An artist’s career often has very deep roots. How did you get started?
I always wanted to be a painter, from a very young age. The school framework did not correspond to me. I did not project myself in a traditional job. No doubt the art classes played a determining role in this choice. I did not hesitate to launch myself into this profession and in this way, to live my life in spite of the difficulties inherent in the career of an artist. I was fortunate to have a family that followed my choices and I think they were even happy that I took this direction. Concerning street art, I came to it because I had to leave the studio where I worked as a visual artist, my financial situation being fragile. I had to find a way to reinvent myself since I had no more space to create. I put myself on the street by making collages.
Against the trend of our time which values storytelling and constant self-promotion, you have chosen to remain anonymous. What are your reasons for doing so?
I’ve always had a hard time with self-promotion and storytelling. I quickly realized the danger of social networks. I prefer people to focus on my work rather than on me. My work borders on surrealist poetry. That is to say, asking questions and leaving the answer to the spectator. For my part, I find it quite logical to remain in this enigma and to erase my physical person.
Is creating in the city a way to embellish the city, to echo the past or do you carry a more political message like many urban artists?
My goal is to take the spectator out of his daily reality. To put poetry, aestheticism and emotion in the street. I seek to create an encounter with the passer-by, to raise questions.
Do you particularly use engraving as a source of materials for your collages?
The engraving, I use it above all by taste. I like old images that I try to revive through those that I pick and choose in the cultural heritage. I try to dust off these images, to give them a new form, a more contemporary life. I really like the principle of anonymity in the choice of prints. They are often works of unknown artists. My work gives substance to their memory… It’s the same thing with photography. It is finally a form of mise en abîme to confront one’s work as a collagist with an already existing reproduction technique. I like the contrast between the old and the new.
Here, you have collaborated with the Roger-Viollet photographic fund. Could you tell me more about your collaboration?
I approached Roger-Viollet to purchase high definition images. I knew how rich their image collection was. I needed them to fulfill orders for collage projects: the City Hall of the 14th district and the Infini Bar of Bercy Accor Arena among others… That’s how the contact was made with this renowned agency. Gilles Taquet, the director of Roger-Viollet, and his collaborator Christophe Guglielmo had spotted my work in the streets of the 20th district. They offered me a collaboration. Very quickly, the project took root!
Like Mannerism — which was an artistic game of borrowing, but also a game of codes and symbols that were often murky — your practice can be seen as a game of artistic references and quotations. Is it a way of paying homage to art history?
Yes, I like to wield codes and pictorial references, with a pronounced filiation for surrealism. I like to evolve between a deep reflection and an automatic writing.
Among the series conceived with Roger-Viollet, you take up two great classics of art history: the ex-voto of 1662 by Philippe de Champaigne and the Odalisque Brune by François Boucher. Do you see in them an analysis of the situation of women at that time, between consecrated virgin and woman of the world?
The work exists through the prism of the viewer. I only propose an image that everyone interprets in his own way… Even if there are indeed works that question the place of the woman, of her body. I do not want to give my work a political meaning even if I have my own convictions.
You’re about to launch into Web 3, with a vernissage in the metaverse and a sale of NFTs. How do you perceive the irruption of this universe in street art?
Indeed, it makes me wonder. I am curious and I move forward with modern technologies. I am inevitably open to innovations. I took the plunge because Gilles Taquet suggested it to me. I found this proposal interesting and it made me happy. Now, I’m waiting. I live it a little like a new adventure. Through this new experience, I was also able to get in touch with an old friend, François Goupil who helps me with the animation of my collages for NFTs… It is quite exceptional.