Flipping the energy of a pervasive jinx into a profound new identity, Jinks has taken his restless energy and rampantly prolific capacity for creative output and hurled it into the mastery of stencils and a relentless campaign to have the Nantes underground gain the recognition it deserves. Layering up stencils into a dreamlike shade of simmering shadow, he whistles through themes and images, bringing a particular pathos both to portraiture and the dark side of geopolitical society. Taking an initial cue from the magnetic personalities that shaped history’s schizophrenic flow from both sides of the moral line, he used his dark, intense, stylised stencils to make some sense of overwhelming events through the persons that embodied them. Piling up new mediums as he dug deeper, he has explored a wealth of subject matter, though inevitably gravitating to the underbelly of the human condition as sweeping political themes like corruption, injustice, war, famine and the dark realms of an industrialised lack of conscience as light and shadow etch delicate insight into panoramic emotion. We had a word
You come from a creative background, Would you mind sharing part of your journey in becoming an artist?
My grandfather was an artist (ceramist, potter, poet and illustrator) who was awarded the distinction of the best ceramic artist in France in 1973. Ever since my childhood, I would watch and admire him in his small workshop.In the late 80ís I became interested in graffiti and started out by copying a little of what I was seeing. – so nothing wildly creative at the time hehehe. Between 1997 and 2001 I returned to Switzerland to live in the countryside, so there was nothing I could really do on walls and I had other concerns. Only by returning to Nantes in 2001 did I start painting on walls. In 2007 I started doing stencils on our murals and on canvas in 2008. It quickly became a real virus and now I can hardly stay more than a day without touching my cutter!
Your love of music and rap you brought into direct contact with graffiti. What kind of impact did it have on you?
Rap, graffiti … itís hip hop culture, itís all part of the package 😉 Iíve been listening to rap since 1984, so thereís clearly an impact, but I never saw it coming.
Like many graffiti artists, I am self-taught, but a few writers have given good advice along the way! And above all, explained the rules of the street.
What inspired your decision to pursue other art forms such as stencilling or waste recycling?
I started the stencil because I wanted to add a small logo on our frescoes. Then I acquired a taste for cutting. I find it very interesting to carry 5 or 6 stencils, applying them one after the other and then discover the result only when the last stencil is painted, though sometimes the end result is not exactly what I wanted. For environmental works, I am someone who does not like throwing things away. I accumulate a lot of little things and one day Iíd do something with each one. Surprise!
Nantes is artistically very rich and the list is long! But I can still point to big Nantes collectives who are very active, the 16s, the RN, the XP …and I love the work of Nasher, Shok, Kors, Arti, Jef Aerosol … Every day we discover new movement in our streets! I hope it will continue!
Tell us a little about the purpose of the Nantes website TANK.
At first, I just wanted to show what was going on in Nantes. Then the site was quickly overloaded with hits! People are more interested in graffiti, and more and more people started visiting industrial areas in search of new graffiti.
Your background in TV / printed media lead you to create Apocalypse Nantes, what was the mission with this project?
This wasnít directly mine, but came about through a band of friends who had similar goals. Promote hip hop culture of our city. We were talking about rap concerts that we could see, doing interviews with graffiti artists, rappers and breakers, and having half of the magazine dedicated to graffiti. It was a bit like my website TANK on paper. We were also selling a Ä 2 CD album.
Street art is the most viewed art in the world I think because you do not have to go into a gallery or a museum to see it. Street art comes to the public …
Having been a writer how different did painting stencils on the streets feel?
With the stencil there is a better readability and visibility. People findit less aggressive and more easily recognize the artistís work without seeing this as an act of vandalism. Yet even a tag with streaks and drips can be artistically reflected by the artist.
It appears you’ve declared war on road signs, how’s that battle going?
The battle’s going well and prising smiles from passersby, which was the goal to start with! I have several new signs that will happen in the coming weeks. Keith Haring in 1987 did a sign hijacking campaign. I have reproduced exactly the sign by affixing his signature. Keith Haring is in the heart of many artist and, I wanted to honour him.
You ran lots of workshops for teenagers, did they share the same passion for graffiti?
It is difficult to motivate young people when organizing workshops graffiti. Girls are usually the cleanest and most assiduous. I have given workshops to over 300 young people and I am very proud because there are 5 youths who continued the graffiti! This is my best reward.
I lost my job a little over 2 years ago and since then, I am fighting to live. I have more and more demand from abroad and would like to dedicate 2012 to doing a world tour with my paintings.
How regularly do you exhibit your work?
I have several permanent exhibitions, and I just finished a group exhibition in Jakarta.
You’ve done lots of press interviews does this mean you no longer paint during the night?
I love the night….. under a full moon I turn into a black cat;) Iíll continue this way because I do not consider it vandalism, but rather the beautification of the public highway.
Have you painted in other countries or do you plan on doing it anytime soon?
I have only painted in France and Switzerland thus far, but I expect to be painting in several African countries very soon … (to be continued …)
What should we expect more of from you in the future?
Always stencils, collages … but much larger, new media and probably more corrosive!!
Anything else youíd like to say to LSD readers?
Seize your wishes! Let not put up with all those dishonest politicians! Unity is strength! Let’s not spoil our planet!