Par Michel Fily, le 28 décembre 2018
Marcus Debie, aka GOMAD, describes himself as a « color blind urban artist ». He was born in The Netherlands, in 1972, and still lives and works there. He has been developing a brilliant career in the graffiti scene since the beginning of the 80’s. He has been seeking for thirty years a personal painting language and abilities in which the art of graffiti and murals plays a central role, while dedicating time to his own academic education to be a muralist and painter. Illustrations, which is the subject he got his graduation in at the Academy of Arts in Sittard, has an important impact on his works along with classic Greek art, (sur)realism and cubism also known as post-neo-cubism. This can be recognized in GOMAD’s attempt to harmonize anatomic proportion and graphic dynamics true craftsmanship and skills. GOMAD creates a style in which time is considered as a concept, which by being closed into immaterial solid shapes, is crystallized into geometric shape in order to revisit the idea of the perpetual presence. His works can bee seen on walls and canvas paintings across the world, in The Netherlands, France Belgium, Germany, UK, Greece, Sweden, US… Urban Street Art Urban met him in October at Street Art City.
Hello Marcus, can you introduce yourself?
My name is Marcus Debie, artist name ‘GOMAD’. I live in Holland and I am 46 years old. I started with graffiti as a young boy when I was 12 years old. And now I am a fulltime street artist / muralist. I’m actually one of a few artists that are color blind and still doing colorful art for a living when it was often said it couldn’t be done.
What triggered your artistic career?
My artist career was first triggered by the movie ‘Beat Street’ in 1984. It’s a movie which shows the upcoming of a new culture called ‘Hip Hop’ with all its aspects like graffiti, break-dance and rapping. And not long after that I saw the graffiti documentary ‘Style Wars’. This intrigued me a lot but at that age I didn’t know that I would become an artist as an adult.
What are your inspirations and influences?
A lot of things can be an inspiration to me and I’m influenced by all of it. Like other art and artists, design, nature, advertising and so on. Actually everything that I see and do inspires me. My personal style is often characterized by beautiful woman eyes and hands painted photorealistic with a lot of details. I combine this with cubism-like abstract color shapes and sometimes add birds or other animals to it. What makes my way of creating artwork different to most of my colleague painters is that I do my design totally in Photoshop. So I’m not just copying a nice photo but create a new concept with several parts into a new digital collage using a lot of transparency and layering to make it look like 3D. This forms the base of my mural for 90%.
What are your techniques and creative media?
I have more than 30 years of experience and I know a lot of different techniques and have skills after finishing art school when I was 23. But I prefer to paint with spray cans for 90% of my work and 10% with acrylics and brushes. In 2019 I will start painting in oil for the first time. A new challenge…
Tell us about your meeting with Street Art City…
I didn’t know Street Art City before but a Dutch friend of mine told me about it. She lives in the Auvergne region in a small farmhouse where I painted the sidewall with a mural of Louis de Funès in 2015. She visited Street Art City and said I should go there so I did 3 years later.
How was your immersion experience in Hotel 128’s room?
At Street Art City / Hotel 128 I did room 72 which is my birth year. But I also did a huge mural outside on the 15m high chimney. It was a great experience, hard work, sometimes a struggle, but totally worth it being part of the Street Art City family and doing what I’m good at and love to do.
Tell us about your relationship with the public?
My relationship to the public at Street Art City: actually I didn’t see much of them because I was locked in my room or high in the sky doing the chimney.
What would you like to bring about in people with your works?
I love to surprise my audience with my art and style. Let them experience the joy of beautiful art and challenge them to talk and discussed about it or maybe start doing art themselves.
Is it easier or more difficult to be a graffiti artist than to be a painter?
I think being a graffiti artist it’s difficult to get recognition in the regular art world of gallery’s and fairs. Especially when you work primarily with spray cans. They still don’t accept it as a full-fledged art form, so a lot of ‘former’ graffiti artist like me who are not doing graffiti-letters anymore but figurative art with spray cans nowadays also do acrylic and oil painting to get accepted into this ‘other’ art world. Actually we ‘figurative’ graffiti artists do not fit in any category. By the graffiti artists who draw graffiti-letters, we are not considered to be real graffiti artist because of our figurative style and in the regular art world we are not considered to be full-fledged artist because we paint with spray paint. That is why I prefer to call myself street artist, urban artist, mural artist or muralist instead of graffiti artist.
What do you think of the evolution of Street Art today?
The acceptance of street art in the regular art world nowadays is a pre for artist like me. Slowly we get the recognition we deserve because it’s a serious art movement with skilled artists and more than 40 years of experience and growth since its origination in the early 70’s in NYC.
What are your other artistic activities of the moment and your future projects?
I run a fulltime mural-business together with the help of my lovely wife, manager and assistant Nancy in Holland doing commissioned murals and paintings for all kind of customers like companies and governments mostly in Holland, Belgium and Germany. Next to this I attend a lot of international street art and mural festivals all over the world to build a name as an artist worldwide doing artwork in my personal style. I also do paintings on canvas for several galleries, exhibitions and art fairs from Amsterdam, Madrid and Stockholm to Miami and beyond. I also just completed a tour in Florida US doing a mural in Miami-Wynwood and another in St. Petersburg. Finally, I did a live art painting session at a gallery in Miami and an exhibition at the art show ‘Red Dot’ in Miami-Wynwood…
What do you think about your success and where are you from your dreams?
I believe I’m doing well. I am a well known artist in Holland and in the neighboring countries, but I still want to build my name as an artist in the rest of the world, to paint murals everywhere… That’s my goal.
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