Nespoon is a Polish artist whom I interviewed via email and I wrote the article about her in January 2012 for Artizen Magazine. You can click on the initial spread image below to read the article in publication (it includes a slideshow created and embedded by CatStone Press.) Or you may read the copy below.
Polish artist, NeSpoon, delightfully riveted my attention with intricate, beautiful lacy patterns tucked away in urban environments. Some I viewed were spray paint, some were textiles and many were ceramic. Their complexity showed care and skill; the lace seemed to me to show a certain respect for beauty and craft while their placement showed equal parts gutsy response and joyful decoration. NeSpoon herself, I imagined to be like a pixie, only with clay under her nails and a spray can in her jeans’ back pocket. I really wanted to know lots more about this personality. Her Behance portfolio, her main website, was full of images and descriptions of events, but not much personal information, so I was a little pessimistic about a response when I got in touch, thinking perhaps she preferred privacy and anonymity as a street artist. I was pleased to get a great response.
When discussing her chosen artist’s name I had to laugh as she described NeSpoon as an “avatar of me with the addition of some slightly more impudent genes.” Impudent must describe most street artists and she noted her art was partially about the “illegal revitalization of public spaces.” My guess is that with her recent shows, at least some of her work is less illegal. The other aspect of her name comes from The Matrix films – she felt a kinship with the idea that any limitations on what can be accomplished only reside in one’s own mind. “I don’t like it when people tell me something can’t be done. I decided to do something as illegal as graffiti but something even my grandma would like.”
She notes that her street art is not about the adrenaline rush. She started with a lot of photography of devastated urban environments and then the thought came to her that she could combine that fascination with her love of ceramics. Actually putting her artwork out into the public spaces came about innocently while discussing the idea with her daughter, who couldn’t imagine it until NeSpoon made a few ceramic ladybugs and hung them around the city for the kids to enjoy.
When asked about how she chooses her settings, she mentions that the she gets attached to each place emotionally – that it’s this emotional connection that draws her in. From that point, the place dictates the size, colors and design of her work. Some settings have a larger contextual meaning for her. “That’s where I use my skills to say a bit more about my own philosophy.”
NeSpoon’s philosophies have roots in concern about losing our social gains and advantages as capitalism morphs into corporate greed. She points out that these reversals occur in a slow and global fashion, making them seem less noticeable in people’s everyday lives, even when broadcast by news outlets. She hopes to draw attention in an inspiring way to some of this degradation. But also, she wishes to bring simple joy to someone’s day. “In fact, that’s my main motivation. And I think I succeed. I get loads of very positive emails. People ask me to visit their towns and hang something. It gives me strength and confidence in what I do.”
She doesn’t hesitate to declare the value of adornment, in her case, for city spaces. “I believe in the ancient role of art, totally unpopular nowadays, which is decoration. I like it when works of art are – beware, another outdated word – beautiful. Mastered in terms of craftsmanship.”
Mastering her craft has been ongoing for NeSpoon. She’s taken workshops with other ceramicists and her pieces take a few weeks of work through the processes of modeling, sculpting, drying, enameling and kilning. Some of her pieces must end up fitting into exact spaces so she needs to know her materials well. She uses a very strong industrial glue to mount any ceramics, meaning that should passersby try to take something, the piece will inevitably be destroyed. She mentions here that she is quite happy to create custom pieces. “The internet brought democracy to art, took it away from galleries and critics and gave it to ordinary people, made it available to everyone.” While she doesn’t have a shop filled with jewelry or sculpture, she seems happy to create for individuals.
To see more of her work or get in touch with NeSpoon, visit her portfolio at www.behance.net/nespoon.