In our first in a series of exclusive interviews we had talked with OKO. Although I am convinced that she does not need any special introduction, for all those who don’t know, OKO is one of the most famous street artists in our region.
Why OKO (OKO=eye in Croatian)?
Eye that sees everything, inner eye, Gods Eye, there is a lot of variants, closest to me is the eye that we carry inside, eye with which we emotionally see things and situations.
Why street-art as form of expression?
Because it allows an absolute and complete freedom, there is some connection between me and the energy this city feeds me with. Every city is different, Zagreb is my home, and because of it with him I have best conversation
For how long are you present at street scene?
I think, for about three years, although is difficult to define … I have started leaving things on street in different periods, but almost constant in last three years.
Street vs. gallery, what do you prefer?
Always has been, and always will be the street. Gallery is something where you developing some concept, story and you have to define it from beginning till the end with curators. Street is, at least for me something what gives you immeasurable consolation, gives me power, like best friend which will always be there to cover your stupid things and watch your back. There is something unbelievable when at evening you walking alone and gluing thing along the city, adrenalin, silence, thinking, sometimes you lose feeling what is reality, and what is your imagination. All this is what constantly makes me go out.
Where are you getting inspiration for all those works?
Thinking, constant thoughts that floats thought my head, sometimes they just fly through, sometimes they fade in eternity, sometimes they become text, and sometimes they catch the chance and become drawing (which in themselves contain the entire sentence, which in most cases only I can understand).
How much time do you approximately spend on work?
Couple of hours … because all posters are hand drawn with brush on really thin paper, sometimes it lasts and for few hours, but with time all this process has become a lot faster. People often think that all my works are prints, but that is not so, everything is hand drawn – because for me, this is form of meditation and then I most clearly hear my thoughts … when the hand follow the lines, thoughts get wild
For how long can one creation survive on the street?
Couple of times it happened that somebody rip off my work or completely strip it of in just one hour, but some works are still there after three years, which is wonderful to me, time has started to bite them, they are washed out from sun rays, the background is become rusted – they are somehow coalesced with environment.
Which is yours favorite technique, and why?
Hand drawing on thin paper, I’m using acryl because is resistant to environmental conditions and fast drying, and brushes … my favorite are, the thinnest, which are used for models, because they leave thin and precise trail, so besides that final work looks like print, whole process is meditating.
Why women and birds as most common motive?
Women were concept of beauty and femininity through history, and birds – birds are symbols of freedom, something so pure …. Once I read that birds are carriers of souls after dead, that sentence thrilled me.
For planB you talked about project “city as confessional”, do you have any other project which you would like to highlight?
City a confessional was emerged in part of my life when I was passing through one emotional crisis. And when the person is so alone and week loses complete power, feeling for solitude, get lonely… People are like animals and when they going through hard times they go away from everything, and seclude, at least I do that. There is something that makes you weak vulnerable and you need somebody on who you can count on, in my case there was the city. Somebody who won’t take advantage of my feelings, and make me feel vulnerable. Then I wrote all my weaknesses on papers, and placed them in medical test tubes… and as such I started living them through city, so that somebody else knows what I’m going through, and I’m still not feeling vulnerable.
Last project I had worked is again result of one emotional moment, because I currently don’t have residential address and my ID is complete absurd, the only way to feel my “roots” was that I leave it through the city by myself. I copied some motives of my tattoos and stick them across the Zagreb. By this I was creating home for myself, and sense of belonging and security…. Every one of this tattoos have special meaning for me, which does, and should not be understandable to wider audience. It was important for me for a moment to feel the stability of residence, so as usual I turned back to street.
Did you have any close encounters with law enforcement, how did ended?
I did and they were merciful. Everything went OK, probably one need to be persuasive and charming so that things settle down
What are you doing when you’re not creating street-art?
Painting and drawing …. The only thing that matters is that hand fallows coordination of thoughts.
In last few years street-art has started developing, how are you satisfied with current situation?
Definitive king of this climate is group Puma 34, there is nothing to add, except that they deserve interview for them self. They get covered everything in city and wider areas. They are definitive model for me. Filjio as pioneer has leaved enormous influence on all people who want to deal with similar themes.