26 Feb In Conversation with C215: Part 2
Today we conclude our ‘In Conversation’ series with artist C215, currently exhibiting at StolenSpace with his ‘Back to Black’ solo show.
StolenSpace: What do you think about the work by Ernest Pignon-Ernest?
C215: Pignon-Ernest is really a big master. He’s amazing. We met a few times and we share a lot of things, ideology, philosophy, aesthetics and we are really close even politically speaking. We both worked on Caravaggio a lot, because we like chiaroscuro and we have the same relationship to context and history. He’s a friend. He has invented a totally new art system. I like him.
SS: Your images are always very poetic and intense and this depends both on the subjects and your technique. Can you tell me more about both? How do you choose your subjects? You use the stencil but the difference is made by the way you use them, creating many layers that give the idea of brush strokes.
C215: I don’t choose my subjects. Things are coming one after another. It is like a diary of feelings and people I meet. I follow inspiration, which is something very spontaneous. In few years I think I have explored a lot of different subjects. In the end I hope I’m a good stencil artist and I like to think I can use this identity as a tool to explore what I can in my own style. Shepard Fairey said that my way of using stencils is impressionistic with movement but I don’t know how can I explain it. The only thing I know is that I don’t apply stencils but I paint with them.
SS: Your stencils are reminiscent of brush strokes.
C215: Before, I was using stencils to paint very quickly in the street without authorisation. For sure the style I was looking for was a mix of oil, acrylic…something old but also very modern. I try to be in-between classic and modern, and that’s maybe also the link with Pignon. We like to build bridges between modernity and history.
SS: In your artwork you extensively use reclaimed objects, which is interesting both as an ethical/ecological value and for the peculiarity that it gives to your work. Can you tell us more about it?
C215: Yes. Recycled objects have a meaning for our time and I’m recycling by myself a lot of things. But primarily it’s not a political statement, it’s just an observation. I use spraypaint and it is very modern and polluting and I paint on recycled objects. But it’s more an interpretation of the time and something I have to say. I’m the kid of my period.
SS: Can you tell me more about your inspiration for your show ‘Back to Black’ at StolenSpace?
C215: For ‘Back to Black’ there are a few classics and new things as well. I wanted to do something very dark and inspirational… That was my inspiration from Brick Lane, which is dark. Everything I exhibit here is interacting with my knowledge, my experience, my feelings about Brick Lane as a street and it also expresses my relationship with English history and my perception of UK. I’ve been in UK so many times in my life. For me London is a gothic city. Romanticism in Europe came from UK. These are the things what I wanted to show.
‘Back to Black’ is open until 2nd March at StolenSpace Gallery.