Would you please introduce yourself ?
I am a 30-year old guy born in Bristol (UK) ... Which may or may not explain my love for street art and stencils ! I grew up everywhere though : Japan, Venezuela, Scotland, Ireland, most of East Africa ... I moved to Brussels in January 2010. The influence of all the travelling and all the exposure is pretty evident in my work. I am self-taught and have absolutely no art or design background. I sign ERGO, latin for « therefore », as a way to emphasise that behind every face I paint, behind every stencil I cut, there is a thought process, a rationale that culminates in the work. My stencils are only the end product of a much longer - but much more private - process.
When and why did you decide to express yourself through street art and more specifically through stencils ?
In late 2008 I found myself at a crossroad, both personally and in terms of the environment I was in. I was living in Venezuela at the time and the political and social unrest that has characterised life there in the last decade got to me. I needed to say something. I needed some sort of controlled explosion ... And street art was it ! I chose stencils initially to counterbalance my lack of artistic dexterity. Nowadays, I wouldn’t trade stencilling for anything ... It has become a huge part of who I am, as a person and as an artist. I couldn’t think of working without them !
What are the topics that you seek to develop in your stencils ?
I work almost exclusively with portraits. People often look for a social trend in my work and, sure, I tend to pick profiles that don’t quite match the standard or commercial definition of beauty ... But I don’t think I am out to push a political or social message as such. Which is not to say that my work doesn’t seek to play a social role because I guess all street art does. The idea is that people will look at those giant faces staring at them and they will feel something. I am not particularly concerned with what they feel, as long as they feel something ! But to be honest, I paint for me ... For what it makes me feel.
Copyright : Pochoirs du double portrait « Manage » et de la signature par ERGO (repéré au dos d’une armoire de collecte OXFAM). Interview et photographies par Serge-Louis pour Brigadier Plipp.