Robin Abramovic is a name that “rings a bell” in the street art community once in a while.
Currently living in Leipzig, Robin originally comes from Vienna, Austria. However, these two European cities are not the only places where a street art fan can enjoy his creations.
He travels for inspiration and when he feels that he and his beloved art need a sudden change, he packs his things and simply moves to another place: “In 2015 I moved permanently from Vienna to Mostar, Bosnia to find my own artistic freedom and to grow up as a person.”
But that’s not all. As an urban artist, Robin has made friends with people all around the world, and doing his thing gets him places.
“I get invitations from several street art festivals, and that’s cool because I love travelling,” he says.”And painting pictures just to get free holidays and see places is really one of the amazing parts of being into street art.”
Travelling is not his only passion. Robin feels deeply touched by the world and problems that keep shaking it. He has created and been involved in many projects.
For example, his Bambsy project represents his way of giving something back to society and helping children with no parents or with tragic social backgrounds. He explains:
“It’s simply something I need to do. I feel very passionate about this problem and connected to them because I don’t have parents of my own and I know how it feels to have no home.”
In the past few years, Robin has achieved a lot as a street artist: “People sometimes call me the lucky one but what they don’t see is that I paid for it with my own comfortable life.”
His art usually reflects problems of society that he feels need to be taken seriously. As he says, “there is a lot of social criticism in my artwork and sometimes I believe I should not do that because the world is filled up with lots of bad stuff anyway. But I have this urge inside of me to show solidarity and sometimes the topics I come up with are not nice to think about. But I just do it anyway and keep going.”
In the near future, Robin plans to visit as many foreign countries as possible and meet people who would inspire him and lead him on new creative paths. He always has his goal set:
“The most important mission you have as an artist is to create and inspire. It is always about the same thing. I am an artist because I get inspiration from what is happening around me, and I hope I can show other people so that they can get inspired, too.”
For him, even the negative sides of life are a stimulus; I asked for a good example and he gave it to me in a very honest and open way:
“I thought I was deeply in love with a girl. She broke my heart, I felt empty and my brain turned me into a street artist from one day to the next. That’s about seven years ago and even if I felt like crap, it’s the best thing that ever happened to me! I have no art education, I didn’t even follow those basic art lessons during my school years. My whole artistic life started the day she broke my heart.”
When I asked him if I could use such personal information, his answer was very straightforward: “Please, use it. You know, this is the reason why I make authentic artwork. It’s cool for me when people know the main reason behind it all, it’s nothing I want to hide.”
In the middle of the interview I already felt like Robin was a special person and all those pictures of his works spoke to me like they all had their own stories to tell.
Naturally, I had to ask about what he feels is unique about his art.
“I don’t do street art for people to watch,” he told me. “I just do it for myself. It’s true that people get nice artwork for free in the streets but the idea behind it is that I did it for myself, for releasing my feelings, and I can proudly say that every piece I did is my property.”
He then went on about how his works always stay part of his soul, and that one of the trickiest things about being an artist is not to do art just to please people: “When you only produce art to please people, it ceases to be authentic. Then you are just a muppet and you walk directly into mainstream.”
What struck me about Robin and his art was his own view about what he does.
“I learned to see myself as some kind of magician who has a say when the show starts and when it ends. I like the control it gives me. That is why I enjoy these urban light projections, because I am the only one who can do them and I define every aspect of it. When I go home, it goes with me. That’s what I really like.”
Judging from the perspective of a lay person, I had the impression that what he does is a pretty big thing. Not everyone in today’s society has a way of thinking like Robin’s. Art sometimes is not only the pure way of expressing one’s feelings anymore; it often becomes this huge machine serving material purposes only. In other words, people often see art only as a way of getting immense amounts of money in a short period of time.
Robin definitely can be considered a “knight in shining armour” fighting against it all: “I have to deal with that all the time. I realized when I do what people expect and want from me, I am their slave. The point is that you won’t be happy long term if you are just some kind of muppet.”
After hearing this, my question was very simple: “Based on what you’ve just said, would you say that your art reflects who you are?” A one-word answer was enough: “Totally,” he said, and as an example showed me a picture of one of his pieces.
“This was the piece I did after the girl broke up with me. She told me that I was a dreamer and she needed someone more grounded. So this is how it ended up. Even people who didn’t know the idea behind it could feel that there is something unanswered in it, something like a special meta level.”
The conversation became deep and philosophical all of a sudden.
I felt like I was crossing a threshold to something that was no longer the topic of our interview, but a more personal area.
That’s why I decided to turn to what I had originally wanted to ask; his light installations. I was interested in the process of creating such pieces and his way of exhibiting them. The simplicity of it all caught me off guard:
“I have a projector with 90 minutes energy so I can project my art whenever I want. I like to see how people in the streets react and also the idea that I can switch them on and off however I want to. Most people only see the photos of them, though. They are highly edited to look like they do but that is part of the artistic process, too. Sometimes people think it’s only photoshopped, but it really isn’t. It’s real street art, but it’s just temporary.”
The idea of light installations in public is not new, but new technology allows it to be more flexible.
“I have never seen someone doing it like me,” he admits. “It’s a mixture of street art and light art – call it urban light art.”
Just like his ideas with urban light art are temporary, his ideas are constantly changing, too:
“The most important thing to say is that I always change what I do. I like different kinds of street art and the ability to always do new things gives me the freedom I like and need. Most artists are stuck with something repetitive to get acknowledged and valued. I do the total opposite.”
You can see Robin in the streets of Leipzig painting his Bambi canvas and selling them as part of the Bambsy concept. Apart from looking cute, they serve a very noble purpose, and by buying one of his pieces, you help not only Robin, but also the project. What a great way of spending those spare coins that would roam helplessly in your purse!
I don’t know about you, but next time I find him sitting in a crowded place, I will definitely stop by, admire his work and support Bambsy.