“When working with the canvas, I use letters more like oil paint strokes or pixels. They are simply there to make the viewer lose his track, not necessarily to convey a certain message. The idea is to create a dilemma: ‘Can I still like this work even if I don’t understand what it’s trying to say?’ This has long become a stereotypical question in contemporary art but I find that it applies much better to graffiti art.”
Tilt, who lives in Toulouse, defines himself as a graffiti fetishist and a traditional graffiti artist. He argues that the simplest and most primitive state of graffiti can be as effective as three-dimensional letters: “Enjoy Primitive GraffiTilt!”
Having grown interested in graffiti through the works he saw in the skateboard videos filmed in Los Angeles. In the 1980s, Tilt sought to discover this new discipline in Europe. He met 2pon, a leading graffiti artist in the town he was living in, who introduced him to the books, Spraycan Art and Subway Art that had a significant impact on his career. Commenting that he feels safe with graffiti, the artist notes that he compensates for his shortcomings with graffiti as he experiments with other fields (photography, painting, traveling, girls…).
Interested in skateboarding as well, Tilt wrote his first tags on skateboard ramps with his then-group SSN 88 (Skate Speed Nation) at the age of 16. Later, he created his first large-scale piece “TIL-BER” (Tilt & Tober, his best friend) in his basement. Although he initially began exploring Wild Style, he soon realized that he enjoyed throw-ups more and decided to develop his technique in the more rounded Bubble style.
Without making concessions from the Bubble letters that have become his signature style, the artist is open to innovation and experimentation with different disciplines. Apart from the canvas, Tilt also produces photographic works, as well as sculptures and stained glass. Using graffiti letters as the basis of his paintings, he enjoys playing with the viewer’s perception of the street and the museum. Recognizing that the tags seen in the street do not always elicit an artistic perception, he adds that they are often received differently in the context of a museum or a gallery, which he finds paradoxical.
Tilt moved to the New York in 2007 following his “Bubble Girl” project. He lived there for two years. One of his most memorable graffiti stories took place in New York. His friend from Toulouse, Mist arrived in New York to paint the rooftop of the building Tilt was living in that measured 17 by 70 meters. On a Saturday night, the two quietly climbed onto the roof and taped the area they would paint. A curious neighbor noticed the duo and informed the police as a precaution. In order to get ride of the police, the two artists told them they were preparing for a fashion shoot that would take place the next day and managed to send them off without any trouble. Although hesitant to continue for a while, Tilt and Mist finally took out the 40-liter paint they were hiding and began working arduously until 7 am the next morning. A day after “MISTILT”, one of the largest graffiti works in New York, was completed and photographed. Shortly after, Tilt received a call from his landlord; since his friend had already returned to France, he went back up to the roof alone and covered the entire graffiti with silver paint.
Click for more information on the Language of the Wall: Graffiti / Street Art exhibition.