Breakreatin’Walls: Meet PESKO

I have built it through open mindedness as well as curiosity as I am constantly eager to learn and explore new dance styles.

Breakreatin’Walls is Street Art/Graffiti initiative connecting Graffiti artists to artless walls around Tunisia. Its first edition took place in Sidi Bouzid, on the 17th and 18th of December 2018, during the Underground Session VOL.2, featuring 2 previously selected artists: PESKO and KERO.

Therefore, and after introducing Taher Abid Kero on our last interview, we are glad to introduce to you Mohamed Soudani, or best known as PESKO: a co-founder of street art collective “EL HOKKA” based in Sfax.

Mohamed will be sharing with us how he started doing Graffiti, how it changed him, where it led him nowadays and of course his thoughts about several topics like his inspirations, the problems a street artist can face in Tunisia and his thoughts about the upcoming generation of artists in the country.

PESKO | Photo by Khalil Zammeli

Without making it any longer for you, watch the full interview below, make a visit to Pesko’s Instagram page and check our YouTube channel for more content.

For those who want to read:

+ How do you get inspired?

I get my inspiration from the events I live, things I tested, feelings I had and live with everyday. Those are the things that give me the spark of starting a new work or just an idea, a message, a quote or anything I want to put on a wall.So, my inspiration comes from my life, the events I live, the people I meet and that is it.

+ Define your mission:

Well, I don’t consider what I do as a mission. Because I do Typograffiti just because I love doing it. So, I just do anything I want to do and I do it with love. For me, I leave my mark on a wall, it means I exist within that wall, I did my work on it, I gave it my time, my ideas, the feelings I had and I still have.Therefore I believe that my mission is to leave my mark and ideas on every wall I paint.Because I want to be a source of inspiration the same way other people inspired me,so when I paint something on a wall, it needs to be somethingthat inspire people,make them remember somethings, make them ask questionsabout my work and how it is done,get their attention through the colors, move their feelings, spark their curiosity, etc.So I want to leave my mark on people the same way I leave iton the wall.because the wall is just a bridge between them and me.

+ Are you a full time graffiti artist?

Well, not all of my time is dedicated for street art, because I’m a student, I study Fine Arts. Therefore, my life is divided between school and street art.

+ What was your first artwork and where did you paint it?

The first wall I painted was in my hood, just a small wall, I did it back in 2013I was so proud of it and I still am because that was the first stepfor me into the things I do till now.And every time I go back and look at it, I feel happy.Because I get to see my level back then and I compare it with my level right now.I feel the evolution and the progress I went through and I’m very proud of the first work I did.

+ How many artworks did you paint?

Well, I had so many works, many walls, I don’t remember them all since 2013. I mean, you can’t even count how many walls you paintedin yearand you don’t do it to count how many walls you painted,you just do it because you love to do it.So, I don’t really know how many walls I painted.

+ What is the main process you go through as a graffiti artist from idea to painting?

The work doesn’t start until you get that spark you getfrom something you lived or felt. You get the inspiration, you think about it, you get a paper and a pen.You do your sketch then you look for a wall, you buy paintand tools and you just start working.It isn’t really a big or hard process.You just need an idea, a sketch and a wall.Then a beautiful outcome of course.

+ How does street art impact your life?

Firstly, I was a shy person, I get scared of facing people,get scared of trying new things, I just get scared of going through new experiences.However, when I started doing Graffiti, I started meeting new peoplewhom helped me, gave me advice, took me to events and showed me many new things.And through those event, I meet other new people, talk with them, share with them,live with them some nice moments, we talk about the things we went through. We share all the moments we lived through and we just live the moment. We almost share everything with each other,because when we attend an event,it is not about showing your work and leave or just leave your mark.It is about meeting people, share with them, learn from them, etc. Therefore, I don’t think if I didn’t do all of these things and began myjourney into Graffiti,I would be the same person I am right now.Because it is really something that changed my life, the personI am and the way I think.They are the things that helped me open my eyes on new thingsand explore them.Therefore, I think that once you are in this culture, your lifewill be impacted by it.Because once you even open the door to explore it, you are already in.

+ Describe the graffiti scene in Tunisia in two words:

I think it is hard to describe something like thisin just two words but I can say it is about sharing,because we all almost know each other, talk with each other, share with each other,improve each other’s work and help each other. Therefore, the first thing is sharingand I think the second thing would be,inspiration?Or let’s say unity.Because even if we get separated or we stop communicatingfor a while, we will remain a one community.Therefore, we are united.I think these are the two words.

+ Name two to four main challenges faced by the graffiti artist’s community:

I think the first would be the way people look at us and howthey don’t accept the new things we are doing.Therefore, we all met unsupportive people when we began doing what we do.We met people who think that we doing weird thingsand just messing up walls,they believe that we don’t understand what life is,which is for them it is about staying in school, gettinga job and building a house.So, the first challenge we faced was people, but ofcourse they changed as we kept working a lot,held many events, people started thinking about whatwe do, tried to understand it,then they accepted it, started focusing on whatwe do, started encouraging us,a lot of people now would love to see colored walls,attend events that gather hip-hop, graffiti and street art.That is something that changed through time anda lot of work.Otherwise, other challenges we faced are how to puttogether all the requirements,how to find a good wall to work on, how to get the permissionto use it otherwise you will be doing vandalism. So, we need to find a wall, a permission and the tools,because we all started as students, etc.We couldn’t afford to spend much money on what we do,so we were really limited by that challenge.Until, of course, we passed that challenge.And that’s it, these are the two main challenges we facedas street artists.

+ What about the new street art generation in Tunisia?

The new upcoming generation came in a time where theycan find things we didn’t back in the days.They came in a time where they can find people who areaware of what they are doing, love what they are doing, people that can help them and encourage them.So, they really have an advantage.Because when we joined this movement, we didn’t find allof those things.So, they have an advantage that will help them growand go further.Because for us, we made progress but it wasn’t that big. We did what we could do and now it is up to them to push forward.Well, it isn’t like we have really big gap between us but in Tunisia,you find new things every year, new dancers, new graffiti writers, new street artists, etc.The movement now got so big, a lot of people are doing these arts,a lot of people are helping each other,I think the new generation would be really cool.Because being like only 10 people who are doing art, showing graffiti, street arts and coloring Tunisia’s streets,is not the same of being 100 or 500 or more.I think the new generation is going to push the street art forward,show a nicer picture to all the people aroundand they will make more people love this art form.