Based in Madrid, Spidertag is known for his masterful geometrical and abstract artworks fashioned with yarn and nails. I recently met up with him during his visit to New York City, where he left his mark at 5Pointz.
When did you start getting up?
I started doing graffiti in 2000, and in 2008 I began working as Spidertag.
Have you any preferred surfaces?
I like abandoned places. Just like a spider, I only build my geometrical webs in out-of the way, deserted spaces. When people are present, a spider’s web does not last.
Have you ever been arrested?
Not for this, but I was arrested in Berlin for bombing.
What was that like?
They pepper-sprayed me and punched me. They kept me over night.
Wow! And I thought the authorities in Berlin were lenient!
Not if you’re caught bombing.
What percentage of your time is devoted to your art?
All day, all night.
What is your main source of income?
Freelance photography and design. Selling artworks.
Any thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide?
I try to connect them both. But, clearly, street art is more acceptable, and street artists have more freedom than graffiti writers. In some ways, street art legitimizes graffiti.
Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?
Both. I like working alone, but I also like the mix of techniques that comes with collaboration.
With whom have you collaborated?
What do you see as the role of the Internet in all this?
It’s important — because what we do is so ephemeral.
Have you a formal art education?
I studied sculpture, but most of what I do comes from what I taught myself and through reading. I’m an avid reader.
What’s the riskiest thing you ever did?
Doing art while standing in deep cold water. It was irresistible.
Your work is certainly unique. What is the source of your inspiration?
I love to experiment with different materials. I’m inspired by geometrics. And I’m always trying to do something different and better. Particular spots, also, inspire me.
Do you work with a sketch in hand or let it flow?
I usually don’t work with sketches.
Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?
Sometimes. If I like it, it feels like magic. I jump for joy. And if I don’t like it, I forget about it.
Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?
How has your work evolved through the years?
I’m more engaged with the materials that I use. These days nails have a hold on me. And I’m more particular with the spots that I choose.
A movie is coming soon. More experimentation, more geometry. I don’t want to repeat myself. I would like to Spidertag an entire abandoned town, my dreamed kingdom.
Gee – that’s quite ambitious. It sounds great! What do you see as the role of the artist in society?
I wish the artist did have a significant role in society. I’m not sure he does. But the way I see it — his main goal is to teach others to follow their hearts.
Interview by Lois Stavsky. First two images photographed by Lois Stavsky at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens. All other photos are courtesy of the artist.