Inkie – aka Tom Bingle to his mates is renowned as one of the world’s greatest urban artists, having honed his craft on the streets of Bristol as a teenager, alongside the likes of Banksy and Massive Attack’s 3D, before embarking on an illustrious career that has spanned 25 years and included live street art battles, fashion, computer game graphics, fashion design, world touring exhibitions and much more. He was first lured to Ibiza in 2009 to curate the inaugural Urban in Ibiza event at Atzaró, and the good news is, he’s already planning for 2011!
Last year’s Urban in Ibiza was your first time on the island – how did it come about?
Dizzi (Saunders, event founder) is an old friend, he came up with the concept and I connected him with the artists and helped make sure the art was right for it. The idea wasn’t just an art show, it was to do an event, although the art was obviously a primary part of it, with fashion shows and live music in very high-end, swanky places. Atzaró is perfect! Now we’re talking about taking it to other places, Paris, Stockholm, New York…
As curator, what does your role entail?
It’s all about choosing quality art that will be right for the market here. So for example, last year, we didn’t quite have the quality fine-tuned and a lot of graphic stuff sold compared to the stencil works, but this year we’re so proud of everything we’re putting up. I have about eight pieces of my own on show, plus I’m doing the live canvases, vans, cars and also the gun sculpture – we’ll be selling that for the Warchild charity.
Do you have a favourite piece on show?
Snugg’s print – he does these super detailed illustrations that look kind of like Alice In Wonderland. This one has two characters dancing and it’s full of loads of colour.
What keeps you inspired after 25 years?
A lot of it is going to different places, seeing a tree, a plant, a sculpture, architecture, old churches… I go to museums all the time. I’m also very inspired by early Parisian theatre posters, Viennese graphics, art nouveau work from the 1900s. I like organic art with mistakes and errors, things that give it a bit of soul. I don’t like anything that looks machine made – everything I do is done by hand.
What about graffiti – is the passion still there?
I still get a massive thrill from doing graffiti! I love the traditional style, like hip-hop lettering and characters. I like the punk aspect, that you just do whatever you want, wherever you want, when you want – there’s no rules. Without being too competitive, the nature of the art form is that if I see something, I have to go and better it, so you’re always upping your game.
Would you ever have imagined a career could have come from it?
No! But my dream when was about 15 was just to be really good at doing graffiti. That happened, so I just carried on doing it. Now I like the fact that I might inspire younger people who are into art, and give them confidence. Creativity is a two-way relationship – you give something back with what you do.
Why do you think Ibiza attracts such a creative melting pot of people?
People come here from all over the place and they’ve all got that same laidback vibe. Being here frees you up for creativity, you’re not stressed – it’s fantastic and very inspiring.
Have any Ibiza artists caught your eye while you’ve been here?
I’ve noticed a guy who does photo-realistic ladies, he’s done some walls in Ibiza town, but there’s not enough stuff on the streets here!
This story was published on August 18, 2011