During my time in Lisbon I was lucky enough to meet Odeith, also known as ‘The Illusionist’. His technical ability to trick viewers into seeing his work burst off walls stands out above the vast majority of 3D graffiti writers. A professional muralist and tattooist, himself heavily tattooed, I remember Odeith pulling up to the paint store where I met him in an aging black BMW, complete with a massive exhaust pipe and tinted windows. People in his neighbourhood of Damaia will gladly provide Odeith with paint for his murals. If you could close your eyes and imagine a ‘graffiti king’ then Odeith just overtook him in a pimping car.
Check out the amazing Odeith slideshow below…
In Odeith’s Words
I started painting in 1995 and I haven’t stopped since. Most of my pieces in the beginning were just bombing. In 1997 I started to paint big mural; every time I went to paint I always wanted to do it bigger and better. I was always focused on 3D pieces (I started painting corners in 2005).
I never studied art formally - I left school at the very young age of 15 and I worked in a furniture factory. Most people think that I’m one of those guys who studied art when they see my work but I guess life didn’t want it to happen that way!
I wrote the Portuguese for ‘HATE’ in my first piece. I thought there would probably be a lot of people writing ‘hate’ around the world so I made a few pieces writing EYTH. I don’t know why but I decided to change the “y” for an “i”. After 8 years of writing I wanted something that sounded Portuguese – here’s the tricky part; pay attention! In Portuguese ODEIO-TE means “I HATE YOU” and when you say Odeith it has the same sound. I kept the old ‘Eith’ and now it sounds Portuguese!
When I started writing I think there were only 5 - 6 graffiti writers in Portugal. I used to buy a famous magazine called Hip-Hop Connection only because there were 2 - 3 graffiti pages in the middle. It was a good start to see different graffiti / art from everywhere.
As the years passed, more graffiti writers traveled to Portugal. Every year brings a lot of writers and now we have a big community with a lot of artists, a lot of bombing, etc. The streets are nice galleries to walk through! Now Portuguese writers meet other writers and that’s good because it open doors for you outside of Portugal so you can learn with the world.
Sometimes I say to kids though, if you want to do something really original the best way is to stopping watching other artists work – if you watch others, even if you don’t want to, your mind gets influenced .
I have been making tattoos for twelve years now but at the moment I’m making a living from my anamorphic pieces: sometimes I sell my soul and make some money with some pieces but it’s better than working in a factory.
For years most of my paintings had a message to society because I thought I could change the World. Now I don’t care about it - I just want change my life before the World changes me.