[Interview] : Art de Noé, the artist who brings color to Brussels

Art de Noé invited us in his workshop for a talk about his life, graffiti and street art. He will exhibit the best pieces of his work for the next edition of our Up & Dawn this Wednesday. 

Airplane Mode : Why do you call yourself Art de Noé ?

Art de Noé : Noé is my real name, so Art de Noé was just a way to make a pun with my it.
When I was younger, everybody was making fun on my name. So, using it today as an artist name is a kind of revenge for me. Moreover, I’ve always loved animals so my name is like a nod to Noah’s ark. I’ve recently found out that the initials of my name was DNA, and I think that’s pretty cool.

A.M : How did you get into art?

A.D.N : Actually, all began with my mother when I was very young. As my mother is an artist herself, I’ve always rub shoulders with artists and this environment.  She took me in every exhibitions or art galleries she went to, so I really began to feel like home in this kind of places and environment. Later, I saw her when she was painting and drawing. I’ve always had an easy access to every materials so I had the opportunity to experience every techniques and listen to my creativity.

When I was about 17/18, I went to the Beaux Arts. At this time, I met a lot of graffiti artists, and I began to understand how things were going on here. After this, I went to another school where I learnt how to use different design software. I quickly knew that I didn’t want to become a designer and that I was more into graffiti.

A.M : Could you tell us why you chose graffiti and street art ?

A.D.N : Well, I’ve always enjoyed listening rap music and this universe. When you love this environment you want to find a way to be a part of the wave. I wasn’t really into break dance or rap so it’s quite naturally that I find my bearings with graffiti.

As I told you before, I learnt everything on graffiti with the people I met at the Beaux Arts.
When I was 17, I got arrested by the police. They carried out a research at my place, they seized all my spray cans, everything. After this, something clicked and I slowly began to get out of graffiti and started to paint more on canvas.

A.M : What influences you the most ?

A.D.N : 
At the beginning, I’ve been really influenced by Banksy. I was amazed by how he combined aesthetics and political commitment. He’s like pioneer of what we call street art today. For my cartoons, I’ve been influenced by Keith Harrings ! What I like the most about him is that he was doing his art for the people. This was the first forms of what I would call “urban modern art”.

A.M : So, are you to convey a message through your work ?

A.D.N : I don’t want to be categorized as an activist so even if sometimes I’m really dying to do it, I’m really trying to limit myself. Everybody who has been following me for years knows that I’m sometimes involved and sometimes I’m not.

A.M : What do you like to paint the most ?

A.D.N : Portraits, definitely. When I use my cartoons to draw portraits, they’re more imaginary but when I want to make something more realistic I take my inspiration from photographs of people.

A.MWhat are your favorite materials ?

A.D.N : I love to paint on walls, this is certainly because I really like this aspect of street art you know, the desire to make art accessible to all. I love to customize objects that surrounding me, but I would say that what I like the most is canvas and paper.

A.M : Are you using the social media networks to showcase your work ?

A.D.N : Of course! We’re currently living in an era where it’s essential to have and be very active on as much social network as possible. That remains a good way to promote your work and touch a wide range of people. Facebook is a very useful tool for instance, a lot of orders are made through my page. What I like the most about this is that I have the choice! I mean, I’m the only one who can decide if I’m really interested in a project or if I want to sell something.

A.M : Do you see Brussels as a good playground for all the graffiti artists ?

A.D.N : Honestly, yes. It lasts for over 20 years now, so it’s something serious. Few times ago, Belgium was put in the spotlight, mainly because of the rap scene. You know, rap music and graffiti are strongly linked so, when one is doing well the other just follow.

A.M : What do you think about Brussels artistic scene ?

A.D.N : I really like what’s happening in Belgium. People here have always been very talented and creative. The art market has already built his reputation, and I would say that it is more important than in Paris. In the art galleries, in the streets of Brussels or even in other fields like rap music     everything is very dynamic.

A.M : The name of our association is Airplane Mode. It refers to these moments when you need to disconnect yourself from the world and do something that corresponds to you. When do you switch off to Airplane Mode?

Most of the time when I’m drawing! I’m not a morning person so every night I turn my phone off because I don’t want to be wake up!

By Max