When colour brings out the animality of concrete
“I think the street extends the universe of the show we’re working on.”
journey & technic
How did you become an artist?
When I was a kid, I used to make animated films. Gradually I came to paint sets and characters, then canvases. Then I put painting aside for a while to work in cinema, make music and music videos. While making storyboards and illustrations, I realized that this was what I liked the most, so I came back to it completely about two years ago. I tried to find a style and develop it, for this year I’m starting to show my creations and exhibit them. I also studied graphic design when I arrived in Paris, which for me was too applied a discipline, but some elements of it can be found in my work today.
What’s your preferred technique?
I use watercolour, acrylic and spray can (preferably water), because since I am in Paris I live in small spaces and it was more practical to do so. I mainly paint with a knife and I think I will soon start using oil paint, which allows for more pronounced relief effects.
Do you adapt your style to each of your series?
I think that there is rather a continuity in my work: I remain since the beginning particularly attached to the environment because I believe that it is a really contemporary theme. The style then adapts itself according to the period: the street, for example, has allowed me to move on to larger formats, giving more scope to my creations, while giving them a story.
Fauna & Flora
Animals are an important part of your work.
I grew up in the country and I am passionate about animals, I could spend hours observing them. My first watercolours were of insects, and even before I did the Superorganisms series I was painting anthropomorphic creatures inspired by insects and plants.
Could you go back to your wild animal show? Their graphic treatment makes them very urban.
I try to bring back the animality of these animals in the street, which is not their natural setting at all. To do this I use graffiti, fluorescent colours and sometimes a dose of anthropomorphism so that we can identify and recognize ourselves in them. Their forms are constructed in part thanks to graffiti that produce the effect of calligrams by combining words with visuals, reinforcing the idea that they are often abandoned, like old buildings.
I also sometimes incorporate references to my friends or caricatures to add a touch of humour.
Finally, I always work on movement, a reflex perhaps coming from my first animated films, trying to bring a maximum of life to the drawing.
Colour plays an important role in the Superorganisms series, whose composition is reminiscent of Arcimboldo’s assemblages.
This interest in colour appeared above all with the Superorganisms series and the multitude of coral hues. Through this series which imagined a humanity caught under the waves, I tried to show the monstrous face of the human being who would have adapted. Today, flashy colours are also used to stand out in the street, that’s why I am gradually going from bright colours to fluo. Although I frequently use certain harmonies as a base, there are always many colours in a single painting, giving the work more impact. There is “competition” in the street and it was necessary to find a style that would allow one to stand out while carrying a message. But it also highlights those species that we tend to forget, by drawing the eye to them.
However, this series was distinguished by its very dark aspect.
I don’t think it’s that dark. You think it’s dark because the background is black and represents the abyss, but if you take the corals out of the water you can see that they are full of colour, full of life. Conversely, I find that the animals are darker than we think because of their wild side: they come to roar in our faces, they are rather aggressive.
Connection to the street
What does the street represent as a creative space?
I think that the street allows us to extend the universe of the series we are working on. It allows you to create a cinematographic atmosphere, the choice of location conferring a story. It’s also a place that serves as an exhibition space, which offers better visibility. I started working there naturally, without any real conviction. At first I hid, trying to go out at night between midnight and one o’clock, but I realized that Street art is rather tolerated (at least in Paris).
Why did you choose collage?
It comes from the hauntings one can have towards the street. I thought the fine would be less severe. Moreover, the collage has an ephemeral aspect that corresponds to the sensitivity of the message: what matters most to me is the story I tell and the fact that I manage to stage it through photography, so the ephemeral aspect doesn’t bother me. My collage is finished when I have taken the picture, when I have captured the moment I wanted: it can then disappear. This staging brings even more life to the image, it is the culmination of what I have done.
What will determine the choice of location? The context or visibility given to the work?
I think both of these dimensions come into play. For this series the presence of wild animals in the street creates an interesting contrast. But visibility is also important: I always mark the place before the collage, so that I can adapt my format, like the lazy man hanging from a pipe. I couldn’t put an elephant in any place either!
How would you like your work to relate to the passer-by?
I like it when passers-by take pictures of themselves in front of my collages, creating an interaction with the animal, it brings a bit of life to the work. For example, I made a flying dumbo that many people try to catch.
music and painting
You work on music and painting in parallel.
I’ve been making music since I was eighteen years old: it allows me to exteriorise things that I have in my head and that I can’t say otherwise. Even before I started doing it, my first paintings were of musicians, hence my pseudonym.
It’s video that pushed me towards music, I wanted to make music videos so I could make music videos. It also led to painting, going from painted sets to real shots. After several small amateur films, I turned to music videos so that I wouldn’t have to deal with dialogue and directing actors anymore.
Do you want to evolve by working these two disciplines at the same time?
It’s important for me, even if I might focus more on one area than the other. Today I have chosen painting as my main practice, but I still plan to do video and music – so I force myself to release at least one piece a year for my birthday. In Street art, my goal is to produce one new piece a week. So I try to combine everything with one goal in mind: having fun!
In your song Sans Plus, your chorus states: “What’s the point of getting older when you’re no different when you’re older, you go where life takes you, but you stay the same. »
The songs are very personal, but I try not to change fundamentally and take life day by day. When there’s something I like I do it, I’ve been doing it since I was a kid, it’s a way to be happy, or at least try to be happy. I’m not afraid of old age and I think that as you go through life you have to stay true to your convictions.
discovery of urban art
Do you feel like you’re part of a pre-existing artistic movement?
I’m not much of anything at the moment. I arrive on a ground occupied by others, so I wanted to stand out by style and to be visually striking to stand out from the crowd. Besides, I’m a fan of a lot of street artists, I’ve been following them on social networks for a while now and it’s impressive to be able to meet them.
In my opinion, there’s still a lot of things to do in street art: it’s a bit like the cubism era. I haven’t had enough time to look back yet, I’ve been doing it for six months now, as if I started from scratch: we’ll see what happens in six months.
While many urban artists use the same motif, you seem to be experimenting all the time.
Each time I try to bring something more that I haven’t done yet, whether it’s through posing, colour or staging. I may repeat the same motif at some point, but for the moment I’m more interested in pushing my experiments further by modifying small elements.
What projects would you like to do?
In the short term I would like to set up an exhibition centred on a single theme, creating a completely immersive forest atmosphere. Without projecting myself in the long term, I would like to develop this concept, linking new technologies to more classical art. There’s surely a lot to be achieved with this.