Edgar Rafael | “I paint Stuff. I don’t define them.”
Defy rules technically has its limits. Art has a few rules but most should be broken. Artist Edgar Rafael wouldn’t be where he is today if he didn’t break some rules and follow his intuition.
From escaping the graffiti police to dropping out of school to fighting his country, Rafael has had to climb a rough slope to where he is today. He allowed us to look into his bag of tricks and give us the inside scoop of his life as a rebel, graffiti culture, his favorite pieces, and more.
Read the inspiring interview on Rafael below:
What made you move to Tel Aviv as an artist?
Well, I grew up in a city called Ashdod until I was 20 years old. I started doing graffiti I was around 14 years old. At that time I was doing it for the same reason as most people do, to be like a rebel. I loved all the adrenaline rush of going out at night wearing a hoodie and a bandana on your face (loved that look !) but I’ve had some encounters with the police. I decided to leave it for a few years. When I got back to it I wanted to come from a different angle. More artistic and less ANTI. In my city, there were very little legal walls to paint and my style needs more time to make it look good that’s why in Tel Aviv the city is much more open-minded for artists.
In your bio, it says that you left school due to it not letting you reach your full potential. Why is that and what about street art helps you get there?
Actually I finished regular school but it was mostly for my mom. I have a good memory so I didn’t go to classes but managed to pass the exams. After the army, I went to Architectural school for a few years. That’s when I dropped out cause I didn’t see my self getting up to work all my life at a 9-5 job, so the streets came back. I was actually living on the street and friends couches for a few weeks that’s when the art you can say saved me. What I like about the streets is that everybody can say something different about it and also once you are finished its not yours any more its the street property. Maybe the next day it’s gone or ruined.
What is the process (mental and/or physical) do you take to making one of these pieces?
Physically, I don’t do something special just try to stretch before :). Mentally I always try to clear my mind from all the problems of daily life turn off my phone and a lot of coffee.
“I paint Stuff. I don’t define them.” What does this quote mean to you?
For me, it means exactly what it says. I love art in all shapes and forms and my style changes and evolves every day. Sometimes it has a lot of saying behind it and sometimes it’s just pure fun. I don’t like to catalog my art or myself to a specific section because I will get bored of it if I do that.
In a recent interview with another artist from Tel Aviv, he expressed his thoughts on thelegal/illegal atmosphere of covering your face, etc. As a person that has been a victim of street art law rules what is your take on the subject?
For me, to cover your face is only style-wise cause it looks cool like a ninja :). I don’t think in almost 2020 you can hide from anything and I feel like people want to see who is the person behind the mask for better or for worse.
What are some of your favorite pieces you’ve made and why?
The number one piece is the Lifeguard house on the beach of Tel Aviv because it’s ON THE BEACH! Also, everything I’m currently painting is very interesting in my opinion because I see how my art evolved. I’m also touching new techniques and materials which is always fun.
What advice would you give one of your followers that are inspired by you?
The only thing I have to say is to work hard and then HARDER. Never think you are good always try to push yourself and spend more time on art by learning from others that are not your style. If you’re doing it for the money or fame change a profession.
What are your plans for the future?
Right now I’m trying to branch out to overseas projects and get recognition from the international community. That’s my dream and as always I want bigger and bigger walls.