So much of the art world revolves around questions of value, not just in terms of appraisals and price tags, but: what is worth your time in these times, and your energy, your attention, and yes, your effort — earned cash?
What is the personal math you do to determine the meaning and value of something? What impresses you? What enriches your life?
In this new series, we ask individuals from the art world and beyond about the valuations they make on a personal level, in art and in life.
When he first spray-painted a leggy, winking sketch on the streets of Paris in 1989, André Saraiva didn’t know that he and his graffiti alter ego, Mr. A, would not only Around the world — Sarawa’s studio estimates he has tagged 20 Mr As per night over the past 30 years, 216,000 of whom are now “running along concrete barricades and walking on surfaces” — but also entering the world of fine art and luxury.
The Swedish-French artist’s work has since been exhibited at institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and Dennis Gallery in Shanghai, and even at the Venice Biennale. Still, “the street is still my favorite place to paint, and my favorite gallery,” Saraiva writes in his new book. “It’s free and for everyone.”
Andre Sarava: Graffiti LifePublished last month by Rizzoli, it showcases highlights from the artist’s extensive oeuvre, including his doodles, paintings, posters and personal sketches, as well as his collaborations with brands from Levi’s to Louis Vuitton. It also covers many of his hotel projects, from the Beatrice Inn and Le Baron nightclubs in New York, London, Tokyo and Shanghai, to his Hotel Amour and Hotel Grand Amour in Paris.
The book features contributions from Virgil Abloh, Magda Danysz, Jeffrey Deitch, and Glenn O’Brien, who use a poem as a portrait to describe the artist (in turn, Saraiva painted the late art, music, and fashion writer): “Not thrifty but a little extravagant, taste LA VIE to the last drop, but never waste!”
Despite his “luxury” life, Saraiva continues to draw Mr. A for free for everyone. Ahead of his most recent opening – as part of a group show “Spray Painterly 2” at New York’s Allouche Gallery, which sees graffiti as art – the Paris-based artist, father, and the good life gave us our valuation questionnaire. responded.
What’s the last thing you splurge on?
I’m trying the opposite of splurge – I’m trying to downsize and live a more zen and minimalist life. For several years I’ve spent a lot of time at an old fisherman’s house on the beach near Lisbon, and there are only a few books I enjoy reading. If I’m a little too lonely, I’ll go and make friends with the fishermen.
Maybe the last thing I splurge is that I buy a wood stove so I can spend the winter there.
What are you saving for?
I am saving for my 12 year old daughter Henrietta. I started making a small art collection for an artist I liked – you’ll find many of my graffiti colleagues, from Keith Haring to Futura 2000. She already kinda likes it, and I’m sure she’ll appreciate it when she grows up.
If you found $100, what would you buy?
I would buy lunch for friends at Aux Deux Amis in Paris. We’ll start with two small entrees and a bottle of Poulsard.
What makes you feel like a million bucks?
My daughter’s smile as I drive her to school in the morning. This makes me happy.
What do you think is your greatest asset?
I think it’s Mr. A. He was my best friend and he became such a well-known character that we trademarked him.
What do you value most about a piece of art?
The lives of artists, their stories, and the forces that make them artistic entities.
Who are the emerging artists worthy of your attention?
My friend Dozie Kanu, he moved from New York to a small town next to Lisbon. The objects he makes can almost be used as furniture, but he is mixing the codes of our contemporary and urban culture to question stereotypes and our reactionary society.
Who are the overlooked artists that haven’t gotten their due?
Ramelzer. He was a painter, a musician, a creator of fictional characters and costumes, and an amazing pioneer of New York graffiti.
What’s not worth the hype?
What is your most precious possession?
My Keith Haring tee is from his original pop store in NYC.
In your opinion, what is the most overrated thing in the art world?
Art auctions and art fairs, because when you go, it takes away the poetry of art. To me, an art fair looks like a trade show for household appliances, where the art at auction can be replaced by any consumer product. I feel like the people out there don’t care about the quality of the art, but how much money it will make.
What do you think is a worthy cause?
Love and the future of our children.
What do you long for?
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