Towards the end of 2020, we caught up with one of our favourite artists. Adam Yekutiel who for many is known as THIS IS LIMBO or KNOW HOPE. He featured back in the original Stickerbomb book (2007/2008) and it's been wonderful seeing his work progress, change, evolve and take on more meanings and narratives as we all move through our lives.
We caught up with Adam towards the end of last year and he gave us some great insight into his work process, his going between his characters and his more text based work and thoughts behind the dialogue and narratives he creates.
Both my parents are artists and I grew up with art all around me. It's a part of my life and it has been from a very young age, always making art at some capacity.
When I started doing work on the street it changed the way that I perceived what can be done with art and with the dialogue that can be conducted. The whole creative process really changed and opened up this whole new world to me - And then that's when it really snowballed.
When you're younger, you don't know how (street art / graffiti) gets there and what it is. Then, at a certain point you realize it's people who just go and paint. And then you understand. If you want to make a poster, you can do it.
If you want to make a sticker, but sticker paper, draw something out, cut it out - make stickers- Don't need money or a factory - just an understanding of DIY basically. And just do it. It was the same with screen printing, zine making. It all ties in and I realised that it was all possible and in reach.
I wanted to create this visual language for people to follow. A narrative to develop with a visual language. And that's what I was really focusing on - the stickers, and the heart. My work started out being text based before all the figures but throughout the years the way that I perceived working in public spaces really changed. I used to do a lot of installations, and re-pastes and murals and stuff like that and then at a certain point I transitioned back to doing text based work.
It's always been interesting to observe the smaller moments that happen in the street, whether it be interactions between people or the mysteries that we see around us on a daily basis. So it was interesting for me to try to create work under that same mindset, writing something that can be ambiguous and open-ended. It's there to stimulate some sort of thought process and it doesn't need to have a deliberate message. That's how I got into focusing on text based work.
It's important for me to create these connections between humans on an emotional level, especially with my more political or social work. I can deal with a topic that is controversial, complex, complicated and focus more on the
innate human, emotional condition. That allows a connection to topics and allows for more accessible discourse and debate.
Reminding people of the humanity and bridging empathy whilst encouraging these meeting points can (potentially) change the way that we see the world around us and our shared reality.
For many years I was wary about saying my work is political (nor not) focusing much more on the human condition. But, the human condition is political. Anything that deals with the interaction between human beings, is political.
My philosophy, I guess, is to create these access points where we can approach these type of dialogues from a different place, from a place that is organic, or feels natural, intuitive to us. My work is a combination of trying to create these moments and as the years go by I do become more and more directly political, because I feel we're reaching a boiling point with what's happening in the world.
That's kind of what brought me back into creating smaller works and the text based pieces. I felt that there was something that was missing for me about, walking around the city, seeing something, writing something on the wall and then continuing. Opposite to the planning, and emails and the flying in and out of somewhere.
Muralism went from something spontaneous and organic and illegal to everyone painting these huge walls. You need a crane, you need a budget, you need assistance, you need organizers for the permissions. It's 'off-public' in a way.
Artists became dependent on other people in order to execute their art. All of a sudden it was in the hands of people that were doing it for their reasons, not bad reasons, but just other reasons. So many artists stopped doing work on the street in an independent way.
It happens with everything, like all art movements and with so many artists going into the gallery, that also kind of like fixed the mindset. Which is not a bad thing, I'm also part of it. Nothing that I am saying is kind of like pointing fingers or like discrediting, it's more kind of like an observation.
Now with CORONA, we have a kind of reevaluation of how we live. I feel that I'm in a similar place where I want to simplify things and to make it all fluid and less complicated again and there's something about stumbling upon something and not expecting to see it that I think is very powerful.