Interview with Untay. The Artist from Tel-Aviv

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Boaz Sides (aka UNTAY) lives and works in Tel Aviv, graduated with honors from the department of Visual Communication at the Holon Institute of Technology. Sides is an active member of different groups and projects in the alternative Israeli street art scene. He works with many mediums, out of research and curiosity, inspired by the environment in which he lives and works.

Sides’ works mainly deal with meaningful social events in the local and global field and with the personal experiences that guide him as an artist. The works are therefore variegated, some autobiographical and others depicting communal experiences.

In 2014, he found with Ben and Alon (from Dasilva Boards co.) the ‘Prettimess Collective‘ that gather a group of talented alternative and independent Israeli artists, today they have big studio and events space they share together in the south of Tel Aviv.

boaz-sides-untay-sketchbook

Tell us about your name? What are the origins of the name Untay?

It began with a shortcut to “untitled” and after short time it also got the meaning of “un-tie” I write UNTAY and not UNTIE just coz it was visually looking better for me.

You have just traveled through Europe, how does it feel? Tell us about this experience. 

It’s always fun and challenging to paint in different countries and get out of your comfort zone, it depends… every country and city have different vibe and people, different story and colors that i’m always influenced by.

In all the cases during my last summer trip in Berlin, Paris and London the experience was great, there is no better
way than create street art to know the places you are visiting, coz street art is all about feeling the surrounding in the best way you can, and for me…that is few steps above being just a regular sober tourist, I like to know the real streets and people.

How did you start painting and creating? Was your family supportive of your creative initiatives? Why did you choose this path?

I started 6 years ago, I was curious, that’s it, I like urban art, street art, graffiti, I like the outdoors and exploring places so I didn’t have much choice, it was super natural and my family is proud and super supportive, couldn’t ask for better.

boaz_sides_untay_mom_birthday

Do you remember your very first creation as child and afterwards your first work as an artist? 

Actually not. I just remember that I was always creating things in many mediums, since very little age and
I saw myself as an artist from the day I was born, it’s not that after 18 years or whatever…I became an artist, I always was and will.

Do you remember the moment when you said to yourself  “Yep, we have something here, i’m on the right track”?

As I mentioned in the previous answer, I always knew that I’m an artist and have something in my hands.
About being on the right track…it depends, for many years I was searching for my own style and for my own iconic symbols and only on the last year I really became confident in what I’m doing for living and creating… so I finally can say, after 32 years that I’m on the right track.

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How would you describe your style and your technique? Tell us about your creative process. Is there any other techniques you would like to learn? Any other form of expression you would like to master?

My style is combined and I hate being a “master” in one thing coz I’m getting bored very quick. I like to improvise and give a sketch look and dirty style to my works and let them all be and feel part of the surroundings, I like to work fast with leaks and fast brush or pencils lines, I like eyes and hands, I like colors and a lot of yellow.

And when I create, no matter what, I have something in my head and than I’m letting it all out and play with it till I can see it’s enough.

I really want to start doing tattoos this year and I cant wait to feel some human skin as a surface.

30x40 sketch sleep

Tell us about the central characters of your works. What inspires you to create them? What inspires you in general, in your everyday life? Who would you call your personal inspiration? 

I like hands, a lot, this is my main motive, the shape of a hand and the meaning of hand is what being an human-being and artist is all about, to feel, to hold, to create, to play…it’s all about the hands for me, I also like to use human eyes and paint bodies, specially women bodies.

Body is one of the most beautiful things ever happened I think, no matter the shape and color, it’s just a great creation we have from nature. My main influence is Egon Schile.

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Would you call street art an evolution of the art movements? What art movement and painters inspire you the most? 

Defently street art is the most inspired art movement for me, the second is the Impressionist art movement, street art is is decently evolution of the art movements.

Would you call yourself a street artist? Who would you like to collaborate with from the art world and in what form of expression? 

I call myself a multi-platform creator, with no specific identity and although painting in the streets was the main things I did over the last few years…

I’m always searching for the best ways for me to express myself, it can be by street art, taking pictures, curate an exhibition, designing, build things or don’t give a fuck about what people thing about you is also a way to express yourself.

I would really like to make concert posters for the Foo Fighters or Pearl Jam, it will be a dream came through.

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How would you describe the actual situation in the art world? How would you describe the situation in the art world in Israel? 

In general – the mainstream art world is totally crap and full with bullshit, it’s a business to people with money and it has nothing to do with art or loving art, it’s all about the money, all over the world, in Israel and outside of Israel, there are very few places in the world that give art a stage in the name of art and after in the way of getting money, and my main goal is to be part of something that create things that matter, things that have meaning, not things that have price value.

This is why I like to paint outside, coz it’s pure creating, and I’m not talking about street art in galleries, only outdoors fun art.

boaz_sides_untay_street_art_tel_aviv_kuli_alma

What is your favorite place to paint in Israel? What are your current projects there?

I don’t have a favorite place in Israel to paint, it can be anywhere and my current project right now is probably the highlight and the most important thing in my career and the most important thing I ever did to myself and others – to found Prettimess collective and studio with my close friends (Ben and Alon) from Dasilva boards.

We have big dreams about building a place for local artists and to promote and create art in many mediums and styles.

So actually  these days we are renovating our new space in the south of Tel aviv that about to be open very soon with great party and exhibition and I’m so fucking exciting about it!

In your opinion, what is the best part and the worst part of being an artist?

The best part is actually to be an artist, and worst but also best is to know how to live your life without relying on money or “things” that cost money, u learn to live your life with the little things that make you happy, such as love to people and what you are doing, if you will do that, only good will happen.

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What was the most challenging piece that you’ve painted?

Every piece that I’m painting is a struggle and challenging, otherwise I will not do it. it will be boring.

Tell us something about you that nobody knows

I don’t like dogs.

If one day you would have to stop expressing yourself through art what do you think you would do?

I prefer to die.

You traveled a lot, and you’ve been to some great countries, do you have any dream destination, that you haven’t seen yet?

No, what will happen will happen and where the situation will take me i’ll be there, the only place that I really wanna be is a place where I can create and express myself and be with a good company and friends, it can be anywhere in the world.


How do you prepare yourself before painting in a new country? What do you research? 

Usually I know what I’m gonna paint just few hours before the paint begin, I will try my best to fit it with the environment and surroundings. All the other things will happen by themselvescouple years ago i was came with sketch to every thing that I did outside, now I try to loose and play. And of course I’m not talking about commissions - it’s a different story.

What would you call the most significant and powerful moment that you’ve experienced during your work?

When you create something, no matter what it is, and you see someone that tell you that it was effected on him – this is success in doing art, connect with others through your own visual imagination and inner world.

Boaz Side UNTAY
http://untayart.com/

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