Last week, André Saraiva’s “Drawings” opened at Colette. The group of naive ink and pencil illustrations–a cross between Fritz the Cat and Yellow Submarine–comprise his first solo show ever.
André initially made a name for himself vandalizing French streets with graffiti; he later went on to open party dens Le Baron in Paris and Tokyo, the Beatrice Inn in New York, as well as many others.
He chatted with us about art, nightlife, and yes, fashion.
For the first time ever, you’re showing work indoors – how does it feel?
This has nothing to do with my graffiti work. I’ve always drawn on my free time, but never really thought of showing it. This exhibition is just a casual thing, my friends at Colette offered to show my drawings in the middle of the shop and it sounded like a fun idea.
Are you happy with your work being shown in a fashion environment?
Sure, I love fashion, it’s always been an interest of mine. It’s a language. Also, it has a very close link to the world of music, which is a big part of my life (he says whilst pointing to the Sonic Youth t-shirt under his plaid shirt).
A few years back, you opened Blackblock, a concept store at the Palais de Tokyo. How is that going ?
Clothes, and the idea of style, are fascinating. The aim was to offer basic, everyday clothes, with tiny details and a “Made-in-France” quality. The boutique is still there, and although I haven’t been spending as much time there, we’re planning on developing it further the near future.
You’ve switched from graffiti to glamorous nightlife. Have you lost all street cred?
Mmm, I’m still a graffiti artist, I just can’t get myself arrested once again, I’ve been in too much trouble! I’ve always lived at night, so my work with clubs happened naturally. It’s all about getting people together to create a certain atmosphere and a stage to show new things. Nightlife can be a form of art, too.