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Hello, dear readers. Today we want to introduce you Jaroslaw Balabanski, known as VJ Diablos. Jaroslaw is an Eastern Europe visual artist. He is from Poland. A few words from VJ Diablos about himself:
We are happy to welcome you, Jaroslaw in our magazine. Please let us know about yourself. Who are you?
Thank you for your invitation.
My name’s Jaroslaw Balabanski, but people call me Diablos. I’ve been a VJ and visual artist since 2001 but I started Vjing in public in 2004. I do visual background for festivals, events and shows. I produce music video clips, promos, DVDs and advertisements. I’ m a visual artist, a film director and a producer, all-in-one. But mainly I’m happy to be a VJ and I don’t like it when people in my city, Olsztyn, Poland, tell me to do mapping for free, it’s because they don’t trust me ,they don’t believe in what I do. In Olsztyn it’s a standard situation. The same goes with planetarium where we organise SPACE VJ MEETING. I love Vj loops because they know I am trustworthy.
How did you find vjing interesting for you for the first time?
Few years ago I realized that when I was 17 I painted my room’s wall using pastel colours. It was my first projection on the wall, I think.
Because I was Apple Evangelist I’ve always had a lot of computers in the house and I had fun converting pictures and videos. When my friends came to me and I showed them what I’d been doing, they encouraged me to show my work to professionals. Then I decided to visit my friends in the club “Klubokawiarnia” in Warsaw to show them my mixed films. They liked them a lot and then… in 2004 I mixed videos to DJ’s live music for the first time. Those were great times.
It was in 2001 when I was an Apple Evangelist in Warsaw. I did marketing plans, wrote conceptions and designed the first Apple Store in Poland. When my friend showed me Arkaos, asking me to work with it, I completely lost my mind. It was an old version of Arkaos able to edit only pictures. For a few years, my job was to shoot pics for a medical magazine, so I got a lot of pictures of vegetables, fruit and then I started mixing them, editing effects. I’ve been vjing at home for a few years only for friends and participating in night club events in Warsaw. Starting from the year 1990 I’ ve been active participant of the club culture. Initially as a clubber and currently a V.J. Cooperating with a certain I.T. company (7 years of being Apple Evangelist) It led to a fascination with graphic and movie-making hardware and software, as well as editing and VJ software.
What are the reasons it is still amusing for you now?
Vjing is my religion. My best friends are Vjs, I trust Vjs, I believe in visuals. VJs are open-minded people who look directly into your heart. I can say – In vjing I trust.
I do it because this is my passion. There is a lot of new software I want to learn. I would like to code as well but I am not a coder.
Editing live is a lot of fun because sometimes the result is different from you wanted, sometimes it’s a glitch or pictures from outer space. I like experimenting with visuals, sometimes I don’t know how to use some software and I go for “trial and error”, so it’s an experiment for me. When I’ m editing or vjing I stop thinking about my problems, therefore sometimes I can spend the whole night editing at home.
I’ m Vjing because I have a lot of friends all over the world who are Vjs too and they always tell me: don’ t give up, „do it Diablos, I like your work, you have a different, unique style” , my answer is I don’t like this vid I made, but they tell me again: do it, it’s ok:), do it, do it, do it, don’t give up. At times you feel you don’t have any more power to create, but because of friends you keep doing this. It’ s hard work but definitely worth the effort.
We would be more than glad to hear about your favourite vj projects you’ve done.
My favourite VJ project is SPACE VJ MEETING. SPACE VJ MEETING is possible because of the support from my friends. It wouldn’t be possible without Bjorn Samson, visual friend from Belgium. Without friends I wouldn’t have strength to do this. I want to say thank you to all Vjs for supporting my idea, for supporting SPACE VJ MEETING especially thank You, my friend Bjorn Samson. Everyone worked hard for free and put their own money in this event. I’ m so happy to have friends like them. Now I’ m trying to find money using my foundation. It’ s difficult, to say the least.
The idea behind SPACE VJ MEETING was to create place where Vjs can meet and share ideas, make friendships.
Unfortunately, work on the 3rd edition has extended to 3 years and continues up till now. While I was sitting alone in Olsztyn, talking to VJs via the Internet, or when I attended Live Performers Meeting, among others, my biggest dream was to arrange such a meeting myself inside Olsztyn’s planetarium, which I have visited numerous times since it was built. I suggested that idea to Bjorn Samson. First, I wanted to make a party for VJ and DJ in a place other than the planetarium, but Bjorn offered to help and so SPACE VJ MEETING came to life. In 2012, during its 2 editions it attracted 72 artists from 15 countries. These two editions were possible thanks to hard work of everyone involved, especially VJs and friends of the foundation.
It was hard to arrange such a meeting at the planetarium, because it is a government facility and it is difficult to cooperate with. I was not taken seriously, because the issues I talked about seemed vague and abstract. The officials promised a hostel for artists and when it came down to it, they informed us they had no funds. At that time we had already booked 20 artists with more to come.
I visited the City Hall every day and after 2 months they organised a hostel to meet our needs and told me not to come for the next 3 months. After the second edition the press wrote that there had been nothing going on on Friday night as there had been no lights visible outside. However, it was the time of interactive presentations which were supposed to take place in the dark, therefore, when the marshal read that nothing had happened on Friday evening, the cooperation became hindered again and the struggle began anew.
As usual, people in the Department of promotion in the City Hall get heart palpitations as they see me, because I can come every day for several months, always being polite, although sometimes a bit too talkative, putting forward arguments such as A is A and B is B, but for them A suddenly becomes B, so the struggle continues. Establishment of the foundation was supposed to help us organise SPACE VJ MEETING, but it got extremely difficult; numerous promises made by the city hall led to nothing, caused us to set the initial date for the next Space VJ Meeting in October 2015. However, the City hall once again informed us they could not fulfil the promise they had made during the meeting at the planetarium with me, Bjorn, director of the planetarium itself and the director of promotion of the City Hall. In this situation our foundation filed 8 applications for grants from Poland and from Olsztyn.
We have not managed to receive any grant yet, even though the ministry of culture gave us 63 out of 70 possible points. I am still struggling to find sponsors and assistance, but it is a hard task. I don’t give up because my VJ friends tell me not to. I listen to them because they have never let me down. I am not discouraged by setbacks and I am looking for a private sponsor, filling in application forms, I constantly attend various meetings, develop the foundation and maybe someday we will win a contest.
We can’t afford to organise the next event investing our private funds, time, health, work while promoting the region and the city of Olsztyn at the same time. It is worth noting that our event was mentioned in Newsweek and TV broadcast on TVP 2, so the whole country got the news about our SPACE VJ MEETING and as far as I know the news also circulated abroad. We are not able to organise the next edition if we can’t afford to provide our guests with any form of accommodation. Fortunately, many of our friends have become partners to the foundation, so I am not alone in this endeavour.
As far as we know, for the first time last year world saw a video with your visualizations you’ve done during 15 years. Could you please introduce to us this great work?
I don’t know how to talk about my work. I have problems with my left eye .I cannot see in 100% and sometimes I see double or a few layers.
I’ m editing videos since 2001. Editing pics and videos is a way of relaxing. I like using numbers of layers. Maybe even too many:). People say that I’ m using too many colours and my art is more artistic rather than commercial. So I’m trying to find some middle ground.
I started with black and white photography when I was 14 years old. Ever since childhood I have been fascinated with photography, got kilometres of black and white films.
I’ve been in love with music since I remember. In Poland, during communism of the 1980s, there were only 2 channels on TV so I was watching TV screen without sound but with my own music background. It was Pink Floyd, the Doors, Zappa, King Crimson, all kind of jazz, ELP, Yes, Tangerine dream…. In 2001 I discovered electronic dance music and techno. Better late than never.
How is vjing going in the Eastern Europe? Are there some huge vj events?
When I started vjing there were no typical VJ events. VJs were occasionally projecting at clubs. Now it’s common both in Poland as well as in entire Europe.
It looks like VJing is a big part of your life, isn’t it? There are a lot of thing in VJing you’re doing for fun. Is it really for fun or is it a part of your work?
Well, to be honest, it is not always fun. It’ s really hard work. Sometimes, I feel like a robot. When you are doing the same thing for a billionth time, it seems like a nightmare.
When you are a VJ at big events or for advertising agencies you should be focused all the time and it is no fun at all. You should make every second perfect. Every second means 24 frames to be edited and sometimes this sucks, but all good things need time.
When I want to unwind, I do Vjing at clubs, I conduct experiments and sometimes my visuals spin out of control.
Nevertheless, every Vjing session is connected with some stress for me. I’ m stressed about software, hardware and people. I don’ t know whether they are going to enjoy my work or not. So vjing comprises stress, fun, hard work, blood, sweat and tears.
Thanks a lot to VJ Diablos for such an interesting interview. We will be more than happy to see you on Lumen’s pages again!
Yeah! I’ m still working on 3rd edition of SPACE VJ MEETING. A lot of friends support my foundation so I think WE WILL EVENTUALLY WIN! Thank you for inviting me and professional interview. Hope to meet you on 3rd edition of SPACE VJ MEETING. Love, visuals and music .
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