Sunday, 26 December 2010

LSD Magazine Interviews Belgian Street Artist Resto (Issue 6)

Belgian artist Resto has been taking the flatland's by storm with his gargantuan dreamscape of lovingly warped, modern mythic wonder. Rippling with vibrant colour, he dances through styles from letters to questionably attired giants and has become notorious for the sheer scale and epic nature of so much of his work - often in collaboration with ROA. A wink and a comedic nudge infuse so many of his characters, yet always tempered with a deep compassion that brings his gorillas, his giants, and his lunatic living machines into the realms of empathic humanity. Steeped in the phantasmagoric tradition of the surreal from El Greco to the present day, he has carved his own identity into the industrial landscape of the modernity as his characters and his paintings plaster a warm, loving smile over all of our faces. We spoke to him.

How long have you been painting walls? 

My first spray can works date from around ‘96, my first illegal piece must have been 50cm by 50cm hahaha the more serious work came about a year later. 

Are you formally trained or did you shoot from the hip? 

I got an education at the Academie of Fine Arts in Gent, etchings, linocuts and silkscreenprinting was my master. Allthough I can’t say that helped me a lot.. whether this was my fault or the teachers... who will say. All I know is that I am far more happy now doing my own stuff than back then when teachers told me this or that is not art. If that’s what you mean.

Scale and colour seem to be your signature, when did you decide to paint such large colourful pieces? 

After I got kind of bored of always painting five letter pieces of the same height and length I guess.

Do you enjoy painting letters as much as painting characters? 

Allthough I kind of got bored doing only letterpieces, I can still enjoy it. I’ve always liked the typographic part of graffiti, that’s what kind of got me into it. But O my god how many times can one repeat the same letter without getting bored with it. Before I actually used to switch names quite often just because I got bored with the letters. A lot depends on the wall and who I am with but in general I enjoy more and more drawing on walls (wherein letters can be involved). The bottom line is: Tags and simple pieces for quick enjoyment, characters and muraldrawings for bigger projects and a longer effect of enjoyment.. 

How long does it take to paint those large walls? 

It depends on how big the wall is, so mostly the job is done in one day. (What can be a long day...) About twelve hours must be the longest I’ve worked on one piece, although I can’t wait to go bigger.

What or who influences your designs most? 

That’s a hard one, so much people do, every day new things influence me. I am not a person who tends to keep to one style or technique, because I usually get bored of it very fast. But I could say people close to me influence me, my daily collaborators, crew members and co, and the there are about a million artists I look up to, from El Greco, Bosch, to Schiele, Paul Klee,... Phillip Guston, Jean Spezial are great friends and I think their work is amazing, together with lots of todays illustrators, some of Gents greatest talents, Pointdexter, Bue,...and so much more, not to forget Blu, EricaelCane, Honet, Horfé... Mostly I get my influences from people who make illustrative stuff with great detail. 

How do people respond to your work in the city? 

I must say we kind of built up a good vibe in the city towards graffiti/street art approaching it from a different angle. Asking people if you can paint their wall can be much more rewarding than just doing some


Ananda nahu, The Correspondents, Solo One, Soulflux, The Orb + Youth, Jerm IX, 69 DB, Raymond Salvatore Harmon, Rennie Pilgrem, The Yes Men, Resto, Chaz, Neurodriver, Lokey, Elate, Dhear One, Page 51, Umek, Karma, Andrew Tiernan, K-Guy, Richard A Webster, William Parry, Andy C, Jesus Greus, Push Pony, James Lightning Wilks, Dominic Spreadlove, AK - 47, Mr Sofalumpkins, Mat Banbury, MikkiM, David Corden, Ian Milne, Punch Music, Hudson Zuma, Wayne Anthony, Sirius23

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