It’s in good humor that Jaune, a Belgian stencil artist, and urban interventionist, draws from his past as a sanitation worker, to make visible what is seldom seen existing in the background of every city. Flipping the narrative, his characters, all dressed in high-visibility vests and portrayed in absurdly eye-catching scenarios, seem completely unaware that they are now being watched, revealing their secret life. Lately, Jaune’s characters were seen in fluorescent clothing at “POW! WOW! Long Beach”, but his work can always be found in galleries and festivals across the United States, Belgium, Canada, and Norway.
What is your process of painting a mural? How much of it is conceived of beforehand versus improvised on spot?
Jaune: To paint a mural, basically, I always start from the background (that I need to achieve completely before to paint any element coming on top of it) Then I come step-by-step to the front elements. The only beforehand conception is when I design my stencils, then as every character and background element are cut at the same scale, any stencil can potentially be combined with any other from my library, so on site, when I’m painting, I never make plan, I just combine them each time differently to create a new scene, it is almost every time 100% improvisation.
Which do you enjoy more, the process of painting a piece or seeing it finished?
Well, I like both for different reasons, the process is a moment of a game, I’m the only player and I can decide if I want to have more and more, that’s the moment I play to find each time some new way to combine my stencils together. But I can only appreciate if it works once it’s finished when I decide to stop. Then I love that moment when I take the time to watch what I just did and how can I push the boundaries a bit further the next time (usually I grab a beer when I watch it done, so I would probably say I prefer when it’s finished).
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of what you do?
My favorite part of my work is when I paint a new character for the first time, it’s always a kind of surprise. My least favourite part is that I’m depending on a lot of material, I mean my stencils are multi-layered and I have a hundred of them, then I need to always have the maximum of them with me as I never know in advance what I will paint, so I carry a heavy amount of stencils to use a tiny fraction of them.
As part of Crush Walls 2018, we will be bringing the Juxtapoz Clubhouse with a specially-curated group of artists during the week-long celebration!
Join us for the Crush Walls Opening Party on September 4th, from 7 PM to 10 PM.