“We are accused of gentrification so often now, as if it’s our fault” – Fin Dac
As we sat down at what –since then- has become the pub where I had a beer with Fin Dac, my first instinct was to ask him about the unglorious side of street art, a.k.a. gentrification, as his old piece in Rome (Quadraro neighbourhood) was vandalized several times by a “fiercly resistant” local.
His iconic geisha (which, btw, he eventually restored) was seen as totally out of context in a suburbian neighbourhood of Rome, actually missing the whole point of Fin Dac’s masked portraits.
By wearing that bright coloured mask, all women become the same woman. The mask is what ties all those melanchonic, yet proud, faces together, uniting them in the same tribe: no prejudiced assumptions, despite the fact that the models portrayed are from different ethnicities.
Invited to Upfest 2016, Fin Dac didn’t paint one of his trademarked geishas in Bristol, instead choosing an unusual subject: the Japanese “kokeshi” dolls, which he has previously painted only in Tokyo and Colombia.
At the core of this experimentation is the fact that Fin Dac’s dolls must show some influences from the local area. In this case, it’s the reference to Banksy’s ‘girl with the balloon’ and the balloon itself, which is shaped like the house from the movie ‘UP’ as a tribute to the Up-fest street art festival. Likewise unusual is the depiction of a background, which in this case is inspired by Bristol’s pastel houses. But no need to worry: the vivid splash of colour conveying the focus onto the face and bringing energy to the piece is still there!
Being the freaking workaholic he is (“There is no reason to sit down and relax, the most important thing is the work”, he stated), Fin Dac not only travels the world to attend street art festivals, but also enjoys the organizational aspects behind an urban art project. In fact, he is currently inviting his favourite street artists to take part in a brand new urban project that he is organizing in a social housing estate in London, with the aim of improving the local area for its residents.
Originally from Cork (Ireland), Fin Dac lives in London, where he used to work as a web developper before he began painting portraits of Asian girls in the streets, initially with no masks. He loves London, but he admits that he doesn’t feel as if he fits into London’s ‘Old Boys Club’, which doesn’t accept anyone who paints in a different style. His nonconformist, ‘different style’ is what he calls ‘Urban Aestetics’, a new generation made of artists painting something aesthetically pleasant, which shouldn’t necessarily be political or social. The only purpose of his art is to bring beauty to our mundane lives.
“Londoners think they are the centre of everything but, because of this attitude, they actually fall behind everybody else”, he said.
And, as a proud adopted-Bristolian, I can’t agree more.
Thank you Finbarr for your time. I hope to meet you again!
PEEK THROUGH || Check out my Upfest 2016 video:
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