Polish graffiti duo Etam Cru, composed of artists Sainer and Bezt, create murals of epic proportions. Spanning entire high-rise buildings, their works are heavily dosed with fantasy, even fairytale elements. Hints of Easter European folklore (mushrooms and forest creatures make frequent appearances) make their way into the action-packed scenes reminiscent of graphic novels. Every aspect of the color-saturated murals seems to be in motion: animals and houses alike come to life, human characters gain abilities that defy the laws of physics. (source: Hi-Fructose Magazine)
Bault is a graffiti artist based in Paris. He has developed over years a world where populate monsters, hybrid animals and grotesque characters half-human half-machine. The creatures that he draws are often deformed, amputated or unfinished. We met Bault at Streets Hotel where he has painted three rooms (TBC). Captured by his fantastic creatures, Artchipel invites the Artist to share with our audience his personal story and creation process. http://bault.tumblr.com/post/75713361469/streets-hotel-paris-iii-room-221-2014
Artchipel: Who is Bault? Tell us a bit about your educational background and your practice. Bault: I have studied in Avignon Fine Arts School and then Decorative Arts School in Strasbourg where I practiced exclusively videos, sounds and contemporary illustrations. I am currently a graphic designer and visual artist. I develop more and more my creative activity. It is a recent project that allows me to express my graphic experiment without limit. I am in a period of artistic turbulence witch is very challenging.
A: When did you start to paint or stick your characters on the street? How has the graffiti initially captured your attention? B: I started painting at an early age. I come from the southwest of France, near Toulouse, where I had my first direct approach to graffiti. Back then, I listened to a lot of hip-hop, while I was in an environment rather punk-rock-anarchist. All these subcultures have led me to paint on the street: hip-hop for the atmosphere, and punk-rock for the attitude.
I like to paint on the street because I like to paint with people, to choose walls, to push my limits, and to share something… When you paint a wall, there is the freedom of movement, the apprehension of space that is unique. It’s like going back to the ancient cave paintings. I’m a caveman with an iPhone.
A: Could you share with us your process and how did you come to develop your aesthetic? B: Sketches, scribbles and notes are the basis and the ingredients of my work. Find the right medium for the best expression is my recipe. I often work in terms of series and try to develop a consistent body of work. I also keep an important part for the hand improvisation and the automatic writing. Graffiti allows that: starting with an approximate mass of color and revealing gradually the line. I refuse to remain static in my mode of representation. I like to move between the very naive, abstract and realistic representation.
A: You like beautiful designs but have trouble drawing “cute” characters. What do you aim to convey through your art? B: First, I like to draw profusely and hope to communicate the pleasure of drawing. I also like to show that we can play with the modes of representation by mixing styles without being “cute”. The meaning of my illustrations is somehow obscure. There are often several readings but with the central themes: hybridization, biomechanics, body worship and ecology. That having been said, before finding the original and unexplored denotations, I try not to politicize my creations.
A: Why did you choose to place your art in the public space? Is graffiti and street art more susceptible to viral art in some way? B: I don’t paint in the public space by opportunism. It wasn’t the initial purpose, but it is true that the impact is immediate. People are very receptive to ephemeral works and to artists who give their time to offer / impose images. I like the idea to share something with the general public, that a painting can touch everyone of the society. And if my work make the viewer stop and think 10 seconds, that’s positive.
A: You had your first personal exhibition last year at Le Cabinet d’amateur. How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries? http://www.lecabinetdamateur.com/expositions/bault/ B: The world is changing and so is the graffiti movement. This is the “nebula” of the art market that, I admit, often makes me sick. One of the main causes is the lack of discernment. On the other hand, the galleries can reveal another facet of street artists and allows the public to rediscover it, to show new faces with original work. It helps artists to create new challenging projects.
A: Could you name 3 young artists to keep an eye on? B: Kouka (cf. previous posts), a street artist who is having a show at Taglialatella Gallery this month. He has painted 2 amazing warriors in Vitry. It’s one of my favorite French paintings of the year. Kashink, one of the few very active female artists in the French graffiti/street art scene, a very nice person. She paints huge four eyed characters, with thick lines and vivid colors. I like her style. And my friend Saint Oma. This year, with La galerie du jour agnès b, he has participated in the 8th contemporary art fair “Drawing Now Paris”. Champion!
A: What is your project for the coming year? B: Lot’s of exhibitions, big walls, a big ride in Latin America…
Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic turns the corners of towns into a brilliant series of interactive murals. He first creates a setting mixing paint and real objects in an ordinary alley, then invites people to interact with this scene and takes pictures of their propositions. The goal is to guarantee the consistency between the setting and the participant to make the scene as lively as possible. Since Zacharevic was given the mission to embellish the Malay city of Penang, he settled there and spread his participative art through the run down streets of the city. His interactive murals have become a landmark in Malaysia. (cf. Street art community)