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Brooklyn Street Art

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Fintan Magee, Lonac in Process at No Limit/Borås: Dispatch 1

Posted on September 4, 2017

This week BSA is in Borås, a municipality in south-western Sweden for the 3rd edition of No Limit, a mural arts festival that brings Street Artists from around the world to create new works on walls of the city, in the process enlivening public space and creating new ways for this historic textile merchant town to engage passersby with their city.


“No Limit” 2017 is just getting underway here in Borås. Fintan Magee is the first out of the gate with a large wall overlooking the Viskan river which winds it’s way through this southwestern town in Sweden. Artists have been arriving in Goteborg from around the world and getting a ride 40 minute ride to Boras by car with a friendly volunteer who offers to transport these honored international visitors.

Lonac. Work in progress. No Limit/Borås 2017. Borås, Sweden 09-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We immediately hit the clean streets with some serious jetlag and without luggage (it will follow later no doubt) to see the walls with artist and organizer Shai Dahan, who started the “No Limit” mural arts festival in 2014 to bring his friends in the Street Art world to this friendly and welcoming city known more for its textile industry than its graffiti scene.

First we headed to a demonstration of Afghani immigrants who were gathered in the main square here to give speeches and display handmade signs protesting a proposal to send these relatively new emigres back to Afghanistan because some in the government contend that the country is safe enough for them to return.

Lonac. Work in progress. No Limit/Borås 2017. Borås, Sweden 09-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A couple of the guys standing in the assembly told us that most Afghani’s would disagree with that assessment and felt that returning to their original country would be dangerous to them. We took some photos of the signs and made our way to see Fintan’s work-in-progress wall of a local Swedish woman set atop winter branches, elevated into the sky. He had already stopped painting for the day so we set out to find Lonac.

The artist Lonac, from Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia that is more than 10 times the size of Borås, was just finishing up his work for the day on a huge portrait of a guy whom we didn’t recognize, so we talked to him about it. A fine artist whose realism sometimes slides into surrealism, the sharp-witted aerosol musician tells us that his new painting is a tribute to the graffiti writers whose work gave birth to much of the modern Street Art scene, including this guy in this new painting.

Fintan Magee. Work in progress. No Limit/Borås 2017. Borås, Sweden 09-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“He is a graffiti writer from Zagreb. Sometimes we also paint together,” Lonac says, “So for this wall I chose to paint him because mostly I paint people who I know. I like to use them for stories I want to tell, whether it is pictures or paintings or murals it makes sense for me to paint someone that I know. I started doing it about three years ago. It is a big challenge to paint somebody who is real, not from your head, because eventually that person will see it. So I work more and more to make the painting realistic, to create the personality of the person who I want to paint.”

BSA: You are putting a lot of pressure on yourself by doing that – painting a contemporary.
Lonac: Yes, but no, no, I like it. This way I feel that the wall doesn’t only have to do with me. It has to do with somebody else. That’s what I’m trying to do.

Fintan Magee. Work in progress. No Limit/Borås 2017. Borås, Sweden 09-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: So when you think of him, what do you think of?
Lonac: He is one of the main guys in the graffiti scene in Zagreb. When I started painting I wasn’t so close to those guys and now since I have been painting more and more I am becoming more understanding of this other part of our culture. Until now I mostly only did paintings. So its mostly about honoring other people who are also doing some type of art and acknowledging that they are also painting, even though I am not close to that kind of painting.

BSA: What would you tell people here in Boras about graffiti that they do not know?
Lonac: I don’t know if they know a lot about graffiti here because there is not much bombing or tags. I would say that there are a lot of people doing many types of graffiti and there are some who take from the history of graffiti and are making it into some type of art. So I would say before judging it they have to know something about it to understand it.

Afghanistan emigres protesting in Borås, Sweden, September 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Afghanistan emigres protesting in Borås, Sweden, September 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown knows the way to someone’s heart. Borås, Sweden 09-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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