The Man Behind Crunchy…

With the launch of Ronzo‘s latest solo show, “Crackney’s Finest,” Vandalog thought it would be a good idea to get to know the mastermind behind the roach pizza man and Crunchy. Here are some pictures of the opening night as well. And if you haven’t gone to see it yet, get your arse down to Brick Lane ASAP.

How did you get into art in the first place, eventually evolving into your aesthetic today?

When I was little I just always wanted to draw and paint. Later on in school it seemed to be a good career choice as it was the only thing I was  really enjoying plus I wasn’t good in anything else but art class. I think the result of my aesthetics today is a mixture of all the stuff that influenced me on the way, my own ideas/ things I think would be cool to do and the ‘Ronzo Credo’ which is: innovate – don’t imitate. I like my work to look a bit different to the generic perception of ‘Street Art’. That’s how I ended up with the look and feel we see now.

Where do you come up with the concept of your characters? Most of them, although funny and light on appearance, embody a socio-cultural commentary. Would you agree?
Definitely! I’m trying to strike a balance of the work being humorous/entertaining with an element of more or less meaningful social commentary. I don’t want to be shallow but on the other hand I don’t want it to be to political and serious either  –  it would get boring. A good way to get to people is via humour. An excellent example for this is ‘Modern Times’  by ‘Charley Chaplin’. He is one of my heroes. I haven’t got real concepts for my characters. More ideas and things that I see in real life. When I draw I try to remember people or situations I’ve seen and add a bit of a Ronzo twist to it. I try to ‘keep it real’ this way and not overcomplicate things too much.

One of my favorite works of yours will always be the giant Crunchy on the Village Underground. It was one of the first pieces I saw when I lived in London a few years ago and I fell in love with the piece and the intent behind it. How did your notions of Crunchy begin?
Thank you – He’s my favourite too. I always try to melt non-fiction and fiction together. In case of Crunchy, I feel it couldn’t have worked out better. I lost my job then and so did many people I know. I felt it wouldn’t be much use to look for a new job as there weren’t any. Instead I wanted to spend my time on doing something in the public eye that is dealing with the subject. The result was ‘Crunchy’ – a mixture of a real life economy crises and a Godzilla fable creature. I had lot of help while doing it from my friends and Village Underground as well. I’m happy that we did it because I feel that people can relate to it. Everyone has their own experience with the recession and Crunchy reminds as a bit about it everyday.

Can you explain the use of unique materials in your work? I know I was surprised when i discovered what some of your works were made of?
I use spray paint, acrylics, pencil, paper, canvas, fiber glass, resin, wood, metal. clay etc. I’m interested in any materials really. But in the end of the day it’s just materials. They don’t mean anything. The Idea is the only important thing.

Congratulations on your solo exhibit, “Crackney’s Finest,” going on now at Stolenspace gallery. How did you decide what you wanted to do for the solo show?
Thank you – Glad you like it. ‘Crackney’s Finest’ came about as I realised I had too many characters with their individual stories to put under on roof. I just needed a good phrase to round them all up. And as they all live in the virtual borough of Crackney I thought to name them ‘Cracknety’s Finest’ fit’s just fine. Like if they were the ‘creme de la creme’ of the neighbourhood.

Your work is created in so many different mediums? Which outlet do you like to work in most?
That’s difficult to tell – I love everything really. And all of it starts with sketching and drawing.

What is your favorite piece from the show?
The Pizza Roach  (Giant spinning cockroach on Honda delivery bike)

What projects can we look forward to in the immediate future from you?
The good old stuff – Just bigger and better. I’m preparing a big street installation at the moment and a view other things. All top secret of course – but I will keep you posted…
Photos via Butterfly