Street artist dubbed "Russian Banksy" dies


| Zoom

MOSCOW (AP) - Pasha P183, a prominent Russian graffiti artist who hid his identity and has been compared to Britain's Banksy, has died. He was 29.

The Teatralnoye Delo theatrical production company, which recently commissioned Pasha P183 to create scenery for the musical "Todd," said the artist died Monday in Moscow. It wouldn't elaborate.

Teatralnoye Delo's spokeswoman Regina Vartsan, who knew the artist personally, described him Wednesday as a "sincere and open person of remarkable talent and unique vision."

Like Banksy, and late U.S. artist Keith Haring, Pasha P183 started out painting graffiti in the dead of night, and recalled being detained numerous times by Moscow police.

One of his most famous works was painted on the ground in a snow-covered yard and features a huge pair of glasses, with a lamppost serving as one arm. Another piece showed chocolate bars painted on a panel of concrete, an image he said reflected his abhorrence of the commercialization of art and life.

"I wanted that work to carry the most important message ... that a person mustn't sell himself," he said in a rare interview posted on adme.ru last year. "I made a chocolate bar that can't be bought, using a giant panel of concrete."

He said the work provided a more optimistic ending for a film he made _ the original one had the hero jumping out of the window to his death, while the alternative had him landing safely in front of the chocolate bar.

Little was known about the artist, who carefully protected his identity. In the same interview, he described himself as an "anarchist" and spoke with contempt about the "constant run for money" in Moscow.

Many of his street works had political undertones and carried an apparent reference to a recent wave of massive street protests in Moscow against President Vladimir Putin's rule. One showed a protester lighting a flare and another work had shield-carrying riot police on a subway station's glass doors.

"Put simply, I want to teach people in this country to tell lies from the truth and to tell bad from good," he said in an interview with Russia Today television, wearing a black ski mask that covered most of his face. "This is what our people still cannot do."

Despite all that, he said he didn't consider himself a political artist and hated politics just as much as he hated advertising.

The artist has claimed to have had many professions since graduating from a university, working as a computer expert, photographer, cameraman, film director and even child psychiatrist. He scoffed at comparisons to Banksy, saying they belittled his own style.

The rock musical "Todd" is currently showing in Moscow.

"It was a colossal work," Pasha P183 wrote on his Facebook page of the production of the scenery. "If I die tomorrow, I can at least feel that I have left something real behind."

___

Pasha P183's personal web site: http://www.183art.ru

His blog: http://183.livejournal.com


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Top Stories

  • Failing
    So far, it's good news for car tab fees in King County, and bad news for bus riders

  • 21 & Over
    There's a push to raise the age to from 18 to 21 in order to legally buy tobacco

  • Suing The Seahawks
    A Seahawks fan sues for $50 million over limiting playoff ticket sales
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know a student who stands out in the classroom, school and community?
Help make their dreams come true by nominating them for a $1,000 scholarship and a chance to earn a $10,000 Grand Prize. Brought to you by KIRO Radio and Comprehensive Wealth Management.

Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.