Artist Interviews 2021
By Laura Siebold
Nerone is a street artist and graphic designer, based in London, UK. Nerone takes his inspiration from the streets, the cities, and the nightlife. The artist strives to capture the energy of modern city life in his paintings. Nerone started doing graffiti at a very young age and enjoyed exhibiting his art in diverse public spaces. Nerone’s play with flowers and fluorescent neon colors has become his signature style; his colorful murals can be found in public spaces around the world, including London, Paris, New York, Cartagena, Bangkok, Berlin, Marrakech, and Seoul. Moving from Bordeaux to Paris, he founded Le Cocktail, an art collective with some friends. In his interview, the artist reveals how the pandemic boosted his creativity, the message of his art, and how small steps can change people’s awareness of economic and ecological challenges.
All photos – courtesy of the artist.
Your website bio mentions: “The vibrancy of the city and its crazy nightlife, with the never-ending labyrinth of neon lights and music clubs inspire many of his [Nerone’s] paintings. His more organic work represents unique colourful flowers mixed with the surreal lighting of fluorescent tubes.” How would you describe your style?
It’s always difficult to speak about your own style but I would say it’s therapeutic. It's Art Therapy.
You know, we are surrounded by bad news every day, so I always prefer to express positive things through my art.
I do art, especially graffiti, street art and graphic design. I love everything regarding street art, from a quick throw up in the street to a giant mural (like the one I did in Padova two weeks ago.)
I want to make people a little bit happier when they see my painting. I love playing with flowers and neons and when you mix both, it illuminates the street.
Especially in London with its grey sky, the contrast is interesting.
We are curious about your background. When and where did you paint your first public mural? Which challenges do you face when creating public art in exterior spaces?
I come from the graffiti movement, so I started to paint first in the public space before working on pieces in the studio.
When you do graffiti, you always try to find the best place seen by most of the people.
I started doing graffiti pretty young, when I was eleven. Back in the day, I remember chilling in abandoned spots, picked up old empty cans on the floor to do my first tags.
I was absolutely fascinated by the atmosphere of these areas. After this entry in the hip hop movement, I started to paint trains, subways, street, so everything I could.
Then, a few years later, with some friends we moved to Paris and we have created Le Coktail, a collective doing numerous projects that included street art, graphic design, paintings, set design and decoration.
After that, I moved to London to develop my own career.
Has the pandemic made it difficult for you to draw from your regular sources of inspiration or have you found new creative methods?
To be honest I've been quite busy during the pandemic, but I had some quieter moments and I've really enjoyed it.
Everything changed, we couldn't move anywhere, so the only thing we could do was to be creative.
It was the perfect moment for having a step back on my style, thinking about new ideas and making new prints.
Has your work been perceived differently all over the world? Have you ever faced a negative response to your art?
I've painted in so many different places around the globe and I usually get positive feedback.
A few months ago I've been invited by the Oakland Gallery to paint a wall in New Brighton, close to Liverpool and just before finishing the wall, an old lady from the city came to me saying she wasn't happy about my wall and she preferred the previous grey wall.
I've asked her why and she replied that she was born in this street, and she preferred to preserve her old memories.
What is the message you want to send with your art?
As I said, I want to make people happy and show them that life is beautiful.
You currently live in London – what made you decide to live and produce art there?
I moved to London 6 years ago to follow my fiancée and it’s probably the best decision I could have done. l love London and its energy, It's a crazy city that never stops, so creative and dynamic.
What is important to you when you get approached for brand collaborations? Have there been any collaborations you denied because they didn’t correspond with your style?
My ideal collaboration is when I'm contacted by a company, I appreciate [them] asking me to create unique designs with my style and spirit.
Like it was the case for Danone UK or the Apex cruise ship for Celebrity Cruises.
How can street art make us aware of economic and ecological challenges? Elaborate.
A painting in a street is like an advertising, so whatever you like, or you don't like, you can't miss it. It's a really powerful way to catch the attention of the people.
For example, I've been contacted by a brand to do a wall during a free plastic festival. I would be happy and proud to take part in this movement.
Two day ago, I've painted a wall for the Australian brand Lindeman's at the Observation Point in London.
We agreed to make the wall with a carbon neutral paint, it won't absorb all the pollution in London, but this is how we can change things. Step by step with small good actions!
What are you currently working on? Can you give us an insight into future projects?
I've got some interesting projects coming. I've a couple of walls to do for companies and offices in London.
I'm invited by the Festival Hit the North in Belfast to do a mural at the end of August.
This summer will definitely be creative, I'm going to work on new pieces in my studio for some cool projects with my team OurTypes.
What should the world remember you for?
Peace love unity and having fun!