Good Times And Dirty Hands: The ILK Interview
(words by Ilk, where otherwise stated)
I was born in 93 (France) and I still live there. I grew up being taken from city to city: Blanc-Mesnil , Drancy, Aulnay -Sous-Bois , Saint-Denis , Aubervilliers, La Courneuve, Montreuil. I’ve always been torn between geek culture and street culture, I discovered metal music around 10 years old, I started to develop my film cameras in lab at 11 and started playing Magic cards and Warhammer at 12.
Parallel to that, I lived in a ghetto and always bathed in street culture, playing basketball, listening to French rap. I discovered graffiti at 16, growing up in the suburbs and swimming in many different cultures is very rewarding, and develops a real eclecticism
When I was a kid, I was drawing cartoons logos on paper but Metal inspired versions. One day while walking down the street one night I came across a graffiti artist who was doing a fatcap chrome on a blind, I was 16 and was fascinated by the spontaneity of drawing letters so quickly. I stayed to speak to him, and the next night I went out with a buddy to do the same. We were too greedy and tried to have the whole city….we finished in custody.
At that time I never went to Paris so I didn’t know the Parisian scene, I didn’t not even know there was a land of “not legal”. There was no internet to show us all that is! I stayed around my home to do blinds, walls, highways, trains, everything passed through. My style was really ignorant and about a mastery of the bomb but the sensation of drawing on new media walking down the street with some friends was exciting.
It was the right time, naive and not calculated.
Usually I never make roughs or sketches as I prefer to paint on the wall like I could paint on a canvas, just drawing some big random forms, then refining it. I don’t have pleasure doing the same thing many times so I’m really happy in front of a big wall, playing with it and with the colors I have. My style is a mix between all stuffs I like : Graphic design, typography, old cartoons, 70s & 80s NYC graffiti, gore and horror stuffs, geek culture…
Sometimes I make roughs when it’s for a job and the customer wants to see something before and validate it. When it’s for big companies there is a big process to follow.
I try to choose nice colors who match together..but it’s always hard, I like almost all colors, even if black is my favorite.
Murdok: Whats the difference between graffiti and street art?
I do graffiti and paintings, both are art. Graffiti is on a wall, on the street or somewhere else and paintings are on a canvas or on a wall.
Maybe when graffiti is on the street it’s street art? But then when a painting is on a canvas is it canvas art ?
It’s somebody who paint on walls, trains, canvas, paper… but I think that is more than art, it’s a lifestyle. When you start graffiti you live graffiti all day long.
Murdok: How has it affected your life?
My life is not so much affected…or maybe it’s been too long and I don’t account for it. It’s more for my girlfriend, when you walk on the street or drive on the highway, you look all the time on the tags, throwies… you want to take THIS street just to put a tag on THIS door. Maybe it was fun at the beginning but after many years, not so fun for her haha.
Murdok: What is important about graffiti?
Forget about ‘street art’ graffiti is just an art. When Keith Haring was drawing on subway walls, it wasn’t street art or graffiti or painting, it was just art. Guys need to stop putting everything in boxes, no need to complicate things!
Murdok: Could you sum up graffiti in 3 words?
Good times, friends, dirty hands.