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Dain at Lebenson Gallery

The Brooklyn artist brings his wry east coast humour to the heart of Paris

Dain was born and raised in Brooklyn, long before it was invaded by hipsters and he analyses fame, beauty and consumerism in a detached tongue-in-cheek manner. For example, he selects a portrait of a 1950s movie actress and inserts it into a pop-heavy, colourful universe, where old-school ads, pictures of children with guns, and fairytale book illustrations rub shoulders. He then adds a touch of graffiti, usually in the shape of a sprayed on monocle. Some pieces are made for the streets – started at home, stuck and continued outdoors – others are made for a gallery context. This month, he reveals a series of new pieces at the Lebenson Gallery in Paris – a gallery with a penchant for Anglo-Saxon street art, which previously gave a solo show to east London-based artist Pure Evil. Dain chats to Dazed Digital about growing up in Brooklyn before the hipster invasion, beauty and the unimportance of fame.

Dazed Digital: How would you describe your technique?
Dain: My technique is a mixture of collage, silkscreen, spray paint and writing. I love bringing back the 40s and 50s with a modern twist. It was a classy time, a more simply time..

DD: Would you call yourself a Brooklyn artist?
Dain: So many people call themselves 'Brooklyn artists'... I am not sure if that is cool to say or what, but most of them moved here from out of state and don't know the real Brooklyn. It is so much more than one or two neighborhoods. I grew up with a diversity of people including those that came here from Europe.

DD: Can you tell us more about the show?
Dain: BORN AGAIN is the name of my show, it is a play on word – I will bring back to life a time long gone..

DD: And which current projects can you reveal to Dazed Digital readers?
Dain: Right now, I am just focused on my show at the Lebenson Gallery. I also worked on a couple of pieces for a group show at the Leo Kesting gallery in New York.

DD: What is the drive behind your work?
Dain: I create beauty... For m,  it is not so much about the beauty of a particular actress. Fame, celebrity status and beauty all disappear over time.

DD: But how do you select the actress?
Dain: It is not so much who the celebrity is but more about the expression of that person… The eyes can speak so much.

Born Again exhibits June 24 – July 24 2010 at the Lebenson Gallery, 56 rue Chapon, 75003 Paris