Sebas Velasco was born 1988 in Burgos, Spain. He started in the graffiti world in 2004 as he painted the streets of his hometown. He defined his creative process while completing a Masters Degree in Fine Arts at the University of País Vasco (UPV/EHU) in Bilbao.
His art often deals with an enviable naturalism technique. His “canvases” are mainly the walls and tables. Materials used are oil, acrylic, spray and pencils. It is also in the streets where he finds inspiration for his studio work. His photographic, expressive brush stroke style reveals a precise academic technique that contrasts sharply with the rawness of the street content in his works. In that sense, many of his canvases act as a window for us into everyday moments where strangers are caught in the act with their writer friends. During these moments, darkness has become increasingly more important.
His work has been exhibited individually and collectively, and has received several awards.
I had received the answers to my questions from Sebas a while ago, but didn’t have the time to work on them until now, I hope he can forgive me for taking such a long time, but here they are now.
Hey Sebas how is it going? For people that don’t know you or your work, could you give them a little bit of background?
Hello! Fine, how are you ?. I’m a figurative painter based in San Sebastián (Spain). And I paint walls as well sometimes.
Do you recall your first memories on your interests in art?
I remember myself drawing all the time since I was a child. One of my first memories is how fascinated I was by the album covers of the Metal bands my brother use to bring home. I used to try to copy Iron Maiden’s Eddie mascot done by Derek Riggs and other drawings and logos from different bands.
A lot of street artists started as graffiti writers, then developed their styles and became muralists. How was it for you starting up and what took you to the streets?
It was something along those lines. I was also fascinated by graffiti and I started to paint with some classmates in my hometown when I was 15 or 16. Then I moved to Bilbao where I met some other graffiti artists and I continued painting and developing to become a muralist.
Some artists claim that street art and graffiti fall under the umbrella of illegal work, while murals are more commissioned, therefor legal and understood as painting. Do you agree with these distinctions or not? And why?
I don’t know if it is always necessarily like that. At least here I still see legal walls where people paint graffiti. Or people doing stuff which is far from graffiti and not commissioned in abandoned places, for example. Anyway I don’t pay too much attention to that.
A lot of your murals feel like a photographic memory about a specific person. What drives you to express about them in the streets? And why?
There was a point where I was doing this kind of figurative work on canvas, and at the same time, what I painted on walls, was more close to a deformed and illustrative language. More close to comic or graffiti. At some point I started to use more brushes and less spray paint on the walls, and therefore to bring this kind of figurative world of the canvases onto the wall. In this process, it was also important to meet Axel Void. I also started to see how he and other artists connected their work to the place where it was painted, and I started to work the same way. So these images that I take of the people I meet during my travels, influenced other elements (narrative and formal) which come from the studio work.
How much does your art affect or influence your everyday life and are there any role models or artists who inspired you?
It completely affects your everyday life, as you paint every day. And even when you don’t paint, it is still in your head. I don’t know about role models, but definitely a lot of artists inspire me, including painters (both classic and contemporary), photographers, musicians, filmmakers or writers.
Are you creatively satisfied?
I’d say you are never satisfied, because you always try to achieve new and better in a lot of different aspects, but at the same time you are partly satisfied because you don’t give up.
If you could collaborate with anyone — dead or alive, celebrity, artist, company — who would it be and why?
I was already lucky enough to collaborate with some artists that I admire. As mentioned above, Axel Void, Zoerism or Sainer.
I don’t know which form could this collaboration take, but I sometimes identify with the spirit of art forms outside painting. One example could be the Spanish Rap duo Erik Urano & Zar Uno or the American film director Jim Jarmusch.
Is there something you wished you did and now regret you never did it?
A lot of things I guess, but I can’t think of a specific one now.
The internet innately separates the creator from the audience. What are your thoughts on social media, and how it helps or hurts artists today?
I suppose that on one hand it is positive, as today we get to know the work of a lot of artists around the globe very easily, and also to introduce our own work to people who are far away. On the other hand the way we consume art now is too fast which is not good.
Outside of the creating realm, away from screens, what activities occupy your time? Is it difficult to find a balance between “work” and “play”?
I go to Basque language (one of the oldest in Europe) lessons every day, I play football every week and I also go to the stadium when Real Sociedad plays home.
With studio painting is not difficult to find that balance. With walls it is.
What can we look forward to seeing from you next? What collaborations, shows or projects do you have planned?
I had one of my painting showing in Miami at the Homeless Group Show in June 2017.
Also I took part in a group show called Streetlight in Basel in June. http://www.artstuebli.ch/
And more walls and paintings coming in the next months.
Thank you for your time Sebas, Good luck!