1883 Magazine
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Remi Rough is without a shadow of a doubt a true agent of change; for over 26 years, he has been transcending the boundaries of graffiti art by adopting a unique abstract/expressionist style that has turned him into one of the most sought-after artists in the international panorama. Since his debut gallery show in 1989, Remi has exhibited in London, Paris, Perth, Tokyo, Santander, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Berlin, Ibiza – just to name a few.

30th & Time is Remi’s latest installation; curated by Moniker Project and supported by the iconic G-Shock brand to celebrate their 30 years, the work is a two storey high installation incorporating a sidewalk and an archetypical New York bus stop, decorated by Remi referencing the artwork he painted on the facade of the Megaro Hotel in London.

Remi Rough has kindly agreed to answer a few of our questions.

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How did your collaboration with G-Shock come about?

Moniker Projects were working with G-Shock already and they just put my name forward as someone to work with and ti all seems to have snowballed from there really. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with them though, they really put their trust in me to come up with some interesting approaches. Moniker Projects and I have worked on numerous brand campaigns together and made some really cool projects happen, but I guess my work is quite a niche as it’s largely abstract...

Can you tell us a bit more about the artwork you made for Moniker?

The installation is called 30th & Time; Moniker approached me initially and asked how I felt about referencing the Megaro Hotel mural I did with Augustine Kofie, LX One and Steve More in Kings Cross. So we brainstormed some ideas around and came up with the idea of a two storey building fascia on which I’d paint a mural. The production team did an incredible job on it too, It looked amazing when I arrived to make my colourful additions. It looked way better than I ever imagined it would. The painting is abstract but it has a unified structure of colour, almost rainbow like. I wanted it to really stand out at the fair.

You are one of the legends of UK Graffiti; I wondered, how did you come up with this abstract/expressionist style?

I’m not sure I’m a legend… I always thought you became a legend once you were dead or written about in history books. I’m just a working artist. As far as my transition of style, graffiti has always been a statement of abstraction. The whole concept is the abstraction of letter forms. I guess I just began to take the ethos further and further away from the original remit. Everything needs to get to a point where it abstracts to an extent… Music, art, even relationships. I just kept seeing different things in the paintings I was making.

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Is there a moment in your life you decided you wanted to do art for a living?

I think I was around 15 or 16 when I decided this was what I wanted to do… I was planning on being a dancer and was at dance school for quite a few years before art really took over my life. Funny how things happen like that. In retrospect, I think being a dancer would have been much harder. I always feel like I am so lucky to get to do what I do for a living...

What artists inspire you the most at the moment?

I am not easily impressed, it takes quite a lot really, but Steve More’s recent works are incredible… His work in concrete and his collages with billboard posters are amazing!! Also Marco Grassi’s work I find really inspiring… But more and more I keep finding amazing work by masters like Kasemir Malevich, Van Doesburg, Mondrian and Ben Nicholson. I have a Mondrian book in my studio that is utterly mesmerising. There’s some fantastic art out there from the last century… Most new art isn’t properly cooked yet.

There is undoubtedly a growing interest in Street art; what do you think is the future of the movement?

I think Street Art has had it’s best moments so far and most of the interest in it is mainstream now. I think there’s a serious shift in attitudes to graffiti as an opposing pole to Street Art, people seem to understand it’s urban relevance and history a lot more than they used to. I think the future is in painters and sculptors… Artists who make art not images.

As a last question, what other projects are you currently involved in? What’s next for you?

I’m off to LA in 1 week for my first American solo exhibition at Soze Gallery which I am very excited about and then I am in the Urban Masters show in London this November and then a big Agents Of Change exhibition in Marrakech next Spring. I also want to paint some new murals in London...

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You can find more on Remi Rough here.

Words by Jacopo Nuvolari

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