Today, we are going to introduce you to the stencil artist Psychonautes, French artist from La Rochelle (France west coast) but living in Liverpool in the UK. Actually, he was part of the StreetLove exhibition we organized in 2011 and we were happy to have him.
StreetLove THE ARTIST
« The term Psychonautes means ‘traveller of the mind or soul’, and it’s attributed to a German writer, Ernst Jünger, who used it for the first time in the 70’s. But this name is not only mine. I chose Psychonautes because it was the name of my group of friends in La Rochelle when we were skateboarding, surfing, etc… This is why there is a ‘S’ at the end »
Psychonautes is now involved in street art for about 4 years. He started at 25 ish.
When he was younger, he drew a lot, especially at school during class. One day, he discovered stencil art in the streets and really appreciated it. He forgot it for a long time, but later on he remembered it and decided to make his own.
Most of the time, he likes to work alone, but he is also part of a UK crew, named Grafik Warfare.
When he is not painting, he loves drinking beers in the many pubs of Liverpool. « I love England for this! »
His last exhibition was in London with the other members of Grafik Warfare. The name of the exhibition was ‘Corroded Surfaces‘, so there was no artwork on canvas, only on objects found in the streets. And together, they had good fun painting the courtyard of the Gallery.
To promote his artwork, Psychonautes uses his Facebook account, and, of course, the streets!
StreetLove THE ART
« I work on canvas, wood, paper, skateboard or some objects found in the streets. I have a plan to paint a surfboard and also an idea for a toy… everything is good to paint! »
Considering inspiration, usually his work starts with a picture that he loves, « so photographers are my main inspiration »
But he’s also really inspired by the people he is painting with. It can be people from his crew, like Snub23, DanK, or Stickee or people that he sees painting every day in Liverpool like Beta.
« They don’t have the same style as me, but I learn a lot with these people »
Do you remember your first street art?
« Yes for sure! It was at the corner of my street when I was living in Paris. I was a bit stressed, not because it’s illegal, but because I didn’t know what the final result would be. When I removed the stencil, I was like ‘wow’ stencils are fucking cool, and I never stopped since… »
Most of his artwork is size S, because he thinks that is better if street art is a bit hard to find in the streets. Finding them will then bring a lot more satisfaction (for a fan), you think ‘I pass here every day and I never saw this small detail‘. I really like it when this happens to me. But his work can also be size M or L.
How many pieces of art have you created?
« I really have no idea of the number, I have never counted. But it’s not important, for me it’s all about the placement »
It’s possible to find his pieces in France, the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Israel, Brazil, etc…
« Every time I travel, I take some posters, my stencils and sometimes ‘free art’ on cardboard. And some people are even nice enough to paste my stuff for me. Thanks to Urbanhearts from the project ‘Street Art Without Borders’ for this! »
Any ideas for your next street art?
« Not really, but surely something that is already drawn in my blackbook… »
He prefers working on people with a lot of expression on their faces, so that when you see them in the streets, you know instantly if it’s a sad, happy, or angry person.
StreetLove THE TECHNIQUE
« Walls are my favourite support, but I really enjoy painting cars. I have to do more »
To work on his stencils, he uses a scalpel, a cutting mat, paper, paint markers for the sketches and of course spray paint, but also brushes for the background sometimes.
Then he needs about 30 seconds to paste up in the streets, 10 minutes to paint a small stencil, 1 or 2 hours for a big one. « It also depends of the number of layers »
Any artistic tips you can tell us?
« Don’t forget the quote marks (small crosses) when you cut a multilayer stencil… It’s annoying, but it will be easier to align when you paint »
StreetLove THE FUN
Psychonautes never leaves without cigarettes, music and beers if it’s a legal piece. « Because you need your ears when it’s illegal »
Any favorite color? « Haha… easy to find by yourself! Blue of course… Montana ‘power blue’ to be more precise! »
He doesn’t have artistic references, he just tries to do his Art.
He prefers music to movies, listenning to punk, dub, reggae, political hip hop, depends on his mood.
3 things that Psychonautes loves in general: his girlfriend, spraypaint fumes and beer.
3 things he hates: racists, haters, and not having enough money to buy his paint!
A message for the StreetLove team?
« Keep up the good work! One love…«