Interview with Vikka at Urban Gallery

Interview with Vikka (V) by Victoria Rainoff (VR)

Vikka. Photo: Bénédicte Dolny

The interview took place at Urban Gallery at Vikka’s first Canadian exhibition in December, 2019.

Installation view. Photo: Victoria Rainoff

VR: You are a French born artist living in the Basque Country in Anglet, France. How did you get the idea to exhibit in Toronto?

V: I wanted to see Street Art internationally. Toronto is a perfect city for that, renowned for its Street Art. I discovered fantastic walls with street art, beyond my imagination, it was a great surprise. I think my artworks were well placed in a city like Toronto.

Street Scene No 1, print, pastel, acrylic, resin, aerosol, 35 x 57 in. Courtesy of Urban Gallery

VR: The title of the exhibition In Memory of Witold and Max is a tribute to your grandfathers. Why did you dedicate this show to their memory?

V: My first exhibition was a tribute to my grandfathers, who themselves have an undeniable talent in the field of painting. They were also the first fans of my creations: the first to recognize my talent. Grandfather Max also claims that I inherited my artistic ability.

Installation view with smaller artworks. Photo: Victoria Rainoff

VR: Your artist name Vikka comes from your sons’ first names; a lovely idea. Did they influence your art in any ways, like the themes and style of it?

V: The birth of my first son brought me back to my childhood. The cartoons he watches stimulate my imagination. My sons are a fundamental influence in the development of my art. They represent a part of childhood that I wish to transmit to a wide audience.

Best Friend, print, pastel, acrylic, resin, aerosol on canvas, 51 x 35 in. Courtesy of Urban Gallery

VR: It seems that Street Art, Pop Art and especially cartoons have a great impact on your art. How did that happen and how do you apply their elements in your work?

V: I have always been fond of art and especially of all the movements of the Street Art scene and Pop Art. I consider artists like Ron English or Buff Monster masters in the field.

My works are inspired by the new ideas of our time, products of my imagination, and tributes to the great artists who have had an impact on my art.

Selfie No 1, print, pastel, acrylic, resin, 43 x 4 in. Courtesy of Urban Gallery

I use various materials, such as aerosol bomb, acrylic, resin, collage, print and pastel in order to create harmony in my work. The colors and the surreal elements are the most important factors in my compositions.

I enjoy versatility in my work and that’s why my characters move freely between paintings, sculptures and photographs.

Sculpture (pink), resin, acrylic, aerosol, print, 11 x 19 x 7 in. Photo: Victoria Rainoff

VR: American artists, like Warhol, Basquiat and Keith Haring greatly inspired you. You even dedicated paintings to them. Can you tell us more about it?

V: They are the greatest masters of Pop Art and Street Art. It is a tribute to them to commemorate their work in my paintings. A real pleasure to bring my characters to life through their motifs.

Tribute to Keith Haring, pastel, acrylic, resin, stencil on canvas, 39 x 39 in. Courtesy of Urban Gallery

VR: There are returning elements and characters in your paintings, sculptures and photographs like bubbles, rainbows, bombs and characters appearing in bubbles. What do these symbols represent?

V: The bubbles represent round shapes, soothing and liberating, reminders of the peculiar lightness of childhood.

The colors are the colors of the rainbow, with an additional one, the rose. Colors have always been essential in my work; they bring my characters to life.

My characters, the bomb and the slug, came out of my imagination! Both appeared in a boom!

Rainbow Bubbles, pastel, acrylic, aerosol, 35 x 57 in. Courtesy of Urban Gallery

VR: What do you wish to express though your art?

V: I wish to arouse interest and raise awareness among others. Art has no limit. It is synonymous with freedom—a way of expressing oneself and revealing the child who is in us.

VR: What are your future plans?

V: New exhibitions in France, in Lyon or even Biarritz. And exhibitions abroad, in Belgium and in Italy.

I am working on a new series of paintings in tribute to the Forever 27 Club—talents who disappeared too soon.

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