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20.04.2013 Text: lucia barbiero // Pix: jerom

graffiti Born in Ibiza

Jerom – Ibiza Graffiti Artist (Ibiza 1979)

The current graffiti began to develop in the late 70’s in NY and Philadelphia, where writers such as Futura 2000, A-One, Taki 183, Cat 161 or Cornbread began to write their names on walls and subway stations in Manhattan. The first tags (signatures) appeared and subsequently led to the first graffitis and made the leap from the walls to the trains spreading throughout the U.S. and later to Europe and finally around the globe. The graffiti art eventually became part of the Hip-Hop culture (rap music, graffiti and break-dance) popularized by Afrika Bambaataa. In the New York of the 80s this culture was a call for rebellion against a system considered deaf to the voice of the people in the ghettos. Signing the city walls and trains meant to affirm the right to exist: to become famous remaining anonymous.

After 30 years of negative critics and illegality, graffiti has evolved technically and artistically up to the point of being considered a real art by experts. Today the city walls, in hands of renowned spray-artists, become art galleries. In Ibiza, Jerom is seducing the citizens and gaining more and more urban spaces with the collective approval.

Jerom’s graffitis, his style, the feminine faces he paints… standout among the nightclub banners. His creations bring a different style within the hyperrealism and help to promote the artistic culture of the island, native or adoptive, forever relentlessly fermenting.

Jerom has managed to reflect his career as a graffiti artist in his daily work, painting murals for companies or particulars, and also on canvas and live demonstrations taking place in different countries. It has come to embody the image of riders like Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden in almost all Moto GP circuits of Europe.

What do people think when you say you are from Ibiza?

They are surprised. People expect anything but never that I’m from Ibiza. The world is not used to hear about a creative Ibiza.

How did you start and why spray art?

I started painting in the early 90s. Like almost everyone that paints on the walls, I was part of a crew, a team. We were the first on the island: The Black Panthers. Each of us had a role: those who mark the piece, who fill, who outline the letters, the 3D effect … The aim was to work together, to have fun and adventures. Then suddenly I painted my first face, something I had never done before, and I quite liked the result, enough to convince me to pursue a more figurative line. His style is pure talent: “I never studied to learn how to paint. I don’t usually improvise, although in graffiti there is a lot of improvisation. I usually prepare a design on computer, I study it, print it and then paint it.

Unlike his predecessors, he does not paint at night but during the day. He is interested in the sensations he provokes in the people, in real time. ‘Art is in the eye of the beholder. Rather than giving a message (that often comes on top) I’m interested in causing sensations, creating feelings. I try to be happy with what I do and realize that with my work I transmit this to others.’ The act of painting in public is even more interesting than the final result. The technique, the movements and also the wall gain in interest and value.

Jerom also sprays paint on canvas, investigating hyperrealism in search of female sensuality. The range of colours available in the market thanks to a leading brand in the aerosol industry allow him to reach perfection in details that were unthinkable a few years ago. In his workshop in San Antonio, to the rhythm of reggae music, he seeks, produces and projects his world through the spray.

The amount of commissions increases, sometimes he can be himself, sometimes it takes more difficulty, where however he seeks a way to keep his character, and he succeeds. ‘I like the imperfections of the wall, on block and brick, something that is missing on canvas work.’

And although the design on the wall is an ephemeral work at mercy of the weather or any other person who wants to cover it, ‘it is my passion and I leave it there for everyone’.

What is your relationship with the contemporary art world?

I have some influences but I relate to other graffiti artists and their work, that is what really interests me.

Are there many graffiti artists in Ibiza?

The graffiti in Ibiza is complicated. It always was. It takes a lot to learn what is going on outside, how the movement evolves. In Ibiza we tend to be few and we usually get along. Although it is normal, increasingly, to welcome writers from outside, from all over the world, who for one reason or another come to Ibiza and just paint graffiti with us and share their experiences.

What do you and do not like about Ibiza?

I hate people who exploit the island without regard of anything but money. I would like a sustainable island, also with its discos, its tourism and their moves … they are part of the island, but things should be done properly. I love the people of Ibiza, Ibiza and those who make it theirs to enjoy and care.

Thanks to the quality of altruistic art from writers like Jerom, the graffiti that was seen as an issue that fouls the city is now enjoyed as a gift that enriches our culture‘ (comment from an ibicenco a found looking at a wall painted by Jerom).

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