Tag Archives: interview

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

More on http://www.zoerism.com


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: The Art of Politics & Blek Le Rat Interview

The Art of Politics

Coinciding with the General Elections in the UK, Lawrence Alkin Gallery is presenting a group show entitled ‘The Art of Politics‘ until 23 May, featuring paintings, sculptures , drawings and ceramics by international artists including Blek Le RatNick WalkerBen Eine, Peter Kennard, Darren Coffield, War Boutique, Jacky Tsai, Carrie Reichardt, Pablo P Casio.

The Art of PoliticsThe Art of Politics  The Art of Politics  The Art of PoliticsThe Art of Politics    TheThe Art of Politics    The Art of Politics

View the full set of pics here

Interview with Blek Le Rat

At the opening we caught up with the Godfather of stencil graffiti, Blek Le Rat who started out in 1981 in the streets of France, for a few questions. Some of our pictures have also been published in the Independent

The Art of Politics

Why did you choose the rat as your signature?

I like that the word ‘Rat’ is an acronym of ‘Art’. At the same time rats are an integrated part of the urban landscape. There are about 2 millions people living in Paris while there is the double amount of rats. It’s a very organised society, and sometimes more ‘human’ than us as they tend to help each others.  They adapt and survive to any situation.

Can you explain your creative process?

When you create an artwork you have to reveal yourself, it’s a part of your soul. The biggest inspiration is death and what surrounds it. I use photos and images that moves me and turn them into stencils, and then work multiple layers or spray paint background until the desired result.

But overall I have been sharing the same imagery for years because the public needs time to assimilate and understand.

For this show it was about Politics.

I don’t believe in Politics since a long time.  I used to belong to a political movement in my youth when I was studying architecture. I find that the political propaganda just make people dumb. When you vote, it’s like signing a blank cheque for 5 – 7 years for someone you don’t really know. Then you realise that you voted for someone who didn’t do what he promised. That’s why I don’t believe in politics.

I tried to illustrate this in my work. In one of my canvas there are some messages like ‘Vote’ and ‘Repeat after me You are free’, but it’s all a farce. I believe more in the Anonymous movement, who shares his views through the web and actions, even though we don’t know behind the scene if this is not also a movement manipulated by government. I find there is more freedom of expression.

What are your next projects?

I’m heading off to Dubai to work on a couple of projects and then I have an exhibition coming up in New York this October.

The Art of Politics

View the full set of pics here

The Art of Politics
Until 23 May 2015
Lawrence Alkin Gallery

Interview: Tilt

TILT - Panic Bathroom

While at the Nuart Festival in Norway, we caught up with French graffiti artist Tilt for a few questions…

Where does your artist name come from?
I started painting graffiti in 1988 in Toulouse. A graffiti writer named Declic (which means to click) was the person who inspired me select my name Tilt, which means in French an A-Ha / Eureka moment. And Declic’s partner 2Pon became my mentor.

Any reasons why you prefer to use bubble letters in your work?
During 15 years I did Wild Style graffiti, influenced by NY kings, and mastered the lines and techniques. However at night I would go out and enjoy painting some throw-ups and bubbles letters spontaneously. So I decided to move towards bubble letters, even through I got lots of backlash at first.

Graffiti has its own language and secret codes, and it takes years to understand it. I love the simplicity and curves of the bubble letters, and love the fact that using the alphabet you can incorporate them and create any portrait or image with many messages.

TILT - NuArt     TILT - NuArtTILT - NuArt

Can you tell us about your Flags project?
Well it’s is an ongoing one, every country I visit I leave a local Tilt flag. Sometimes it can be like a thank you for the people I met but most of the time it s just the idea to ” leave my mark on society and not in society.” I hope to complete all the country flags during my lifetime.

TILT - Norway

Street art or graffiti?
I’m a graffiti artist at heart. I enjoy doing illegal throw-ups in the streets, the freedom, the adrenaline, put flops everywhere I can just to promote the pure essence of graffiti.

TILT & KOOLT - Norway

A recent “Street Art’ collaboration with French graffiti artists and Monoprix (equivalent of Tesco in the UK) caused quite a controversy in France. What is your reaction towards collabs with brands?

It has always existed. But it depends on the product/brand, some of the end products do not look great, but the overall aim to make it accessible and affordable to the wider audience is acceptable. I would consider what could be accessible to my mum, so in this case she would be able to afford a customised product from Monoprix rather than a Louis Vuitton scarf. But more importantly it’s the legitimity of the brand to do such collabs, specially in 2014. Using Graffiti and Street Art for any kind of purposes is quite depressing and overwelming.

What do you think of the rise of the muralism?
Even though more and more people tend to assimilate Street Art to muralism, it is a good thing that Public Art is evolving and growing into multiple directions as it is gaining more acceptance from the general public as an art form. Muralism is mostly based on legal support from cities and festivals, but graffiti is my core passion so I will continue to promote it.

What did you do for the NuArt Festival?
I enjoyed the NuArt Festival because you get to meet different kinds of international artists from activists to muralists and the NuArt team is also an exceptional family. Big up to Martyn, Sofy, Maiken, Tor, Vegar, Leon, Nina, Luam & Epifany, Frank & Rashid, Einar, Trym, Ken and Si.

For the outdoor part I painted a huge grenade with bubble letters.
I like to present objects or items that are instantly recognisable, but at the same time contain a series of hidden personal messages through the bubble letters. The viewer will look at it, find an immediate connection and then discover maybe another layer or two, and then realise there are a lot more. That’s what graffiti is about, coded messages.

TILT - NuArt

For the indoor installation I recreated my panic room, this time a panic bathroom. People usually don’t want to look at tags, drips, it’s dirty, it’s what they call vandalism, they tend to look away etc.  Same for the bathroom, you go there because it’s a need, not necessarily because you enjoy it.

In this installation the public is facing my schizophrenic sides: the balance between the clean and structured element and the out of control, colourful, dirty dripping elements of graffiti. Is this art? For me yes.

TILT - Panic BathroomTILT - Panic BathroomTILT - Panic Bathroom     TILT - Panic Bathroom

View the full set of pics from Tilt in Norway here