Ahead of his much anticipated show opening at Elms Lesters Painting Rooms this Friday, we had the pleasure of catching up with the frighteningly talented WK Interact for a quick-fire round of questions. Read his thoughts after the jump.
Also, don’t forget we’ve got a stack of tickets to this Thursday’s private view of WK’s show alongside Anthony Lister for you people. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with WK/Lister in the subject line for your chance of winning a pair. We’ll also be awarding a couple of people with a copy of the perfectly crafted WK/Lister show book so get emailing, we’ll announce the winners on Tuesday evening.
Keep a look-out for our interview with Anthony Lister later this week too.
As always, whenever we interview our favourite artists we like to begin with a little background information about their past so would you be able to tell us a little about your journey to where you are today – where you were brought up, interests, when you first realised that you could make a living out of art, etc?
I was born in Normandy but my family moved to the South of France just after I was born, so I grew up in St. Paul de Vence. At about 19 after a trip to New York I realized my next migration and started heading west via Paris to Manhattan where I have been based for around 15 years.
You’re known for having a fantastically fluid, distinctive style, can you tell us a little about how you aesthetic evolved into the beast it is today?
Movement is the principle focus of all of my work … the characters evolve on their own depending on their environments and of course their environments play a significant part in their evolution.
As well as a distinctive style, a WK piece can quite easily be differentiated from the rest of the pack by its subject matter, can you tell us a little about your rationale for designing new pieces and what factors influence your ideas?
Having come from the street, making the image as simple to read as possible while emphasizing the motion of the subject has been the focus of this on going experiment in order to capture the attention of the passerby amidst the city’s chaos. It is a sort of experiment and part of the reason I re-use the same characters, moving as a whole or just moving parts of their bodies, on the street or indoors, framed captive or wild on the street.
In the past you’ve teamed up with some iconic brands such as Adidas and Maharishi to do some killer work (the Prince Naseem piece you did for Adidas was ridiculous), can you tell us a little about how such collaborations come about and the process yourself and the companies go through to get to the finished product? And are there any particular companies you particularly enjoy working with?
I was very selective with the bands I collaborated with, in order to interact directly with people like Prince Naseem and Kobe Bryant. It was a fantastic experience to work with them on a personal level, observe them display their craft and photograph them during first phase. There have also been many other collaborations not involving any companies, including the one with Alec Wek which resulted in some of my favorite work.
So, the chaps at Elms Lesters have invited you back to London town for another show, this time teaming you with Australian wonderkid Anthony Lister. Can you tell us about your thoughts on coming back to London, Elms Lesters, and the pieces you’re working on for the show please?
It will be good to be back in London, one of my favorite cities. About 10 years ago, while hunting around for an area for a show I came across a great space while I was there, and met its very interesting owner, that was Paul. I am happy that as coincidences have allowed he has invited me to show at Elms Lesters.
Following your show at Elms Lesters, what can we look forward to see from WK? More corporate commissions, more exhibitions, let us in.
Currently working on shows for New York, LA and Paris next year.
Thanks WK, see you soon.