Fanakapan is one of our favourite artists on the London and even UK and global Street Art scene, someone we have admired for a very long time and it has been an absolute pleasure to witness the way in which he relentlessly strives to push the boundaries and focus of his work.
Fanakapan started painting on the streets in 2000 around Bournemouth and Bristol following his studies at art school and finding its roots in the skate culture he was immersed in at the time. Starting out with creating five layered stencil designs, it wasn’t long before Fanakapan found this an unfulfilling medium with which to express himself. From this point he also started to hone his artistic talents in a variety of mediums in a professional capacity, making props for tv shows and sculptures for such prestigious institutions as the London Aquarium (still on present for those interested).
On the street Fanakapan having taken a break from stencil based works then set to start his long evolving journey with balloons in 2010 as his subjects of choice, initially focusing on more translucent rubber effect designs. This marked the natural direction for Fanakapan to become immersed in, offering much scope for the chance to develop his focus on light and shadow in order to bring his works to life. It was in fact through these works that we first became aware of and in turn fell in love with Fanakapan’s work and it really is incredible to see how he has and continues to develop his style.
Not to long after this Fanakapan also developed a new subject with which he worked with for some time parallel his colourful helium balloon designs, namely his Liquorice Allsorts creations, which originally started out as a letter work and soon developed into a series of delightful characters. This focus was born from a chance occasion when the artist found himself with lots of blue and pink paint and seizing upon a suggestion from a friend that the Bassetts sweets would therefore make and appropriate subject for such a colour palette. It is interesting to note that such a direction was born from such a singular incident, as we will discuss shortly regarding his shift towards chrome effect designs. It was with his sweet based character works that Fanakapan really started to develop his technical focus upon the accompanying shadows with which to bring his designs to life. However it was back to the rubber balloon designs which in turn enabled him to expand his colour palette beyond a prevailing blue and pink.
Late 2014 marked the latest development in his artistic output when he was asked to add something alongside a preexisting work from Vinie Graffiti in Spitalfields, and deciding to go with some balloon musical notes that Fanakapan found via Google a design for a chrome based balloon design which sparked a change from the translucent to the opaque, reveling in the reflections and shadows such subjects offered, allowing him to focus in the folds and drop shadows. It was a few months later in Berlin that Fanakapan painted his first full on chrome based design, something which he has been pursuing in a variety of approaches since, continuously striving and succeeding to improve and enhance his style and effect, demonstrating his superb use of shadow and reflective light highlights to make his works just pop of the surfaces they adorn in a full 3D effect.