We had the pleasure to interview SINGULART artist, Ewen Gur, and talk about his background, process and sources of inspiration for his graphic paintings based on his daily observations.
Tell us a bit about yourself! Where are you from, and where do you reside now?
I’m originally from France and grew up in a town not so far from Paris called Tours. In France, there’s a big comic culture, and I began practicing drawing comics at a very young age. When I was older, I studied graphic design in the city of Tremont; and in 2006, towards the end of my studies, I began to paint and just kept continuing with it.
At a certain point, my hometown was beginning to feel small to me, and I was ready to be somewhere a bit more international. My wife and I started looking at our options: Paris, New York, and Berlin; by the end of 2008, we moved to Berlin and have been here ever since.
It was sort of an “El Dorado” at the time when we arrived there; Berlin was. It was very welcoming and affordable, and you could experiment a lot, so it was great for young artists.
I remember at the time, it was really easy to find ways to do collaborations, whereas, within France, people weren’t doing this yet. I felt like when living in France, my work was a bit “outsider” and provocative to others, so living in Berlin was great because people were curious and wanted to try new concepts together. So because of that, I was able to have this new network and new galleries in my circle.
How would you describe your work and process?
In my work, I use many street art techniques, and there are a lot of street artists that I admire, but I would say I mix comics, street art, and digital art all blended.
The city and people around me inspire me – my paintings are observations and exaggerations of that.
If I need inspiration, I can sit in a busy coffee shop in the center of any city. I try to find the humor in things; I wouldn’t really call myself a political artist, but my work is a bit funny and even sarcastic, which may be a reflection of other French comics who are known to joke and be provocative.
Often I work with mixed mediums. Like many artists, I use acrylics because it’s such a convenient material to work with, but what I enjoy working with is oil paint. However, my work is graphic, and oil paint takes ages to dry. For the black outlines in my work, I use this acrylic airbrush color called “Acrylic Ink”; so I have the fluidity of ink but still have the coverage and longevity of acrylic paint. It’s like having the best of both worlds, and it’s one of the essential materials I use when I paint. When working on aluminum as a support surface, I work with a lot of U.V inks. I often try to change the process for myself, so I don’t get bored.
I do follow a pattern, though, when I work: for instance, a lot of my preliminary work and sketches are done on an iPad because I like the functionality of being able to relook, change and adjust my drawings with ease, or play around the proportions or integrate objects into the work. While I have worked directly on paper or canvas, the process is a bit more intuitive and fun, but the painting outcome always looks different. So when incorporating the digital technique into my practice, I can genuinely adjust the work how I want it to look.
Have you always worked with digital devices in your process?
Initially, I was hesitant to create and show my digital work since there were a lot of artists around who rejected it. I remember I had this one colleague, a Koren artist named Mari Kim, from a gallery I worked with. She intentionally used digital techniques and would print out her drawings and then work directly on top of them. A digital presence is evoked in her work, and she doesn’t try to hide that, so when I saw that, I thought, “Oh, yeah, this works! This makes sense! I can do something like this too.”
You know, our lives are evolving with the digital, with smartphones, iPads, and computers, so I do think that the work of the artist is changing.
Which artists are you inspired by or often look to?
Christian Guemy (C215), Neo Rauch, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and many more.
Each influences me in different ways. For some, it’s about the visual composition, innovation, lifestyle, or technique. For others, it’s because I like them or learn something from them; they make me think about my work. There are so many reasons.
Are you working on anything special at the moment?
Currently, I have a mural project for a company that will begin soon. I also have three upcoming solo shows where I will show my paintings and small aluminum editions; one will be at my main gallery in Berlin, Raab Galerie Berlin, at the beginning of 2023, and the other will be held at Kunsthandlung Steuer in Worms, Germany in the Summer of 2023.
Of course, this parallels with continuing to work on my art and being a father.