Art Is Trash Interview

It was serendipity that led to the inclusion of Francisco De Pajaro’s vibrant, sarcastic street art in Quarter #1. The work materialised in front of the Chocolate Factory as if from nowhere, forming the ideal accompaniment to an article about the commodification of graffiti. It was fascinating, not only for its originality, but the fact that these pieces seemed to be springing up everywhere, blowing a pretty unequivocal raspberry to the art and graffiti worlds while capturing the attention of both. The Guardian picked up on it, and inspired by their illuminating article, we were able to track down the man himself for a few words about creating sculptures from scrap.

Do you think of your work as graffiti?
I’ve always thought of Graffiti as being the style or technique, and I don’t come from that background. I come from a fine art background. Of course, my work comes under the umbrella of ‘urban art’ because it is urban, but I don’t know how to label myself or even think I am the right person to.

What made you choose street art as your medium? Did you have the idea for ‘Art is Trash’ first or were you already doing street art before you came to the idea?
I didn’t have any preconception of ‘Art is Trash’, and starting working in street art due to circumstance more than anything. I was trying to go the traditional route, and had a few exhibitions, but when the financial crisis hit Spain, there were not many opportunities for an aspiring artist. That was when I started working with garbage, because it was available and it was everywhere.

How far in advance do you plan your pieces?
Not at all. I improvise everything. The way that the trash is already arranged is what inspires the piece, and I try not to change that too much.

Now that people are starting to pay attention, is it more difficult for you to make your art?
I have lost some of my anonymity but things are about the same. I have noticed more people taking an interest, but the way I work is to finish a piece and just walk away. I like to let whatever will happen to the work, happen.

What has been your favourite location in London so far?
I like painting in Brick Lane and Shoreditch. In those areas, people respond really well to my work.

Would you say London is the perfect city for the kind of art you make?
Actually no. I can do this anywhere, wherever there is trash, and before I came to London, I worked in Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla. In a way, London is too private. The rubbish collection is very regular and very complete and things are taken from inside people’s front gardens. In Spain, there is a real variety of garbage, which gets collected from the streets, and the collection is in stages, so you can know what kind of trash you can find on different days. When I first started in Barcelona in 2009 it was during the financial crisis and there was rubbish everywhere, hardly being collected at all. I was making new works all the time in the same locations, and people were starting to pay attention, including the police. I was having my money seized to pay fines, but my art was highlighting what a problem the trash was, and that made the authorities finally do something about it.

Do you have plans to take the project further?
The weather has a big impact on my work. I’m always looking for the hot garbage, so I will probably go somewhere warm. If I do return to London, it will be in the summer time.