EXPRESS

Prishtina of the graffiti master and signs in Time

An hour before the zenith, he shoots the wall with gray spray and quickly the sketch starts and takes shape. This is how the letters that form his artistic name - Sade - begin and are distinguished. He is not very talkative when he starts work, he does not accept to be talked to when he is in the first steps of a work.

The last Thursday of March has found the master of graffiti, Nicolas Colombani, in the premises of KOŠA. The newsroom buffet has been transformed into his workshop for no less than seven hours. The final result was graffiti on 42 square meters, on two walls. I leave the message at the end: "Trust in the Truth!" indirectly, it also comes as a gift on an important day for the "KOHA Ditore" newspaper, which celebrated its 27th anniversary on March 31.

Sade One or simply Sade is Nicolas Colombani, multidimensional artist from Switzerland, whose biography is long, and so is the list of his works. He would start his journey with graffiti at the age of 14 in Paris to experiment further and with other dimensions, which have built his career of nearly four decades. He would move from France to Switzerland in 1989, where he became one of the first graffiti artists in this country, leaving his mark on the streets, trains and various art galleries. He is otherwise noted as the founder of the graffiti scene in the Swiss state.

For him, Kosovo is an open chapter about three years ago. Impressed by the hospitality and positive energy that, according to him, characterize the country, he has several concrete projects. The realism of graffiti in TIME is an opportunity to see up close how it shapes his art.

With original typography created by the artist himself, he covers the vast majority of the wall first by drawing letters. As a process it resembles an artistic performance, beyond the act of drawing and coloring with paints. The mural gives him the opportunity to express his personal artistic identity. This is also the philosophy of his art.

"Graffiti is very much about the artist's personal identity, it's about letters and usually we make sketches, but sometimes we also improvise. The process differs from how you approach the work as a whole. For example, if you write graffiti on the street or on a train, you have to be fast, but when you have more time available, you also have time to think about choosing colors carefully. Personally, I want to start with a sketch before starting a job, because the letters are typography and there are rules and they must be proportional".

Some figures next to his name in graffiti take shape as they sometimes resemble lips and sometimes undefined bodies. Thus he includes the comic detail in them. At first glance, hyperbole is an element that describes this work well, starting from the stylistics he decides to use and the magnification of every detail, seemingly the same as the message.

During the process of forming the primary silhouettes of the objects in the graphite, the artist maps every detail that will build the graphite. After this process he starts with the main shadings that he makes with blue. It begins with the main subject: his stage name. Then he gives the first breath to the clouds, which are also details that distinguish his work.

Sade had measured the pulse of graffiti art lovers in Kosovo a few years ago, when he created a work in Gjakovë. It has been three years since he got to know Kosovo, and his first visit here would be preceded by a meeting with a Kosovar friend in Albania, who would strongly insist that he visit Kosovo. Since then, over the course of three years, it would return dozens of times.

"I can say that I fell in love with this place. For three years, I made nearly 20 round trips. I met very nice people. It's amazing, everyone speaks Albanian to me and it's amazing how many young people there are here."

But, for Sade One, Pristina now seems to be a station that he can't stand, since he and his friend have concrete plans that aim to serve the alternative art scene in Kosovo.

"Together with my friend Barlet Gega, we are working on an artistic platform, which will be called 'Pellg' for Balkan artists, and of course it will help artists from Kosovo to penetrate abroad. You have a great culture, a fresh energy, unlike where I come from. I have the impression that you have your future in your hands."

In addition to the "Pellg" platform, which is expected to be launched in the coming weeks, it aims to offer support with a masterclass to young artists in Kosovo who have an affinity with the graffiti technique.

As he puts decorative details on the graffiti for KOĖNA, such as shading that creates the illusion of dimension and dots that make it appear to shine, he says he aims to make Kosovo's name known abroad. It emphasizes the advantages it offers to artists.

"Meanwhile, I talk to my artist friends from different countries such as France and England and tell them that Prishtina will be the next Berlin in Europe. 25 years ago Berlin was a place where you could get an atelier much easier than in other countries and the same situation is here. People should be familiar with the opportunities that this country offers".

Kosovo, which, as he confirms, has received him well and offered him artistic freedom for the art that has its origins in illegality. Now the former street art is subculture. Prishtina with "Meeting Of Styles" and Ferizaj with "MuralFest" have become meeting points of well-known names such as Sade's work. Both events reinforce murals and graffiti as a universal language that transcends borders.

"The energy here is very good, I feel very safe, I feel comfortable, people are very kind. It's not the same where I come from. There's a lot of heart in whatever you do and that excites me a lot because many European countries at the moment are much colder, more private, while here I don't feel it, at least from the time I've spent here."

Sade One started learning the language of street art when he was young.

"At the age of 14 I discovered graffiti, I had the opportunity to go to New York and see it, I was very impressed but I didn't understand it well, but then in Paris there was the first generation of graffiti artists and I remember seeing their works and there I had decided that I would become a graffiti artist. As in every beginning, I was also clumsy, but it was the start of a trend in Paris, we were few in number, but since then this number continues to grow".

According to him, this technique of expression through art is a way of life, full of challenges, but in return there is maximum freedom

"It's a way of life, because for example when my generation started dealing with graffiti, we never thought that we would deal with it professionally, I didn't think that it would serve me anything other than spiritual fulfillment. Now it's different, it's much more popular. But, still graffiti is an art that brings more trouble than benefits. Many times it happens that you are followed by people, you are fined, in many countries it is an illegal activity. But the freedom he gives is wonderful, he doesn't ask anyone, he just creates".

The process of creating the work seems to be as important as the finished work itself. For him it is very different from his work as a graphic designer, which requires precision and has a different nature. In the graffiti, he says that he feels free by breaking all possible boundaries.

"When I want to make a graffiti, I just go out and do it. I don't ask anyone and it's interesting, because 30 years have passed and I still enjoy it more. It's the moment when we disconnect from the world completely and the graffiti usually has large dimensions and the impression is created that you are working inside a bubble from which nothing from the outside can affect you".

After completing the academic path with a master's degree in communication, he would engage as a graphic designer in various projects and then lead the artistic side of many projects from various fields such as fashion and cinematography.

His background in graphic design continues to be an influential element in his work today. Beyond design and work on canvas and graphite, his activity also extends to film production. The 2010 Five Thirteen in Los Angeles was another experience that helped him shape his style, which now appears as a fusion of street culture and the design world that play together with the codes of communication. His creativity includes paintings and sculptures, which again coincide with his graffiti style. They have been exhibited in various galleries in Europe.

"It took me a while to move to other dimensions as I have tried to do something original, not only to realize on canvas what I also do on murals. And so I created some sculptures, which play with dimension. The idea is to make it look like the graffiti is coming off the wall taking on another dimension. The essence comes from graffiti, but goes beyond it. For me, graffiti belongs on the streets, not art galleries" .

After seven hours of work, Sade is ready for the final details on his work of over 40 square meters. Next to his signature on the left of the graffiti, in the other corner lives in black color "KOHA". Attention is drawn to the colorful graffiti by the message bubble - proposed by the editor-in-chief of KOĖ, Brikenda Rexhepi - which carries the significant motto on which the work ethic of the medium is built, and this message the artist leaves in Kosovo... in KOĖ and for to.