Street art piece
Street Art Museum Amsterdam
Btoy is one of the first women who stepped out onto the streets of Barcelonawith detailed multi-layered stencil art that playswith colour, light and shadow to create moody and powerful portraits. Born in Barcelona, Btoy is the child of social activists and refugees fleeing the dictatorial regime in Uruguay lasting from 1973-85. As a self-taught artist, she came to graffiti while completing a photography degree (and after abandoning studies in law), first playing with paste-ups on the streets of Barcelona in the early 2000’s. At that time, before it became the mass tourism hotspot it is today, a welcoming culture and low cost of living in Barcelona created fertile ground for those experimenting with graffiti, underground music, theater and art subcultures. It was in this setting that Btoy began to vigorously investigate feminism, stereotyped gender roles and identities, and to express her own identity through her work, choosing the streets as her medium for their freedom from convention, their hidden moods, memories, and stories.
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Btoy's favorite artistic medium is the stencil for its multiple and quick reproduction capabilities on the streets. The Spanish artist is undoubtedly one of the European masters of this technique and over the years has developed a unique and easily recognizable style. Through the superimposition of different layers, Btoy is able to create portraits with a great realism and three-dimensional effect. In the case of Pilot I, the patches of color are what most define the volumetric strength of the figure: the Spanish artist uses mostly bright contrasts, sometimes surreal, which allow her to create a realistic yet creative portrait. As in many of Btoy's portraits, the most important element is the gaze composed by strongful and deep eyes. Unlike the other pilot portraits, in this case Btoy chooses a black background on which to portray his figure. Another noteworthy change is the choice of a profile portrait instead of the three-quarter view typical of the artist.
The portrait is part of a larger series dedicated to famous female pilots in history, including the figure of Amelia Earhart, a subject dear to the Spanish artist and portrayed several times throughout her career. The choice of female aviators is linked to the feminist and subversive politics that accompany Btoy's poetics. From this perspective, a woman pilot in the early twentieth century is seen as a symbol of emancipation and female empowerment.