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Back Talk with Turf One

Juxtapoz // Monday, 26 Oct 2009
Studio Photographs by Paul Labonte


French artist Turf One, né Jean Labourdette, is a Jacques of all trades. Spawning from a love affair of graffiti during his youth in Paris, Turf One has moved on to work as an illustrator, comic strip artist, filmmaker and painter.

In anticipation of his upcoming show, “Shining Darkness”, which will open at Thinkspace Gallery on November 6th, we caught up with the artist.


How do you feel right now?


It’s 10 am. I’ve been up since 5:45. I have a 6 month old baby who doesn’t sleep all that much.  Right now, I feel like I need my fourth double espresso of the day.


If you could wake up in a different place tomorrow morning, where would it be and what would you do?


In a sailboat, by an island in the Caribbean. I’d go for a swim in the ocean to wake up instead of having a coffee.


If you lost your creative skill, how would you see yourself making a living?


If I lost the use of my right hand and couldn’t paint anymore, I would like to be a film director.
If you could punch one living contemporary artist, who would it be?


I wouldn’t.


Was your first kiss worth writing a song about?




At what point were you particularly happy?


I am happy every time I get a glorious drooly toothless smile from my son Theo.


No regrets allowed, but there must have been one?


Not taking advantage of my parents enough while they were still around.
What trait do your friends have in common?




If you had to evacuate your home or studio, what's the one thing you would grab?


The shoebox that contains photos of my parents and childhood…


Greatest love of your life?


Life itself.


What is your favorite vice?




When you blow out the birthday candles, what do you wish for?


Happiness—one wish, you get it all.
If you could play a character from a favorite film or TV show for a day, who would it be?


Clint Eastwood’s character in “The good, the bad and the ugly”


Do you ever lie?




Do you think viewers understand the intent of your work?


Some do, some don’t. To me, it’s more about experiencing my work emotionally than about getting it intellectually. Whether you feel it or not is what matters.


What virtue can you do without?


Do you even notice when you're swearing?


Not really. I’m French.


What has been your proudest moment?


When I held my son in my arms for the first time.


What would you like to be remembered for?


My Art.


How would you prefer to die?


Painlessly and peacefully in the arms of my beloved.
Portrait of Turf One by Lela


For more on Turf One and his upcoming show, visit Thinkspace.


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