Arsek & Erase

Arsek & Erase

Arsek & Erase are a graffiti art duo since the beginning of 2000. Their drawings are primarily in the field of illustration and surrealism. Distinctive features of their works are fresh colors, fun and diverse characters inspired by nature and their surrounding environment. Their works can be seen in Bulgaria, as well as almost all European capitals, Russia, China, Taiwan, El Salvador and the United States.

Hi guys, we are very glad to ask you some questions. Now, you are two established artists all over the World, but we’d really like to know where it all started: In what part of Bulgaria were you born and at what point in your life did you get into contact with graffiti and Hip-Hop culture? What are your earliest memories of the beginning?

Hello guys, We are honored to be your guests! So, here’s a short story from where we come from and when everything started. We both were born in Stara, Zagora which is one of the main cities in the central part of Bulgaria. In Bulgaria first came hip hop music around 1993 and then graffiti around 1995. We started painting graffiti in 2000.

How did you meet each other? Are you part of any larger crew and, if so, how was it born? And how did your tags come about?

In the same year of 2000 our mutual acquaintance introduced us because she knew that we have a passion for street art, which was just emerging in Bulgaria.Then we created our first crew which was called SZC (Stara Zagora Crew) . It was born as an abbreviation of our city or something like this.Very soon, after that, our camp literally numbered dozens of people who wrote SZC all over the city. It was something new, unusual, rebellious, and most of our friends and strangers in those years quickly felt in love with the idea of crewing.

In the beginning we used to tag our names but shortly we realized that if you paint graffiti it’s good to have a secret tag that no one can easily recognize the person behind it. The First tag was Erase and then Arsek is a derived name of heresy by just shifting the letters and adding a K which has no general meaning but we just like the order of the words.

Where does this passion for graffiti and art in general come from? Did you have any family member who was an artist or somehow art-related or what were your sources of inspiration and your early influences?

The passion came from one abandoned place in the downtown of the city where strangers were painted some random graffiti these days. With some classmates we went to that place and tried to copy the styles into our notebooks. It was so funny 🙂 In our family we haven’t others that are interested in street art or graffiti, but we have members who were painters. So, at that difficult time of 2000 the main source of inspiration for us was our limited internet access and the things we found inside.
We cannot forget the first graffiti portal we found graffiti.org. Also in this period we already had the bulgarian graffiti pioneer Nasimo and we also learned a lot from him.

What was the graffiti scene like in Bulgaria at the time? How did you experience it initially and how was it perceived from the outside, by your friends and society in general?

At that time, the Bulgarian graffiti scene was just taking shape and was literally divided into regions and several leading teams in each major city. At the end of 2000, the first graffiti event came, with 6 crews taking part and it was extremely fun. In the beginning, our friends and families literally didn’t understand what exactly we were doing, and to the rest of us, we were just some vandals who spray painted on the streets of the city.

Now, we can say you’re well known throughout Europe and the World for your amazing murals. But what was your path to get here? Have you also had a past of illegal graffiti, maybe also on trains and metros?

Like all teenagers, our beginning was accompanied by illegal painting and the search for thrill and adrenaline. For maybe 2 or 3 years we were quite active with nightly graffiti actions both on the streets and on the trains. But maybe we quickly realized that this limited us and the frames that we only got to draw at night and that was quickly not what we were really looking for and we started to focus more on legal drawings.

Which was the moment when you realized that you were starting to have some success and to be recognized abroad too? What do you think has drawn attention to you more than anything else?

Maybe people started to recognize us as artists after 2005 when we first went out of Bulgaria for an event in Austria, Vienna. And then the first official invitation came from our neighbors Greece and their then-legendary Live Two who invited us to participate to the Meeting of Styles in 2008. At that time, we painted some special characters that maybe grab the attention of the people outside.

How has your style evolved in the years? And where do the characters of your murals and your illustrative style come from?

Like most artists we started with classic graffiti letters and in the early years we experimented different styles from wild style to 3d style intertwined with different characters. After that, we just realized that the characters were what attracted us the most and we started developing different types which we imposed in our style. We also experimented a lot with colors, which according to people are again, one of the things that distinguish us.

You often paint very large murals… What’s your approach when you paint them? Do you already have a clear idea of the dimensions, materials, colors and subject or sometimes do you find yourself freestyling?

With large murals you must approach it much more seriously and plan in advance, but of course in the very beginning when we started painting in larger sizes there was a lot of improvisation, we literally invented our walls on the plane or in the hotel room or literally when we stood in front of the wall. Just before we left, we had to order random materials and colors to work with on site. Maybe in recent years we have learned to plan a lot better and try to be prepared with a clearer concept, as this saves you time and wondering around in experiments.

Which are the last places around the world you have painted and how has the pandemic years impacted your art?

The last places we painted big murals was in Germany last year and here in Bulgaria.
The pandemic had a bad effect on our international projects and literally at one point reduced them to 0, but this opened new doors for us on the native stage, where we stayed for a long time and had the opportunity to draw many and the most different projects within Bulgaria. Because in the past 10 years, most of our projects have been scattered all over the world from Asia to America.

Which are the murals you are most proud of and which ones have created the most difficulties for you?

Maybe in recent years we have done some projects that we are quite proud of. Some are because of the scale and others because of the nature of the drawing. Perhaps, the most labor-intensive project we have implemented was in Russia in 2019 when we painted a 56-meter high facade or 19-story building. Until that moment the highest facade we painted was 8 and we embraced this new challenge with open arms.


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