BENGALURU: Bengaluru has been waking up to some scathing humour that adorns street side walls of Church Street, Halasuru and St Mark’s road. The artist who has been compared to Banksy is gripping audiences on the streets of Bengaluru – and online.
Even as more stencils appear overnight, City Express tried to catch up with Guess Who, which was a bit tricky for this story as he or she or the group chooses to remain anonymous, much like Daku. As part of the St+art festival, Guess Who’s kept up the mystery enveloping their identity with a teaser artwork in Ulsoor, which the artist posted on Instagram later on.
The artist who claims to have “born with a spray can in hand” says street art is significant in the present world “because the coffee shop in the serene campus of National Gallery of Modern Art is always empty”.
Guess Who claims to be on the streets since 2012, with works mainly centred in Kochi and Bengaluru. Few of the artwork have also popped up in Chennai and Bihar.
The artist will be working on multiple sites including Church Street and Indiranagar throughout the festival.
“It’s a continuation of what Guesswho has been doing. This time it’s a series of stencils, called ‘It ain’t no Art’ with a simple image and a subtlety and satirically political text. It’s kind of a conversation the artist is trying to have with the passerby on the streets mostly the English speaking urban crowd, who are neither interested in art or politics,” says the artist who addresses himself or herself in third person.
So, what challenges does an anonymous street artist face? “Finding the right spots to paint is always tough. The challenges an artist like Daku or Guesswho would face while on the streets late at night are different from the one who paints legally with permission,” says the artist.
“It could be the cops, stray dogs, building owners, anything. But we chose this route and hence no complaints,” says Guess Who. The artist’s latest stencil is in Kannada that appeared on St Mark’s Road.
The artwork seems to be a comment on how vandalism and propaganda by regional fringe groups is accepted simply because they’re in vernacular.
Guess Who also appeared irritated by the lack of awareness on street art in the city. “Not even 1% of the population knows where NGMA is,” says the street artist. So, what advice does Guess Who have for conventional artists who would like to take to street art? “Try the spray cans, but beware, it could be very addictive,” responds the artist with a smile emoji.
“Guess Who has a very distinct style. The artwork and images address the common man and the issues in the country’s ever-changing cultural landscape,” says Amit Syngle, President-Sales, Marketing & Technology, Asian Paints Ltd, one of the oganisers of the festival.