It would be naïve to expect a graffiti-outsider, someone like myself, to appreciate all the techniques and nuances of style in a great piece of graffiti. That said, when you see raw skills you just know. That’s the sense I get whenever I see a piece by Revert, a young French graffiti writer who’s complicated letter-based pieces make walls ‘flame’. When you see it, you’ll get it too.
Revert Takes it Back
My name, Revert, is all about going back to our primal instincts, in order to produce something raw, wild and unique. I also grew up skating and discovered graffiti by travelling to skateparks. That influenced me too I guess; Revert is also the name of a skate trick!
In one way or another I did art since my childhood; I’ve always been fascinated by creating things, from photography to painting. I started to do tags 7 years ago and my addiction quickly evolved to silver pieces and more recently colour pieces, collages and installations.
I went to college for fine arts and everyone was doing graffiti. To make my graffiti look different I tried to find other sources of inspiration, like death metal logos and tattoo letterings. I often sketch the letters with an astro fat cap [a very wide-spraying paint nozzle] and I paint doing large moves (physically). This is probably why my letters look like they’re “in flames”. When I paint I like to spray everywhere and I often make a massive mess; I then clean everything and try to find my letters again! I like to paint freestyle; it gives unexpected results and its faster.
I’m lucky enough to be one of the youngest members of Greetings and PM crews, which are a bunch of good friends and also really talented people. Technically, that has helped me to push my limits a lot. In Paris I paint with the DW, OPC and CB crews; they have a complete different style, but for me painting is mainly about spending good times with friends.
Aside from graffiti I’m also a graphic designer and art director; I’m involved with creative projects all the time, from logo designs, video edits and crafts. I don’t like to follow rules; that’s why I fell in love with graffiti and that’s an important aspect to keep in my daily office job. I like to keep my graphic design work under the label ‘GraphicFury’ (the name of my website); I only sign Revert on my painting pieces.
Graffiti and graphic design are two different worlds but graffiti has obviously helped me evolve a lot personally. I always push my work hard because in this creative World you have to be the best to be seen and earn a living; there are so many talented people around town. You have to grow up as fast as you can. I started design first then I started spraying; only after a few years I decided to combine both activities.
I now do in-situ paintings and other gallery projects because painting in the street is not enough anymore to express myself; I like to show something different from my letters from time to time (to be clear I don’t call what I do in galleries ‘graffiti’).
When a designer discovers graffiti he automatically wants to hack the established rules of design and society! I can make nice, polished objects but I find my design more interesting and exciting when it is criticizing our world, with a political message. I like to change the function of objects around us and rethink about how we see things. I think I am way better doing a “fuck off” poster than a nice chair, if you see what I mean. Doing subversive projects also helps me to be where no one expects me to be! There’s so much freedom in graffiti that now I always feel a need to express what I feel in other fields, even if it is disturbing or subversive.
In Paris and London
I paint around Paris, London and in the South of France. Europe is quite big for graffiti and Paris remains my favorite European city for its dirty/vandal silver styles. I also like Marseille, Lyon and Brighton.
I don’t usually ask what people think about my pieces but they stay a while when I paint somewhere, so I guess it’s cool with them! I think graffiti is less developed than street art in London, probably because of the cameras and that you get buffed the day after. When I was living in London I found a way to get free paint, so it was perfect to start color pieces. In Paris I prefer to do rollers and silvers; this is what I like the most.
I travelled to Amsterdam with my crew for a graffiti jam and I won’t do it anymore. I much preferred doing simple tags and partying with my crew than having a massive wall to paint with dickheads from other crews, even if they’re “famous”. This is only graffiti in the end and I don’t care how many magazine covers someone has been on. I am always surprised when someone says that he’s already seen my stuff because I don’t send anything to magazines or put things on the internet except my website. Plus with my office job I have less time to paint.
Travelling really helps you meet people who don’t know anything about you. I experienced that this summer in Hong Kong. I was worried how my solo show would go because no one knew me. At the end it went really well, I sold 70% of my work in 3 days; the rest of the art is going to a charity auction. I will use the money I earned during the Hong Kong show to finance my travel; I am going to Berlin soon and probably America next year. I want to meet new people and experience new cultures; Hong Kong completely changed my vision of the World and now I want to visit as many countries as I can.
I would like to have enough contacts to build an independent creative studio and leave my office job. Then I will have more time for exciting things such as urban exploration and silver bombing. Everything is just a matter of time and work. We will see!