Kunstneren Yonus Degel forvillet seg til Oslo fra Cape Town i 2015 og har på kort tid fått et navn her i byen. Jeg elsker Alexander Kiellands Plass og prøver å benytte meg av alle tilbudene som finnes her, bl.a restauranten Colonel Mustard der Yonus jobber. Nysgjerrig som jeg er spurte jeg om han var en kunstner, siden han hadde hendene fulle av fargerike malingsflekker. Og slik ble vi kjent.
Nå har det gått 2 år siden jeg fridde til han om å gjøre noe gøy på vinduene mine i AGs Hage. Dette er hans signatur, de karakteristiske ansiktene, inspirert av en afrikans maske de har i stuen i hans barndomshjem i Cape Town.
Da vi åpnet Vaar i august i fjor kom det opp enda et lerret for Yonus. En diger vegg med masse skap og dør inn til toalettet er kamuflert og dekket av Yonus sin street-art.
Dere kan også se hans arbeid på alle bordene på Grønland Gym, og over alt på Colonel Mustard.
Forrige uke åpnet hans aller første solo-utstilling, ‘Lonely Boys’, på Galleri Kollekt i Tordenskjoldsgate 14. Den varer til 9.mai. Der kan man se kunsten og alle detaljer på nært hold. Bildene rakk knapt bli hengt opp før de ble solgt! Men det er fortsatt noen igjen som er ‘up for grabs’. Er favoritten solgt? Fortvil ikke! Han maler også på oppdrag, så det er fortsatt mulighet til å få tak i et mesterverk. Laget kun for deg.
We have had a few words with Yonus, and asked him some questions about his art and future:
Tell us, where do you find your inspiration for your artwork?
There are a few main artists, whom have inspired me from an early age and the bigger names worth mentioning are Pablo Picasso and the late Jean Michel Basquiat. Having my roots within the graffiti culture I was inspired by many different artist both international and local, but what really stands out for me when I look back on it was meeting two South African graffiti legends: FIATH47 and FALKO, but also being introduced to the first graffiti documentary ever made called Style Wars. Definitely worth the watch!
I try not study other artworks too much, I feel that if you look at other artists artwork for to long, you end up subconsciously taking in small things you might like and you might end up replicating those things in your own work. I want my work to be as original as possible.
Most of my artwork has a deeper meaning behind it, what inspires this is my personal experiences with life, everything from heartbreak and woman to addiction and my personal views on the world as a whole.
When did you discover and start using your artistic talent?
I have always been a creative person, from childhood. As I mentioned before I have had my roots based in the graffiti culture for many years and have an education in graphic design and illustration. But it wasn’t until 2017 that I really started focusing on what I wanted to do creatively and then in 2018 I got sober and that’s when I submerged myself 100% in the art. But it has been a long and hard journey. I’m just thankful for everyone I have had around me. One name I would like to mention is Liz Ramsey from Blankspace which gave me first opportunity to exhibit in one of her group shows and also gave me my first studio space which is where I’m based now. The piece I did for her was what pushed me in the direction that I’m going in now.
What are your favourite mediums and materials, which you use when creating your work?
I started painting on A1 bamboo paper sheets when I first started creating the more urban contemporary type work, which I still like because once framed I love the outcome. But I have now moved on to painting canvas and I also have stacks of skateboard decks, which I have painted on. But don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy painting the occasional wall every now and then, got to stay true to my roots.
The mediums I use are mostly the mediums I learned using while painting graffiti, lots of markers (Molotow Markers & Posca Pens), spray paint (Molotow Premium & Montana Cans) and enamel wall paint which I apply mainly using a roller. Also commonly used within graffiti, I have added in different mediums such as acrylic paint and oil pastel too, just to spice things up.
All the equipment I use can be bought at KEM and Oslo Farge & Tusj if anyone reading this is interested.
What is your future plans creatively now that you have done your first solo exhibition?
I have many things that I would like to accomplish this year, but ofcourse everything takes time. I would love to exhibit more work this year, but maybe also focus on doing a few group shows where I can have contact with other artists in Norway and work with like-minded people to help grow my network. I would love the opportunity to do another solo show, but as of right now I need some time to relax and regain my creative energy, back the past few months have been crazy leading up to the exhibition. Besides focusing on exhibiting more work, I would love to do more mural type work- especially now that sun is coming out in Oslo. And lastly my main goal for the year is to try make it over to New York for a short trip, not work related, but to have a look at the scene and try do some mural work over there. Jean Michel Basquiat is a huge name within the New York art scene which is a big reason for me wanting to go over there, but also the fact that it’s the birth place of graffiti and is where the documentary I mentioned before, titled Style Wars, was filmed.
Do you have any advice for younger artist out there?
I think the main thing I can say is to never give up, as cliché as it sounds, and that goes for anyone who has a dream of what they want to do in life. People always want it easy in life. Many people think that all I do is paint in my studio for a living, but what most don’t know is that I work a full time restaurant job which actually pays my bills and allows me to do my art.
If I had to focus on giving advice to the young creative people out there I would say that confidence is key, always be confident in the work you do. Some people will like your work, some people won’t, but don’t let the negative comments get you down. Within art I think most artists artwork are very personal to them which might scare them when showing it to the public, but I feel as long as you are happy with the art you producing then it shouldn’t matter what anyone has to say about it.
Lastly, never compare yourself or your work to anyone else that might be doing the same as you, you are your own person, BE YOU!
Thank you Yonus! We are excited and can’t wait to see what you are up to next!
Her kan dere se bilder fra utstillingen, de som er merket med rødt er allerede solgt: