The dynamic world of graffiti births geniuses every day from every nook and cranny of the world. Tavar Zawacki could not escape the call into the art world. By birth, he was already surrounded by art being born from hipster parents.
Born in the 80’s, there were a lot of influences to be unique and speak your mind. He grew up with an open mind and when he turned thirteen, the world of graffiti and skateboards came knocking.
Born with a free spirit and a strong belief in what he wanted to do, the young man booked a flight to Paris at the age of 19. Armed with art supplies and all the money under his name, he began his journey.
An arrow is a symbol that he uses to represent and sign his work. When asked why he chose the arrow pointing upwards as his symbol, he simply said this “The arrow icon I painted was representational of the powerful mentality to ‘Rise Above’ fears, challenges, and anything holding you back from your goals.”
At first, the arrow is not what he used as his artist signature, he used to go by the alias ABOVE. It was in 2001 that he chose to use the arrow signature and from then it’s almost stapled to his name.
Many believe that you have to lose yourself first before finding yourself. In a new country, you meet different people who show you a varied way to live life. Tavar chose to live a nomadic lifestyle. He traveled from country to country looking for new experiences.
The mix of experiences on his 15-year nomadic culture was pooled into a source of inspiration. When you look at his work you can feel the synchronicity between the different stencil layers and text. When he finally settled in Berlin Germany back in 2014, it was time to reclaim his name.
Because he did not want to live in the shadow of the artwork that he had created in his youth, he started to paint under his real name. Finally, he felt like he had more freedom to be himself and to offer authentic expression from the pool of experiences he had amassed.
Not discrediting all the work that he had done previously, the artist continues to amaze the world. He has participated in many events in the past where people have gotten to see him work. For example, in Sweden, he painted the mural Metamorphosis on an eight-story building.
The work got attention due to the vibrant colours and arrow positioning. He said “It’s about having fun and experimenting. As an artist it’s important for me to experiment with my work, otherwise one can become stagnant. Making this mural put the arrow into a new context, giving it room for expansion of a new life.”
In 2015 he participated his largest project yet, the Incognito. The 33meter wall mural standstill today. The abstract piece is full of bright colours that are hard to miss. The piece was commissioned to commemorate the city of the Gold festival. The piece got notable mention internationally fueling his passion.
He has had exhibitions of his work and has visited over 60 countries. The transition of names in the art signature was visible in 2017 when he started using his real name in the same year, he unleashed a solo exhibition.
Launched in Berlin at Urban Spree Galerie, the collection ‘metamorphosis’ was unveiled. “Metamorphosis is about the transformation from one state into a newer dynamic one. With a lot of brutal honesty, and conviction for growth I was able to take inner inventory of what no longer served me.” Said Tavar.
He continued to say “I was able to let go of the fears that were stifling my creative progression. I was prepared for feeling uncomfortable during this metamorphosis. I was learning how to unblock my personal censors, and be valiant in painting the styles of works I’ve previously been too reluctant to paint.”
This was his first show using his birth certificate name as his artist signature. A book with the title of Metamorphosis was also unveiled later that year. The book contains Tavar Zawacki new work and also included his 2014 Detroit exhibition. The book is just an eye-opening read into the artist journey for the work presented and the things that inspired him.
The 49- year old is still young at heart and has a lot of things to look forward to. The world looks forward to seeing the artist that they knew as ABOVE transform his artwork to reflect his current perceptions.
With the arrows always pointing up, the sky is the limit for Tavar Zawacki. We can only wish him the best in his endeavours.