Zosen Bandido‘s amazing works are not new in Amsterdam Street Art’s blog, as we have seen some of his collaborations with Mina Hamada, the Japanese street artist whom we interviewed a few weeks ago.  Born in Buenos Aires, Zosen Bandido (Bandit in English) moved to Barcelona when he was almost a teenager and there he started his artistic career, though today you can find his works all around the world.  Zosen’s pieces are colourful and filled with geometric patterns and symbols that create his unique fantastic worlds and are able to immerse the viewer in a vivid universe.

Color Mountain by Zosen and Mina Hamada- Photo: Zosen
Color Mountain by Zosen and Mina Hamada- Photo: Zosen

Zosen, tell us about your latest works?  What projects are you currently involved in?
In the past few months we have been very busy. I’ve been travelling a lot with Mina Hamada, as you know we often collaborate. We have visited Paris, where we painted a mural with 2Shy.  We coordinated the 4th edition of La Escocesa. Also we visited Poland and Houston in US, there we painted an amazing mural.  That was fantastic since in Houston it´s difficult to find new street art pieces apart from traditional letters and tagging.
Gotowe Mural by Zosen and Mina- Photo: Lukasz Glowala
Gotowe Mural by Zosen – Gdansk- Poland- Photo: Lukasz Glowala

Back in Barcelona we painted a huge wall. To be honest, I am not so interested in so big formats. Many artists seem to compete to see who can paint the biggest mural. It´s so exhausting!  And also I think that this short of interventions boosts gentrification process in historic districts and I don’t want part of it. It’s very sad when people have to leave their homes because rents are too high for them.  Later, we took part in three collective exhibitions, one in Paris called Barcelona Mia (My Barcelona),  other in a gallery in Madrid, A través del muro, Through the Wall, with relevant artists of Spanish artistic scene and finally we were in Family and Friends in Delimbo. A collective show with friends, like Okuda San Miguel, Remed, Nano4814, Hell’o, Jon Fox and Mina.
In Penelles, Lleida, I made a mural with Mina at the GarGar Festival and right now we are in New York working in some local projects.
Photo: Zosen
Mural by Zosen and Mina Hamada in Wynwood- Miami, US – Photo: Gustavo Amaral – Click here for amazing Wynwood video!!

A busy year! What’s next?
Well, in June I’ll present a stop-motion video and two murals for Genesis Project in Metric Market and then in July we’ll run the 5th edition of La Escocesa´s Mural Festival.
Work in Process- Photo: Elena Murcia Artengo
Work in progress- Photo: Elena Murcia Artengo

Are you familiar with Amsterdam’s street art scene? Have you ever worked there?
In 1997, I visited Amsterdam for the first time with Mash, a graffiti-bomber from Barcelona. It was amazing to see all those pieces by masters like Sender, Zedz, Shoe or Delta, a pioneer combining 2D and 3D pieces.  Amsterdam is one of the most significant cities in terms of urban art. Many Amsterdam artists are benchmarks of European street art. They have created many new techniques and were pioneers in many fields. Other artists, a little younger, like Bfree or Lennard Schuumans, are doing their own contributions and are interesting too.
Tree of Life - Canvas by Zosen- Photo: Zosen
Tree of Life – Canvas by Zosen- Photo: Zosen

Tell us about La Escocesa Project! 
La Escocesa was a former industrial complex located in the district of Poblenou, Barcelona. The development was initially dedicated to the production of chemical products for the textile industry, and dates back to 1852. Since 1999, it has become a creation space and meeting point for artists, which had previously been in short supply in Poblenou and other parts of the city. Hundreds of artists and crafts people from different disciplines have worked in its facilities since then.
Photo: Lukasz Glowala
Mural in Gdansk (Poland) by Zosen – Photo: Lukasz Glowala

Now we are in fight too because in Poblenou, a district where there were many textile mills in the past, but not now. All were closed down, only chimneys remains as historic heritage. But there are many new hotels in the area and our space is resisting urban development pressures. Like other artistic or social projects of its kind, La Escocesa is a threatened space. We almost don’t receive subsidies from public bodies, so we get our own funds and our artist pay a token fee to maintain the facilities.
Mural by Zosen - Córdoba- Argentina: Photo: Zosen
Mural by Zosen – Córdoba (Argentina) – Photo: Kosovo Gallery –

You often collaborate with Mina Hamada. You define yourself as an anarchist. What’s it like working with a person from a different cultural background like Japan, a country where people are supposed to be so disciplined and respectful of public spaces?
Normally, I like working with other artists. When I met Mina she already painted graffiti. Actually we met in a workshop that I hosted for the Picasso Museum, and she attended. She painted with spray and I saw her technique was very good. She comes from the area of illustration and had experience in illustrating books for kids. Mina is not the typical Japanese woman. She’s a free spirit, born in the US, but brought up in Japan. She loves listening  to punk music. That surprised me! She looks angelical, but she’s got a wild side! We are both into veggie food too. So we share many views and we both belong to the alternative part of society;  that’s why I think our artistic relationship has run its course well.
Tigger and Vase by Zosen- Photo: German Rigol
Tiger and Vase by Zosen- Photo: German Rigol

Devil and Vase by Zosen- Photo: German Rigol
Demon and Vase by Zosen- Photo: German Rigol

You are like Yin and Yang, aren’t U?
Yeah! Fire versus water. She loves colours and so do I. When I paint with her I try to adapt to her style. I work more figures, more graphic aspects. Our collaborations show homogeneity and look as just one piece. We don’t use sketches. It’s an organic creative process. Each one respects the part of the other.  A natural dialogue between two artists. Something fresh and spontaneous!
Drinking Jub by Zosen- Photo: German Rigol
Drinking Jug by Zosen- Photo: German Rigol

What are the effects of Internet and digital shift on street art? Does it have an impact on your art?
I don’t like the fast pace of modern life too much. However, I do like being up to day with new technologies.  The democratisation of media is fine. You don’t need to be affluent to afford these technologies and make your own creations. In the 90’s, it was not easy to document our pieces and other stuff since having a video camera was not cheap. It’s important to record the pieces for the future, like Marta Cooper or Henry Chalfant  did.  However, I don’t like when artists compete to achieve “likes” in Facebook, and some new street artists are into this.
Mural by Zosen
Mural by Zosen  in Cologne (Germany)  – Photo: Rodrigo Mirando

Today there is an information overload. I like reading or watching what I’m interested in. Information is infinite, but our lives are not, so you need to stop and limit the time you spend in front of screens and other devices.  That’s because I not very active in street art social media nor web2.0
Photo: Zosen
Canvas by Zosen and Mina Hamada – Photo: Mina Hamada