Spotted by the painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, Torrick Ablack aka Toxic meets a worldwide success. Between his achievements and the exhibitions, the graffiti artist has become the pioneer of the Graffiti movement of the 80s. This street art genius now signs a collaboration with Pierre Frey. Here is the exclusive interview of this prodigy.
A pioneer of the 1980s Graffiti movement, Torrick Ablack, aka Toxic, grew up in the Bronx. At 13, he bomb trains and walls, is identified by Jean-Michel Basquiat, then his works invest galleries and museums. A gifted who has just signed two fabrics and a wallpaper for Pierre Frey.
Before Pierre Frey solicited you, did you know the creations of this house which celebrates its 80th birthday?
Toxic: Yes, because I'm interested in design, scenery, all that is creative act motivated by sincerity, passion and requirement. In addition, I like the tradition: I have a lot of respect for those who preserve a family tradition.
Did you have carte blanche?
Toxic: I was imposed only one constraint: to paint in public on a linen cloth during Paris Déco Off, last January. It took me several tries to master this medium that I am not used to working on.
Will you personally use the wallpaper or fabrics edited from your paintings?
Toxic: With a fabric, I will cover one of the sofas in my workshop.
Decoration is an important part of your home?
Toxic: I prefer art to deco! Some confuse the two and it's a shame. In my workshop of Saint-Denis, I am in my universe. I mix Italian designer creations from the 1930s to the 1950s, stacks of books, paintings not yet completed, dozens of paint bombs, memories of my years with Basquiat, Rammellzee, Warhol ... And I'm listening a lot of music.
Does your workshop also serve as your home?
Toxic: This is the first time my workshop is not at home. Currently, I live at my home in Clichy, and I do not always find myself in his decor. At the moment, I'm starting to break objects to replace them, for example, with ashtrays from the 1960s!
You have lived in several countries, why Paris today?
Toxic: It is true that I was able to live as well in a squatted theater, close to the Chelsea Hotel in New York, as in a sublime Florentine residence. But I came to Paris because my son was born there, so I stayed.
Your work is exhibited around the world, but where can you see your creations outside these events?
Toxic: Here in my studio. I avoid the galleries. I hate speculation. And then discover the work of an artist, it is also to meet him, to enter his universe. What did Pierre Frey, the grandson of the founder of the house Frey, before we began our collaboration. He came here to Saint-Denis, we talked, exchanged, and I understood that we were on the same wavelength.
Wall covered with a fresco signed Toxic, that the house Frey is about to edit in fabric. Pierre Frey cushions.
In his workshop, Toxic surrounds himself with objects that are dear to him. Like its collection of paint bombs of the 1980s or the wall became jumbled with a host of photos of friends: Jean-Michel Basquiat to Amy Winehouse, through Ben Harper.
Other prides: the Steiner sofa 1930s marinated and the copy of the book Graffiti Art, the first book of its kind published in France in 1981, under the leadership of Jack Lang, then Minister of Culture. At 50, Toxic chose independence, freedom, and the motto: "If it's too easy, no fun!"
Fabrics and wallpaper on sale at the end of April 2015 at Pierre Frey: pierrefrey.fr
Like its collection of paint bombs of the 1980s or the wall became jumbled with a host of photos of friends: Jean-Michel Basquiat to Amy Winehouse, through Ben Harper.