Between all the music and drinking at Roskilde Festival, there’s colorful street art almost everywhere you look. There’s a pretty gnarly group of artists behind the works.
Written by Sarah Goldstein
Stine Hvid 6th year with Roskilde Festival Graffiti Camp Denmark Works with brushes and cans
When did you begin as a street artist?
I began in 2011 by coincidence. I’m actually a graphic designer from the Danish Design School and when I applied for a job as such, someone saw my sketches in my application and suggested that I consider murals.
Wow! So that’s when you started?
Well, I was lucky to get a big wall at Trailer Park Festival and that wall lead to other jobs and Art Rebels were really nice to take me under their wing. I’ve actually been doing this for a living for the last five years, so I’m very grateful!
What is it about street art that really appeals to you?
I’ve always found public art fascinating and the various expressions and stories you get from different artists. And the fact that it’s easily accessible, being in the public space and all.
So part of the motivation and fascination with the “business”, is actually also the people who see it?
Yeah, seeing people interact with the art, talking about the themes and motifs. They also post pictures with the art and tag me, so I get to see their stories about my character, that I hadn’t really considered myself. For me, that means a lot.
So of course, other people’s opinion of your art has an impact on you?
That they actually have some thoughts about my work and what I do. Of course we also paint to get our stories and emotions out, so it’s a relationship of stories.
So what’s the story behind the work that you’ve done here for the festival?
This year I’ve been apart of an amazing group of girls who run the workshop during the festival where guests can come and paint or get tips, so I’ve painted the entrance of the boy and girl holding spray cans, inviting people inside.
Is this workshop just for a selected few?
No no, everyone’s welcome. For people who’ve never tried it before or experimented in the past… Any and everybody’s welcome to swing by Thursday 14-17 and Friday, Saturday 12-15!
Is it organized by women?
It’s organized by the Roskilde Festival Graffiti Team, but it’s run by girls, yeah.
That’s interesting! Is there a reason for that? Do you feel that street art is mainly dominated by men and this workshop run by girls is an attempt to debunk that?
I wouldn’t say dominated, no, but there are more men than women in this industry as it is now, but it’s important to say that this scene never been about the gender, it’s about the art.
Do you see a difference between the pieces created by men and the ones created by women?
I don’t think there’s that big a difference, it’s a good mix. If you look around you’ll see that the guys like to use the color pink as well, so… The art speaks for itself.
I agree, and it looks amazing! Are you going to be able to party it up now or does that massive boot hold you back?
Naah… We’ll see! I was told that I got some extra street cred after getting injured and still working on a huge scaffolding!
Aiko 3rd year with Roskilde Festival Graffiti Group Tokyo (Based in Brooklyn) Stencil artist
Q: You are one of biggest female street artists out there, so if you could start by just saying how and when you got into this business?
Well, I got into this 20 years ago, before we knew what to call it, before it was graffiti art or street art. Then it was just a way to express oneself. It was also before Facebook and Instagram, so it was the only way to communicate with many, by taking it to the public.
What brought your path to Roskilde Festival?
I actually visited Denmark in 2003 and really liked the culture and the people, everyone’s so nice. It was actually my girlfriend who started working at the Roskilde Festival documenting, and that’s how it all started for me here.
And what about your work here and in general? What inspires you?
I’m very inspired by the soft pornographic style of the 50s and the pin-up look, as you can see in my work here.
As a female street artist, do you feel that this business is mostly dominated by men? Is it something that you feel affects you in your work or inspires it?
AI actually think that’s an outdated question. When I started in this business 20 years ago it was mainly men, but I feel we’ve come a long way and that it goes beyond gender now. We’re all human and there are so many bigger problems today.
Could you elaborate on that?
It’s not about the gender, it’s about the art. We need to think bigger so we can do better.
I think that’s an awesome and important point! Thank you for your time!
Thank you! It’s nice to talk about the more serious aspect about the work! Now, Party!
3rd year with Roskilde Festival Graffiti Camp Columbia (Living in Spain now) Works with cans
How long have you been making street art?
I’ve been painting for 9 years now. I always liked to draw letters and I like how all the colors and letters work together to create something unique. The graffiti scene always interested me, so that’s why I got into it.
Did you feel that it was a difficult industry to come into as a woman?
Yes, but I don’t think that’s unique to the graffiti industry, it’s cultural. Coming from Columbia, and there’s still a lot of male dominance. That has changed a bit over the years though.
I don’t really feel it anymore, maybe because I don’t care about it so much anymore or because it is changing.
Do you feel a difference in the industry between Columbia and Europe?
I didn’t stay too long in Columbia because I felt pressured there and the graffiti scene in Bogota isn’t that big, so it’s hard to connect with other artists from other cities. Traveling is the best way to connect with others, and everything is so close in Europe.
Looking at your work, is there a main theme that you like to work with?
Aside from letters, lately I’ve been working with characters and objects to learn new things, but mainly I just do letters. I also try to express how time is important to me, having gone through a lot of stuff.
What do you mean?
I want to honor my feelings and thoughts, so that’s what I’m trying to express with my pieces, especially this piece for Roskilde Festival. It’s hard to put your emotions in images, but the meaning is just for me and the people I’m close to.
Do you feel people here at the festival are more open than other places, also when it comes to female graffiti artists?
Not just at Roskilde Festival, but in Europe in general, they’re more, also more accepting of the girls in this industry. It’s like the guys don’t care if you’re a girl or not, they just care about your work, which makes it more professional.
Do you feel that the whole gender issue is kinda tired now?
Well, I had the experience being treated differently as a girl and what people think a girl should be like. So I think it’s still relevant, it’s just that don’t care anymore, which helps me keep working.
I think it’s cool that you’re beyond it.
Well, in the past I didn’t feel very comfortable with myself because of what others might think of me or if I wear shorts while I work in the summer, it’s not to show off and get attention, it’s just fucking hot!
Do you have any advice for someone interested in getting into the street art industry?
I think it’s important that you feel comfortable in your space and do what feels natural to you. Maybe start by drawing your ideas to get a sense of direction and consider going painting with friends.
So the social aspect is important as well?
When I started I wasn’t very social, I was pretty much alone, but now I see how happy people get when they’ve been focusing on work and someone comes by to talk, and it’s important to talk about your work.
Do you think Social Media helps with that?
Yeah, social media is good for that, but it’s not good to distance oneself too much, because real stuff happens with real people – face to face. Especially when you travel, you want to meet people and to do nice work you need to learn how to share.
So, essentially it’s a communication?
Yeah, exactly. To grow as a person and as an artist, you have to have the conversations and real life relationships.