The LB Project, by Lucas Beaufort
The artistic centre “Point Ephémère” holds the Parisian edition of the famous project of our friend Lucas Beaufort. Thirty works took their place on the sweaty walls of this venue which is both raw and warm at the same time. Works include artists like Jeremyville, BB Bastidas, Funeral French and many others … The LB Project is a combination between work, love of skateboarding, art, travel, and all around a common cause, Skateistan …
Hi Lucas can you tell us how The LB Project started?
LB Project matured in my head in late 2013. I had to step away from Disillusionment where I had worked for 8 years. I used to run the pub and set up partnerships. At the end of 2013 I decided to stop because I had reached the end of what I wanted. And I had a real desire to do something else. Ok so now what do I do? I looked at my CV, at my skills, I looked at the job sites: company employment … I said ok, this is not for me. I did not want to look for a thousand years applying for jobs from left to right. This is so not me. So I decided to create my own job. I said, “What do I love? “Skateboarding, art, and travel! I gathered together these 3 things, and the LB Project was born.
I guess that means LB stands for Lucas Beaufort ?
Many people have asked me this question. They knew. I had to find a name. This is really not a self-centered approach for me. I just went for something simple. I did not want to give it a rubbish name like “Ride Project.” The name doesn’t matter, what matters to me is what is behind it.
Who are your faithful acolytes on this project?
For this project in terms of organization, I have set everything up. Not being a graphic designer or webmaster I called in the help of Corentin Bertau, who is my partner on this project. In concrete terms, there are two of us. I take care of putting everything into place, logistics, organization and Corentin handles art direction, web mastering, and visual. Coco worked for 7 or 8 years at Disillusionment. It was he who made the DA there. I made it simple, I surrounded myself with people I knew and trusted. Coco had time for me, he came with me everywhere. We are really complementary. He is the person who films the events. We will be making a video documentary lasting a year to synthesize the project.
Why have you chosen Skateistan as a NGOs?
They were the first to be contacted and the first who said yes. I have known Skateistan since 2011 from when I used to go to the Bright tradeshows. I looked at what they were doing and that got me hooked. I found it amazing to see a lot of girls skating in countries like Afghanistan. They are veiled and clothed from head to foot in line with their culture and religion. And what also surprised me is that there are more girls than guys who skate! So when I started this project, I needed a foundation and I immediately thought of Skateistan. They welcomed me with open arms in Berlin and thanked me for helping to promote them. It’s not just the idea of raising funds. Skateistan is a big group. We can see this by their 50,000 plus fans on Facebook. So there are a lot of people. But as I said to them, “Not everyone knows Skateistan” And every time people ask me what is Skateistan? I tell them. The LB Project has helped to shed light on them and their work.
All the works of the artists participating in this project are also fully shared between the internet users participating in the draw and Skateistan… why is this?
In June, there will be an auction in New York for Skateistan. In total we will have 54 works included in the project, half of those will be given to Skateistan for the auction. For this date I think we will hang the 27 boards on the wall so that we can see them and that people can make their bids. The other half will be given to the internet users who have previously registered on the LB Project website. Using an appointed person the draw will determine the 27 winners. It’s really interesting because I can already see the statistics and the number of people who have registered. There are more than 1,500 people registered from around the world, including African, Poland, Portugal, Australia, Japan, all different countries! This is great! There are easily thirty different countries. It’s also to do with the fact that I had the opportunity to do a lot of tradeshows and you always realize the same thing … What artist manages to exhibit and sell all their work…it does not exist. You’re doing well if you sell 15% of what you expose. And 85% of the works that are left are put away. I really didn’t want that for this exposition so I said I have to find another way. The artists give their work and in exchange the project will put this work forward. All throughout the year we talk about them wherever I go. It’s a win-win relationship. Skateistan have organized the June auction in hope to raise as much funds as possible.
We are pretty comfortable on these small chairs… what was it that brought us to the Point Éphémère for this fourth stage of The LB Project and also in the other European cities?
Initially I chose six major cities in Europe. I wanted to choose the cities which had a skateboarding culture. You take Barcelona for example, for such a long time it has been said that Barcelona has been the capital of skateboarding in Europe. You don’t have to worry about being moved on by the police. It is great to live there. It’s cheap. So for me Barcelona was sure! Germany has a big market around skateboarding and art. So I chose Berlin because it has Bright which is a big tradeshow and I became affiliated at Bright. London obviously, it’s a huge capital so you cannot remove it. I chose Paris for France and because I’m French. Copenhagen also has a big scene with the skate shop Street Machine. Historically this is one of the largest shops in Europe. And Amsterdam too, which also has a big scene. I chose the cities like that, because I know that they have a real affinity with skateboarding. Also Paris is a city with a big skateboarding culture but it is paradoxical as I put a lot of time in to finding a place. I wanted to work with Nozbone because I think it’s really The Skate shop in Paris, but they were celebrating their 10th anniversary this year and so were fully booked up. After this I asked for advice from my Parisian mates and they said, “Go to Vega”. But there wasn’t enough space at Vega. I had already gone too far with them in terms of partnership. In the end the guy at Vega said: “Go to Point Éphémère. There is room. It’s big. They organize a lot of exhibitions.” So I went to see them, I made an appointment and a week after I put it to the leaders of Point Éphémère, they loved the project and decided to support it! Bingo! I think it’s great when I look at everything that they have done. It’s a place to come together. People come, they don’t even order drinks and then play Monopoly! They play cards! And we don’t ask them to consume because it is a place to gather. But it is also business and I think it should not be abused either. We wouldn’t pitch a tent and sleep there. I really like their mentality. That is why I have chosen this place. Almost by default at first but since then it has become a force.
I see that some skate ramps have been installed here. Are there any sessions scheduled tonight during the exposition?
I wanted to put in some ramps at Point Éphémère as there was enough space to do so. And especially because when you do expos you realize that it’s often a little ‘stuck up’. You get there, you drink a beer and you find that one hour later the people are all outside smoking their cigarettes and the art works have been left alone. What is missing from the exhibitions is the attraction! You have to make people want to stay! That is why I said to myself we must revitalize the place. I said, “Ok, let’s put up some ramps.” I’d like to point out that these ramps were brought in by Cosanostra which is a skate park that lies in the Parisian suburbs. Mathias deals with that. I launched the idea to him, “Come with your skateboard and express yourself,” I hope that at 9pm they are all shattered and sweaty!
Has there been a tour date that has left a mark on you recently?
(Laughs) The Copenhagen date in September. We rented hotel rooms. There were many of us. I brought in a couple of artists. I was with 2 of them, Mike Kershnar and Mark Foster. I went for rooms that weren’t super “plush” when I reserved, but something fairly decent and we ended up in the red light district of Copenhagen. It was the neighborhood of prostitutes, strip clubs and everything. It was super funny because as soon as we came down at night to head into the center, we were collared. But one day we didn’t have a choice! We got collared by these women who told us: “Come in and we will give you your drinks” Once inside, we saw some amazing things! It’s creepy to death! We went to two. The first was a strip club where it cost 40 euros a beer! They asked for 240 euros for 6 beers with a girl who was fidgeting around … They asked if we wanted to drink a Jeroboam of champagne which cost 2500 euros. After that we we’re collared into another club. This one was cheap but filthy … With a horrible cheetah print décor, rooms where you can be tied up and glory holes where you can put your dick in a hole and not know who is sucking it the other side … We were a group of mates together and we had ourselves a right laugh …
So regarding OLOW, why did you ask us to be in this partnership?
I have known Olow since the brand’s creation almost 10 years ago. I know the founders Val and Mathieu. I have seen the brand evolve to become a super influential brand in France today. Knowing the brand philosophy and the desires of the founders to push it, it was obvious to me to ask them to become a LB Project partner. I have great respect for their work and am proud to have them on my side.
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