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“This work in Novi Sad means the most to me because I have planned to invest the most energy in that work. Novi Sad is the epicentre of the entire story, that is where it has started to spread and that is why I have planned that work to be the most complex one. The idea is to put the focus on Novi Sad with the set of OPENS elements through a mix and the entire work, to present it as the source of creativity”, the artist Petar Popović Piros says.

And just like that, the last puzzle is on the road, after Zagreb, Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Thessaloniki, Podgorica, Budva… After kilometres and kilometres, a lot of paint cans and neighbouring works brought Petar to Novi Sad. And not only him.

“When they see my work, I would like people to think that it has been painted by someone who used to paint graffiti in the streets… spray, night, legally, illegally, as young people from the hood probably do. I always like to think that my works are actually an example of how it is possible to live your dreams and I think that is the main idea which keeps me and leads me and because of which I do not give up painting in public” – these are the words of the most popular and the most wanted graffiti artist in Serbia and the world – Andrej Žižakić Artez.

His beginnings do not differ from usual childhood paintings on the walls of the buildings in the hood. With a lot of effort, work and love, he has managed to make himself an artist who makes a living out of his art only, which seems unreal at first glance. His murals are in the cities around the works and then he decided to give one to European Youth Capital, in order to inspire young people to deal with art.

Across a grey wall of a building at Bulevar Jaše Tomića, there is a man hanging with paint cans around him, managing the crane and working hard on his mural. Below him, there is a bunch of people and young people from the hood who cannot wait for him to come down and explain who the lady from the mural is and how he does that. There are two grannies heard from a balcony, arguing about how one of them will make a breakfast and the other will bring cookies to the artist and the children from the hood. One working neighbouring story, it seems. The same as the one in Podgorica, for example.

“It is amazing how easily we can forget how we think the same as the entire region and that the same things bring us together. We received the same reactions, welcome and croissants wherever we were and that is what makes this project special. We have come to the conclusion that it best to transfer young people a message through art, music, hanging out because that is the language we all understand. That is where the idea of giving graffiti and murals to cities comes from. To make one-day hanging out in a city to which we give a mural, to hang out with young people from that community, to present them the advantages of the title of European Youth Capital but also to connect all those cities and young people from the region and to invite them to visit Novi Sad. And they have really come now and the painting from the road made the Blok alive”, Valentina Antić, OPENS 2019 International Cooperation Coordinator says.

At other three locations in the Blok, the similar stories are told. The artists on the cranes and the neighbourhood around them, the smell of coffee, cookies and kids. At the wall of the School of Mechanics, there will be a mural which will present the scene from school lessons and which might make someone think while watching the mural from the window of the classroom across the road. The Omladinskog pokreta street also received its mark, thus even one ordinary painting brings symbolic for the street in which it is painted.

In the next couple of days, with the help of the artists from the region, with Piros, Artez, Chez196 and Sarma who are here before Grafiti na Gradele and with the local support of Stepi and Uroš colour Novi Sad within the unique festival – OPENS Distrikt. OPENS Distrikt which is itself the promotion of street sports and art, as well as the closing of the magic circle within which OPENS gave murals to the cities from the region, the crown fell in Novi Sad which got four works of the world-famous artists. European Youth Capital has decided to give the Blok four paintings which will forever change their neighbourhood, spreading the popularity of street art, with the purpose of encouraging young people to deal with art.

“People used to tell me that I should find a real job, and I have proved them that art can be a real job”, Andrej Žikić Artez.

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