Bear in mind this map of the Paris Metro!
French artist Seize creates colourful geometric compositions, like rainbows made out of circuit boards or psychedelic flow diagrams. Train culture has influenced him in a unique way but, oddly enough, the biggest impact comes from modern train maps and not writing on trains as he did in his youth! Seize adapts to different scales and his colour palette changes to suit the mood of the location. Check it out!
Seize before Sixteen
I started painting in the early 80’s influenced by the hip-hop wave that swept France in 1984. I discovered my first graffiti downstairs from where I lived; they had written seize (French for 16) - I went to see the artist and they gave me that name: ‘Seize’. I was 14 at the time and I tagged in trains and on train tracks in the North part of Paris until 1990. I wasn’t happy with my style and I was frustrated because the players in the graffiti movement had a much higher level. The hip-hop scene in the era was sometimes quite violent and I got into some fights. I distanced myself from the scene then.
Ten years later I was working at the RATP (a state-owned public transport group in Paris). I constantly drew a map of “the Paris Metro” in a sketchbook that I still had on me. I often scribbled networks with connections that strangely resembled metro plans.
Check out the Seize slideshow…
One day an artist friend of mine came across my sketches and saw the philosophical and intellectual meanings of the networks in my drawings. I started to develop canvas works and then went quickly back to the streets to share all I was doing. It was a revelation and I finally found graffiti that suited me by following my own rules, allowing me to express things that I had inside of me. I discovered that the symbols were a language.
The simplicity and rigour of the geometric structures and their overall composition has a kind of purity to it. However, there is also an infinity of possible combinations of the structures, so they can equally express dynamism and vitality. With the same basic means: lines, circles, squares, triangles, polygons, curves, etc., we can express dominant characters of human beings: purity, contemplation, spirituality, peace, joy, vitality, lucidity, creativity, imagination. I was finally in my element with tools allowing me to express all this.
In the world of urban art, the work and its environment are one. One does not exist without the other; the spatial context provides a more artistic creation. The anonymous passer-by asks about the work but also about the place where it was placed. And this place, like the work, gives his answers. My work is no exception in this regard.
In the past few years I have tried to develop work “in situ” by adapting my fresco to a place that I find interesting. This gives more impact. I like to create a kind of harmony between the environment and my idea. In that sense I appreciate places untouched by graffiti. In general, they are abandoned places, a parallel world of forgotten men. Sometimes we feel that people have worked, even suffered in these places. There’s a whole atmosphere; it’s sometimes a bit annoying when you discover the history of the place (closing, bankruptcy, termination)!
My main ambition is to share as much art as possible; the next step is to paint abroad more and regularly develop my networks around the World to transmit good vibrations.