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The 3D geometry created by young Moscow artist Danila Shmelev literally broke walls of the town post office. Danila is one of participants of the International Street Art Festival “Satka Street Art Fest.” He has just finished his work and gave interview to Magnezit News.

Game with Space

- Such drawings require advanced spatial thinking. I started many things, I tried, and I’m still in search of my style because I did not set clear limits for myself. Many artists find something of their own and develop in the chosen direction. And end up painting the same. I cannot and probably will not work this way. Currently, I found myself in 3D, and I like it, – Danila Shmelev confesses.

He literally breaks walls with his art. To convince yourself in this illusion, you can look at Danila’s 3D graphics which makes post office’s windows seem to protrude from the wall in massive cubes, and the corner of the building seems to be cut or collapse. This effect was achieved in two-color palette – the main colors are black and white, their shades are only to supplement.

- In this case, I considered features of the wall, – the artist continues. – At the preparation stage, I made two sketches – for the water tower and for the house in the Zapadny Microdistrict of Satka. But it turned out that they are already taken by other festival participants. Of course, I was upset, but then I asked what other options are left. Finally, I chose the post office and made three versions of sketches. One of them had additional windows with tree branches jutting out of them.

- I have similar works in Tomsk, but on a smaller area, in interior. The second version was also connected with geometry, but it was more square, without rounded lines. And this is the third version, and it is more acceptable for this building, – Danila points to the almost completed work.

Will you not use other colors – only black and white palette?

- Yes, this choice is determined by the color of the wall, therefore the colors are chosen so that the drawing does not stand out but look natural.

What is your favorite color?

- Gray, – Danila is joking while looking at his new work. – Actually, I do not have a favorite color. I think that form is more important than color. Of course, it plays important role, but form is still primary. If it exists, without color, as here, or as in a graphic created by ink, it looks good. And if color exists without form, then it’s sad. Even abstraction that I like does not necessarily have to have form.

Festival announcement says that in your works “one can see a special metaphorical view on life situations.” As to this geometry, do you put any image, association or meaning in it?

- No, it’s just a game with space. Sometimes I do put philosophical meanings in my work, but in this case, it is a drawing that will not distract Magnezit workers from work and hopefully will not visually boring.

How do you build 3D?

- First, I create drawing by hand, then I finalize it in Photoshop and 3D MAX. It’s useful for work with shadows, for example. But I always draw from my head, I use only my own ideas.

Which point is the best to see tridimensionality of the image?

- The drawing looks 3D from one point – from the porch which goes to courtyard of the Magnezit administration building. It is from where you can see the effect where the corner of the post office seems to break. And from the sidewalk, from administration building windows, from the opposite house – from any other angles, this drawing will look only like an abstraction, like an unusual geometry. But who knows, maybe I’ll return to Satka and continue working on the rest of building walls... Why not. I like to travel.

And I like to return to the places where I’ve already been.

There are interesting places, people everywhere.

And you are happy to visit such cities once again, including Satka.

Interiors, tolstovkas, asphalt

Did you learn your skills somewhere or are you a self-taught person?

- I enrolled the Moscow Arts and Industrial Institute to study graphic design, but did not graduate from this institution because I realized that it was not mine. I want to paint with my hands, not on computer. Then three years I studied in studio of artist Boris Semenovich Ilyukhin. He taught me lot, improved my painting and drawing, taught me to paint watercolors.

Why did you go out to street? Why don’t you develop your skills in interiors, for example?

- I remember well the moment when I made up my mind and drew my first drawing on the next house wall. I was 10. And then, for the first time I realized that this is possible. I saw that passers-by notice my drawing – it was a simple inscription, nothing important. But I was hooked. There’s nothing unnatural, children start painting on walls and then switch to paper. And I see walls as something more natural than canvases. Because canvas is created just to make some work on it. And walls and asphalt are surfaces that simply exist in our life – go and do it!

What were your first works?

- Street art – various fonts and letters. I’m still doing it. By the way, the wall with my first wall is about to be demolished. It’s been already 20 years, and they will build a new housing complex in that district. I returned to that wall in 2010 and made another piece with drawing there. In Moscow, street art does not live long, they are quickly painted over, but in small towns drawings may remain for longer time.

Regarding your large works, which of them is the most precious for you or became a milestone in your work?

- I do street art and create large drawings not for a long time – since 2015. And the first big work of this type which I remembered was created in Yekaterinburg during a street art festival. It still “hangs” not spoiled, and its quality remains the same. It is big hands on two facades of houses connected in the corner. The effect was perfect, and there are lots of people passing by, and local residents provided a lot of positive feedback.

How do you combine earnings and artistic fulfillment?

- It’s very complicated. I’ve been engaged in business activities for a long time – painting of interiors, any surfaces. How do I find orders? Since information on the Internet is scarce, word of mouth always does the job. Sometimes, other artists call to help in their work. But constant solo projects is still my goal. When I work with a customer, I always offer my versions and new ideas. It is important that I am also interested, and the customer likes what I am doing.

Did you try to work with clothing manufacturers?

- I have such experience, and I took here a tolstovka with my drawing. I cooperate with one of famous companies which create street clothes. I make print, design, and the guys embody the idea in their clothes.

Is there an idea that you yet do not dare to implement?

- I have such ideas, they are also connected with geometry. But they may be not so easy to understand. When creating any street work, we should negotiate with people who live here. Of course, I always want to do something new, for example, I want to work with unusual forms which protrude from wall. I think, such geometry will be hard to implement somewhere. Let’s wait and see.

Do you listen to music when drawing?

- No, I have to communicate with the elevator man. By the way, now I have a specialist from Chelyabinsk. He has more convenient equipment. Before that, there was a local aerial elevating platform with small basket that was positioned close to wall at angle, and the work area was very small. The new platform is better because it has rotating basket, and offers much more possibilities to work with wall.

How hard it was to break the wall on which you currently work? Do windows hinder you, or did they become an additional fragment?

- Not hard at all. All is elaborated on the basis of the sketch. Windows, to be honest, usually hinder in work. But now I have a drawing where windows fit pretty well.

Source: Magnezite News

Anna Filippova, photo by Vasily Maksimov, Anna Filippova, Elena Nikitina and Hendrick Beikirch.