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Artus de Lavilléon

The Parisian artist blurring the boundaries between contemporary and street art and co-founder of L’Epicerie speaks to Dazed

The Paris based artist Artus de Lavilléon uses every medium he can find to make from contemporary art to street art. He is part of the Art Posthume collective running exhibitions with Daniele Tedeschi and Aleksi Cavaillez and also the co-founder of L’Epicerie, the infamous concept store of the late 90s with fashion designer Ramdane Touhami. Thus bearing unshakeable ties to the fashion world, he even illustrated the life of his friend, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac whilst sharing collaborations with Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, and Jeremy Scott to i-D Magazine and Levi’s. He cites skateboard/punk-rock culture from the 80s as influences whilst his work consists primarily of monochromatic illustrations, artistic performances as exhibited in art galleries internationally, and has made T-shirts for cult French label and store Sixpack.

Dazed Digital: Can you describe your work in one sentence?
Artus de Lavilléon: My art is often a brutal testimony and a daily archive of my life.
DD: Can you describe yourself in one sentence?
Artus de Lavilléon: A hard one… I’m always filled with never-ending contradictions and I have a black tattooed arm.
DD: You use quite a lot of mediums like graffiti or photography or drawing... do you have one that is your favourite, the easiest medium for you to communicate with?
Artus de Lavilléon: My easiest medium to communicate with is drawing, but if I had to, I would describe me as a painter who could use any medium as required to be able to share my life experiences. A picture when I’m in love, a documentary when someone around me has a story to tell, a text when I have something precise to say, a painting when it is more abstract, a shop or a gallery even, to show the work of my friends, installations, happenings, anything.
DD: Tell us about your illustrations of Jean-Charles De Castelbajac? What sparked you off to do that, are you interested in fashion also?
Artus de Lavilléon: I was trapped in fashion when I did L’épicerie in '99, one of the first concept stores of the “new generation” in France, and I got famous for it. Since then, it's been kind of part of the young french hipster scene (or those related to this culture). I work a lot in the fashion field even if I hate it. Jean-Charles saw my drawings in my Deadpan Zine and we met. We became friends and I decided to make a comic book out of his amazing life. Everything was done in 3 months and published at Casterman’s, Tintin’s editor. A dream of my childhood came to life, but being an illustrator is definitely not a goal. It just happened by chance and I’m grateful for that. I’m happy being free or trying to be.
DD: Your illustrations for Sixpack seem to be quite funny and amusing, are you making any more like that?
Artus de Lavilléon: Since a while I’m working with my friends from Ill-Studio and I’m always open for any project with them or a skate session. Tee-shirts are fun to do and an easy way to communicate ideas, so yes why not do more tees? I’m often drawing on my tees anyway so why not sell them. Sell everything! Making money is so important today. And becoming rich and famous too.
DD: What are your plans next?
Artus de Lavilléon: A theatre play, more exhibitions, paintings, drawings, installations… more texts, a book maybe, publishing the Deadpan’s if I can, a movie, returning to the underground and, let's hope becoming famous enough to escape the city and being able to work from far away, as far as I can from celebrities and money, but not from my friends. Building a family, why not? And never resolving my never-ending contradictions. They are our humanity.
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