Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Interview with Sean Hart

At the end of June, I wrote Urban Poet: Sean Hart, in which I introduced Hart’s street art and quoted Vandalog’s doubts regarding the legitimacy of his creations. The next day, I went directly to the source and contacted Hart. I asked if he would grant PartyMixTape an interview in the hopes of understanding his process and motivations. Here it is:

Sean Hart

What motivated you to become a street artist?
I never had the motivation to become a "street artist." I don't consider myself as such. I think this term is reductive for the artists who create their work in the street. This expression is quite juvenile and means little… it's just art lingo. I made my first graffiti at age 14 to kill boredom…

Very little has been written about you. Only that you were born in France. Tell us more about your background:
Not so little, but it depends where you look. (laughs) But you’re right. It's what I want. For the moment I want to remain mysterious. The bio on my website describes me better than a C.V.

Most street artists go by their street name. Is Sean Hart a pseudonym?
Sean Hart is my real name. I don't want to take an alias… maybe because my name already looks like a pseudonym.

Love Riot – Shine Series from 2012
Below is “proof that I paint my words.”

How is your artwork created?
It depends which work...

The Shine series, for example.
I use a video projector to project text on the wall. I draw the letters with chalk and then I paint. When the painting is finished, I play with flashlights to create the atmosphere I want and I take a picture with a camera. For the series Yes Future, I designed alphabets on paper in two different sizes. When I know where I want to paint the text – after long strolls in the city – I hold the paper against the wall and draw the outlines with chalks. After that, I paint. When the painting is finished, I take a picture. For the series Extra time, I used stencils and spray cans. I painted on mattresses I’ve found in the street. Before taking the picture, I often moved the mattress to have a better background.

Would you describe your work as graffiti?
For a part of my work, why not? But I’d say "Extra Large Graffiti!"

What influenced your artistic production?
What I see, hear, feel, touch, smell, do… What I understand or not… People I meet or people like George Orwell, Mohamed Ali, Angela Davis, Jean Luc Godard, Nina Simone, Jim Jarmusch, Chris Maker….

Sleep Disorder – Extra Time Series from 2011

To promote your art, you rely on photographic images. How much of your art is dependant of these images?
Whooooow… (laughs) Here exists the big misunderstanding to my work! To promote my art, I use my website, tumblr and even Facebook. I use photography to promote what I do, because the finished product is my photograph.

There has been much controversy about your work – questioning whether it was created through Photoshop or truly painted in situ. How do you respond to this?
I’ve already responded to this in my response to your question: "How is your artwork created?"

How does a street artist survive as an artist?
I don't know because, again, I don't consider myself a "street artist." For the moment, I don't make money with the art I create in the urban landscape. I make money when I’m working at my job with the French theatre company Le lézard dramatique. I also want to specify that I don't survive; I live, maybe even better than people who have more money than I do. Obviously, I live in a capitalist system; but I don't run after money. I believe what I wrote in Rio de Janerio last year: “Money is poor.” Love feeds me.

Money is Poor – Yes Future Series (Rio de Janeiro, 2011)

What’s next for Sean Hart?
I have just come back from Belle-Île-en-Mer, an island in the north of France, where I worked on a new personal project, the finality of which may be a book and a short video. I am now looking for an agent, publisher or gallery owner to promote my work. As of now, you can follow my adventures on my site and on my blog.

Name your top three songs.
Just three? (laughs) This is a hard question! I don't have a top song, but I invite you to listen to the following:
All I want - Joni Mitchell
Ain't Got No - I Got Life - Nina Simone
Visions - Outlines

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