No work, all play

Pop art has started to pop (wink wink) up a lot in the Big Mango, from curious structures at well-known malls to colourful, eclectic murals on faded walls. It wasn't a surprise then when SO Sofitel Bangkok welcomed pop/street artist Jisbar to showcase his vibrant pieces until Mar 13. The Paris-based artist has showcased his talent on canvases and other items like a bike (a design in collaboration with BMW and showcased at the exhibition) and even Cardi B's handbags. He's chosen Bangkok to be his first foray into Asia so Guru sat down and talked with him about his art and what drew him to Bangkok.

What made you choose Bangkok for your first exhibition in Asia?

It's actually my first time ever in Asia, but I chose Bangkok because it's a very nice place. In France, you have a nice spirit but this city is a huge hub in Asia. Bangkok is like the New York of Asia. It's the main city in Asia where you can go and make great things. I really appreciate how Bangkok is very modern and very traditional at the same time. It mixes pretty well. I love this energy. The mood here is pretty chill and I'm a very chill person so that's cool. There's a lot of bright colours around and it inspires me a lot.

Have you seen the street art around the city? What do you think about it?

It's pretty different from Europe because there you have a lot of street art everywhere. Here it's more discreet but more precise, so the guy who painted the wall probably took more time to do it because maybe he had the authorisation to do so. In France, it's totally different because you don't have any authorisation. It's totally forbidden. You have to be quick in doing your stuff.

A common question for artists: how do you get inspired?

I can be inspired by walking, just seeing stuff. I see all the details in one shot. I can be inspired by the colour of a taxi -- little stuff like that that makes me have an idea in my head. I get inspired by anything and everything.

So you don't only work with canvases, recently you did some artwork on a bicycle.

I diversify my range of inspiration. The bike was a good challenge because it's tiny and it is a different kind of painting so it challenges me to improve my skill and the idea in my head to get a good result in the end. It's challenging but I love it. I like to paint on different kinds of material which is why I painted on the bags of Cardi B and on watches and jewellery. My first love is painting on canvas but I love painting on other things because it's a challenge and that's what I love about my job.

Are you trying to convey a message with the art?

Yeah, I have a global message. In France, you have a lot of museums but it's mostly tourists that go to the museum. French people don't go to the museums, too much. I don't know why. To me, I'm a self-made artist and I had to study art history by myself. So for me, I want my art to help people get into art culture. I want to make art more accessible to people.

Why is the exhibition named 'Jisbar's Playground'?

Because it's all my experience, it's my playground. When I paint, I don't consider it like a job because I just have fun. I just want to make people happy and bring this happiness about in my painting. So this is my playground. I also want people to just have fun.

Are the pieces in this exhibition especially made for Bangkok?

Yes and I made it specifically for this setting. I had all the dimensions of each part of the lobby and I tailored this exhibition specifically for this place. To me, the set-up is very important. I don't want to put a small painting on a big wall so I need to have all this information. I need to know which colours will catch the eye and contrast well when set against this backdrop.

What do you want people to take away from your pieces?

I want people to be curious and more interested about art history, the art scene and to be more open-minded.

Pop art uses a lot of bright colours. Why is that?

Pop art takes from advertisements. For example, the red has a certain impact on your brain. You can give feelings people with colour. It's like a language. It's very important. For my paintings, it's not the subject that is difficult to realise but it is the colours that you will use. The real challenge is to adjust all the colours to be perfect. The balance needs to be perfect between all the colours.

So for each new piece you do, how long does it usually take you?

I work on several pieces at the same time so it's hard to have a precise number, but for this whole exhibition it took me two months of work.

You say that your work represents moments of life. What do you mean?

I always have people coming into my studio for a meeting or just to chill and I often have the radio and TV on, so when I hear a word or see an image and I see something I like, I put it on the painting. I say it's a moment of my life because the painting is a representation of my life during the time that I produced it. It's like a snapshot from when I made the painting.

What else do you plan to do in the coming years?

I always want to improve. An exhibition is good but I want to create something new, a new kind of exhibit, maybe something like a hologram or something 3D. I need to think about it because I'm more of an in-the-moment person. I also want to explore Asia more.

The exhibit "Jisbar's Playground" will be displayed until Mar 13 on the 9th floor Park Lobby of SO Sofitel Bangkok, 2 Sathon Nua road.

Do you like the content of this article?