Le Bas is a Dublin-based visual artist who divides his time between painting walls and producing studio work. A background in architecture and graffiti has influenced his approach to painting. Le Bas’ art infuses painterly abstraction with digitally produced images, which are meticulously hand-rendered to form a collage-like aesthetic. He is known for his vivid piece at Jenkins Lane at Waterford Walls 2015 and for painting the offices of Facebook in Dublin and London. This year, Le Bas has also transformed the Bus Terminus in Tramore as part of our expansion with T-Walls.
Welcome back to Waterford Walls! Can you sum up last year’s experience in one sentence?
It was great!
What is the story behind your piece from Waterford Walls 2015?
The spot I had was extremely long and not very high, I had never painted anything with a ratio like that before. Also, half the wall forms a narrow lane so it was impossible to view the wall in its entirety. What I had originally intended to paint wasn’t going to work so I started from scratch on the Friday. I made the piece specific to the site. The top end, which can be viewed from the car park, was the main focus. The section in the lane formed a continuation of the piece but in a more simplified version. As this section can’t be viewed from a distance, it seemed redundant to detail it to the same extent.
On the Friday I laid down some colours and then photographed the wall and brought it to the computer. Once on the computer, I played around with it and edited digital images on top of the photograph. I then painted the resulting collage. This back and forth between the painting and the computer is what I’m interested in.
How has your work evolved over time?
I think a lot of it has to do with age and your perception of what ‘good art’ is. When I was younger I used to draw in a very realistic style and when I started using spray paint I used to paint in a photorealistic style. At the time I probably thought it was awesome, but now those styles seem conceptually vapid. Now the reason for painting is to explore and develop ideas. At the moment I paint very impulsive abstract pieces in the studio, then photograph them, edit them using graphic applications on the computer and then paint the resulting image. The whole process converges the intuition of the hand with the intuition of the computer, and I end up with a painting that could not have been done without either element. It creates a new aesthetic that is more interesting in its approach and arguably more visually interesting.
What inspires you today?
I have a very wide range of interests – art, architecture, graphic design, photography etc. I’d say inspiration trickles in from all of those sources, but some individuals that stand out would be Aryz, MOMO, Tauba Auerbach, SelgasCano, and KarelMartens.
What is the best part about what you do? How about the worst?
I work full time as an artist. It’s great because I can spend my time focusing on my work. Until recently I had many obstacles in the way, but now, with some time and freedom, I can feel myself developing quite quickly. The best part is that anything can happen. Earlier in the year, I opened my inbox to find an email from Facebook asking if I’d paint their London office.
The worst part is probably that you need a lot of self-discipline and work ethic. If you start getting lazy it’s not as if you’re going to get in trouble with the boss. However, at the same time, if you are working as an artist and not excited about what you’re doing, chances are you’re doing it wrong.
What does the future hold for you and your art? Do you have a dream project?
I intend on travelling, painting a lot of walls, producing a lot of studio work, and holding an exhibition. I’d really like to work in a three-dimensional setting. I experiment quite a lot with materials in the studio and daydream about building some installation works, so it would be cool to see what would happen if I had the opportunity.
What are you looking forward to most at this year’s festival?
I’m looking forward to having a wall with a nice ratio. Last year was awesome but the spot had too much of an impact on the creation of the piece. This year I hope I can produce a mural that is more akin to the works I produce in the studio.
Visit Le Bas’ home on the web at lebas.ie and keep up with him on Instagram @le_bas_