Saturday, December 22, 2007

Interview with fremantle !

This is an interview I did with fremantle during the Difusor in Barcelona. I love his works, it's amazing that he is able to cut out all these tiny details!
The interview was done in French, his mother tongue and I translated it later into English.
Click HERE to listen to the audio-file (original interview)

  1. What is the meaning of your name ? / Why did you choose this name?

My name comes from a joke with friends quite some time before I started stenciling. I usually sign all my stencils with my logo instead of a name. I only had to use my name "fremantle" mostly on the internet where I had to have a name that could be written so I didn’t think much when choosing it ! I prefer using a logo when painting. In general a lot of people don’t see the connection, I like the fact that people can get that it’s the same person doing all the work but I don’t really care about having a proper name.

  1. Since when have you been doing stencils?

Approximately for 5 years now.

  1. What led you to do stencils ? Have you been doing graffiti before or other type of art ?

No, not at all. I never studied art and regarding graffiti, well, when I was younger, I had friends that did graffities and I tried it maybe once or twice but not seriously and came to stencil art rather by accident. I actually started when I bought a new skateboard deck and I couldn’t figure out the back and front and I wanted to paint something on, and the easiest way to do this was a stencil. So I started from there and then I did the same on some old broken skates.

  1. What are the materials and techniques you use for your stencils?

I usually design the basics of my stencils on computer before, either to separate the colors or simply to enlarge a picture I will trace by hand later. Then I print them on thick paper (at least 200g/m²) that I put all together with tape for large pieces.
Either if I have already done the color separation or not on the computer before, I always print something that is way too detailed to be cut straight from it, and I trace with a pencil the parts to be cut and parts to be left, so I have a total control of the level of detail and can find a way to join the different parts with bridges that integrates well in the design.
For the cutting, I use a big box cutter which is quite unusual since most people prefer to use smaller tools like exactos but I have always used a big one and I am used to it. I cut on glass, that’s more precise.

  1. What is / are your preferred spots to put your stencils?

Sometimes I see maybe a wall where I could imagine a stencil but that’s rather seldom. Normally I do first the stencil and then look for a place I like.

  1. In which cities have you so far been doing stencils?

In Paris of course, a few in Berlin, in Lisbon and in Stoke in England, near Manchester because there are some of my crew and we meet from time to time.

  1. Is there a message you want to transmit with your stencil art?

The fact to paint the stencils on the street is already a kind of message, to put them on public spaces against all the publicity. To show people that not all illegal things are bad. Just because something is legal does not necessarily mean that it is intelligent. And then when I did the portraits of people from my travels, it is also to invite people to travel a bit in their minds.

  1. Are there other artists you admire or influenced your work?

As for the techniques, the only one that influenced me is a friend called Sadhu because what I do for the big stencils is first making a multicolored background before applying a monochromatic stencil and that is what he is also doing. Otherwise I am looking a bit what the others do but do it my own way.

  1. How do you get inspired or where do you get your ideas from?

Like I said I have several subjects but I am always trying not to be fixed on one idea. There are a lot of ideas that came from the photos I took at my travels. It is very interesting to transmit the expressions from faces. Specially the difference that there is of faces from poor or underdeveloped countries and then to transmit these with a technique that is rather "urban" or very modern. I also like urban landscapes but I paint these normally more on canvas.

  1. You would have to do a stencil about Bush. Describe briefly how it would look like.

Well, I have a political awareness but I have never done political stencils since I think that this is quite delicate. In fact there are only a few people who are good at this because doing a stencil of Bush with a statement "Bush is incompetent" does not really have a big impact since everybody knows that already.

  1. Have you ever been in trouble because of your stencils?

It was just once with the police. Otherwise the people in general don’t destroy my stencils but are rather interested in them.

  1. Which of your stencils do you consider the best one you have done so far?

There is a profile of a woman that I normally do in the streets. It is because I like the photo a lot but specially because of the technical aspect since it is the first stencil I did that stands like one piece, you just have to attach top and bottom and it’s perfectly flat on the wall, it also makes it more resistant.

  1. What do you think about the commercial side of stencils?

I don’t think that there is a commercial side. Banksy for example, I mean if there are people buying his stuff for a lot of money, why not, it’s not his fault. On the other side, the publicity is now often using images that are like stencils. I had been proposed, for example, to work for publicity but it was really crap. More and more brands are also trying to use stencils or other street art for publicity.

  1. Anything else you want to tell us ???

Well, just that the stencil technique is very easy to do. People just have to try it, the basis is not difficult and later it is developing. Everybody can actually do it, it is quite simple and you don’t even need much material. Just take a photo, print it big and then take a cutter that doesn’t cost you anything. The great thing is that a stencil is democratic.

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