Brothers Igor and Arthur Spassky work in a genre they call muvizm, which consists of the English words music and vision. They literally draw the music in their works and then show the process of its creation on video. soc.i.a. is everything from the choice of musical accompaniment to embodiment in the form of an art object
Performers told DTF Magazine in the new issue of the column Meet, how they came to draw music and why they refer to themselves as representatives of street culture.
soc.i.a is primarily about media art. Igor and Arthur consider video creation to be the most important part of their work:
«Shooting performance art with the addition of effects in editing and drawing techniques is our first priority. We do analog work: we choose music, draw on different surfaces and create a clip, thus balancing at the intersection of several genres».
At the same time, the brothers do not consider themselves artists. They explain this by saying that drawing in contemporary art is only 50% of what can be done: «And the other 50% can be photography, music, staging, choice of clothing, image and the like. In fact, it’s not enough to be an artist in today’s world. We like the word „creator’ better”».
Igor and Arthur attribute their project to street culture: «Yes, we are its representatives. It all started with hip-hop for us, and what is that if it isn’t a street subculture? And we came to soc.i.a. through graffiti». They went from loving hip-hop to experimenting and finding their own style that could be recognized without a signature.
It all happened spontaneously when Arthur discovered Boards of Canada and Joy Division in 2012: «They changed my thinking and imagination. I started drawing a lot of lines and waves inspired by their music. I tried making an image to music in 2016. It came out funny, I got good feedback, and I realized I’d found something that was catchy and new».
Then he made some videos of himself drawing to music and sent them to Igor. He praised his brother, but the project didn’t really get off the ground because they both lived in different cities. Igor came to visit Arthur in Kyiv in 2018. They were watching videos on YouTube and came across their first videos: «And then everything happened quickly. Igor suggested that we try to draw something together. We chose the track Tyler, The Creator – Okra – and went to make a video to it», Arthur recalls.
The name of the project emerged spontaneously. Spassky simply removed the letter l from the English word social: «For us it means the transition from the anti-social to the social, a certain boundary between one and the other».
Music is an integral part of soc.i.a.’s work: «But we’re not the first. Just think of the role music played for David Bowie, Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat».
Although the teenage fascination with hip-hop hasn’t gone anywhere, the range of music the Spasskis use in their work has expanded considerably: «Rap and paint cans are the perfect embodiment of hip-hop culture, but sometimes we just use individual sounds or screams as background for the creative process for example. But jazz, electronics, classical piano and guitar solos also suit us».
The soc.i.a. is usually painted with spray paint: «It’s our perfect tool. We think it describes the music perfectly on the surface. But we also work with oil pastels, charcoal, create our own tools, like a holder for two spray cans, or something else interesting. And we enjoy taking classic brushes, different paints such as acrylic, oil, emulsion».
There is no particular difference in what conditions to implement ideas for Spassky: it can be urban objects, a canvas or a gallery wall:
«These are different tasks, each of which is interesting to solve in its own way. It’s important that everything goes together. It’s important that the music goes with the location, that the light is right and there’s a good angle». But artists always take the choice of a new location seriously: «It has to inspire you. Yes, it makes no difference where you paint, but you have to find and show places that inspire you».
When someone asks the brothers what exactly is depicted in their work, they answer succinctly: «It’s music».
«Our drawings are not just abstract lines, stains and the like. They are a fusion of musical sounds that we transfer through ourselves to the canvas. We are like a conduit between the music and the surface. Our work is not an abstract drawing, but a sensual drawing of music. It gives movement to the dancers and it gives us the image».