lego to the party
The great adventure of small figurines
“Lego convey all these sensations that come from childhood: imagination, smiles, joy, memory.”
How did you start working on Legos?
As a child, I spent more hours drawing on my notebooks than writing the course there. I also did video editing to show my creations and see the reactions of my high school friends, and mixing in the evening, always for the same reason. So, I like to summarize myself by saying that I touch everything but I don’t excel anywhere.
I started by mistake, trying to make a cake in a Lego mold. When it came out of the oven, it looked like everything but a Lego, and I thought I had to find a way to recycle it to do something else. When I poured plaster, the result was incredible when I removed it from the mould, and I used this base to paint on it, before gluing it in the street.
Why did you choose to stick them in the street?
I started presenting Legos after a bet at work, because I had been aware for several months of the madness generated by Instagram, but my colleague didn’t believe me. The right photograph, with the right hashtag, can collect a large number of likes. I wanted to see how many likes I could get by producing something.
The first time a stranger finds a figurine, takes the time to stop and rest it on social networks, it gives a feeling of enjoyment and emotion. So I kept sticking to it, hoping that it would affect as many people as possible.
lego: the big adventure
What is the visibility of your parts on the street?
My problem is that 3D parts are easily ripped off. The life expectancy of my Legos on the street ranges from a few hours to a few days, once it even lasted the duration of a walk. I think that street art, by exploding in galleries and museums, attracts more and more people. As people will not go to tear off a wall (unless it is a Banksy), they fall back on these 3D parts that are accessible: even Invader gets lifted off! There is no need for tools, if you scratch them a little, they come off, and people start collecting them.
Paradoxically, they don’t have time to be silenced. Once, one of them was covered with paint to paint the Paris City Hall, thus finding himself better camouflaged. They do not degrade either: before I used to use plaster so the water damaged them, which is no longer the case now that I use polyurethane resin which allows them to last longer.
In fact, most of them will not be photographable by the public.
It’s also because they’re small and discreet. I made them in three different sizes: the smallest ones are the size of Lego, the medium ones are 10cm and the largest ones are currently 20cm. For the latter, I made the mould myself, having great difficulty in making it: that’s why I try more to put them in the gallery than in the street. I don’t want a piece that took more investment from me to be ripped off in an hour.
How do you choose what you will represent on it?
The smaller ones are not very decorated because they are too small, so they are glued like a simple sticker. I paint on medium and large in the same way, with no difference due to size, although 3D does not make the task easy. TocToc thought it was ridiculous to paint on Lego, but he quickly realized that it’s not that simple! Concerning what I represent, I let my inspiration of the moment take its course, while trying to make the drawing speak to as many people as possible: it can be TV series characters who inspire me, like The Princes of Bel Air or The Simpsons, but also popular films, like Die Hard or Harry Potter. For the more abstract drawings I take note of the shapes that I like on Instagram, which is my personal museum, just as I hate places that require me to take a complete tour: I proceed to the crush, stopping at what speaks to me the most.
Sometimes I throw paint on my Legos to see the result, and they get a very large number of likes, whereas it took me two seconds, and others or after three hours of work the feedback is mixed. I’m taking this with hindsight, it’s Instagram’s laws. Not everyone has the same way of thinking, nor the same interests. Art is something you can’t explain to anyone else.
Would you like to be able to animate these frozen figurines?
If today they are really frozen, I would like to be able to work on a 50cm model to make it modular. Once they are glued, they would not move, but it would be possible to fix the arm in the desired position. For the moment I already have them holding accessories, but their arms stay close to their bodies. I had painted the 4 ninja turtles, but frozen they lacked dynamism. This would allow me to do more staging.
Are you going to glue your parts spontaneously?
I have favourite places, but I will most often stick together when I leave a bar. I most often place my Lego in the Marais, towards Bastille or Republic. With Toctoc, we go to the places of passage, where street-art hunters will search. But I also often go out on a scooter to discover new walls, with my head up, on the lookout, a little dreamy. It’s a way to discover the city, me who has the unfortunate habit of getting lost.
the street as a resonance box
We have the impression that it is more a viral dimension than a relationship with the street that motivates your approach.
I have no prior relationship with the street and I started first and foremost with Instagram. The street made me discover artists like TocToc, Dark Snooopy or Jaeraymie, but I didn’t think I would go and carve the walls myself. My Legos are street art because it has to be categorized, but I do it mainly for fun and to make people smile. Once you’ve stepped into the gears, you want to keep going.
So the street is your sounding board.
It’s a place where I like to come and surprise, while I use Instagram as a personal gallery. I continue my work on the street to attract the eye and look at people’s reactions, the way they take their pictures and interact with them. I don’t want to do this alone at home.
How does Instagram become your personal museum?
I have two types of posts on Instagram: I already take a first picture just after finishing working, as a backup. The second photo is of the Lego in situation placed in the street. Then I try not to glue the room in the middle of a wall, in order to keep the background, the continuity of the street, the clouds… I imposed myself to publish a post every two days, which forces me to work, otherwise I probably would have lasted a week.
What interactivity is there with passers-by?
If many people have difficulty making the difference between Lego and Playmobil, they all fall back into childhood when they see them. My most amusing memory was a collector who, by buying a piece from me in the gallery, explained to me that it was not for Lego and developed a theory about my work. It’s amazing the folklore that people build around a piece. Legos convey all these sensations that come from childhood: imagination, smiles, joy, memory.
FIGURINES OF UNIVERSAL RENOWN
How did the universal fame of Lego play in the recognition of your work?
At first my Instagram was only followed by Lego fans. With this community, I discovered a world of my own that made me feel like a child again, especially since the brand is back in the public’s mind with new films. It was the right support, at the right time, that no one had used in this way before: it is certain that I have progressed more thanks to these figures than to the doodles I can make on them. It is thanks to these fans that my Instagram had visibility and that the street was able to discover what I was doing.
Have you ever had the impression that Legos were a limit, that some things couldn’t be written or drawn on them?
I’ve always had a hardcore spirit. I love this gap between childish Lego and the obscenities it can tell. At one time I used to add bubbles by creating sentences with my brother. This gap between Lego and insult amused us a lot, even if I make sure I never hurt: my only limit is that what is written on the walls does not offend anyone.
Do you have the feeling that you are part of a pre-existing artistic trend?
Street art has brought me encounters and friendships. But I don’t feel affiliated with it: I could live outside. Now I’m going to see what other artists are doing, which was not the case before. Moreover, there is obviously a generational effect, and except during certain exposures it is difficult to be in contact with previous generations.
How could you take the Legos even further?
My next step is to work on the giant. I have been working on this project for almost a year now, but as I am self-taught, casting is a long process to learn. I would be proud to have done it alone. I would also like to work on the pixel art concept, by composing a Lego frame with lots of small figurines on it. I think that would allow me to make bigger walls.
It would also amuse me to represent rural landscapes, such as those you see in your grandparents’ homes or in roadside bars.
Have you ever wanted to work with the brand?
Some hard-core fans were angry with me for painting on Lego. And somewhere along the way, I was always afraid that when I approached a big brand they would tell me to stop. If Lego offered me to paint on a giant character, I would of course be happy, but I’m not going to ask them. In the meantime I continue to be as viral as possible with my Instagram account to push it as far as possible. It’ll be crazy the day I get something out of this account.
Can you imagine leaving this concept behind?
When I thought I was stuck, the mosaic allowed me to test a new shape. Lego is what represents me, and if I had to stop I would totally stop, or I would choose another concept, a new name. I created myself around this concept and don’t see why I would change it. The Legos have managed to renew themselves over time, and I don’t see how they would run out of steam. I still have a lot of stories and characters to invent.