Every new piece from the Etam Crew strikes my retina like the first time I caught a glimpse of those female pubes in that magazine that went from hand to hand in the primary school boys room. Whether you’re into street art or not, the gargantuan work of this Polish duo Betz and Sainer, will transport you to a fantastic larger than life universe where the colors blend and fade like in an oil painted dream. Issued from the graffitti scene, these two artists have forsaken the letters to devote themselves exclusively to these strange illustrations they spread around the world. Bezt agreed to tell us a little more.
Jacker / What was your first artwork together ?
Bezt / Our first work together was a wall in Zgierz - a place where Sainer was living at that time, there were 3 of us and everybody was painting graphics, no characters. It was some abandoned place in the forest and it was raining but we finished everything. That was the day that I asked Sainer if he wanted to be in Etam.
J / How do you prepare a huge wall ?
B / We don’t prepare the wall, we just paint on it. We always paint on the wall as we get. We like old dirty walls, they have their own soul, white new walls are boring. We always try to collaborate with the wall, leave some elements - maybe repaint some of its colors, but we always try to work with it as is .First we do the sketch, then we put colors on the walls and finish with spray cans, there is no magic in it just work.
J / What is the hardest part ?
B / I think the hardest part is to sketch everything on the wall, we have to capture all the proportions and do the right composition.
J / What are the different techniques that you use, whether for canvases or walls ?
B / On the canvases I mostly use oil paint, Sainer uses more acrylics. On the walls we paint in the same technique, we mix acrylic paint and spray paint.
J / Ever had a graffiti lifetime ?
B / Yes, at first Etam crew was only about illegal graffiti, when I started to paint we did only silver styles on the walls. I know that Sainer was painting illegal walls too, so we started in the «normal» graffiti way.. when I first started, there were no Montana cans, I had to make my own caps, paint with shitty cans etc. After few years I stopped.
J / Why did you stop ?
B / I was a bit bored, the graffiti way of life was not forme - I reached the point where I knew that I would do no more, the letters started to look the same, I started to paint more and more characters and I started to like more the idea of good clean wall theme, then style the wall. So I quit painting illegally, now from time to time I do some letters for fun, or go to some abandoned place to paint, but it isn’t very often because of lack of time.
J / Your illustrations on canvases are really similar, do you think that working on co-projects is influencing or merging your respective styles ?
B / When we started painting together we had really different styles. Sainer was more realistic and I was more comic and humor, but after few years of painting together we developed one similar style, for the walls it works perfectly, with the canvases we see our own styles in them. We have different themes and technical differences so for us it’s ok. For now it works, we will see how it will be in the future.
J / What’s the story behind your artworks inspirations ?
B / Everything is inspiring, I like to play video games and watch animations and movies, so really everything can be inspiring, from other artists to something you watch.
J / What are the most important things in preparing a big wall ?
B / Everything is important, colors, composition, the idea for the wall.
J / Which of your works if your favorite ?
B / For now I think I like « Bon appetite» and «Moonshine» the most.