The urban landscape has been OAKOAK’s playground since 2006. Painting on urban features he amuses and inspires people of all ages by appropriating the city’s less appealing elements. He puts his drawings everywhere he goes to bring smiles to passers-by where they least expect it. His work can be found either on the streets of his native St Etienne, France, and abroad as he loves to travel. His approach consists of diverting urban elements, playing with mundane flaws, like a crack on a wall. He adds his own vision, his own references that often stem from the geek culture. His art is a means to poeticise the urban environment .
OAKOAK is one of the participating artists painting in Ostend for the Crystal Ship Festival, where he was invited to create several new site specific urban art pieces for the locals to enjoy. It was a great opportunity to seat down and have a chat with him about his background and approach during the week-long Festival.
Is there a map available for the people keen to go on the hunt?
Tell us a bit more about your experience at The Crystal Ship. For your clever artworks location is key as you play with the urban surrounding. How do you operate? Is there some scouting involved prior to the festival or is it spontaneous?
I went back to take more photos of it, it’s excellent!
There is a lot of humour in your work. What are your references?
Tell us a bit more about you and your artistic journey?
Is there a particular piece of art that you like the most and why?
I really like the urban scream of Munch and also the modern Don Quixote. These are my favourite interventions.
What do you enjoy the most about what you do?
I really like to walk and suddenly find the perfect urban element, that precise moment when I found the idea of what to do.
Your studio is based in Saint-Etienne?
Now that we are here in Ostend did you get to interact with the audience? Locals are very excited about the festival.
Once completed your installations blend so well that some passers-by may not notice them sometimes!
Do you think the ephemeral aspect of your work can sometimes impact your artistic approach?
I love your collab with Belgian artist Jaune. It works really well. How was it?
Have you done other collab in the past?
You travel extensively, is there any places you haven’t been to yet and that is in your bucket list?
Tell me more about your project in Japan?
You just had a show in Barcelona how was it?
Any future plans that you want to talk about?