painting, decorations, sets, digital and graffiti. You now have a very defined style. What got you in the visual arts industry to begin with?
[DOURONE]: I have been interested in drawing ever since my childhood, so I started at a very young age. I started graffiti later, at the age of 14. The carpentry part is because all his life, my father has been dedicated to making inventions, and I have learned watching and helping him. My first job was in that kind of environment and then I started to work on movie sets. Quickly after that, I started to look for jobs painting shops or decorating interiors for both companies and private customers. Ultimately, I was always doing manual and artistic stuff. I am not afraid to learn that’s why I have tried different things and am still learning a lot!
[FP]: What do you recall from your first experience going out to paint murals?
[DOURONE]: My first experience was actually going out to paint as part of a crew and not going out to paint murals on my own. My crew and I used to paint a mural once a month. At first I was with AK crew, then STA crew and my last crew was GNX, but I have had the same experience with all those crews: going out at night to paint on any day of the week, and then on weekends go to a quiet place and paint a mural together. The night painting experience was filled with adrenaline and the murals were more about enjoying myself with my friends.
[FP]: Nowadays, you are working as a team with Elodieloll. How exactly do you work things out as a duet? Generally speaking, who does what and how has your art perspective and vision changed from the time you would paint solo?
[DOURONE]: We both have our roles, but it’s a bit fuzzy because I’m the person who creates and draws. Still, Elodieloll’s opinion is very important. Then she takes care of the business and the communication, but my opinion is important too! So we have a balance between each other that I describe like this: 1+1=3. My vision has not changed since we started working as a team, but it has evolved. I have learned to work with a partner.
[FP]: You have had your work exhibited in many parts of the world. How do you choose your destinations? What attracts you to one country more than another?
[DOURONE]: I choose very few destinations, usually the destination chooses me! Each country gives me something special that other countries can’t give me and that’s why it is so rewarding to paint all over the world.
[FP]: What has been your favorite location to paint at and what would you consider being your most important accomplishment?
[DOURONE]: I don’t have a favorite location to paint at, but I have had some better experiences than others. It is not a matter of location, but a matter of what happens. There are several things I did that I am proud of, but one in particular -and it is still an honor- is a mural registered with the city of Los Angeles. They put a special coating on a mural we did downtown L.A in 2015 and now no one can touch it, neither change anything about it without my permission. That means this mural will be preserved forever!
[FP]: Has a country’s history, socio-political or socio-economical context ever influenced your art? For example, Spain is currently in a state of political uncertainty after a split result in the last elections. If you were in Madrid and out to paint, would you speak your mind through the reactionary space that street art creates? What kind of purpose does street art have for you?
[DOURONE]: Of course! What happens in the world influences my art because one of the things that inspires me is the conversations I have with people. At the same time, I never claim one thing in particular for a particular country. My claim is more universal; I try to show values that are important to me.
[FP]: What would you consider being the biggest challenge you have had to face throughout your arts career? How did you overcome it?
[DOURONE]: The challenges are all the goals that I impose myself, and that is part of my evolution. I do not call them challenges, but experiences.
[FP]: You describe your art as “Sentipensante”, and have expressed that this way of expressing yourself cleared things up in your mind as to how you see your art. What train of thought or event made you choose to depict strong values such as respect, diversity and freedom in your art?
[DOURONE]: It mainly comes from the education I was given, which taught me the basics. Then I think I have had a very happy childhood filled with enough of those three values. However, as I get older I realize that I have to represent those values for them not to be forgotten by all of us.
[FP]: In your opinion, what makes Madrid’s street art and graffiti scene unique?
[DOURONE]: I do not know if I should limit it to Madrid, but I can say that there is a fairly powerful and a worldwide recognizable level in Spain.
[FP]: What are some of your upcoming projects?
[DOURONE]: I currently have many mural projects, but this year I want to think more about creating artwork on collectible support.
© Photos courtesy of Dourone & Elisaloll.
Spanish street artist Dourone is a self-proclaimed Creative Nomad travelling and painting the world. Born and raised in Madrid, he started his career with graffiti in 1999, painting shop fronts and interiors. He describes his style as “sentipensante”: a contraction of the words “feeling” and “thinking”, a style created by Uruguayan journalist and writer Eduardo Galeano. Influenced by artists like M. C. Escher, Mohlitz Philippe, Jean Giraud “Moebius” and Giovanni Battista Piranesi, he combines graphic illustration and surrealism sometimes using black and white, other times colored lines and vectors in conceptual art.