FKDL aka FRANK DUVAL | Interview

Franck Duval aka FKDL is a French painter and street artist who combines great silhouette movements with vibrant color collages in his works. He lives and works in Paris.

When did you start to know about “art”?  Who inspires you to be a graffiti artist?

I began painting in the 80s and present my work to the public in 1992. At first, my favorite painters were Picasso, Matisse, Chaissac, Braque… and I discover Jacques Villeglé (from the « New Realists ») when I start to use collages in my work. Before I start Street Art. I  am much more a Collage artist than a Graffiti artist and my influences come from painter like Speedy Graphito, Banksy and Villeglé.

We know that you studies fashion design at studio Bercot, have you worked for any fashion related projects or working with any fashion brands after graduation?No, because after a year of study in fashion I turned to the circus. I also wanted to become an actor.

What makes you to put all the effort on street art?  Have you considered becoming a fashion designer?  If yes, why not?

Becoming a fashion designer… Why not, It will be very interesting but I prefer to dress my characters with paper ! Street art is a way to share their work with a wider audience. I like the notion of open-air museum… I like colorful city walls with my universe !

Among all the expos and gallery exhibitions you have participated in, which one is the largest scale one that you can share with us more details?  Which gallery that you worked with before enjoy the highest acclaim and reputation?

In this last years, I worked with different galleries and my favorite were “New Heart City Gallery, Since. Upian Gallery and “Le Bon Marche” in Paris. Reputation is mainly the result of my work, the opportunities I have had and the commitment that I spend. The value that I defend is sharing because I think this world is selfish.  I also like the idea of recycling paper…

Have you ever been collaborated with other famous artists before

Not particulary !

What is your biggest achievement in the art scene?  Any awards/ recognition you have received?

Two of my biggest achievements in Art scene were :

My participation of the literary price Marcel Pagnol (10th anniversary of the price) at the Fouquet’s in Paris. A tryptique about Marcel Pagnol.

My participation/performance for the event with the newspaper “Le Monde”

Do you enjoy a very close relationship with your mother?  Does she inspire you in any way of your works?  

I have a very good relationship with my mother, but she is not today my influence. I love her and she is proud of me. For a long time, she was thought that “artist” was not a real job but she has changed !!! here is a photo… When I was around 10 years old and I did not know how to have fun, she asked me to do some characters with chestnuts and matches… She always told me she was selling and giving me pocket money. I believed for a long time until she told me the truth… I was 25. She only kept it in her office before to put in the trash ! That’s life 😉

On a scale 0 to 100, how would you weight the importance of art to your life?

I am tempted to reply that it is 100% of my life … but to be honest, I have a girlfriend, three children (20, 24 and 26 years old), a brother and my parents so I would say half and half. It is better, art is in my heart .

Any turning points in your life, which give you the greatest impact?

I love life, people, meetings and sharing… but always keep a little mystery !

Will you name your paper collage art as “The Art Scotch”?  Do you do paper collage differently from other artists?

It is important to understand that I have 2 techniques of Collage. One is “The Art Scotch”, with adhesive tape and paper (magazines) but no scissors, no glue… only the adhesive tape. And the second one is “The Collage Traditional”, I tear the paper and I use glue. Compared to other artists who use the technique of colage, my specificity is to recycle a large number of magazines, newspaper and revues from the 20s to 70s. Not printing ! Only originals. And for the “Art Scotch”, I developed this technique by discovering alone and by chance, before I learned that Joseph Gil Wolman updated in 1963. (Date of my birth!!!). For this event, I will share both techniques at workshops. Because of the adhesive tape, “The Art Scotch” is not used outside for Street Art.

The characters in your works were dressed in a fashionable way, is it because of your fashion design background?  How do you apply your fashion sense to your paper collage work?  How would you describe the relationship between fashion and art in your work?

It is obvious that my fashion design background is always in my work today. I like the way and the mixture between fashion and art. It is closely related. My paper dresses, give me all the freedom I want and more than the requirements of the fashion world

Most of your works are about human being and movement, any special message that you want to convey or any special meaning behind that?

As I also studied the school circus, my characters have kept this idea of movement !

Grace and lightness… I like humans.

Why the female silhouette figure always appears in your works?  Is she someone important in your life or does your mother inspire you to create this?  

No it is not from my mother or someone important in my life. It is a tribute to women in general. There are not many men in my artistic world… that’s right ! I’m inspired by women… like the world of advertising 50s and 60s. But I am not nostalgic, it is important. I only love the iconographic from this decades !!!

Have you ever drawn your mother in your works? 

NO never !

You have also used this female silhouette figure in your new work created for Plaza Hollywood in Hong Kong, please describe the creative concept behind this new work?   In what way that she looks differently or the same as she appeared in your previous work?

My artistic universe is like a big family of characters. There are recurent and other less.

I love to adapt them in different way. For the special creation to Plaza Hollywood, I saw before that the theme of the French May Festival for this year will be The Twenties. So I worked in that direction, specially with the Mother’s Day…

I have a wide variety of document from different decades.

Why would you choose recycled paper to create your art work? What inspires you to give old newspapers and magazines a new life?

A lot of things to respond. Since my 20 years old, I collected a lot of different magazines between 1920s and 1970s. At first, I did not know what could I do with that materials. I loved the illustrations, iconography and photos of the different periods. When I start my first collage, I do not want to use it because it was rare but now and since 2000, I delight to use it and it has also become my feature in the field of art collage. Aside from my signature / logo, people recognize my work with this now. This is a real recognition for me. The new life for this old newspapers and magazines is a way to recycling all the paper. Although I have preferences. Many trees are destroyed every day for all that paper we consume. I know this is a drop in the ocean…

Any special requirement about the newspaper/ magazine/ flyer/ poster that you choose to make paper collage?  For example, the hardness and colour of the paper?

Yes everything is important… The color (some decades are identified by the color), the quality, the thickness, the inks… and then, the text, the forms, the size !

Can you share with the press during the interview in Hong Kong about the special technique you applied in your paper collage art, for example, the choice of papers, the skillful use and combination of colors, special thing to note when ripping and tearing the paper etc.

Yes of course ! It is why also I am here for… Share and explain my way of work, how I do and why I do like that. My techniques are primarily visual and so, If I can not speak, I can show it…

Have you used any special French newspaper/ magazine/ poster/ flyer to do your art work?  If yes, can bring them to Hong Kong when doing the demonstration?

I will do of course ! I will bring a lot of different magazines to use it on the demonstration and workshop…

Do you collect newspaper/ magazine/ poster/ flyer?   Any special way to collect them?  How many you have collected so far? 

We can talk in kilograms 😉 I think that I have around 3500 pcs about Movies, Fashion, lifestyle, sport…  This is a real treasure !!! It took me years to build this collection.

Have you taught other people how to make paper collage art?  What would you teach?

I regularly collage workshops for children in schools. For example, Last year I was during a month in French Guyana (south America) to make and share some workshops in villages along the river Maroni. An amazing experience in Amazon !!! My techniques of “Art Scotch” is perfect for children, because they can have a result very quickly and it is so easy to learn. You can see during the event !

How long it takes to make the simplest piece of paper collage in A5 size?  

It depends on the result I want to get. I love the details in general so it can range from a few minutes to several hours. But for the event I will try to do quickly !

Can you demonstrate the making procedure to the media during interview and let them to take picture of the procedure step by step?

Of course, this is one reason why I’m here !

If there is media request, can you use Greek newspapers or magazines to make a character of woman or flower?

Of course, I like to improvise and it is always a very interesting exercise ! Constraints do not scare me ;-).

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