B.Azbayar: Street art is a stage to express my views
Freelance artist B.Azbayar (A.K.A Mazaalai) is an artist specializing in street art. He runs the “Organic Color” studio and manages the “Photo Message” interest group, which aims to deliver messages to the public through photographs and to bring about changes in society. This group has around 1,200 members. He recently answered some questions about street art
-Why are you interested in street art?
-When I was in secondary school I was listening to hip hop music, and began drawing graffiti then became interested in street art. Then I enrolled in the Institute of Fine Arts and studied traditional painting in 2006. I decided I want to deliver my views and voice to people. Street art allows us to do that. Street art is a stage to express my views. I create types of stencil art. People understand it directly.
-What is the difference between wall painting and other categories of street art?
-Street art has many categories such as stencil, graffiti and flash mob. All are expressions of people’s views. It is powerful category of art, after understanding its essence and meaning. Nowadays the essence of street art is being lost. I was drawing graffiti before but now I am critical of it. There are many skilled youths who consider graffiti as an art and express their views, but sometimes the artists pay too much attention to the colors and the general look, and they omit important factors like creativity and expressing information and ideas to the viewers. Unlike art in a gallery, anyone can edit and change graffiti, or even destroy it. It is open to people because no one has to pay to see it.
-When did street art first develop in Mongolia?
-There were a number of categories of street art during the communist era. Wall paintings, sculptures and monuments of Lenin by state honored and folk painter D.Amgalan are examples of street art. “Capitalism skipper” a painting by D.Amgalan is a famous example of street art. Paintings of D.Amgalan influenced me a lot. I am proud of the founders of street art in Mongolia. Modern street art developed intensively from the year 2000 onwards. The founder of the “Blue Sun” center of modern art Yo.Dalkh-Ochir initiated “public art”, a category of modern street art in Mongolia. He collected trash such as cigarette boxes and tissue boxes and opened a small shop. People bought it. He did not make any creation with the trash. People who didn’t have cigarette boxes could buy them from there. His aim was to express through this work that there is no useless thing for humans.
-Do people criticize you for creating this type of art?
-I hear a very few criticisms because I do my work at the professional level. I initiated the “Mogolia-11” program. Within the framework of this program, I drew portraits of Manlaibaatar and Damdinsuren on columns of the Central Palace of Culture with stencils. People complained saying, “You messed up the Central Palace of Culture”. I chose that place purposely because Central Palace of Culture is very crowded. Back then people were arguing about whether Mongolia got independence in 1911 or 1921. This was my inspiration. People said that D.Sukhbaatar began a revolution in 1921. Actually, Manlaibaatar, Damdinsuren, Chin Van Khanddorj and D.Chjagdarjav also began nationalist movements, earlier, in 1911. People forget that. So I expressed my views on the subject through stencil paintings. But my painting was erased. One specific thing about street art is that it is possible to remove, in just one hour or one day, paintings that I spent lot of time and labor making.
-How do you decide where you will draw your paintings?
-When walking down the street I think about where to draw. If you draw wherever you want without planning and thinking, the sense of the street will be missed. Nowadays, teenagers are doing graffiti everywhere, without understanding the sense of street art. This has diminished the appearance of UB. People think that street art messes up walls and buildings, like vandalism. Therefore, specialists must give an example to young generations through doing the right thing in the right place.
-Famous people’s portraits, with quotations from them, are being drawn lately. What is the purpose of this activity in your opinion?
-One such portrait is of the late S.Zorig. He gave us democracy. If there were no democratic society, we would not be permitted to draw on the walls as we do today. That’s why S.Zorig is a memorable person for street artists. Mongolian street artists jointly organized a festival in April last year. I drew a large portrait of S.Zorig.
-Where is one of your most visible creations?
-The graffiti drawn on the walls along Sun Road. My brothers and I jointly wrote the word “Art” on that wall.
-Do interest groups jointly organize campaigns with a purpose of delivering a message to society?
-There are many interest groups in Mongolia, such as women’s groups, including “S united”, “Red eggs” and “Yoton”; and other interest groups such as “Road” and “Street 11”. I think an artist needs to contribute to society. So groups will organize several works for the purpose of giving a message to society. My “Mongolia 11” program had the same purpose.
-What is main difficulty in creating street art?
-Street art has very few difficulties, apart from the need to create art in a very short time. There is no paint for street art in Mongolia. We usually draw at night if we don’t have permission to create art in a particular place. Most areas don’t permit street art and graffiti. It is possible on Sun Road and Dam. It is difficult sometimes. But drawing secretly at night gives us satisfaction (laughing). Art is a freethinking field, it has no rules, that’s why we participate in it with our interest, ability and wishes.
The first form of graffiti was in the catacombs of Rome. The first known example of “modern style” graffiti survives in ancient Greece. Researchers believe it is an advertisement for prostitution. The more modern graffiti is derived from subway stations in New York City. Rock and roll graffiti is a significant sub-genre. A famous piece of graffiti from the 20th century was the inscription in the London subway that read, “Clapton is God”.
Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=2635