Being a New Yorker means knowing at least 10 self-proclaimed artists. In fact, according to Vanity Fair, there’s a rise of Art Boys and some of that has to do with pop culture’s fascination with the creators, a rise in celebrity hookups, and an influx of cash that makes it a very lucrative business (bye-bye starving artist, hello hypebeast painters decked in LV).
The upside of this peak in interest is that art may be on the path to democratization – *record scratch* but only if the hedge-fund hustle that’s paying for it comes to a halt.
Manhattan Wreck, a curatorial collective with a strong focus on creative collaboration, may be one solution to disrupting this notoriously elitist world.
On May 23rd I attended one of their shows featuring Parisian artist Bebar.
A student of the prestigious École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs de Paris and Parsons School of Design, Bebar’s work can be seen throughout Europe. The artist also boasts past collaborations with Nike, Timberland and Havana Club. Born in 1993 to Franco-Spanish parents, Bebar is distinguished by his versatility and dual practice, between mastery of graffiti and academic mastery, between figuration and abstraction.
1. Where were you born? Where are you based?
Born in Paris, based in Paris.
2. Are you self-taught? Or did you go to school for your craft? Which school(s)?
Both, I have been drawing since I was a kid and was introduced to graffiti at 12 years old. I started out alone but thank God I came across the National Decorative Art School of Paris where I created my unique style midway through abstract and figurative art. This duality keeps my work original and I’m proud of mastering both street and my studies.
3. What is the one advice you wish you had while coming up as an artist?
Don’t wait for anybody else in order to believe in your dreams…. don’t listen to people around you & make your own mistakes.
4. How do you stay inspired?
Allowing myself to take breaks. Taking care of myself and my relatives … doing nothing sometimes … I believe the time of rest is more productive than the time of production itself.
5. What do you hope to communicate through your art?
I don’t have the pretense and the maturity to expect something precise from my art. But I hope my paintings can be seen as windows of energy that can feed your soul and be interpreted differently every time you come across it again. My principal expectation is to be seen that’s it … like graffiti, whether you like or not… but it’s better if you like it.
6. I can see your private show in New York or stumble on one of your commissions on a building. How do you explain the value of doing those two projects for your work?
It’s an honor and recognition for me to be called on for ambitious projects. But I do everything in order to make those projects happen. So I feel proud and I grow every time I meet the challenge. Its good for self-esteem and makes me want to try and do better every time.
7. If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would you? Why?
I already lived and studied in NYC, but I’m really thinking about moving back to NYC. I’m a Parisian who fell in love with New York. Here the energy can be felt anywhere, people are up to everything and are super open-minded, positive, and creative… I already have friends in NYC who have helped me more in the last few weeks than friends I’ve had in France my whole life.
8. You’re stranded on a colorless island and you have to paint it using only three colors. What colors do you choose?
Super easy: cyan, yellow, and magenta. The three primary colors because you can make them all just from these three.
9. Name three songs you could listen to on repeat.
Manu Chao – Desaparecido
13Block – Fuck le 17
Bad Bunny – Amorfoda
10. Someone offers to buy you a work of art – price, era doesn’t matter – what’d you ask them to buy?
Not very original but I will say a Picasso because I’m french but from two immigrant parents from Spain and Picasso is the Master. Also because he is midway figurative and abstract and anyway his career was very unexpected realism, abstract, light painting, body painting, action painting; this guys was a beast and never stayed in his comfort you can tell through the edge. A Picasso no doubt and why not Guernica?