Untayby Shani Barzilay | 10.03.15
Here’s a Telavivian urban artist you should meet – Boaz Sides, aka Untay. What unifies Untay is his figurative style – his technique has realistic elements with a flowing and a loose spirit. His figures are usually people or body parts that appear to be in some kind of movement that involves lots of colour.
Up until few years ago, Untay was a visual communication student who had graduated to become a full time graphic designer. That all changed when two years ago he decided to start a part time job and according to him, “fulfil a dream” of focusing on his own solo exhibit. His transition from design to art is interesting, especially to a creator with a specific and dominant style like his. Still, Untay adds, “To me, while design is set to serve a specific message, art is more open for dialogue and to interpretation. The need to constantly sell and target the creation for this purpose, is one of the reasons I wanted to create for the curiosity and fun of it. “
Designing for sales is in a way the opposite to urban art, which enriches our public space, just for the sake of it and the dialogue it creates. “Creating in the street is when you are fully connected to where you’re creating and you have to be fully aware and sensitive to the location of your art. Untay explains that, “in a way it’s giving back.” “While urban art is under the interpretation and critique of everyone using the public space (which can sometimes be terrifying for an artist),” Untay also uses the quote “ go outside,” to encourage people to “get dirty, discover, raise questions, play and explore our shared space.”
Untay has been active in the streets since 2009 and has recently become one of the top names in the Israeli urban art scene. One of his most famous figures are his bandanas, which can be seen flying around in different colours and shapes. ‘People mistake them to be worms or just don’t understand their concept, but they actually have a story behind them: I took part in the social protest of summer 2011, and after it was over I was looking for a way to commemorate it’s ideas – wanting things to move around here for the benefit of all. This was the beginning point project “soul of a citizen.”‘ Over 150 bandanas have already painted in the streets, spontaneous and vivid, like vibes were back then and should be now.
Besides his street pieces (which can be found in the east and south quarters of Tel Aviv), Untay is also creating studio pieces. Untay’s art can be found at Meshuna Gallery and he exhibited at the collaborated Pop Up Shop and Art Fair of Telavivian and LaCulture.
When coming across art in the streets, it’s important to make the difference between graffiti and tags. Art helps one realise that this is not destructing the public space but rather it is making it come alive.