It’s a wrap! After waiting in suspense, it was finally Sunday the 16th of September. The day on which the winners of the coveted Street Art Awards 2018 Benelux Edition would be announced. After receiving 626 submissions of which no less then 483 where valid, it was both exciting as relieving for the winners to finally be announced. Read more in this interview with Street Art Award winners BonBon and Studio Giftig in this first part of our interview series.
There were 10 awards to reach out in the following categories: Young Talent, Most Inventive, Global Mural, Best Artist, Best Message, Local Initiative, Benelux + ABC Mural, Greatest Gallery, Best Photo/Videographer and People’s Favorite. Curious about how the winners feel after receiving their award and what their next plans are? Continue reading!
We start of this interview series with Studio Giftig and BonBon. Winners of respectively the award for People’s Favorite and Most Inventive.
After a few years of working as a graphic designer Niels van Swaemen en Kaspar van Leek decided to work together in 2007,calling themselves Studio Giftig. Their style is a contrast between graphic and illustrative and photorealistic, sometimes combining both. Typical about their work is that the characters they paint always seem to have a strong mind on their own.
Congrats Studio Giftig! You could say winning the People’s Favorite award is extra special because Street Art is very much made for the public to see and enjoy it. Does it feel like a big honor winning this specific award?
Yes! The public recognition means a lot to us, especially because we knew that we were nominated between a lot of highly talented artists. Therefore receiving the award was a real big honor for us.
People could vote on Studio Giftig via an app where the work Eternal Love was used as a visual example of your work. What’s the story behind this mural?
This mural was made in the center of Eindhoven, our approach to this mural, was to show the question whether you lose a piece of yourself when you lose a loved one.

Eternal Love & Photorealistic Painting by Studio Giftig

Your work most of the time shows portraits of extravert people. What is your inspiration?
We want to interrupt the public’s daily activities and surprise them with an intervention of awareness. The fact that we often use extravert portraits is mainly because we want to strengthen the expression of our work. We always want to build up a mural from the ground up, which means that we will find a suitable model for our paintings, who we photograph ourselves in the studio. Especially, so we can determine the exact exposure and expression of the portraits. Next to that, it also guarantees an unique painting
How was it to make the switch from graphic designer to artists who not only make works on canvas but also big murals?
It was the best choice we ever made! However, we already painted walls before we started with graphic design. It was good to gain expertize as a graphic designer, but as artists we have much more freedom to express ourselves. Making large murals is what we prefer to do, especially in the public domain, because it gives our work a wide and diverse audience.
You won the most advanced airless handheld spray gun by Graco, do you already have a project in mind were you can use this for?
Yeah sure, there are some nice big walls waiting for us, which can use a layer of paint… It is ideal for preparing walls with a huge background to paint on.
You also won a year license Virtual Reality Gallery by IkonoSpace. Do you have any ideas yet how you are going to design the gallery space?
We need to take a good look at the possibilities on what the VR-gallery can give us. We are very curious about it. Within a few months, we are planning to make some new paintings so there must be some opportunities.

Tekst continues below image. 

Studio Giftig and prizes made possible bij IkonoSpace and Royal Talens

Thank you Studio Giftig. We’re looking forward to your new murals and the Virtual Gallery in collaboration with IkonoSpace! In the meantime, check out their website to stay up to date. 
Next up, the winner of the Most Inventive award; BonBon. BonBon doesn’t make the usual kind of street art. Their goal is to let people in the streets look differently to daily objects by adding their own design in the form of a sticker or other material. They haven’t done many projects yet, but when you see one of their works, it instantly puts a smile on your face.
Congrats BonBon! This was the second time you were nominated, how does it feel to win a prize for the little additions you give to everyday objects?                                                       
Thank you! It feels great and we’re very happy winning this award. The other nominee’s in the category Most Inventive are very talented, so to receive the award from living legend Hugo Kaagman is awesome! We always work during daytime. The reactions from the public are always the best indicator if people like our work. Before we worked mainly with stickers. Now we work with small additions to existing objects. Since we work with the physical additions we notice that people’s reaction is even stronger and more enthusiastic. Passers-by immediately pick up their phone to take pictures!
You haven’t done too many projects yet, does winning the award stimulates you to make more works?
It does. Like I said, we mainly worked with stickers. But we already have a lot ideas for new and more work. BonBon is definitely coming up with something surprising!
Winning work and Tulips project by BonBon

You won €500 worth of art material from Royal Talens and a year license for IkonoSpace Virtual Reality Gallery. Any ideas on what you’re going to spent the €500 and what kind of gallery space you’re going to establish?
Yeah, such a nice prize! Cans, clay and canvas are on top of our wish list. So we’re happy to spent the €500. About the IkonoSpace Virtual Reality, we’re thinking about showing something in an industrial surrounding. We have plenty ideas.
How did BonBon start?
In fact, the three of us met in 2012 from our own (creative) backgrounds; painting and photography. It was these different art forms that brought us together. In 2012 we also started with the stickers. Very much as a statement against aging, acidification and digging. A bit more creativity and color wouldn’t do any harm. Especially for all those public, everyday objects.
How do you come up with ideas?
We all work in the creative/graphic sector. Once one of us comes up with an idea, we write it down on our list. Every once in a while, we get together and we look at which ideas are best and which we can actually carry out.
What are your other plans for the future?
We mostly want to focus on developing on adding extra elements to existing, everyday objects. Preferable in a 3D shape instead of the stickers. Winning the Street Art Awards definitely gave us a lot of extra motivation to continue and love what we’re doing!
BonBon and prizes made possible by Royal Talens and IkonoSpace

Thank you BonBon, we wish you all the luck with your new projects! In the meantime, don’t forget to follow BonBon on Instagram to check out their new projects. 


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