Matthew Dawn Mural Street Art Blind Lisboa Lisbon Loures Arte Publica Graffiti

The paper crown series

started shortly after the release of the first TINYPINK, in a period where I felt my ego inflate and was witnessing the effects of it on my inner thoughts and feelings. Since then the project evolved from a singular statement to a deeper self-exploration. I find it difficult to write about what these pieces mean to me because on one hand I’m not yet good at gallery-speak and I also don’t want to spoil the works for the audience. Whenever I ask someone what they think of my work before they’ve heard my concept behind it, they always come up with different explanations that I never thought about! It would be unfair of me to spoil those revelations or cancel them out with my own “true” statements because they are not the only explanation for the piece.

But just as in music, I believe the audience can make a choice and perhaps after having made their own motivations for a piece they can still learn the creator’s reasoning behind it and appreciate both.

The whole series is extremely self-centered. Not on me as an artist but on the human experience as an individual. First born out of the competitive spirit to be better than others, to be successful, to ride it out ’till the bitter end,… a large number of side-effects arise. Because of a singular focus on the individual’s finish line, we lose sight of what’s beside us. That’s why the background is this piece is a bland, monotone grey. Or why the first piece features the word BLIND vaguely incorporated in the background. Our loved ones, friends, family, nature, even our own well-being fall to the wayside in a relentless striving for a better individual, whether that be financial, skill-wise or other.

I had thoughts of suicide when I was a heavily bullied teenager, even contemplating suicide is something no living being should ever experience. I grew out of it as an adult and overcame it, mainly because I had a loving family surrounding me. The suicides of Chester Bennington and Anthony Bourdain brought those memories into a new perspective. Both successful, rich and highly regarded in their respective fields. Both reached goals I aspire to. Yet they did what they did and it makes me wonder what will be waiting for me when I myself reach those goals. It’s not just because of these single instances, many people followed a similar path.

Even in this miniature rise in my short career I notice signs many notable musicians, actors and artists talk about. Starting out, my biggest goal was to survive for which I needed money. Now, just purely getting money is no longer a motivator. I do high-paying jobs begrudgingly without any real reason. I find a lot of joy and love in the jobs that lose me money. When I got into contact with some of my idols for the first time I was awestruck, now I see them as peers, normal people trying their very best. Fans went from great flattery to people who without knowing you put you on a pedestal while you’re own self-image is anything but great. But I still want to chase the money and I love being recognised for my work. I’m still very competitive when it comes to making pieces, having love for all artist old and new but I want to out-perform them all up on the walls,… These habits don’t fit a mature well-developed person but I don’t want to shake them off just yet.

It’s a struggle to grow out of this modus operandi that I’ve become accustomed to and that struggle is what this series signifies for me, wanting to let go of old ideals, trying to broaden our worldview but not immediately being able to.

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