Spanish Valencia is a vibrant artistic and cultural city. Its millenary history includes historic traditions, original architectonic styles, and great expressions of modernity. Among the many recent art movements, street art is one of the most developed in the city. Neighborhoods, like El Carmen, situated in the northern part of the Old City, became a gathering point for those who love to express their creativity in the street. In El Carmen, we met Claudia Dyboski, a young and extremely active street artist. Her peculiar paintings and drawings are spread all over the neighborhood – it is impossible to not come across one of her stylized and expressive faces or bodies when walking through the streets. Her fame in the city is quickly growing along with her paintings. Here’s a look at what is behind her art.
When did you start drawing and painting? Did anyone introduce you to them?
I’d say that more or less I always painted and drew. Nobody really introduced me to art; however my whole family loves art in all its branches. Principally they are musicians – I am a musician too, I mainly play the piano. Anyway they always supported my creativity and inspirations in any artistic direction. They never set limits or pre-ordered rules for me to follow.
What about street art, when did you start?
Not so long ago; I started 3 or 4 months ago. As you can see, my way of drawing is really natural and not baroque. I use simple lines; therefore I thought it would be easy to move my works from papers to the streets.
Do you a have a specific reason that led you to street art?
I am not sure I have one. Maybe, to expose my art. I looked for a way to show my art to people. Honestly it worked out pretty well. Since I started, many people contacted me asking for collaborations, like David De Limon. I have seen this guy’s paintings since I was a child. He has been painting for 20 years, and now he suddenly asked me for a collaboration. It is an honor.
Do you have a painter that inspires you?
Picasso. It’s probably clear from my drawings that I love Picasso. I discovered my passion for him over the years. He influenced me in many ways; when I was in school I had to work on Guernica twice. I worked on it once when I was thirteen and then later again; I loved his painting for two different reasons. Guernica opened my eyes and showed me endless artistic possibilities, and it conveyed a great freedom of expression to me. Guernica and its creator really changed the way I see myself and my art.
I saw that you privilege faces and eyes in your paintings, do you have a reason why?
I don’t know. I think I try to express my idea of aesthetics.
What is your idea of aesthetics?
I do not really have a framed idea – although it is much more subjective than objective. I am looking for something that I like rather than something really universal or pre-fixed. Moreover, I don’t care for precise techniques; I don’t want to be a professional or an expert. I just want to create.
Do you have something that you want to communicate through your art?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Probably the thing that I like the most is the feeling of neutrality I get while doing so. It is like while I am painting, I just feel my creativity and that’s it. I do not really over-think my message or have any purpose or goal. There is nothing to understand, nothing to read through the lines. It’s all just for art’s sake.
What do you prefer to use for drawing? And what for street painting?
For drawing surely a ballpoint pen, because unlike the pencil, there is not much space for correction – so what has been drawn will stay. What is drawn with a pen is the original, the one created in a first moment. I have a whole booklet made just with ballpoint pen, and I am very proud of it; it is more difficult than it sounds.
For street painting, I privilege marker pens.
How did you develop your style over the time?
I think the more I grow, the more I go towards abstract things. I like the way that everyone can see something else; there’s not a meaning, but rather a form.
How is it Valencia for street artists?
There are 2 sides: the artists and the city. The city means buildings, police, the mayor, laws and different neighborhoods. For example here in El Carmen, there has always been street art, and the tradition here is strong. Police, following the Valencian Council, do not really like us. They think we are polluting and doing something against the environment. However art in Valencia is really strong. And I see that people who visit are really happy seeing our works.
During the past 20 years, with Rita Barberá as our mayor, Valencia did not really open itself to street art. They did not consider it as a way of re-evaluation for the environment. However something is moving now.
What do you mean ‘something is moving’?
Valencia right now is getting better; with the change of mayor, Valencia is promoting art a bit more. For example, I am going to participate in a debate in the University about ‘art as a way to re-evaluate decadent areas and neighborhoods.’ We have this great artistic potential, and we should exploit it, instead of penalizing it. But we are still far from it.
What about your personal experiences with the law and the city of Valencia?
I got caught twice while painting in the street, and I am currently waiting for a fine. I put my signature under all of my drawings (Dyboski); and if they do a small counting of all my works, that might be a problem. I read of a guy who had to pay 20,000 euros for all his paintings. So, I am quite scared. You kill an artist giving him such a fine.
I sincerely think it is brutal. However, I think that it is fair to penalize those who ruins historical monuments or heritage sites. Notwithstanding, real street artists try to give colors to dry and abandoned places, not to stain what is already beautiful.
One last question, do you find more support or more criticism for your art?
I have met more people who want to help me than those who want to hurt me; and I think that this is a sign of the growing acceptance our art is getting. I really hope it will get better and better.