GIVING A SECOND LIFE
“Everything can be art, it depends on the way you look at it. For example, someone can be moved to tears by seeing a Caravaggio painting or listening to a Beethoven symphony and then critisize some tags written on their door. But I can be mesmerised by the tag and not appreciate the painting or the symphony. As everything in life, it depends on your point of view, you know, your freedom ends when mine starts or where the police sees you paint”. That’s what Nain Fingers, a graffiti artist, believes of art.
Born and raised in Barcelona, Nain Fingers started painting with his friends because it made them feel like “badasses”. But soon he got hooked and realized that “if you do it in the proper space and you give the appropriate message, you can catch the attention of those who are not really into the graffiti world and make them think”. As graffiti are outside museums or art galleries, they take you by surprise so the impact is greater. He paints big graffiti in more or less legal zones like abandoned spaces or factories in ruins in order to avoid getting in trouble with the police. However, it’s not always like this and he bombards the walls with random paintings of his signatures until he runs out of paint or time.
The pseudonim of Nain Fingers stems from a motorbike accident where he lost a finger. From that moment on, it became not only his signature but also his identity. However, as in Spain English is normally translated in a literal way and people pronounced [nine] instead of [najn], he decided to change it.
Although doing graffiti is a way of channeling his emotions, he doesn’t do it just for himself but for the spectators as well. This is why he tries to paint graffiti “with an agressive message about something I believe in so you have to give it more than a look to understand it”. Paradoxally, when he doesn’t care about the message beyond the artwork and just lets his hand go with the flow, it’s when it doesn’t leave indifferent and, indeed, makes people think the most.
Simple, strinking, rare and constantly evolving. This is how he defines his own style. He has always liked the chiaroscuro, that’s why his colour palette basically consists of black, white and grey. At first, he tended to draw only lines, outlines and shadows, without filling them. But afterwards, he became obsessed with realism, old photographs and its details. And that’s what he did. Nevertheless, he admits that another possible explanation for the lack of colour is his laziness.
Birds are one of the recurring images that most appear in his graffitis. Although it may seem an aesthetic decision, it has a deeper significance. During an epoque where he was “screwed up emotionally”, he could only paint birds. It was as if he had “a strong longing for freedom or something like that”. He is not the first -neither the last- to paint birds. The brasilian street artist L7m, one of his biggest influences, also uses these feathered creatures even though they appear in flashy tonalities.
But he isn’t the only influencer in Nain Fingers’ masterpieces. Vhils, a portuguese artist who has made a name for himslef in the artistic world with its unique method of carving walls, has contributed to the Spanish artist in the figures: they both paint faces. However, Nain puts more empashis on women visages. “Painting women has always fascinated me: their eyes, their wrinckles… I must confess that I’m an inconditional fan of women. All of them are crazy but if it wasn’t for them we would be really bored”.
To conclude, Nine Fingers not only paints beautiful graffiti to express his feelings but also to give a second life to those demolished and unused spaces. As the american writer Jarod Kintz said:“Rather than demolish an abandoned warehouse, why not just cover it with graffiti and call it art?”