As the name suggests, this Belgian artist works predominantly using the only the colors black and white. We came across his work while surfing the internet, and it goes without saying, that only a simple glance over his captures your attention immediately. Imagine, pop-art. But then black and white. With fantasy. And a little more. Amazing work! He was nice enough to do a short interview with us:
How did you get started in art and what led you to start a career as an artist?
My “story” began at the age of 14 when, like many other teenagers, I was drawing graffiti on simple white sheets. I drew a lot and my technique rapidly improved. At the same time, I was making videos of my projects, which allowed me to quickly master video editing programs.
In the following years, my school education didn’t go very well… Sciences, Math, latin… none of those school subjects clearly suited me… But I managed to succeed in 2008.
Born into a family of doctors with great careers, I was willing to work hard myself to be recognized in my field… but I still didn’t know what was “my field” yet.
All these years, I continued to draw a lot and I discovered a new passion in mural painting that I was doing on my garden walls. I especially liked the "gigantic" and "imposing" effect of these murals.
With the support of my family, I decided to get into a School of Arts in Liège, in order to improve my technique. After 3 years, it was now clear that my career would be in the Arts.
In 2012, I decided to specialize my work in the production of large black and white murals. With the help of my brother, who has now become my manager, I took the pseudonym “NOIR”, and I gradually created my art universe. Very quickly, my style became successful. Many shops and events started to call me to customize their walls, in Belgium and abroad.
My Art career had started.
Your style is quite distinct, using shading and contrast rather than color to create detailed and very realistic work. How and why did you develop this style in your art?
I grew up in the Internet bubble and the gears that lead to our consumer society. I have always been fascinated by the ephemeral nature of things, the speed at which information come and go. Glut of commercials at every corner, on every magazine page. Our eyes become slaves without us noticing.
The themes of my work are heading on the world of advertising and consumption. More precisely on the fact that the modern man gradually forgets what beauty is in a world that assails him every day with more and more pieces of useless knowledge.
That is why, in my work, there is no color, no meaning, almost no connection between the different characters and texts. This is for me the best way to create a "mirror" of our society
that matches my feelings. My works are often saturated with information, there are very few empty spaces. The eye gets lost in the composition and cannot rest anywhere.
And in my way of thinking, the color does not matter, the contrast of black and white is for me the highest form of purity.
What challenges do you face by only using black? How meticulous must your planning process be?
The biggest challenge for me, when I work only with black shades, is to successfully translate colored pictures while keeping the same “graphic power”. I always try to find the right balance between black and white spots. Once I find it, the rest of the creative process becomes more natural.
Another challenge, whether it is for huge murals or drawings on paper, is to manage the time I spend on sketches. I have to be accurate to the millimeter to be satisfied with my future creation, so it takes time. I won’t start painting or drawing before I’m 100% satisfied with my sketches. I leave nothing to chance.
Could you give some advice to struggling artists, what helped you get to the point that you can make a living with your art?
My main advice to struggling artists would be “Surround yourselves with qualified and motivated people”.
Being an artist is 50% working on your art, and 50% communicating and selling it… You may be amazing in your art, but if you can’t talk about it, it’s almost impossible to make a living with it…
I am personally very well surrounded. My brother is my manager, he takes care of the paperwork and the project files (and other things I hate to do). I also have a Press Officer who takes care of the Press Release and the media distribution. Without them, I couldn’t be as focus as I want to be on my work.
Of course it is an investment, none of this is free, but in the end, the result is winning.
What are your plans and focus for the remainder of 2016? Is there something special we should look forward to?
Summer 2016 should be very exciting since I plan to spread my art to the USA (for murals and Art Galleries). I am actively looking for an international Press Officer that will help me in this great project.
I am also aiming at very big brands willing to let me do epic gigantic murals for them!
I am so motivated and excited about the future, I promise you will hear from me later!