Jef Aerosol


From the Photomaton gallery guide:

"Once when I wanted unknown people in photobooth strips, I stole them when they fell down from the machine, while a friend of mine asked somethin' to the people! They tried twice or three times to get their photos and saw me get mine without a problem. Wonder, wonder! Anger. . .In the late 70s/early 80s, I discovered photocopy and took more and more pleasure in cutting, stickin', makin' portraits (usually self-portraits). I became a real addict. What attracted me was the instant, automatic pictures given by the photobooth, photocopier, computer, polaroid, etc. No wait and each time a surprise. It's for this reason that I like stencils and aerosol painting: quick, reproducible but every time different: instant art. Phototobooth = witness, mirror, anonymous photographer of whole populations. I now really like the aesthetics of those four poses, those four rectangles, a 'cult of the four poses.'

"The work I've sent for the show is spray-painted through a single stencil cut from an enlarged photobooth self-portrait. I've used that one for several years now and it seems to be one of my favorites! It was first used as a 'hello!' sprayed on the walls in the various towns I've lived in. It was a kind of identity card or business card I gave to the populations of those cities. I like it because it has the impact which I find necessary in graffiti and wild stencils. It's wild, punk, lively, screamin' and laughin' at the same time. I got the idea of movin', slidin' the stencil with my left hand and spraying with the right one. The combined gestures and rhythms of both my hands gave a picture. Thus; a stencil can be used as a real instrument like a brush or a pencil, and not just a way to reproduce a single picture. So, from my self-portrait (=egocentrism, self- centered ness, narcissism, megalomania...) I get monstrous creatures (self- mutiliation, self-destruction, death, masochism.)."

Jef Aerosol currently teaches English, which he studied at university in both Paris and Nantes. He is also a musician whose work has appeared on various French rock 'n' roll radio stations and in a music video for the Flamin' Groovies in which he was shown creating a wall stencil from a photobooth image. He has done artwork and articles for rock magazines, advertising artwork and posters for bands, as well as paintings for commercial businesses. His work has been exhibited extensively throughout France. Jef Aerosol created the cover for the recent book on French graffiti entitled 'Vite Fait/Bien Fait."

Contributed by Tim