Mioshe, La Sarabande
It is at 7 rue Porcon de la Barbinais where we can find Antoine Martinet aka Mioshe. The temperature inside his shop is as cold as outside but the golden curls and warm appearance of this artist warms the atmosphere immediately. The floor creaks, the words turn into misty clouds revealing a rainbow of answers…
How would you define your style? We often relate you to the likes of Jerome Bosh, Blu or Nicolas de Crécy … What truly are your inspirations?
So yes Bosh, Blu, Nicolas de Crecy are references I’ve always had, but today it is evolving into something else … Nicolas de Crécy is a cartoonist who makes comics that are crazy , surreal, according to the universe in which he is in and he deploys different techniques. For example, he will make scenes in the snow, he will use bold pastels to make the grain of the landscape. He ends up making scenes in the desert and scrapes them with a nib. The guy changes techniques according to the universe. I do not know why I talk about Crecy, but I wanted to tell you that this is the brother of Etienne de Crecy. Anyway, he really made his mark on me! Jérôme Bosh is a traditional artist. He is in the history of art, the Flemish Renaissance, an art that is both religious and yet completely wacko at the same time. He manages to divert religious art while remaining within religion. In the infernal scenes of Jérôme Bosh you can find fanciful characters that are half-human half-animal in hell and I think that at the time it must have freaked people out! Right now I’m more inspired by Charles Burns, you have to go see his stuff it’s insane! He is completely wacko too! He made a comic called “Toxic”, one called “Beehive” and another called “Black Hole”, he has an amazing universe! What interests me is the atmosphere of these artists there! I have been quite into landscapes for 2, 3 years now, with the middle of the characters doing weird stuff and the artists that I’m talking about are people who are into the landscape as well. They mix characters, landscapes, and create the interaction between the environment and the individual. My characters tend to look like chimera species and they are hidden most of the time. It is not clear whether they are men or women, they are half transsexual. And they also have features borrowed from animals, in fact I like it when there is ambiguity in what I represent. They are usually quite cruel too. There is always one that is larger than the other, who crushes or tries to corrupt the other, within a high powered relation. I take pleasure in playing with that. The idea is also to suggest and leave what will happen after the scene free for your imagination…
Mioshe, means “savior” in English, it would it be a derivative of Moses. Does your name Mioshe come from that or is related to the word “Mioche” (a slang word for kid in English)
At first it was Mioshe with a “c”, I started graffiti when I was in high school in the early years of 2000 and I was the youngest in the group. So the nickname Mioshe (kid) came naturally, they were all 5 or 10 years older than me. At the time the crewB2M were more or less still active, members are now scattered around the place. So I forged and shaped myself with them. I mainly learnt how to paint big. We made frescoes quickly on large surfaces in various places, and with aerosols. Aerosol is something that is not innate, it comes with practice. So as for the “savior «I don’t claim to save anyone. (Laughs) I think maybe it’s a Jewish name when you put an s on it.
You participated in workshops with inmates of Rennes-Vezin prison. Who was behind this project? And why did you agree to it?
The initiative came from Vezin prison and it offers a variety of workshops. I have always done workshops with the public whether educational or with youths with social difficulties. Strangely I struggled more in centers with young people than in prison … In prison the atmosphere was super cool. The guys have the time … They really played the game when I went there, and were pretty accurate when we painted. We created a series of collages on the walls. We made trails with characters that fell in and out of the walls. It is quite symbolic to prison life. They did not however give their all 100 % of the time due to their levels of concentration which were not always there. So to help them focus they smoked weed.. People smoke more in prison than outside … At the break they smoked their joints and when they came back, you could barely hear a pin drop in the workshop as they painted quietly … In fact they often said “In peace “” We paint in peace and quiet “it was so good! I was a little apprehensive at first but everything went really well!
Last May you illustrated for the French magazine “GetFreaky” that you named incidentally … What did you want to express through this work?
Basically, it is the women who screw the men (quote between inverted commas). I’m not a feminist, but it makes me laugh when I create super tall long-legged women who master the little guys. If the scene is brought upon the carpet, there are 3 or 4 masked women, who are almost fully naked, with a little man at their feet. One has a watering can whilst the other takes a picture of the scene. It’s the act of watering something to make it grow that is funny, but here it’s just an absolute drowning. You get the feeling that the character with his little tie and briefcase, is someone who is supposed to have power but who finds himself in the opposite position. This reversal of roles I find cool. And it’s good to give meaning to the drawings. Something that is purely decorative is interesting but when you slip a little strident message in it’s funny too!
What was the worst struggle that you ever had to go through during the realization of a project?
I made a wall as part of the Urban Culture of Rennes this year. I think this was the biggest wall that I have ever done. You can find it in Cleunay and its called “Le Toboggan”. We did it in February, the worst time of the year. It was raining all the time, it was freezing cold and it lasted 2 weeks. An anecdote was that we painted all day, we began to pack up our gear and then at some point I took a 15 litre pot of paint to store in my car … We were knackered, we couldn’t continue anymore, we were at the end of our tethers, I couldn’t feel my fingers, I felt nothing … And then … the 15-litre pot of paint decided to overturn in my car. In addition to this, this paint is worth a fortune! This is pure quality paint, a rare commodity, the pot must have been worth between 300 and 500 euros. It took two hours to clean, in complete darkness, it was just awful.
On 18th October The Pilot Project that you did with Elsa Quintin, was exposed to the Parliament of Brittany in Rennes. Unfortunately the piece remained on display for just one day. What represented these 2 paintings? What motivated this adventure?
We worked on the Pilot Project for 4-5 years drawing continuously, but not relentlessly. You should know that the Pilot project involved 2 projects, but when you put them together it made a continuity. Together there were 16 panels. Each panel was 1.80m high by 50cm wide. We presented them to Parliament separately, but we then realized that we had to actually do the whole wall with 16 panels. The first polyptych panel is a compilation of our respective graphic worlds, with references to comics, to the history of art and just full of different things! However the second is nothing like the first, it’s much more premeditated. We reproduced a photo montage that we created ourselves. With these images retrieved we made a landscape. It’s something much calmer. It’s a landscape with a forest. You have a naked child in the middle of the lake with a balloon behind and a cabin with smoke coming out on the right. The idea was to make a scene that was a little mystical, bizarre, a bit like Twin Peaks. There’s not much going on, it’s left to your imagination. It’s a cinematic film scene. The photo montage of this scene took us maybe 1 day and the reproduction of the polyptychs took us 2 years. And all this in a Pilot pen. We must have used close to 200 pens.
When Elsa and I met we said instead of doing little drawings on our own, we will do something great together. 4 hands can do more things, and it’s more motivating!
You’ve just completed a limited edition silkscreen for us. Apparently your characters are at a party. Do you feel the need to let your hair down this time of year?
So yes, there are characters who are on a dance floor in nature. This is my fantasy of a party something that I’d like to do more often. The outdoor party for me is something essential. And the idea was to be in a multiform architecture. It is funny creating dancers, and you can see by their postures their degree of progress throughout the evening … (Laughs)
You are also involved in Raw, Dj evenings that take place in Rennes. If Mioshe had to be a vinyl, what would it be?
Good old Jeff Mills or a Madlib track on his album The Beat Konducta.
Thanks to Antoine Martinet.
– PL –