Boris Biberdzic is a graffiti artist based in Montréal, Canada. He comes from Bosnia & Herzegovina and he started to paint when he was 17. He’s very passionate about graffiti art. Co-founder of muralist collective “Impair” he has participated in many different group shows, projects, mural symposium, and festivals. He has since extended his practice to illustration and motion design.

Hello Borrrris can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your work?
Hello, I’m an artist, illustrator and designer from Bosnia & Herzegovina, now living in Montreal, Canada. Although my vision and career evolve constantly, many things remain the same; my work is narrative and multifaceted.

As an artist I use my imagination to create a world to my liking, with many similarities to this one. Currently I compose with color, opacity and shapes. As an illustrator I try to give meaning to a subject through metaphor and concept while staying concice. Early on, graffiti helped me to explore visual possibilities while my graphic design education helped me develop discipline and direction. I apply my art and culture knowledge towards services such as art direction and motion design.

Photo Courtesy: Boris Biberdzic

Can you talk about your first time you paint on a wall? It was long time ago?
I got into graffiti pretty late, around 17-18. My first memorable time was with a friend, tagging a wall downtown. I remember the adrenaline rush and the unsatisfaction with my handstyle. I only thought of improving so that my intervention would be better than looking at boring brick walls. I was unsatisfied with the world and the way society worked; graffiti became an endless source of inspiration and freedom which grounded and shaped me as an individual, which is still true today. With its codes and ethics, and especially people, graffiti gave me a purpose and a place in the world. There is nothing better than painting a new spot with friends; freedom, discovery, company and so much more are tangled in one activity. Eventually I switched from letters to figurative art, while still keeping the graffiti mindset.

Photo Courtesy: Boris Biberdzic

Do you work with a sketch in your hand or do you let it flow?
I turned to sketching early on because I could go further with my idea and have a finished product. Although the sketch is necessary, there is a big part of chance during the painting process.

Your art is very expressive. Can you explain your inspirations for your works?
Graffiti game me the freedom to stay true to myself, so a big part of me is expressed through my art. I rely on spontaneity while keeping track of my abilities and visual signature. Before anything, I need to visualize the image I’m making and have a good feeling about it, a kind of dialogue with the piece. I’m inspired by various things, but enjoy the whole modernism mouvement in the arts. I feel it was a time where artists were painting reality as they saw it but in a way that was somewhat understandable by the viewer, unlike most of contemporary art.

How is the street art world in Montreal?
Montreal is experiencing a boom right now, which is a good and a bad thing. There is more recognition by the vpublic and more opportunities, but also a lot of poor artwork by people who want to profit from it without putting in work. Montreal has definitely diverse groups, from the most commerical street art to the most hardcore graffiti writers, with activists and everyone else in between.
In terms of graffiti, there is a renewal of styles and creativity, Internet playing a big part in it. Although the city has been destroying old infrastructures that served as creative nests, artists are adapting and finding new painting grounds. On the other hand, the graffiti codes have been shaken up recently (for example, tagging over graffiti murals). Fall and early winter see a lot more activity due to a lack of people on the streets. Having four seasons lets us divide our time in accordance with the temperature; summer is for outside production and enjoyment, while winter is for traditional painting and planning.

Photo Courtesy: Boris Biberdzic

What do you think about the role of the artist in our society?
To quote a saying, “art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable”. The artist should make us feel and think. Artists should show the unique way they see the world and eventually open up new possibilities to society. One of the great things art does is change one’s perception, which is good on a personal level, enabling people to grow. Art practice can become a very spiritual thing.

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries?
A lot of street art in galleries is cheezy and pop-oriented, but there are various niches to choose from. Some people deserve to be there. As long as there is authenticity and the person has put up work in the streets in some form, I’m okay with that. However, the charm of stumbling upon a new street piece is not there (for both artist and audience). Therefore the work should take another form or meaning in the gallery.

Can you suggest us a graffiti writer you love or some artist to keep an eye on?
Shout-outs to my crew members who are hard-working great people and artists constantly evolving: Arnold, Opire, Naimo, Lyf3r, Algue.

What’s ahead?
Exploring the world of perception, learning and finding a unique voice. Applying my knowledge to as many various projects as possible and connecting with people. One thing at a time…

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Photo Courtesy: Boris Biberdzic
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