Remy Uno

Hailing from Marseille in France, Remy Uno’s street art pieces focus on portraiture. fluoro spoke to the artist about how his work has developed and the way his surroundings motivate his work.

Uno began his creative endeavour by writing his name on street walls, attempting to form larger letters on bigger walls. Over time his work progressed and he felt a desire to paint people. His organic progression into street art meant he quickly became comfortable working on wall. As people also asked for his works on canvas Uno had to adjust, “I felt pretty lost at the beginning and it took few years to feel a bit more comfortable working within a frame”. 

Painting the walls of Marseille, Uno joins an increasing amount of talented street artists who call France’s second largest city home.

(f) Tell us more about how you view the street art culture in Marseille. 

(RU) For many years we have had a nice graffiti scene here and lately it has grown into several fields. There are still many writers, but there are also more stencil and collage based artists. Some places that are solely dedicated to street art have opened over recent years and events have started to include street artists and graffiti in their programmes. Marseille is still not like Paris or Berlin, but we may be on a good path. Also, as we have a really nice weather compared to the rest of France, which means we can paint outside almost all year long.

(f) Has exhibiting alongside other street artists such as. Bom.K changed your work? If so, how? 

(RU) Not really. You can’t remain unmoved by the work of other artists like Bom.k and plenty of others (Conor Harrington, DMV, Hengone, Borondo…) and it’s also really cool to see pieces that smash you in face. But you quickly realise that their work is really dope because they have developed their own particular style. And that’s maybe the biggest inspiration they have given to you, seeking your own style. This is something that is definitely not as easy as it seems.

(f) Do you approach your work differently if it’s for a gallery exhibition in comparison to a piece on the street (and vice-versa)?

(RU) With a canvas I usually start with a model, I use small brushes, sometimes oil, it eventually takes a few days and you can always change little details after that. With walls, it’s a lot more about improvisation, having fun with friends, opting for big caps, paint rollers, drips… I’m less scared of possible ‘mistakes’, experiences, or simply making a crappy wall. I know I won’t lose my time because I’m having fun. It is only recently that I have started to feel this way when working on canvas.

(f) How does location and a different culture influence the outcome of your work? 

(RU) Firstly, you want to relate to your surrounding, so you may paint things you would not have painted in other circumstances. I’ve been painting in many countries and this is always the case for me.

A few years ago, I was with Sowat in a favela in São Paulo, and all the guys were telling me to paint Cartola, a Brazilian samba legend. So we went out into the street and I started the portrait. One hour later, kids started to play football around us, then some musicians came out and start playing and then people brought food and beers. I don’t even have a proper picture of the wall, but the place definitely affected our way of painting that day.

For me, painting is a way to relate to others. Yes, you may arrive with your techniques or a set idea but what’s around you always has an influence, even a tiny one. If not, stay home.

Uno’s work will be part of several collective exhibitions later this year, showing his work in Berlin and Paris. September will see him exhibit at Molitor in Paris, while also partaking in a portrait exhibition at the Joachim Rong Galerie in Berlin.

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