Felipe Pantone

INTERVIEW

How would you describe your contribution to the Truck Art Project?

Basically, I’ve used the two surfaces to carry out the two main things I do. On one side, I’ve done an optichromie that responds to my most artistic facet, which I apply in murals or studio pieces. I find that the dynamism and effects it causes are well suited to a moving surface. On the other side, I’ve done a piece that says PANT in legible letters, with elements that make the viewer want to read the name. It’s that idea behind graffiti: putting your name where it will be seen by the largest possible number of people.

How do the two sides of the truck engage in dialogue?

The interesting thing may be that they don’t engage in dialogue, that in a certain way they have their backs to each other. Art or graffiti? I leave it at that, though I’m not especially concerned about the answer.

What do you see as the challenges of the project?

Perhaps the biggest challenge was that I had just come from another project in Bilbao, and as soon as I finished, I had to rush off to Paris to work on a very large project. In short, I had a very limited time to respond to several projects in places a long way apart. In the end, it all came out very well.

How does this project fit into your artistic development and discourse?

I’d never been commissioned to paint on a vehicle that moves through the street. In London, I painted a boat.

Some artists admit they arrived with a preconceived idea which they then had to modify, or which grew in other directions when they were confronted with a support like this. Was that your case?

I more or less had the idea that I wanted to do something very different on each side, but I developed each one after I got there and saw it in the flesh.

How have you envisaged the reception of a work like this one, which is found rather than sought out by the spectator, and which doesn’t circulate through the usual artistic channels?

It may be quite similar to when you paint a mural or graffiti. There’s often talk of a kind of democratisation of art with graffiti or street art. I think it’s more of an imposition, like advertising, and I find that very interesting.

And the fleetingness of its reception?

That can give it a special touch, the fleetingness and the change of location. You have a couple of fairly elaborate surfaces moving from one point to another, and people come across them and tell you so. I like that.

How did you tackle the scale? Were you used to it?

I’ve painted on larger and smaller scales. Perhaps what’s singular about this case is that it’s half-way between the two.

What do you get out of participating in a project like this, and what do you think you contribute to it?

It’s good to take part in projects with artists I like, and who are friends as well. At the same time, I like the idea of developing two such different pieces in the same project with a particular purpose.

What’s the interesting thing about a project like the Truck Art Project?

It’s interesting that more things of this type should occur in Spain. Out there, they’re happening all the time. Besides, the Truck Art Project plays with the trump card of reaching large numbers of people.

Felipe Pantone (Buenos Aires, 1986) painted for the first time in the street at the age of 12 and has never stopped since discovering graffiti in a small town in southeast Spain. He settled years later in Valencia, where he was a founding member of the D.O.C.S. group, famous for their valiant experiments with letters and symbols. At the same time, he has continued to develop an avant-garde graffiti style that has led to membership in the legendary European group Ultra Boyz. Although he lives in Valencia most of the time, his work can be seen in many of the world’s major capitals. Felipe Pantone’s productions range from graffiti to kinetic art. Strong contrasts and intense colours are among a large number of effects and resources he uses to ensure that his pieces make a strong impact on the viewer. His work proposes a reflection on the excess of information and the individual’s relationship with digital technology. Among his principal works in urban spaces are the murals commissioned by the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the mosaic of the Universidad Politécnica of Valencia, the murals of the two buildings of the Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico), and the mural Optichromie at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York (United States).