Interview with Chicago Street Artist, SARO

SkullXbones detail by SARO

SkullXbones 24″x24″ spray paint on warped/textured wood. Available at the Street Anatomy store

We’re proud to announce that one of Chicago’s most prominent street artists, Saro, is teaming up with Street Anatomy to sell some of his  anatomically themed street art.  We caught up with Saro while he was preparing for the big Chicago Street Art Show at the Chicago Urban Art Society, opening May 13th.

Q Lets start the the basics. Where you from? How many years have you been doing street art?
I am from here in Chicago and born at Illinois Masonic. I’ve been doing some type of street art since…I dunno, 1998, but really didn’t get down to biz until 2004.

Q What’s with the name Saro?
I’m so sad! Haha no, I dunno really. I could lie like I’ve done in other interviews, but the truth is when I needed an alias, I was just starting out and I wasn’t really doing enough stuff on the street to really need a steady name…so me and my buddy would get drunk at my place, we’d sketch/write. I wrote a song that he was supposed to sing while I attempted to play guitar…but we got too drunk. I woke up in the morning and noticed that not only did I spell sorrow wrong but I stopped writing mid word…saro. I thought it looked cool. SO…..after that I went around tagging and doing hand drawn stickers.

SARO ribcage board Chicago

Q What possessed you to start putting anatomy into your work?
I never realized I used it so much until you hit me up on Flickr, haha!

I was living with gramma and she’s super religious…and I am not. She’d always come downstairs and I’d have metal music blastin or watchin horror movies and she’d mumble a lil prayer and leave. It got to a point where I was tryin to make some stencils that would make her un-easy. So I cut some zombies, some skulls, bats, broken rib cages and whatever and she comes down and sees them and she ends up liking them and telling me how in some religions skulls and bones are “good luck” and remind people of the lost loved ones and all this stuff! So it didn’t quite work out, but since I enjoyed anatomy and horror stuff anyhow, it was all good. But skulls, bones, and other severed body parts fit well with my horror/macabre theme. I love it.

Q What kind of references do you use, if any, to do your anatomical works?
Well Flickr is awesome for thieving images. We also have a couple anatomy books here that help out with my quest. Google on the occasion that Flickr is being a bastard.

Q How have people responded to the anatomical street art compared to your other stuff?
LOVE EM. The skull and cross bones, cyclops skull, vulture x-ray are the biggest sellers. The cyclops skull is dear to me because…I dunno, its awesome and the original photo comes from the Mutter museum that I desperately want to go see.

SARO Untitled blue board

Untitled blue 12″x11″ on 1″ thick wood. Available at the Street Anatomy store

Q How did the cyclops skulls come about?
Honestly? The Murder City Devils. Thats my favorite band. They have a song called Midnight Service at the Mutter Museum. I was workin on my next image one night while my girl was sleeping, so I had my headphones on and that song popped up. I googled the Mutter Museum. Knew it was gonna be awesome, but ended up seeing this pic of this cyclops skull. It wasn’t stealable or too small. So…off to Flickr! I searched Flickr for people that have visited. Found a really cool pic of the same skull from the site, hit up the person to fork over the largest size of it. Then, since i suck at Photoshop, it took me forever and a day to get it right but eventually came out the way I wanted.

Q You have a big presence on the Chicago Street Art group on Flickr. Do you think that’s helped the spread of your work and your name? Ever have a fear of being caught through sites like that?

Flickr has definitely helped me spread my work, market and sell stuff. I used it as a online portfolio before As far as fearing the law aspect of it, since there is a disclaimer on the Flickr profile that there are no pics of me in the act or of my face or anything like that, any accusation against me would  have to be tossed out do to lack of evidence and just a coincidence. Plus I have a FANTASTIC lawyer in the family.

Buzzard anatomy by SARO

Buzzard anatomy 21.5″x14.5″ on primed plywood. Available at the Street Anatomy store.

Q How would you describe the Chicago street art community?
Stagnant. There’s people getting up that shouldn’t and the other way around. Great stuff like CLS, Choke, and Stomach are ridiculously hard to come by whereas people are tripping over the amount of bla shit like blaggo stencils, goon ripoffs, and stuff. But the good thing about that is since the street art community is hibernating, the graff heads are pickin up the slack.

Q What can we expect from you at the upcoming Chicago Urban Art Society show?
Well, I was requested to do some remakes of old favs like my horror stencils and stuff like that. But I was also given my own wall to do whatever, so…I’m doing something outside the norm…well my norm. Bigger stuff. Should be sick!

Q And finally…what’s next for Saro?
Well, after the CUAS show opens on the 13th this month, there’s an AMAZING show at OhNo! DOOM! in June that I’m involved with that’s gonna be the highlight of the summer…for me at least. Then after that it’s back to installing more boards, boards, boards, and maybe some large paste ups that people would be surprised to see me do. Some definite Street Anatomy ensues…

View more of Saro’s work on his site, and via Flickr.

If you’re in Chicago, don’t miss the opening of the huge Chicago Street Art Show at the Chicago Urban Art Society on May 13th. Part of the Street Anatomy crew will be there!

View the poster below for details.

Chicago Street Art show at the Chicago Urban Art Society

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