Interview: Fred Le Chevalier

Fred le Chevalier brings his wheatpaste poster art to Marseille. A well known street artist from Paris, who took to the streets in 2001, he has now come to Marseille for the first time and has brought his beautiful art with him to decorate in his way the already vibrant and chock full of graffiti walls in Marseille. Fred’s “dessins’ are being displayed and are for sale until the end of March at the Joli Rouge a real treasure trove of an antinque shop Rue d’Aubagne in the sixth arrondisement of Marseille. I met with Fred to learn more about the artist and share a few laughs over a glass of Chardonnay, here is his story:

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How did you become an artist?
I drew a lot growing up, my father paints and there were a lot of books at the house. I read a lot of books with illustrations: 19th century novels, comic strips, “fanzines” so I grew up around a lot of art. I never wanted to learn how to draw, I wanted to do what I was able to do on my own. I work really hard so my work in return has become richer and more refined, but I always begin with something very simple. I’m not looking to define myself,  I grew up in the punk era, I like the idea that you don’t have to be a musician to play music. My drawings usually have a title, a little phrase that goes with it. so I like to mix my drawings with poetry, and word plays.
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Describe your proccess.
For 3 years I drew a character who was a reflection of myself; my emotions my life it was kind of like a way to encourage myself to get through hard times. I would write little captions to go with the drawings. Over time other people started to identify themselves within the characters, so all that changed and now i draw different people. But on the whole the begining process begins with my emotions, and that is reflected in each character. For example if I draw someone else, i’m going to draw what that person evokes in me.
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A comment on your style.
I find that the fact that the characters seem to come from a diifferent era, makes my drawing more accesible to others on a grander scale. I’ve had italians tell me that they feel like my characters look italian, or asian people say my drawings seem oriental. I like that people from different countries, different horizons can say that it reminds them of their home.
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Why Marseiile?
I had a friend who had a place in Paris, who came to live in Marseille, so she invited me. I had never been to Marseille, I like this area the 6th arrondisement, the lively popular neighbourhoods, it is the type of place that I like to put up my art, like in Ménilmontant in the north of Paris, where I live. I feel good here, I like how everywhere there’s something scribbled on the walls. I’ll have to come back in warmer days for a longer visit.
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Other Artists You Admire?
There are people who work in the street that I really like what they do, like a friend of mine MadameThere is also a “Parisienne” named Kashink, who does really beautiful stuff. Also I very much admire an older artist named Ernest Pignon-Ernest, who was one of the first street artist in France from the 60s and 70s, with a sort of political agenda.
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What are your projects for 2016?
I’m doing another exhibition in Paris, a collective project with an Art Gallery called Eko Sato in June. I’m planning on writing two books. One story that i’ll write myself and another book that I co-wrote with a friend of mine, that I’m now working on illustrating. I always yearn for new projects, I’d like to make a bigger story with my drawings. Not just draw one thing and put it up. I’d like to keep on traveling and visiting new places, other countries.

J’avalerai le sel sur ta peau, ce sera tellement sucré

selI bought this drawing for my collection, and it’s the perfect little addition to the shelves in my living room. You can browse and buy Fred le Chevalier’s Drawings here, and for more information you can read his personal blog here.

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