Artist Gary Stranger on the fusion of graffiti and typography


The UK based artist Gary stranger first started on the art scene in the 90s writing graffiti, and since then has become well known for mixing this street medium with the more refined world of typography.

His works can be spotted on various surfaces and walls around the world, including Fendi’s roof. Yes, their roof. It was part of their The ring of the future project that came to fruition earlier this year and saw a circular artwork depicting the word ‘Future’ painted in six languages ​​on the roof of the fashion house’s Roman headquarters.

Gary stranger

Over the past decade, Gary has mastered the medium of spray paint, which is notoriously difficult to control, and merged this traditional graffiti aesthetic with typography art. Here it features clean and minimal lines and recently it has explored this in 3 dimensions. His painting and engravings consist largely of a
a single word or a single sentence often found in abandoned spaces, which is a conscious gesture of the artist because he wants his words to have room to breathe.

Gary Stranger’s “Clarity”

What was your first artistic memory? My first exposure to art would have been through my mother. She was drawing on a lined pad of paper that was on the phone
while making calls. I remember looking at it and being amazed at the quality of the designs despite being effortless and unaware. I never knew how to draft like my mother, she is more patient than
never will be. I owe him my passion for art.

Tell us about your background …I studied art and graphic design in school and college, not in prestigious institutions and not with much conviction. I never really thought that a career in art was a possibility and it took me away from pursuing a classical art education at a university. It was just like something other people were doing. If I could go back and start over, I would do it differently. Over the past twenty years, I have discovered that my passion lies in typography. I have been painting graffiti since 1996 and it introduced me to the study of letterforms. Being self-taught and doing everything by hand or analog has served me well and provided a solid foundation from which to explore letter shapes and manipulation.

Gary stranger

Gary stranger

How would you sum up your style? I take pride in making my paintings, both in the studio and on the street, as clean as possible. I use spray paint almost exclusively and it is a notoriously difficult medium to control. In a few words as much as possible, I would call my style clean and minimal. I use a lot of negative space because I like the lettering so I can breathe.

Who / what has had the most impact on your career? The explosion of the street art movement over the past 10-15 years has created an environment where artists like me can exist, with or without acceptance from the art world. however, received great support from a few galleries, mainly Stolenspace in London. I owe them a thank you at least in part for the success I have had with sales.

I would say the biggest impact on my career so far has been the advent of social media. Instagram has notably allowed me to control the publication of my work, allowed me to reach a large audience, to make sales directly with buyers and to build relationships with galleries and other artists. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to carve out a career in the contemporary art world in such a short time without using social media.

Gary stranger

Gary stranger

What is the purpose of your artwork? I use my works as a form of personal development. I see it as the filtered result of an internal monologue. Basically it’s talk therapy for me without having to say anything out loud. The paintings and prints that I do using a single word or a single sentence will be because that word has a particularly poignant character for me at that time. The reason is often very personal, it is unlikely and unnecessary to reveal to the viewer why I chose that word or feeling. I hope, however, that the viewer will engage at a certain level that he will determine. Aside from the feeling or the message, the pieces should work only on their aesthetic value.

How has your work evolved? I have tried to make my work more minimal, trying to strip it as much as possible. I removed the classic sign and graffiti writing tips like 3D and shadows to reduce them to just the stroke of the letter. I’ll keep pushing this until I feel I’ve pushed this as far as I can. Recently I have explored 3 dimensional work and plan to expand what I have done so far to create large sculptural pieces. I’m excited about working with materials that will stand the test of time and exposure to the elements and which, with luck, outlive me.


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