French Graffiti Op Artist, Creates Perspective-bending Designs on Urban Walls Around the World.
From scaffolds to paint buckets, reaching twenty stories high, rises a world of three dimensional illusions.
Looking up you can’t help but be pulled into Astro’s optical reality. He finds inspiration from the architecture of modern and ancient cities, design and calligraphy. Before large mural street art, Astro found himself graffiti writing his name and one day came up with the idea of making graffiti into optical illusions.
His mural on the wall of Punter’s pub overlooks Boston’s Avenue of the Arts and depicts his unique optical style. “It’s like sculpture, but not,” Astro said. “It’s a way of drawing attention to a space that people would normally just pass right by.” Statement taken at Northeastern University, August, 2018 with Molly Callahan. An accurate statement that visually tricks our eyes into seeing shapes jump out at you from a two dimensional plane.
HOUSEINK Magazine caught up Astro and was able to get insight into his fascinating world and discover a bit more about his dream project, growing up in France and inspiration. (Op Art – an abstract art movement in 1964 coined by TIME Magazine to express movement through the bending of shapes and hidden images, warping dimensions and trickingthe human eye.)
What city in France were you born in?
Astro : Sarcelles in France, close to Paris.
What was it like in growing up Sarelles? What got you into graffiti?
I spent all my childhood rollerskating in the streets. I was about to become pro but I broke my leg during a training on my way to a competition. After this accident which happened in 2000, I stopped rollerskating and started painting and doing graffiti.
Tell us about daily life in France in and out of the studio.
I live close to Paris but I’m not often there. I spend a lot of time abroad and when I’m in France, I spend much of my days in my studio working on my canvases or my future installations. However Paris is a very beautiful city, there are a lot of Art exhibitions and beautiful monuments and museums to be visited ! There is always something to see!
What inspires your unique style?
I’m inspired by the architecture of modern and ancient cities, Design, the calligraphy of all countries, the basic geometric forms and the optical Art.
What where you doing before Op • Street Art?
Before street art and murals, I was a graffiti writer for 15 years. I was writing my name as a wild style graffiti writer in the streets. I did it so many times that one day I came up with the idea of making graffiti optical illusions. That’s when I moved from graffiti to large wall murals and discovered my passion for this unique style and technique. However for me, only the size and the place of the walls have changed because I’ve always painted in the streets.
Tell us about your process from concept to execution.
I start by analyzing the architecture of the building and the surface that I have to paint. I also seek the point of view which will be the most visible then I think of a strong and interesting illusion.
What is your first thought when you see a blank wall or space?
I project myself instantly in the creation of a new artwork. I imagine the wall with one of my paintings on it. There are so many blank walls that I see in the streets and that I would like to paint. The possibilities are endless!
What is one of your favorite street art projects that you have created?
Since I was was a kid, I’ve always dreamed to travel to the USA! I’ve been lucky that my art was appreciated there! I have painted several times in many different cities for graffiti first then for street art ( Los Angeles,New York, Chicago, Boston, Palm beach, Miami, Washington DC, Stockton etc… ). All these moments were great however if I had to chose only one, my greatest achievement is to have painted the largest and highest facade (14 floors) of Washington DC and of my career for the moment.
Do you have a dream project that you would like to work on?
I would like to work hand in hand with an architect and collaborate together on a building from concept to final design of the building. Both interior and exterior.
Is there anything else our readers should know about your work?
All my creations are free-hand painted without using video projector or stencils.
I would like to thank Houseink Magazine for this interview and all the people that support and like my art.