Gilbert1 is one of those artists that caught the eye of Graffuturism a few years ago, mainly because of the rawness and honesty of his work. Working on both canvases, walls and installations, Gilbert1 is one of few artists that manage to translate the language of abstraction to all these mediums through a unique and genuine style.
Its’ not easy to find about Gilbert1 on the Internet, but we had the opportunity to have a chat with him whilst he was in Amsterdam working on the preparations for “Shifting Perspectives”, a group show featuring the work of Gilbert1 and the Luuk Bode and Graphic Surgery and that opens today Sunday June 01.


GF: Gilbert1, could you present yourself?

G1: Well, I started doing graffiti in 2000 and was very active for about 3 to 4 years. At some point and as part of my personal development I started focusing on studio work.
I had an evolution on canvases first that eventually extended to my present work as you can see (shows part of the exhibition in construction) very geometrical and dynamic work that I have been working on for the last 3 years.

GF: You did a lot of graffiti during 2000 and 2004 and the change towards your present work is quiet radical. What triggered that change?

G1: Yeah, I think in the past I was working on very gestural works and the typographical work in the streets, but there was a separation between these two sides of me, the work in street and typography, and the canvas work. I didn’t find the way to combine everything.
I wanted to do walls, big walls, not only graffiti, but also abstract work on big walls.

The problem was that it was impossible to exhibit, canvases were easy, but not the walls. At this point I felt that something was missing, but after a while I found that the solution was on geometrical lines that I used on my typographical work and that made it easier to work on big spaces.

GF: With the change you probably saw a new development in your art and then it was the transition from street to gallery a natural new step to take. How was your experience in relation to that?


G1: As I mentioned the studio work was really important to me. I started in the streets where I worked for a few years and after that I focused on studio work only. After a while I went back to the streets with my name Gilbert1 that was the same name I used for my studio work.

My first exhibition was held in Nancy, where I live. That was in 2004 and an important turning point for me because it was the first time I felt that people were touched by my art and that I was going in the right direction.

GF: Apart from graffiti and having in consideration your abstract approach to art. What other influences have been important for you?

G1: First I have to mention George Mathieu and his gestural work. Another great influence was the work of painters and sculptors from Barcelona like Mirò and Tapiès. I visited the city in 2006 and I got really interested in what I saw, especially in the streets and the work of Gaudí.
Nowadays I find a lot of inspiration in fellow artists working in the graffiti and urban art scene, like the members of the
Graffuturism group for example. What I see really touches and inspires me.

GF: You often create your pieces in abandoned spaces and I wonder how these are related both to you and your work.

G1: I like to be in places where I am alone, where I can walk and discover a lot of things about the place itself. Sometimes you get really touched by a room for example. That room or space works like a frame, and when you walk inside the space sometimes you stop, something happens in that moment that inspires me and makes me want to create something in that particular place.
After that there are a lot of possibilities. Sometimes I come right after and work on these spots, others I just take some objects for myself, like some kind of souvenirs. It’s important to me because of the history of the places I visit and the objects I collect, they remind me of old times. The more history shines, the more I feel touched by them.

GF: If you could define your work…

G1: I try to give a certain movement it is a thing that its strong and I am mixing a lot of things and it depends on where I am, if it is an abandoned place or the studio. A lot of materials come from different parts of my life, from different spaces, the street, abandoned places. In the past I mixed things coming from my own life in my projects, becoming very personal in this way, a link to my life and what I have done in the past.
At first I did two-dimensional painting, but in buildings I’ve always been interested in how to adapt their different plans in connection with the surrounding architecture.

I see a wall space with different planes and then I define a frame to create.

The work is really spontaneous, born out of the inspiration and the feelings I have at the moment. I see something and I do it directly without using sketches or having a preconceived idea of what the work will be.

GF: Are there any differences between creating in abandoned places and the gallery space?

G1: I don’t know really. Some people ask me that kind of questions; the difference between working on a gallery and abandoned places, but I don’t know how to explain it. For me it’s the same energy, the same feelings as with art. It’s just the environment that changes not the nature of the work.
For projects in abandoned places I will be alone and take more time. It can be with people in the street, finding inspiration, an idea of what I can do.

GF: Talking about abandoned spaces and the nature of your work. What about the materials? Do you collect them yourself?

G1: Yes, the best part of doing an installation is to have a part of history and all the pieces and parts I collect are connected with my life, my history and the places I visit. Like here in Amsterdam.

GF: We are running out of time, but I feel I have to ask you this question. What is your experience of being part of the Graffuturism wave, if we can call it like that?

G1: My experience… There are two things about this: I like the work of the artists that are part of the group and I think that for it is inspiring for me. I think it (graffuturism) is a good thing to have, a platform that helps to promote and “globalize” artists coming from (….) and that are going in the same direction, even if I don’t really like to be put in a box.
I also think Poesia is someone that knows the culture really well and has a good understanding of our work. I think he is the right person to run something like Graffuturism, but again I don’t like the box, but I think it’s a good platform.


Interview and Article Courtesy of Fran Cacirano Graffuturism contributor




Shifting Perspectives’

In this vibrant group show three artists, who all have their roots in the graffiti art, will show their new works.

Luuk Bode (NL) and Gilbert1 (FR) will cover the walls in the front of the gallery. Bode made five new works, called “Shatters”; sharp shapedcanvases with only a few patches.

Gilbert1 worked on three new ‘volumes’ in the series ‘Turning Round Looking For An Exit’. Specially for the exhibition he will also produce a site specific installation.

In the backspace of the gallery Graphic Surgery will drop their own presentation of new monumental works on canvas and smaller works on wood and metal.

16-18 HRS
Drinks by Swinckels’ and Grapedistrict