Street Artist Göla Is Killing the Establishment With a Smile
If the axiom that your art is autobiographical is true then Street Artist Göla has taken his work to heart. And mind. And spirit. His giant symbolist and fantasy figures are born directly from his gut, where he stays engaged with the world. The colorful and excited personality of the Italian bolts with graphic clarity across the gray mottled walls of the universe, and a street wall in Montreal recently during the Danse Mur Festival. Even if you don’t know his ideas and feelings about the world and our current place in historical evolution, you cannot remain unmoved by his enthusiasm.
Brooklyn Street Art: What’s the significance of your characters in your work?
Göla:The two characters are actually two sides of one face. They represent the condition of the humanity today. The blue gorilla on the left side (like the left side of the brain) represents the instinct, our connection with our feelings and our animal nature. He is looking at the egg/planet heart in his hands for a long time – and now he perceives that a new beginning is coming, a new kind of relationship between humans and the rest of the biosphere is at the door.
The yellow anthropomorphic characters on the right (right side of the brain) represents rationality; a sick rationality that life that humans have been operating with for too long, as the dominator of the biosphere.
The character has a head full of worms (but “colorful worms”, good ones) and factories, pollution, from the last centuries. He is opening his belly to allow his desire for change, to free his spirit. This is the third element of this portrait of humanity. The spirit is represented as a mimetic three, in which the leaves are stylized monarch butterflies that fly into the future.
This is the body, mind, and spirit in an era of change.
BSA: You use a lot of vibrant colors in your work. Were you influenced by the colors used in 1980’s album covers, TV, and advertising?
Göla: For sure I was influenced by 80s graphics and esthetics. I grew up during that period. I think of 80s toys, cartoons and puppets. Do you remember exogini (www.exogini.com ) ? I’m not sure if you had that in the U.S. and by many other characters. But this influence was passive, and it hid inside me for a long time. Those colors started to come out from my inner cave at the beginning of 2000, after I started to travel around. I can say that a great influence on me was moving to Barcelona in 2003 to learn how artists were painting there. Then on my trip to India in 2005 I discovered their fashion style and their advertising, the old figurative art, and nature. I think every trip, every connection, teaches us a lot.
BSA: How do you think the People in Montreal like your work?
Göla: I don’t know, you should ask them! During the time when I painted this I received many compliments. People were stopping in the middle of the street and screaming “Yeah!”. Many people told me that my style is not really common; it is like symbolism and is less related to the 90s graff figuration, especially for pieces of this proportion. I don’t know if everybody liked my work there but I’m sure a lot of them did.
BSA: Do you try to project a message of optimism with your colorful characters? Is it your intention to bring a smile on people faces when they see your paintings?
Göla: I’m interest in giving people an opened door. I mean these colors are the colors of my spirit actually; Enthusiastic and vibrant. But I think using bright color is also a good way of catching the interest of people. When a spectator is seeing bright colors he feels the piece is friendly and he’ll stop to have a look.
Then I come to them with the meanings, and there are usually many entangled meanings. And some are not so peaceful. But for sure I want to bring joy to people. I don’t like humans, but I like people. Years ago a friend told me that according the Mayan calendar this is my mission in the world; to bring joy to the people and to destroy the bad establishment with the force of a smile. I like to think that it is true. I feel it.
I also wanted to mention that I painted this wall as part of a D.I.Y. festival of contemporary art called “Danse Mur” organized by my friend 500M, a street artist from Montreal. I think I will go back next year for the festival. See you there!
Göla does an interpretive dance in front of his new piece.