January 13, 2014.

Art Basel commentary by Mr. D

What do you write? Are you in a crew?

     Growing up I painted with many writers, I associated with KCA in paris. As a former graffiti writer, for legal reasons in 80's and 90 's I had several names all starting with the letter D. So in recent years I summed it all up to "Mr. D”. I was a D student too, so it made sense :) 

In what city did you start painting in the streets? Do you feel your work has influenced the community in return? If so, how? Is there a relationship between the artist and the community in which they work?

     I grew up in and around Paris, France. I saw the birth of European graffiti in the mid-80's and jumped onboard in 1987. The street, freeways, trains the whole city was fair game. Then I started traveling in the 90's and painted in dozens of countries before settling down in the USA in 1998. My public art and mural projects work in recent years has brought me closer to the community. It's mostly with kids and the younger generation. I am slowly turning into an educator, doing lectures on public art and the professional artist lifestyle. I have met so many people because of it. It is beautiful that our art form is globally accepted and recognized. The masters of our time and generation are the artists from the streets. Art history has no choice but to recognize this as the first global art movement, and I am proud to be part of it.


Did you go to school or are you self taught? 

     Self taught! It's the best(and only advice) from an art teacher. "do not go to art school, do your thing!" And I did. 

How did you get started in the arts and why?

     It was under the influence of pop art and "classic" American graffiti. I was born in Versailles so somehow I mixed European history and the wild freedom of expression from graffiti and combined them. 

How long have you been working in the streets?

     Since 1987.

Who or What inspires you the most?

     I draw inspiration from the masters Michaelangelo and Salvador Dali. To the "old school" founders of the graffiti movement, LEE , SEEN and DONDI. But I am happy to see that the younger kids are bringing a great variety of style. It's nuts what's going out there now! It's like a big party and Wynwood Miami during Basel is the grand finale every year! As most murals disappear quickly I am glad someone is documenting it well!

 What should the general public know about street art? What stereotype about street art/graffiti do you hate the most?

     Street art is everywhere, and it will continue to grow. Stereotype wise it is not always glamorous. You have to be dedicated to do it at the highest level. As a result your health , relationship and bank account will suffer :). I hate haters, so many jealous lil' girls out there. They are often other artists or their friends though. People who because they have wifi think they have the right to criticize you, it's ok to not like something, but be productive about it. Public art means public criticism after all. But for the most part we get a lot of love and respect for what we do.

Are you a full time artist? Do you have a day job? Is it best to be full time artist or not worry about it and make your $$$ elsewhere, that way you can paint what and how you want, which one offers a more creative outlook?

     I have been a professional artist for 20 years. This is what I do every day. I am the founder of Eyeful Art murals and designs. I am also a brand ambassador/sponsored artist for Liquitex paint. I do private commissions, mural commissions,  street art projects, art shows, gallery shows, art fairs etc. I have a busy schedule. This year will be no different.

What are you working on now? 

     I am preparing for two solo exhibitions in Florida and Connecticut called AmericCAN Graffiti and I have 2 big street art inspired murals scheduled in Houston, Texas. One for the University of Houston downtown and one for the Houston zoo coming up. 

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish by putting your work in the street?

     This is where I started. This is still my favorite place to be, my art studio and indoor events are good, my work outside helps my work inside and vice/verse. It's a package deal, I need both equally. You do not get the same feeling on a 10,000.00 sq. ft building, in the weather,risking your life than you do on on a canvas in your studio. But both are equally challenging :)

      Thanks! I will be back in Miami. I have an opening at Lelia Mordoch Gallery on March 12 for my solo show there I hope to see you then.


Mr. D