Graffiti artist SOAP takes images into hyperreality

Most graffiti that we witness day-to-day resembles schoolboy scrawl hurriedly finished before being busted by the teacher. But Polish-born Adam Klodzinski, aka SOAP, takes the art form into hyperreality, with photo-realistic images of anything from celebs like Rihanna and Naomi Campbell to abstracted montages and urban landscapes.

Whatever the project, the self-taught artist always includes his perspective-skewing trademark tag – or self-portrait — that he refers to as “Little Adam”. Metro chats to SOAP – whose debut exhibition opens in London this week – about run-ins with the cops and why he would like to take his canvas to a politically controversial place.

Graffiti artists normally have to keep an eye out for the boys in blue. Have you had any close calls?

Back in the day, I used to graffiti trains and in some other illegal places and we were always chased by police. And this one time, they were shooting at me – it was crazy, man [Laughs].

Really? Sounds a bit over the top.

Yeah, because I was running so quickly that they couldn’t stop me, so they started shooting in the air. But they couldn’t catch me anyway. It wasn’t a nice experience and I didn’t want to get shot for art.

That’s understandable. Why is it that some artists still prefer to paint illegally?

Well, it’s the choice of the artist. I’ve got friends who paint similar stuff to me but they don’t feel the need to be famous or make money from it. I loved doing it and wanted to make a living from it. It’s lifestyle but for other artists it’s about the adrenaline — it’s like doing a bungee jump.

In the past, you’ve created images of celebrities, so have you thought about doing something fun with politicians?

I would like to do a controversial exhibition that covers some of history’s craziest leaders. Politicians run our world and I think art is a form of expression that they can’t touch.

Which politicians would you like to ridicule?

The most dirty ones! Vladimir Putin or George Bush, the annoying ones.

How would you mock them?

I would turn Putin into a ballerina — he would love that [chuckles]. And I heard that George Bush is part of an odd Masonic-style sect that prays to an owl. So I would like to paint him in an owl onesie. I thought that would be quite cool.


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