Paul ‘Dizzi’ Saunders is the man behind the massive Urban In Ibiza event, heading to Ibiza July/ August for the fifth installment and he will openly tell you that the success of the event itself has taken him by surprise. What began as a promotional tool for a projected online art gallery has become one of the marquee events of the Ibiza season, and one that unites the island and attracts visitors specifically to it.
The street art, music and fashion fusion flagship event will take place once again in the heart of the Ibiza countryside in Atzaro Hotel. With gallery space for the art and numerous unique spaces to showcase the talent, it has proved the perfect home for Urban. 2013 sees an influx of American talent, featuring John Tracey and the SK8 Art St team as well as the usual British artists, and a variety of factors resulted in the theme ‘Sons Of Warhol’. With numerous activities across the month of August, including a return to Ocean Beach Ibiza on the 23rd, it promises to be yet another massive step forward in the evolution of this exciting concept. We caught up with Paul as he prepares for the latest Urban in Ibiza…
This is the fifth episode of Urban In Ibiza, how has the concept evolved since you launched?
Considering that, back in the beginning, my plan was to launch an online gallery and use the event to bring awareness to that original concept more than anything else, a lot has changed over the last five years. Now, it’s the overall annual event that people talk about and to be honest, I think I’ve created a monster…
You are spreading out over more dates and venues this year, what’s the thinking behind that?
Ocean Beach Club approached us last year and after weighing it up, we decided to throw a separate Urban in Ibiza event there last summer following on from the flagship show at Atzaro. It went so well that we have to go back and do it again but this year, we are upping our production and input for the Ocean event on August 23 so I am sure that it will be a huge success in its own right, as per last year, but bigger and better. We are also collaborating with Ibiza Rocks this year, and Inkie and Fin DAC will be doing a live paint at the Rocks Hotel on July 31, the same night as Chase and Status headline the gig. We have also condensed the number of days we will be exhibiting at each venue which we hope, in turn, will free us up to do more on the ground and spread the word about Urban in Ibiza and its art exhibition even further afield. This year, for example, the main gallery show at Agroturismo Atzaro runs until August 8.
The event has become massive on the island, how important is it to you to maintain the focus on the art and the exhibition more than the party that surrounds it?
It’s of number one importance that the art remain the main focal point of Urban in Ibiza; the whole concept evolves around it! Over the years, the event has grown so much and the fashion and music both play an important role, but realistically, if the art doesn’t sell, then the whole shebang is un-doable. Our main goal since the beginning has always been to educate a wider public about street art and artists and this year, to be honest, the spotlight needs to be firmly on the exhibition – it’s probably the best show we have put together until now.
Tell us the idea behind this year’s theme ‘Sons Of Warhol’?
We decided to adapt the name of the event this year for a few reasons, one of them being to try and please possible sponsors who think that the term ‘urban’ has far too limited connotations. Maybe they are right – our event has grown to be much more than that. But more importantly, Andy Warhol’s is a name synonymous with art, an individual greatly admired by our school of artists and one immediately identifiable to the public. Also, because of our American input this year and the fact that Andy’s birthday falls in the week of our event, we wanted to pay a bit of homage to the guy. With all these indicators it was almost picking itself a new name.
As always there is a host of artistic talent on show, who should we be looking to check out?
Take your pick this year, it’s basically a who’s who of street art giants with pieces not only exclusive to Urban in Ibiza but also, being unveiled for the first time anywhere! Our big coup this time round has to be the introduction of the American contingent to Urban In Ibiza – Shephard Fairey (OBEY), Bam Margera, Chad Muska and John Tracy – all massive names in their own right. For me personally, securing American artists of this calibre is a huge deal and I’m proud to say I’ve done it. On the music side, we have Benji Boko who played at the first Urban in Ibiza back in 2009. Since then, he’s risen right up through he ranks and is pretty much unbookable these days, constantly playing high profile gigs. His set and style went down so well at the first Urban that I thought it was time to unleash him on you all again and blow everyone’s socks off…
Urban In Ibiza always showcases new talent across its various combined artistic platforms; this year sees Tom van der Borght, winner of ‘Premium Young Designer Award 2013’ at Berlin fashion week, is this an important part of the event?
Tom Van Der Borght’s style is totally up our street; I actually flew to Berlin Fashion Week to secure him, and that’s when he won the award. I have literally done more than I’ve ever had to do before to secure Tom and his collection for this show- I see them both as pivotal to the whole event. What he does just fits with our way of thinking…
How much planning goes into the event these days, when do you start thinking of the following year’s show?
It’s endless… As soon as last year’s show ended, I was already planning Urban in Ibiza 5 and this year, with the added international aspects, the work load has been phenomenal – dealing with late night phone calls from the States, planes, trains and automobiles… I have been full on since January, my foot firmly pressed to the floor.
What are you most looking forward to from Urban In Ibiza 2013?
Being that it’s the fifth year, I’m looking forward to welcoming back Urban’s loyal followers and hopefully, lots of new faces for the milestone celebration. Urban in Ibiza has always been known for the slick combo of art, fashion and music, this year, apart from the art, with DJs like Benji Boko and designers like Tom Van der Borght, I think we’ve got it sorted… It sounds terrible but I am also looking forward to the simple things and enjoying the island and hopefully getting breaks in between the madness and schedules and getting some time to myself and as usual looking forward to seeing what the future may bring…