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Home FEATURES French Interview

French Interview
Written by Yasha Wallin   
Wednesday, 07 March 2007 05:12
Yasha interviews this English death metal listening English illustrator who just wrapped up a show in NYC at KCDC.

I've heard French's name mentioned off and on throughout the years via mutual friends. Then last summer, when I saw his black and white illustrations in a group show at ATM Gallery in New York of everything from animals to death metal, my interest was fully peaked... He just had a show here at KCDC in Brookyln... I chatted with French via email, to find out a little more about the work and the man behind it?

Where are you from?

I'm from a town called ALDERSHOT, which is 45 miles south east of London. It's a gnarley place, the home of the British army.

Is French your real name?

Nah! It's a nickname I got when I was about 12. All the guys I grew up skating with were at least 6 yrs older than me and they used to say that I looked like I a had a French exchange students hair cut... so I got called French boy. No one really calls me anything else.

What's Brixton like?

Like Jamaica, dropped into hell. I fucking hate it. Where I live is meant to be ok. But we still have a problem with prostitutes and crack heads getting in the building to use it as their own special office.

Did you go to school for art?

Yeah, I went to Uni in Stoke on Trent. That's above Birmingham and below Manchester, in the midlands of England. I studied Fine Art.

I spent some of my time studying at KU in Lawrence, Kansas. That was one of the best things that I've ever done. I met some seriously cool people and experienced things that many English people would never get to see. Like Frat parties, shooting guns, driving tractors, doing keg stands on a school bus on the way to an Ice Hockey game, skating some sick skate parks. You know all the things you would do in the Midwest.

What was the last illustration that you destroyed and why?

I haven't destroyed anything in years. I keep all my mistakes and use them for new work or draw into it again later. I don't really feel the need to throw work out, I dunno why.

You had a show last year at ATM Gallery in New York. Did you come out for the exhibition? How did the four of the you get put together for the exhibition?

Yeah, I came over for the show. I actually stayed a month and went to California after, I loved it. It was my 1st time in New York. It's a mental place. I don't really know how we got put together. I know I was asked 'cos I was doing a show with 2K in Holland and it had the same curator as the show in New York. So That's how I got roped into it. I guess the others had a similar contact.

I've heard about you indirectly throughout the years because you kept in touch with my good friend Alicia. The two of you met years ago in London. She's always told me about what a great sense of humor you have. Being that you're work tends to be on the dark side, what makes you laugh?

I actually met her in San Fran before that. She was going out with a buddy of mine... she looked after me and friend, while he was out of town. Well, she took us to get drunk.

I never really laugh at comedians or tv, more just life. I'm pretty sarcastic, sarcasm makes me laugh a lot. I guess just dicking about and being a tit to people makes me laugh the most.

Several artists and photographers such as Angela Boatwright and Peter Beste have bodies of work focusing on death metal and black metal. Do you relate to the kind of work they are making?

I like the stuff Peter makes. I actually met him last time I was in New York. He's such a sound bloke... I really like Death metal more than Black, and I know that I have a love of the music more than an interest in the scene... Neither of them have really taken photos of anyone I actually think is that credible as a band. But their work is both very interesting. Especially Peter's... to get into a scene like that and be accepted is really something else.

Do you work on several pieces at once?

Usually I'll work on like 3-4 things at the same time. Something for a show, something for a fashion company... They'll all be at different stages of being done.

What do you think about America's love affair with the English accent?

It's amazing if you're an ugly English guy, like me, It's like getting a face transplant from Brad Pitt. But it can get annoying after too long.

I noticed on your website that you've introduced a bit of color and collage within your work. What led to this?

I've been making collage and colour work for ages... I've always made collage, but I just got more into it recently after I found this amazing colour, children's bible and I made a few drawings that linked with these weird images. The collage thing is difficult 'cos it takes so long for me to find the right images... But when it works it's so much fun and can be really effective. I definitely wanna follow it up more in the future.

I like using colour, but I just think that using it too much detracts from a good image, so I just forget it a lot of the time. I prefer drawing, not colouring in.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I'm working a few different things. I'm working on a bunch of "Stoner Rock" style designs for Altamont t-shirts. I'm also drawing pictures of seagulls for my friend's skate shop's 10th anniversary t-shirt. They're by the sea... in Southsea and seagulls are a big deal.

Those Deer Head prints are really nice. Did you have them made or did you work directly with a printer? Can I buy one or what?

My buddy Stuart is a screen printer, and people kept asking if I made prints of them. So I just got him to make me 50 of them, and yeah, you can still buy one, I have a few left.

What do you listen to in the studio?

At the moment Vile, Amputated, Vader, Mortician, Autopsy, Psychroptic, Obituary, Prostitute Disfigurement, Gut, Blasphemy, Inquisition, Rompoprop, Baphomet, Devourment, Exhumed, Inveracity, Waco Jesus and Condemned. All death metal really at the moment. I only just discovered Inquisition and Rompoprop so them more than anyone else really.

Do your illustrations? come from images in your head or do you use source material?

I use source material. I have loads of books and photos and I get images from the internet. That's how a lot of them look like actual things. But often I'll work from 2-10 images to make one thing. Like I just did this wild boar that blends into a tree and I have 5 images of Boars to work from and 3 or 4 images of trees and roots to help me develop and realize that idea... Obviously parts are made up and the overall idea comes from in my sweed.

You have a suicides section on your website. Tell me about that.

I just did some drawings once for a magazine about suicide in Japan and I put them on my website. They're really old now and really I should take them off.

You recently did board graphics for Heroin Skateboards. Is it gratifying to see your illustrations in product format?

I've been doing boards for Heroin since around 2002, and I just got to make an entire series, which was so good. I love making products, especially skateboards, 'cos that's my passion and what I've always wanted to do... I just made flip-flops for Pointer shoes... I can't wait to see them. It's amazing drawing something and then going into a shop and seeing it on sale, or walk down the street and see someone you don't know wearing something you made. It's a pretty weird experience.

What was the last piece of art that you made that you were excited about?

I just drew this mental picture of a blokes head and torso, with his face and body melting by acid. All his face is caved in, his eye is falling out and his chest is melting and his guts are dropping out. I was so happy with the way that one has worked out for me. I dunno, I get excited about most things I draw. I'm just happy to be doing something I really love.

If making art is your day job, do you still find it enjoyable?

I love every minute of it. Sometimes it's stressful and the pay is shit, people don't appreciate how much work goes into a drawing and all the rest of that stuff I'll complain about if I'm having a bad day. But really, it's all I've ever wanted and I love it. When I dislike it I'll go get a real job, but how many jobs would I get to sit, listen to metal and draw? Only mine.

Who and what inspires you?

Metal, drawing, Gustave Dore, John Martin, Grays Anatomy, Gothic Architecture. Chris Moyen, my mum, Peter Dale (r.i.p), skateboarding, Aldershot, tea, traveling, Goya, Sigmar Polke, Tate Britain, history, machines, cities, Imperial Britain, animals, forests, nature, Alanglass, hate, love, Marcus Oakley, zombie stu, the future, Slayer, Martin Kippenberger, Jean Dubuffet, normality, change, life.

Where do you think you'll be this time next year?

Drinking tea, drawing and listening to metal I hope.

On the website ruthlessreviews.com they listed the 10 Worst Black Metal records of all time. Do you agree with them?:
Immortal: Battles in the North
Vondur: Stridsyfirlysing
Marduk: Panzer Division
Darkthrone: Transylvanian Hunger
Hecate Enthroned: Upon Promethean Shores
Cradle of Filth: All Records
In Memory of Celtic Frost: Celtic Frost Tribute
Crusade from the North: Moonfog Compilation
Dimmu Borgir: Anything after Enthrone Darkness
Triumphant Burzum:Anything after Filosofem.

They're twats! Panzer Division? Marduk and Transylvanian Hunger are totally amazing. They know nothing. CUNTS! And all the Immortal albums are sick. But the rest are bullshit.

Best band that you saw in 2006?

Shit That's hard. Either Mortician , Bolt Thrower or Insidious Decrepancey. I've seen Bolt Thrower before, but they are always good and I really couldn't believe how amazing Mortician were live. Insidious was so brutal..so, so brutal. All the gigs were at the Camden Underworld, a true metal venue where you can sacrificially devour Carlsberg, that makes the real difference.

more info::
http://funeralfrench.blogspot.com/
http://www.tapedcopies.com {moscomment}

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contact FF

"Arrangement" by Michelle Fleck
Friday, 18 April 2014 10:23

This morning we take a closer look at this beautiful painting by San Francisco based Michelle Fleck now showing at FFDG.

Arrangement measures 24"x30", acrylic and aerosol on panel - inquires: info(at)ffdg.net

Michelle Fleck is a painter living in San Francisco. Her work focuses on the relationship between man and the landscape, and the marks we leave on it. Influenced by everyday life in the city, her paintings serve as snapshots of an ongoing intersection of the natural and man-made world. She strives to make work that has a sense of relevancy in a culture driven by a need for change and newness.

 

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Wednesday, 16 June 2010 16:39


Nychos Friday @Fifty24SF
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SAN FRANCISCO --- You've seen the murals pop up around town the last week from this Austrian street artist as he prepares for his solo show at Fifty24SF opening this Friday, 4/18.

GET THE SHOW DETAILS --- a bunch of NYCHOS

 

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012 10:56

 

Banksy's Mobile Lovers
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Speaking of Banksy (wait, were we speaking of Banksy?)... In any case, love his newest creation "Mobile Lovers" located in Bristol, England.

I love you, dear.... Huh? Wut?

 

Jeremy Fish Opening a Solo Show in August at FFDG
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Met up with Jeremy Fish last night to catch up and discuss his upcoming solo show opening this August at San Francisco's FFDG. Don't want to give too much away, but the guy is very busy these days. You know the giant pink bronze statue will be built and installed at the corner of Haight and Laguna welcoming those to the Haight (check) in 2015? Going to be incredible.

Check photos from his last San Francisco solo show in 2012, and mark your calendar for August as his next solo show opens at FFDG.

Beering with Fish at his favorite watering hole, Zeitgeist

 

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Think how high those throw ups can be now.

 

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Open House Sunday - Headland Center for the Arts
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Have you been to the Headland Center for the Arts in the Marin Headlands?

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This Sunday's Open House runs 12-5pm - FREE & DETAILS

 

Is It Curtains For San Francisco's Art Scene?
Tuesday, 08 April 2014 09:35

We all know that San Francisco is going through aches and (growing?)/ shrinking artist pains these days as San Francisco property values sky rocket due to the tech infestation going on around the entire Bay Area. Maybe you work in tech and love it, but since this is an art website, we're interested to how this is affecting artists trying to make ends meet.

Some galleries have been forced to close due to 300% rent hikes. Many artists have fled to Oakland, LA and NYC in search of affordable housing and a more vibrant art scene... But we wanna know what you think of how it's going here in San Francisco. How are you making it work? What's your take on the art scene or lack there of? Do you think things are on the up and up or down and out here in San Francisco? Are artists a bunch of complainers and every thing looks great or is it curtains for San Francisco's artistic community? Thoughts

The Rena Bransten Gallery is packing up their 77 Geary space to make way for tech company MuleSoft

 

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Wednesday, 25 August 2010 11:50


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Ferris Plock - Online Show, April 25th

FFDG is pleased to announce an exclusive online show with San Francisco based Ferris Plock opening on Friday, April 25th (12pm Pacific Time) featuring 5 new medium sized acrylic paintings on wood.


GOLD BLOOD, MAGIC WEIRDOS

Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne played host to a huge group exhibition a couple of weeks back, with "Gold Blood, Magic Weirdos" Curated by Melbourne artist Sean Morris. Gold Blood brought together 25 talented painters, illustrators and comic artists from Australia, the US, Singapore, England, France and Spain - and marked the end of the Magic Weirdos trilogy, following shows in Perth in 2012 and London in 2013.


Jeremy Fish at LA's Mark Moore Gallery

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John Felix Arnold III on the Road to NYC

Well, John Felix Arnold III is at it again. This time, he and Carolyn LeBourgios packed an entire show into the back of a Prius and drove across the country to install it at Superchief Gallery in NYC. I met with him last week as he told me about the trip over delicious burritos at Taqueria Cancun (which is right across the street from FFDG and serves what I think is the best burrito in the city) as the self proclaimed "Only overweight artist in the game" spilled all the details.


FRENCH in Melbourne

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Henry Gunderson at Ever Gold, SF

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Mario Wagner @Hashimoto

Mario Wagner (Berkeley) opened his new solo show A Glow that Transfers Creativity last Saturday night at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco.


Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.


NYCHOS Mural on Ashbury and Haight

NYCHOS completed this great new mural on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco on Tuesday. Looks Amazing.


Sun Milk in Vienna

With rising rent in SF and knowing mostly other young artists without capitol, I desired a way to live rent free, have a space to do my craft, and get to see more of the world. Inspired by the many historical artists who have longed similar longings I discovered the beauty of artist residencies. Lilo runs Adhoc Collective in Vienna which not only has a fully equipped artists creative studio, but an indoor halfpipe, and private artist quarters. It was like a modern day castle or skate cathedral. It exists in almost a utopic state, totally free to those that apply and come with a real passion for both art and skateboarding


"How To Lose Yourself Completely" by Bryan Schnelle

I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle


Tyler Bewley ~ Recent Works

Some great work from San Francisco based Tyler Bewley.


Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

While walking our way across San Francisco on Saturday we swung through the opening receptions for Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in the Mission.


Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.


The Albatross and the Shipping Container

Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.


The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.


Flavio Samelo's Downtown Sao Paulo Murals

Our buddy Flavio Samelo down there in Brazil does all kinds of great work including this recent mural project in downtown Sao Paulo in front of one of the most important modern buildings of Oscar Niemeyer from the 60's, THE COPAN.


John Trippe, FFDG and Fecalface.com Founder, Stepping Down From Daily Operations

John Trippe, founder, owner and curator of FecalFace.com and the Mission District art gallery FFDG, announced today that he will stepping down from daily operations of the two ventures to seek new career opportunities.


High 5s - Get Your Feet Wet

I purchased one of the first digital cameras when Fecal Face went online in 2000. It was a massive Kodak with 2 mega pixels


"Touching Base" by Schuyler Beecroft

San Francisco based Schuyler Beecroft emailed over the great new series of paintings he's completed entitled "Touching Base", 16x20in on mounted wood panel. Like them.


Flume - Space Cadet (ft. Ghostface Killah & Autre Ne Veut)

Buddies Jay Howell & Jim Dirschberger did this great video produced by Forest City Rockers.


Fire Shelter for Papay Gyro Nights 2014

Last year we posted photos from another one of Simon Hjermind Jensen's Fire Shelters he's made in Copenhagen. This time around the Copenhagen based artist/ designer created one for the Papay Gyro Nights 2014 way up in on the Orkney Islands in Northern Scotland.


"Portrait of a Slugger 19" by Hiro Kurata

Beautiful painting by NYC based Hiro Kurata now on display at SF's FFDG through April 19th as part of the group show "Salt the Skies".


"Veins of Octulen" by Curiot at FFDG

"Salt the Skies" opened on the 21st at FFDG and features this great piece by Mexico City based Curiot (Favio Martinez) whose sold out 2013 show Age of Omuktlans ran at FFDG. His forthcoming solo show is slated for March 2015.


Rome's Alice Pasquini ~Mural+

Rome based multimedia artist Alice Pasquini emailed over a recent mural completed in the historic working class neighborhood of Rome called Tufello.


Project M/3 in Berlin curated by NUART

BERLIN --- Project M is a temporary art project with the objective to improve the neighborhood, to push creativity and to connect people. At regular intervals Urban Nation with director Yasha Young invites a group of internationally reclaimed contemporary urban artists to re-design the facade and shop windows of a prominent residential building in Berlin, while it is being reconstructed.


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