deih was decidedly the coolest thing i found in valencia! walking around the barrio del carmen, i found my first deih. i didn’t know that at the time. i just saw this amazing manga-inspired piece. i needed to crawl under a torn wire fence and stand in a stinky mess to take a proper picture.
i did it. i had to. i was hypnotized, i felt like i had to do what it takes to find out more about that promised sci-fi world. i found out many more deih pieces in the neighbourhood. the cherry on top was the huge mural in plaza tavernes de valldigna. the municipality may want us to associate valencia with calatrava, but, in my head, the city is a better place for being full of deih’s cool art.
back home, i tracked deih down on the internet and i sent him my questions. he was nice so here are his answers:
hey, deih! can you please tell us about you?
hey, i’m deih and i’m part of two crews: xlf and rhb.
i am from valencia and i live here. i’m 35 and i have been painting in the streets for the past 21 years. i work as an illustrator, 2d animator and muralist. i also do comics and some video work. but what i love most is to paint in the street.
what are your sources of inspiration?
my sources of inspiration come from all media, the music i listen to, the books and comics i read, the artists that i follow. there are many things to list, too many. but i can give you an idea: i love japanese imagery, their symbols, their stories full of accidents and catastrophe. also, the dark and unknown side of our existence, any kind of science fiction, the cyberpunk, the steam punk. i read books about quantic mechanics, philosophy, thrillers… also, i’m lucky to be sharing my life with a girl, my girl. she is a psychoanalyst and we have very interesting conversations. after all, thinking about life, learning from classical artists and analyzing the modern times, all this makes me do what i do.
i found medium-sized pieces and a huge mural. are they all part of the insider series? please tell me all about it
a few year ago, i had a creative block. i didn’t know what to paint, i couldn’t find subjects. but i kept on living, the things that happened to me affected me to such an extent that i needed to capture them, sublimate them somehow. that’s how the the insider series happened. like an outsider but inwards.
basically, i take what i live and pass it through a sci fi filter and i invent an image, a story condensed in one image in order to explain to myself what’s happening to me. it’s not really important that the people understand what i wanted to express. so, in all this process, the images gain a certain ambiguity which triggers various reactions and analysis that depend on the specific moment of the observer.
this polysemic image is what’s left of my process, an image multiplied by various meanings. one for each observer, including for each moment of the observer. everything began with small drawings and they became larger when i had the opportunity. but they are all part of the same series.
some of the pieces are collaborations. what are the advantages of working with other people?
i have always loved to paint with other people, it’s very common in the graffiti world, meeting people and creating something together. it’s fabulous.
i have always been happy to bring my own contribution to a collective work, it stimulates your own imagination. the collaboration brings up new things. undoubtedly, lately i have had a better idea of what i want to paint and it’s more difficult for me to share spots. some external element makes my piece mean something else than i actually want it to mean.
in spite of this more solitary current moment, there are certain persons with whom i have painted all my life and i still paint with them. we have a very good level of understanding and i don’t care about giving up my original idea and create something new together, because the result is always positive. they are: end (hope) and xèlön.
you work in several media. which one is your favourite?
computers are an advance, an inestimable help. but i need to be in the sun more and more, because what i love most is the street. when you paint a wall, the air touches you, you relate to the passers-by, you play with the space, you feel the sun. i can’t stand spending many hours in front of the screen, even for drawing, doing sketches. every day, i go to a different terrace, i order a coffee or a beer, depending on the time of day and i draw in the sun.
my animator work makes me spend many hours in front of the computer. so i prefer to spend the rest of my time outside, especially in a sun city like valencia.
do valencian authorities give permission for your pieces? i ask this because el carmen seems full of great street art and i can’t explain it.
actually, there is no permission, we risk every time we go out to paint.
i have always tried to look for garden walls so that i won’t bother the owners and so that i’ll have more peace and quiet. it seems that the the city hall got used to what we’re doing and they don’t even erase our pieces anymore.
i hope this will be the same until the end of the world.
who are your favourite artists?
andrei tarkovski, alex kanevski, alex toth, steve rude, koji morimoto, katsuhiro otomo, domingo mandrafina, danny boyle, alberto breccia, jose luis garcía lópez, carlos maiques, moebius, mike mignola, guy davis, arctic monkeys, roots manuva, extremoduro, parálisis permanente, palazuelo, velázquez, el bosco, turrell, escif, frederic peeters, gipi, jeff noon, robert valley, william gibson, and the list is endless…
the internet says that you’re in a band: stalker, freestlyle cósmico, kraut hiphop.
we have a band. it’s more than just that it’s more like a space ship that helps us travel inside of ourselves, passing by a lot of planets that get invented during the trip.
stalker is xèlön for the electronics, tiboo at the electric guitar, sr. imbécil at the bass and i’m with the microphone.
we have some song structures that we’re going to evolve live depending on what’s happening. the music changes, the lyrics happen live. it’s quite sensorial and fun. you should come see us live one day!
any plans for the future?
my plans for the close future are for the 10th of may. it’s the forth edition of the mislatas representan, a graffiti festival that i organize with end (hope) and xèlön.
also, the third issue of our comics fanzine, polen.
i have three shows coming up and i hope that some festival invites me to paint a big facade as i’d love to do something big again.
otherwise, i’ll go on enjoying my life with my daughter, my wife, my friends and creating my worlds so that you can continue to enjoy them.
thank you very much for your support, the observer is half of the work!
muchissimas gracias para tomar el tiempo! ten cuidado y mucha suerte con tu arte!
photo credits: little aesthete