Category Archives: Interviews/ Studio visits

Interview: Zoer (FR)

We wanted to find out more about French artist Frederic Battle aka Zoer, as he painted a mural together with Velvet at the Crystal Ship Festival in Ostende.

He accepted to answer a few questions:

Can you tell us more about your background?

Graduated from an industrial design school, I have been drawing since I know how to hold a pencil. Kid, I used to break my car toys myself to create new forms then draw car crashes or trafic jam. I started to write by scratching, tagging with a maker without any idea of what was happening then my best friend came and said “hey, why don’t you try to make some drawing on walls” and I start to write ZOER. Where I come from, at that time they were no so much graffity for this reason my letter was quickly combined to figurative elements inspired by comics, architecture and automobile with my drawing style. Then, I moved to Paris and met Velvet (Kryo) and get a stronger interest in graffity. In 2011, the association “Sans pression” from Nantes invited me to take part of “Voyage à Nantes” first edition. This invitation was the starting point of painting murals.

What / who are your sources of inspirations?

Comics, architecture and automobile.
Gerard Richter and Ron van der Ende
Sonic PNC
Electronic music which is really important for me, the first musical emotions, I’ve felt was with Daft Punk ep ” Musique” in 1993. Laurent Garnier is certainly the artist I listen the most.


You are a multidisciplinary artist, so what is your creative process and your preferred medium?

Painting is my favorite medium but I like challenge so I can not stop to explore and explore by combining different technics, mediums and styles.
Object are the key element of my creating process, I focus on it, try to extract the abstract part of it to make growing up a subject from realistic object but not used in a realistic way.

Can you tell us more about your artworks and how you would define your style? You seem to incorporate a lot of vehicules /cars in your artworks. Is there a specific meaning behind it?

My style is definitely figurative, generally in my painting, the chaos of the pictured scene is paradoxically balanced by the accurate depiction of the objects.
Automobile is the most complicated invention of the XX century in its technological contraints as much its social impacts. Whether it’s the subject or the support, cars, from a toy to an industrial shape, embodies the culture, aspirations and desires of succeeding generations. I tried to express this ideas in my painting.

How did you end up with Kaikaikiki and Takashi Murakami?
Can you tell us about your experience in Japan?

I was in a middle of the Mercantour (French Alpes) when I received this email from Takashi Murakami saying “I love you work, I would like to make an exhibition”. Few months after, I was in Tokyo.
Work with Kaikai Kiki gallery is a great opportunity, really inspiring. It is an incredible possibility of creation. Japan is mesmerizing

You are doing a collaboration with DrColors and Velvet for the Crystal Ship? Can you tell us more?
We were invited with Velvet to paint this mural and Dr Colors, old friend, came very nicely to give us a hand.
I met Velvet at design school we paint and make most of the projects together, we have created DIE_CAST_STUDIO.

What are your next projects as well?
My opening of my next show, La Forme, will be on April 7th at SC Gallery in Bilbao. Then I will go to Rabat / Morocco for a mural and in Saint-Gervais les Bains for the second edition of 2KM3, an innovative cultural project started last year, 11 artists was invited to paint an interior car park.

Photos courtesy of the artist

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Interview : Matthew Dawn (BE)

We caught up with Belgian artist Matthew Dawn as he participates to the Crystal Ship Festival in Ostend, Belgium and discussed about his background and projects.

B: Can you tell us more about your background?

MD: I have a bachelors degree in “Digital Arts and Entertainment” – 3D art, game-coding and game design in lament terms. So nothing really street-art or fine-art related. Growing up, art and creativity in general has always been a big part of my everyday activities. I enjoyed sketching as a kid and teenager and love toying around with several instruments like bass, guitar and piano. Throw in some computer skills and know-how of video or photo-editing software and you have the base of my skill sets.

B: You have also worked on commercial projects with big companies such as Nike and Citroen? What learnings did you get from that experience?

MD: Commercial projects are good for putting money in the bank, not so good for expressing your artistic intent. A major insight I gained from those and several other experiences is how much my perception of money differs from theirs, I might find €1000 to be a lot of money whereas they barely shrug at spending €100.000. It taught me that it’s a matter of perspective and I can use that to my advantage.


B: What influenced you to start painting murals?

MD: It wasn’t really a choice, more something I rolled into naturally. I was already heavily into fine art and street art before I even picked up a spray can at the age of 21. I became friends with a couple of bombers and they took me with them because they’d seen my sketches. It was like “Hey you can draw, you should come with us. -Oh, okay. Sure.”
All that paranoia and stress wasn’t for me so I stepped out of the shadows and when to the legal walls in my area. I wanted to do full pieces and detail them at my own pace and really put the work in. From there on out it just grew, people approached me in the street, offered me some jobs that payed well at the time and it just got bigger and better from there on out.

B: What do you like/enjoy about painting in public spaces?

MD: It’s outdoors, gets me out of my studio. People come up to you, admire the work, compliment you. If you’re lucky they bring you warm drinks and cookies, all good vibes 🙂

B: What / who are your sources of inspirations or favourite artists?

MD: I look at pinterest a lot, I have big collections on there and it comes from everywhere, blogs, reddit,… but to name one or more artists that stick out,… man. I can’t there’s so many elements that I love of so many artists. I love Jeremy Man’s work ethic and dedication to the craft, I love Shawn Barber’s style, Rene Margritte’s work, James jean’s colors,…

B: Can you tell us more about your creative process?

MD: I start which ever way is fastest, doesn’t really matter to me how. Usually it’s some rough sketches in a slutty sketchbook that loves to get abused. From there I take it digitally, edit the sketches in photoshop or find photo’s online that match my ideas and create a collage out of them or go outside and take my own photo’s with myself or someone else as model.

Most of my personal work is built from live-drawing or photo reference.

B:Is there a specific message you want to convey in your artworks?

MD: I’m currently exploring the concepts of ego, ignorance, censorship, fame and success in my works and am loving the journey so far. I can have a specific meaning behind every piece but when I ask other for their views they always come up with things I have never  seen before myself or thought of so I don’t want to force my own view and just let the work do the explaining and let the people make up their own thoughts.


B: What are you creating for the Crystal Ship? Tell us more?
MD: I’m creating the third in my paper crown series which started after my promotional video of the TINYPINK went viral with +- 2M views.

B: What are your next projects as well?
MD: I’m planning a solo-show in the fall.

Matthew Dawn

Interview: Dourone

We caught up with Spanish artist Fabio Lopez Gonzalo aka DOURONE as he participates in the 2018 Crystal Ship Festival to learn more about his creative process, his duo with Elodiellol their upcoming projects.

B: Can you tell us more about your background?

D: (Fabio)My background is a boy who lived far away from the center of Madrid and very far from his friends and for that reason he was a long time just drawing. When I was little I used to go to my grandmother’s house, I used to go shopping in the market and I always said “Granny, can we go down the drawing aisle?” That hall was a graffiti spot.

When I understood what that hallway was, I started to paint graffiti and since we did not have a group of graffiti friends we created the STA crew, that’s where all of 1999 started.

After my tour has been very varied, in my family there is a lot of creativity so I was never afraid to try different techniques, tools, etc. all my journey has been an apprenticeship and a self-taught evolution, since unfortunately I was not a very good student and I did not study Fine Arts or anything like that, it was also a very hard and very rewarding journey.

I always knew that I wanted to dedicate myself to something creative.

B: How was the situation towards street art/graffiti / legal and illegal graffiti when you grew up in Madrid?

D: When I started, I did not know very well what graffiti was, I did not listen the street art concept until much later.
My first graffiti was a tag but of 6 meters and the next day I bought a magazine from the store (authentic stiletto) and saw what the 3d was, the power line, a throw-up, a pomp, a wild style, a pastel model … and I also understood the rules of the game, in my time it was like this: a silver or throw-up can step on with a piece, and a piece can be stepped on with a mural, that on the one hand.
On the other side was the seniority and the quality of the work and on the other the level of vandalism of each crew.
When they stepped on you, there were the “fines” that consisted of staying at a place and time you had agreed on before, so that you could return the money or the spays that you had spent on the piece and if you did not pay the fine, you would hit with him, to gain respect based on fear.

Madrid in my time was a pretty tough spot, there were many crews and a lot of urban culture. I also think that there was a lot of respect for the older ones. Legal and illegal, the rule was that graffiti is not for sale.

B: Dourone is now an artistic duo, so tell me more about how it started and what is your creative process?

D: This is a nice story since the duo is created from a couple relationship ..
Dourone exists since 1999, when it started in graffiti, and in 2012, Elodiellol and I started our relationship and our professional history together.
We can say that when Dourone really becomes something more serious and professional.
Elodie is the part totally complementary to mine and that’s why I do not call it a duo, I call it 1 + 1 = 3, which means that between the two of us we reach create a third identity without nullifying us as unique.

We have both been learning together and putting everything in its place.

The creative process is the strangest part, I have to create it and put it on a support but I know that this creative process would not be the same if Elodie was not with me in all the conversations and exchanges of support and support in everything that I believe .
When we paint large murals we make them between the two and we get a coordination that works fluid and without errors, based on a lot of time working together.

B: What influenced you to start painting murals?

D: Since I was little I was very interested, so it was a natural process that took me to paint a mural.

In my time the graffiti artists were in the social group where I fit best because I love painting. Painting in public places was normal because graffiti is about that … and painting bigger also for me was a natural process: first you paint in a notebook later on a wall, then a facade of a building and then a tower …
It’s like first a silver, then a piece and finally a mural, for me it was about improving and learning.
When you paint large murals the creative process is much longer and you have a much more intense experience with your mural, and I am still surprised to see a large mural finished, it also has to be said that it is much more sacrificed, tired and sometimes the experience is made too long and it seems that it never ends.

B: What do you like/enjoy about painting in public spaces?

D: At first I liked the adrenaline of painting illegally and that they knew me more in the world of graffiti, then I liked the fact of painting on a wall.
I painted on quiet walls where I could spend many hours painting with my friends a well-worked mural, finally stop making letters to make more illustrations and I realized what it was to paint in a public place with a language that almost everyone understood or it came to influence people in some way.

Based on years of painting I have been accumulating many good experiences and that has been the engine to continue painting. Now it has become part of my life and my work, thanks to that I have been able to travel and meet a lot of people.


B: Your artworks featuring female portraits convey specific messages and values like Respect, Freedom, Trust, Can you tell us more?

D: As you say my female portraits spoke about respect, diversity and freedom. Those three values are very important to me in my life, but as I said, it goes by stages. Now I keep these three values and still learning from them but my work is being simplified and being more complex.
My new work deals with the beauty, composition, color and emotion that it transmits. Now I am very interested in emotions that are difficult to describe, it is a huge world since in each country and each customs has different words that define that emotion (rare)

B: Can you share anecdotal experience from painting a mural in another country? Have you seen any cultural differences through your travels?

D: I have many good and bad experiences but I can tell you two that are excellent.

The first one is from a mural we painted in Paris, and in the weeks they stepped on it with a tag. The tag had disappeared the next week. The next week they step on it with more tags and disappear again: someone was restoring the mural ..
All this story we were seeing through Instragram and we did not understand very well what was happening, so we went to the mural to see it and we realized that it was restored but not by a person who knew how to paint since it was very badly done but the final result was not bad.
The following year we returned to paint the same wall as every year, then a man of about 80 years old appears and tells us that he was expecting us that he liked what we painted a lot. Then he confessed that he liked a lot the previous mural and that he had been taking care of it and restoring it. At that moment we were amazed to know who was the person who had been fixing it because we would never have thought that this man would worry so much for a mural on the street.

And the other story was in France to but in Boulogne-Sur-Mer for their first street art edition festival.
We were painting on a 3 storey building and noticed that an old woman was looking at us from the windows of her house. The next day she came to visit us and bring us some sodas and biscuits without any word. She kept doing that every day until the very last day.
When she saw that we were about to finish it, she came to us and told us that she was living in this house, right in front of the mural we were painting since she was a little girl.
She took our hands and with tears on her eyes she told us:” You know that in this exact place you have your boom lift as you can see, there is a hole between the two buildings. You know why? In 1942, the Germans exploded a bomb right here. I witnessed everything… And now everyday, every time I will look through my window I will see your wonderful and colourful mural. Thank you so much for your present, you cannot imagine what it means to me..” We tried not to cry with her..

And yes of course, there are a lot of cultural differences from one country to another and that is what enrich our experience.

B: What are you creating for the Crystal Ship? Tell us more?

D: What I am creating for the Crystal Ship in an artwork that is based on one of those emotions difficult to describe. OPIA, ambiguous intensity of looking someone in the eye.


B: What are your next projects as well?

D: For this year there are already several closed projects such as the art fair participation in Paris (Urban art fair) a mural in Vannes in France (commission work).
And this year we are invited to participate to the Kaboo Festival in San Diego USA.
Now we are working hard to give us time to do all the projects we want to carry out this year.

More info on DOURONE

London: Studio Visit with Aida Wilde

Aida Wilde Studio Visit

We are happy to have a look inside the London studio of Queen printmaker and artivist Aida Wilde

‘Who’s afraid of Aida Wilde?’ says one of the signs in the studio, surrounded by a screaming cute neon pink dotted kitty with dark kiss make up. Screenprinting is her ‘Weapon of Choice‘, as ‘Print is Power’.

Aida Wilde Studio Visit

Born in Iran, Aida arrived in the UK in the mid 80’s as a political refugee. She has been a professional screen printer for the last twenty years and has been pushing boundaries of the screenprinting techniques and transforming this traditional art form into fine art.

Hailed by many as a screen-printing genius, her unique style expresses her ongoing battle to bring alternative elements together, the graphic and the classical, whether this is through neon pop colours ( pink preferably), texture (glitter, velvet…) or through image. Some examples include a flocking velvet effect on a leapoard print to make it feel and look like a fur rug, or the use of the screen as a mono-printing tool to develop her ‘Life: Still’ edition.

Aida Wilde Studio VisitAida Wilde Studio Visit
Aida Wilde Studio VisitRowdy & Wilde Aida Wilde Studio Visit

Her most famous works are her colourful slogan paste-ups that can be found in the streets of London, Berlin, New York, Malaga or Aberdeen, featuring light hearted topics as well as raising awareness on sensitive subjects like gentrification, education and women’s rights.

Aida Wilde Studio Visit

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In 2009 in response to the financial and economic crisis Aida created a pink, black and white spotty slogan ‘There’s A Credit Crunch Not A Creative Crunch’, which is being featured at the Victoria & Albert Museum since 2011.

Strong advocate of women’s rights, her work has been featured at The Women’s Art Library (see our coverage here).  Her HASHTAG series of works was used for the Brandalism  project (covered) and the global project Subvert The City, which saw the world’s first coordinated international ad takeover & over 60 creative actions in 38 cities in 18 countries around the world. Aida still continues with her facilitating role with various workshops and community projects through Print Is Power – Reclamation Nation & more currently, Sisters In Print (All female international print collective).

Empowered Printwork - Women Art LibraryEmpowered Printwork - Women Art LibraryEmpowered Printwork - Women Art Library
Aida Wilde Studio Visit

So to celebrate the 8th March 2018, Aida is releasing a special screenprint from her famous Hashtag series ‘ A HASHTAG MIGHT NOT SAVE THE WORLD BUT … WOMEN MIGHT’ for one day only.

Initially before the craze of social media, this print was also part of the Brandalism campaign in Paris in 2015 and the statement is more valid than ever.

So grab yours here

Pictures courtesy of the artist and by Butterfly Art News

London: Remi Rough – Studio Visit

Remi Rough - Studio Visit

We stopped by the studio of British artist Remi Rough while he prepares for his upcoming solo show  entitled ‘Post’ at the Speerstra Gallery in Switzerland.

Since his first gallery exhibition in 1989, Remi Rough has successfully transitioned from his early graffiti style to create his own abstract geometrical language, recognisable regardless of its form, whether  large scale murals or gallery works. Opening on 12 November, the ‘Post ’ exhibition will feature nineteen new works  on paper and canvas.

Remi Rough - Studio Visit
Remi Rough - Studio Visit     Remi Rough - Studio Visit   Remi Rough - Studio Visit     Remi Rough - Studio Visit

In this exhibition, Remi Rough redefines the idea of space and invites the viewer to travel into his parallel architectural universe with his layering of colourful lines and geometrical shapes, while lights and shadows give a sense of perspective and movement. Mastering abstract compositions with carefully thought balance of shapes and colours with a distinct precision of the lines.

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Remi Rough - Studio Visit

View the full set of pics here

Remi Rough – Post
Speerstra Gallery
12 Nov – 17 Dec 2016