Nature’s CCTV Cameras (or Chris Osburn interviews Dscreet)
By Chris Osburn
London artist, Dscreet, has been painting graffiti for over twelve years. Most of his street paintings are iconic representations of owls, which have long intrigued him. Why owls? “Simply because they have those massive eyes,” says the artist, while also suggesting the bird’s beauty to be an “obvious answer.” Beyond these evident reasons, Dscreet finds owls to possess an “otherworldly quality that elevates them to the level of fucking amazing.” So amazing, in fact, that it is difficult for Dscreet to believe that owls actually exist in our world:
Every time I look at one I find it hard to believe they're real; a magical mystical creature like a dragon or unicorn, it seems almost wrong that you can actually touch something that should only exist in fantasy books.
Representative of perception, wisdom and “a lot of the same things they’ve meant to hundreds of cultures,” owls are powerful symbols for Dscreet.
Dscreet’s owl graffiti may be observed in some fairly high profile areas of London. For example, there is a huge owl painting by him near the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. Among the fans of Dscreet’s owls is British comedian Dave Gorman, whose Flickr account features several of the artist’s street paintings. Visit www.flickr.com/people/dgbalancesrocks to view Dave’s photos of Dscreet’s work. Dscreet's may also be seen throughout Europe and as far a field as the US and his native Australia.
When painting owls in public spaces, Dscreet aims to have passers-by feel as if they are being watched by the very paintings they notice. According to Dscreet, “Owls are like nature’s CCTV cameras … a projection of my own paranoia.”
Interestingly, Dscreet’s projection of paranoia is at once cheery and stern. His owls are large and colorful. Their unflinching (and unblinking) gaze creates an eerie presence that demands attention. To see them evokes the suspicion that a magic realm of wonder exists – even amid otherwise urban landscape.
Dscreet’s fascination with owls led to his role as co-curator of HOO WOT, an owl art show to raise money for the World Owl Trust (WOT) and to provide a platform to celebrate the owl. The show featured almost forty artists from all around the world presenting their unique vision/representation of the owl. Visit www.owls.org for more information.
For the HOO WOT show, Dscreet exhibited a new series of canvases and a beaded owl tapestry that he created with his mother. He plans to continue painting owls wherever he travels but also has some non-owl art in the works:
Also I’ve begun a series of canvases that have absolutely nothing to do with owls, they're about camouflaging disaster, I want to exhibit them later this year. I'm making experimental animations and music videos and planning a short psychedelic horror film; watching lots of B films as research in the meantime.
If his street art is any indication, then Dscreet’s upcoming projects promise to inspire viewers with a sense of awe and appreciation for the implausible yet real phenomena in our world.
Chris Osburn is an American transplant living in London where he has a blast working as a freelance photographer, writer, consultant, blogger and more. www.tikichris.com