Pol Cosmo is a street artist from Ghent, Belgium. There is not that much known about his identity. He draws beautiful insects that pop up everywhere in the city. We had the chance to talk to him and ask him some questions.
Remarkably, he keeps saying he is not a good illustrator. “In school we had to draw these boring objects like apples, a glass, grapes, … and I wasn't any good at it. So I came to the conclusion I could better quit drawing, even though I liked it. It took me more than 15 years to realize there is more to illustrating than being able to make an image that resembles the reality as closely as possible.” His style is easy to recognize: black and white drawing, bold lines, patterns, … “Yes, I found a way to conceal my weaknesses. [laughs] Afterwards I copy them and I add some color. When they are ready, I cut them out and then they find their way to the streets.”
That 'way to the streets' is not as straightforward as you might think. Pol Cosmo pastes some of his insects in the city, but not only him... there appears to be a whole network of 'pasters'. “Indeed, I started on my own, but quickly people around me asked if they could help. I was surprised, but thought 'why the hell not?!'. So now there are several people in Belgium who receive my insects by mail and they paste them in the streets.”
“There is however a sort of Code of Conduct: I don't want them to do any harm. No vandalism. The intention is to bring some color in the city, to make the neighborhood a nicer place to live and to surprise the people in a positive way. So dull gray concrete surfaces, electricity boxes, empty houses, … are perfect.” The positive message is clear and obvious when we talk to Pol Cosmo.
Some questions remain: why does he primarily draw insects? Is there an environmental message in his work? Is Pol Cosmo married? What is Pol Cosmo's opinion on the current economic crisis? “You don't need to know everything. [laughs] It is about the work, not about the person.”