“The world is divided in two – Crunchy and Non Crunchy. Which one are you?”
This is the question asked by Extra Crunchy, a couple of artists from Israel with a high color, innovative and multifaceted universe. With a lot of humor and mystery, they states:
“Extra Crunchy is the next step in the evolution of the crunch, just like a biting experience. Pushing the limits and taking it to the next level. Whether it’s in art or everyday life, we try doing things in a way that feels is right and adventurous to us.”
Traveling the world, they are experimenting with arts, creating murals as well as illustrations that are meant to be portals to other worlds. Their spiritual and playful style is also triggering other senses by merging colors and flavors, in order to create synesthesia and a fruity mood that would enrich the visual experience. If you love street art, animation aesthetics and dream to explore parallel worlds, then, head on to visit the trippy universe of these young talents, and become crunchy too!
Who is behind the creation of Extra Crunchy and how did it happen?
The ingredients to make EXTRA CRUNCHY are Rafi and Tutti from Tel Aviv. We met only 4 years ago, but it feels like we spent a whole lifespan together. Perhaps in an alien planet, where we rode hoverboards in purple jungles! We both have backgrounds in art and both enjoy Sci-fi, with multidimensional themes, portal transporting, breakdancing, post-apocalyptic and ancient stories, as well as alien technology. We discovered that it was only natural to join forces as both life partners and business partners and go on this ride together. We have decided to start a journey and to explore ourselves artistically through traveling. By making murals together, we have realized the potential of collaborating and our styles have begun to merge. Throughout the different walls, various commissions and tasks we did, we have learnt how to channel our energy to focus on creating, overcoming obstacles and learning to flow with it. Obstacles such as limited materials and time, extreme weather conditions, difficult surfaces, artist’s block and many more ordeals have only helped us organically expressing ourselves in the best way possible with whatever we got. It’s a real boot camp sometimes!
You are using different techniques and mediums: which ones? What are the different possibilities you are trying to explore with these different types of art?
We’re using both digital and traditional tools. We usually rely on the limited variety of resources that are available to us at the moment, always leaving room for improvisation. Living in a traveling lifestyle doesn’t leave too much room to carry paints and brushes, so we’re using whatever we have in that given moment. We also travel with a laptop and a Wacom tablet, and this allows us to explore color and painting techniques while we’re on the road.
What are your cultural, aesthetic and artistic influences, references and sources of inspiration? How do they combine in your art?
We come from quite different backgrounds but quite similar aesthetics. Our biggest inspiration is our message. We understand the potential of rediscovering communication through art, especially with street art. The exposure is massive and even though the audience is not necessarily artistic, it’s always a privilege to expose. We are living our lives this way because we felt trapped by daily routine. The fact we’re not living in this routine anymore is being an inspiration to us too. There is so much opportunity in putting your message out there.
What is the impact of your travels and collaboration on your art and on your life?
It has been one hell of a ride up till now, nothing like we have experienced before. The traveling lifestyle is showing us what it really means to LET GO. We learnt how to minimize our stuff so that we can travel light. We dealt with extreme situations in a short period of time, so it brought us closer together, both in our personal relationship and in our style and process.
The notion of portal is often evoked in your artworks: can you tell me more about it?
Imagination is a portal. At one point, we have decided to name our pieces “portals” as if they’re a peek to another reality. If you treat art as a portal, it gives mysterious feeling to this reality as well. When you see art as a portal, you understand you can create a whole story through it. It’s a great way to push us into telling the story we want. Creating portals allows us to stimulate the imagination of the viewer to lead them to a positive world of magic and child-ness. Some of our art pieces contain “portals”. Simply knowing there’s another reality in there, helps expand the art piece and teases the imagination of the viewer.
Do you have a specific philosophy, both in life and in art? At the beginning of our conversation, you told me you had a message to share: could you tell more to our readers?
To us, art is communication. We use our art as a way to communicate positive vibes. The characters we portray are experiencing epic and meaningful moments. These moments of discovering or confronting the unknown, are expanding the mind. The more experiences like this we have, the more we learn to trust ourselves and keep a positive attitude for life. We would like to empower our viewer and give a sense of wonder and dream-like experience.
What is your ambition for the future? Are there artistic disciplines you’d like to explore more? How do you plan to communicate your message even further?
We’re planning to shape our nomadic lifestyle to a more grounded one. It means possibly staying in one place for a few months and not weeks or days. This will allow us to make future plans and get more active in the local community instead of painting walls like crazy and hi fiving friends just before a flight to our next destination. We’re both toying with the idea of creating spaces that feel like an actual window to another dimension. To play with sense of scale or antigravity using 3D printing, VR and projection technology.
How are you working as a duo of artists? Are you sharing tasks or do you have skills, which complement one another? We’d like to hear about your artistic routine.
In our spare time we love chilling with some good tunes, vegan hot chocolate and sketching away in our shared sketchbooks. Our routine is very organic and intuitive. Sometimes we switch several times during the process and blend, and sometimes, each of us designs something and we find a way to link our ideas. We like experimenting; even if sometimes it leads to crap, we understand it’s a part of the process and not the result. Sometimes it takes more than one attempt to create something very specific that speaks to a certain point of view. We can always take something from it to the next attempt.
Working together is teaching us a lot about letting go of ego. The ambition is for both of us to create something that expresses our mutual point of view, so receiving critique from each other implies of letting go of an idea sometimes for the greater good. It took us some time to work together as a team and it gets easier. We learn how to use each other’s abilities as tools as if we are each other’s extensions. However, it’s also important as a team to challenge each other in uncomfortable zones and to learn from each other.
Do you have already exhibitions and art projects planned in the next years with dates and locations? Can you list some of them?
We’ve been traveling non-stop for two years now. So, it wasn’t a priority to set time and organize exhibitions. This year we plan to be less on the move so we can work more on projects that are more time-space consuming. It’s hard to tell where we’re going to be but we’re considering dividing this year between India and Europe but our moves are intuitive so we’re keeping it loose. We also feel very attached to Latin America. After traveling there, we were amazed by the good creative energies. So we’re definitely going to pay a visit there soon.