Process is the hidden side of greatness, the unseen pathways and effort that only the artist themselves understand. In graffiti and street art, this process can be seen as deceptively simple – a strict copying of one thing onto another whose only real change is medium…but not Le Bas. An openness towards how different types of media can aide his practice define Le Bas’ work, his forms a fluid and colourful recognition of the artistic conversation between analog and digital.
I’m kind of apprehensive about using the word style. I think a lot of time style becomes the bi-product of formulas which ultimately creates a lot of repetition and can become really boring. The painting I do at the moment reflects my interest in the implementation of digitally produced graphics in painting. I think it’s a result of sitting in front if a computer for the last couple years and becoming very fluent in certain applications. Intuition on the computer is completely different from the intuition you feel when holding a brush. I’m interested to see what happens when the two are merged.
- Could you introduce yourself and give a bit of background into how you got started?
Le Bas. Painter. Dublin. I’v been painting since I was very young, mainly messing around with watercolours and painting cheesy landscapes and portraites. I’m not really sure how I progressed/regressed to graffiti. I remember at some point buying a can of spray paint to use on a canvas I was working on, in hindsight its embarrassing but I sprayed the paint into a cup and applied it with a paintbrush. At some point around then I stopped painting canvases and started painting really bad graffiti. I didn’t go near any form of studio work for the next six years, I was hooked on graff. Over that time I pretty much dabbled in just about every style and form of painting and finally found an area of interest which drew me back to making studio work.
- Do you have any particular process to creating your work?
Kind of, most of the paintings I make in the studio starts of as completely abstract compositions very impulsively painted, mainly using enamel paint but sometime featuring spray paint. From there I photograph them and bring the into the computer where the next set of decisions are made. I use graphic applications and 3d modelling programs to generate images and form a composition I then hand paint on top of the first layer. This process of back and forth between the computer and brush happens several time until I feels like the piece is finished or when I realise that I’v completely f*cked up, then the piece ends up in the bin.
To be honest I don’t take too much notice of that debate between Street Art and Graffiti . I see myself as a painter. I like painting walls and spending time in the studio. I know what artists I admired and follow, a lot of them don’t have any relationship to street art/graff.
- Do you think working in the digital world offers a kind of concretion of certain ideas at points that working with a brush doesn’t? Would you say the ideas generation comes from this analog work? The more ‘human’ side if you will.
Definitely, I painted a wall last year and used the same image eight times but distorted the proportions each time to fill the different extrusions of the wall. Once the idea entered my head it took several seconds to mock it up on the computer but a couple days to paint. It’s this kind of translation from the digital world to the street that I like. If I was standing in front of the wall I would never have thought of something like that. Like I was saying before the intuition felt with a can or a brush is completely different.
Similarly I made a studio piece, it was an image made on the computer but I erased the background layer which left areas of empty space scattered throughout the composition. It made me consider the necessity of a background, if it was possible to create a piece that supported transparency like a png file. I ultimately laser cut the piece and painted the aluminium. I floated the piece from the wall, considering the aluminium was only 1mm thick the piece appeared to posses no depth while casting a shadow onto the wall. Again it was the digital world that inspired the concept.
- What attracts you to painting outside? / What attracted you to graffiti in the first place?
My mate always states ‘despite what people say the only reason they started painting graffiti is because they thought it was cool’. I think that’s pretty accurate, but at the same time if your young and have an interest in art chances are your in a minority and wont have much in common with most people. I was never too into drinking and as a result had zero f*cking interest participating in most social events. I was happier to be out painting graffiti, it was something I could do by myself for myself. The buzz of going out painting and exploring news spots was a lot more appealing than the alternatives. After awhile I became so accustom to painting walls they became the only things I would consider painting.
- Which artists do you admire?
It would be a pretty long list if I were to name everyone. But in the graff/mural painting side, Aryz, Momo, Pant, Pose, Roids, Revok & Conor Harrington. In the contemporary art side, Tauba Auerbach, Clemens Behr, Trudy Benson, Yago Hortal, Derek Bruno, James Hoff, Wendy White, Jenny Saville, Rafael Rozendaal, Catrina Grossey.…an endless list, also some designers Karel Martens, Konstantin Grcic, SelgasCano to name a few. And the guys who I paint with in Dublin, James Earley and Myne MSO.
- What keeps you creating?
Because I enjoy it. Because I want to progress and pursue new ideas.
- How would you describe your art in 3 words?
Saturated. Digital. Collage.
Thanks a lot to Le Bas!