A few weeks after I settled in Berlin in 2017, I met Catherine Lupis Thomas at a private viewing, she also just moved in the city.. Her personality, her energy and her charm instantly caught my attention. Discovering her work, I could not resist but to fall in love with her very unique way to express her artistic style, her to codes and rules.
It didn’t take long for us to start working together and I introduced her work to the Berlin Contemporary urban art scene. After a large scale project during Museum night for Urban Nation, Catherine started to take part in the most fashionable Urban & Street art exhibitions of the year 2018/19 ( Wandelism, Paste UP Berlin ….)
When we heard about the launch of the french version of COEUR ET ART, we directly thought that Catherine would be the perfect subject for an interview in this international magazine focusing on Contemporary but also loving Urban and Nomad Artists.
Which of these elements (space, air, fire, water, earth) would you choose in relation to your practice and/or your self, and why?
THE AIR because it’s Free.
I love to surprise the air putting on a show in the streets when it decides to arise.
In a draught everything flies creating a three-dimensional scenery.
Surrealist and Ephemeral urban sights. It’s just what I like to transfer in my work. In Berlin, where I live since 2017, I discover and wander in abandoned sites which are damaged by time, they inspire me so much. I always carry my camera with me. This city in the spirit of the times, offers me a fabulous work base. Like the air, I play with collages and urban photography.
I also love the word air for its multiple use in the French language :
“L’air Heureux” (to seem happy)
“L’air d ‘être Libre “(to seem free)
“L’air de Rien “(to be nonchalant)…
“Je n’ai pas l ‘air comme ca” ( I don’t look like this but… ) I love to surprise by my fanciful vision of life.
Is there a particular person, place or situation that inspired/motivated you to become an artist?
No hesitation: Jacques Villeglé !
When I first saw his enormous pieces exploding in front of my eyes, I knew I had found my language. His torn billboard literally turned me upside down ! They brought back some childhood memories : a corrugated sheet booth covered with torned billboard that I looked at every morning on my way to school; The explosion of material and colours illuminated my day, and made me feel the desire to grow up and belong to that life.
There was something else that I didn’t know about life, and I couldn´t wait to experience it.
It is also another reason why I love Berlin. There are still many billboards all over the city, so many things are happening here so I cut and tear bits of billboards all the time. That is so much fun!
Do you consider yourself spiritual and how does this feed into your work?
I am so spiritual that I am often asked which drugs am I using!
My answer usually surprise people, my drug is freedom.
Being able to be free to divert a insignificant distroyed place with humor in order to startle and offer an opportunity to have a positive reflexion on our environment and also on time, is a very enjoyable creating approach for me.
So, a lot t of freedom, a pinch of self derision, sprinkled with a great sense of humor (acquired during my 15 years in London thanks to the Brits!)) in order to pass the following message : “Don’t Ever Forget the Kid in You!“
Is there a book or author you are reading or in general that stimulates or inspires you?
One? Sorry that’s not enough I can restrain myself to 3 or 4. That’s the best I can do. Yvan TOURGENIEV Assia and L’Abandonnée. He allowed me to discover through his novels a poetic image of his Russia. A little nostalgic and melancholic but so beautifully written Nicolas GOGOL Saint Petersburg Novels.
The Nose utterly surrealist and very funny, The painting but also the Nievsky Perspect… these all transport you into another world.
Olympe De GOUGES. Her incredible declaration of women rights (1791) was so ahead of her time! She said loudly and freely her convictions through her play write in a time when freedom of speech could make you lose your head! That’s actucally what happened to her!
Henry CARTIER BRESSON Seing is a Whole. You must live and watch: advise for smartphone addicts!!
You must fight with reality, sorting out habits and routine, this sentence made me pack up and move to Berlin …
Alexander CALDER, If you can’t imagine things you can’t realize them …. And everything you imagine is real!
Please tell us what you are currently working on and what you are looking forward to this year in terms of exhibitions?
While listening to an interview of Joan Jones, a famous American video artist, I got so inspired by her words, I ran to my studio where I stayed for a solid 8 hours:
We see something and then we think of something else, then again something else and this creates an idea, a vision. Putting things together to say something.
I through myself into an installation in several dimensions. It will be at the core of my next solo exhibition in Berlin this autumn alongside videos and of course my photo-collages, under the title THE COMEDIE DEL KUNST (reference to commedia dell’arte).
Yes, I am a true European Artist!
THE COMEDIE DEL KUNST
Catherine Lupis Thomas at Bikini Berlin, November 8th, 2019
Catherine Lupis Thomas on Instagram
About Laurent Petit: Laurent has been dedicating his time to share his passion for urban art through his blog Music On Walls as well as his event series Urban Art Run. After traveling the world for the last decade, he established himself in Berlin where he can continue to do what he loves best, working with talented artists!