Clet Abraham interview

With this interview, we’ve got the pleasure of adding a true street art rockstar to our list of interviewed creatives here at Springleap! He’s the artist whose improvisations on street signs have been featured on blogs and design sites across the net, and it’s no wonder – Clet Abraham‘s work makes great use of standard street signage, but puts a humorous spin on it. You might have caught our piece on his work, over here. A celebrated artist in his own right, Clet’s sign art is itself inspiring others to get out there and create art in their own streets. Read on for insights and interesting tips from the man who made street signs his canvas…   SL: Hi Clet, and welcome to Springleap! So, you’ve been an artist for many years. Can you describe the kind you create, except the street sign that you become known?   CA: My job as an artist is evolving and always changing – art should be seen as a path of life that enriches every day with new experiences. And that’s how I got interested in Street-Art. I’m pretty self-taught, I don’t have a specific genre; the different currents of art represent for me a set of benchmarks, and inspiration happens on time.     Clet Abraham interview (image courtesy Mokum Magazine)   SL: Over the past couple of years you’ve become very well known for your art on signs – how did you start this, and why?   CA: I started working on roadsigns 3 years ago. The idea was born from the encounter of three elements combined, a bit like in a puzzle. The first is the mature craft: over time things are re-evaluated and I rethought my art, providing me with another form of expression. Then there is my natural tendency to rebel … the principle of obedience to the rules bothers me, I must admit. The third element is the need to communicate, to participate in what surrounds us: you shouldn’t just live with things if you can change them and improve them. Urban spaces for me are a place of exchange. It’s about questioning, without barriers, views with others and creating a social debate.   I decided to change the signs just to defuse the meaning of road signs and irony on the social rules, offering a smile and, above all, a boost to reflect current constraints on “civil” society. Note that segnaleticà is a form of universal communication, and it is also the visual symbol of undisputed authority, obedience. My contribution was to stimulate debate and the claim of relativity.     Clet Abraham interview   SL: Have you been in trouble so far, creating art on roadsigns?   CA: Actually not so much, the only country where I’ve been fined is Italy. The first penalty I paid was a newbie mistake! Now I have two ongoing trials for subsequent unpaid fines. In other countries where I’ve done work on road signs (Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Great Britain and Spain) I’ve never been sanctioned, or at least I haven’t received any fines. As long as I have the support of an ever-changing audience, no sanction can stop my creativity.     Clet Abraham interview   SL: There are lots of pictures of your art on European road signs online. Where have you created this art so far, and are you going to do it outside of Europe?   CA: Yes, in fact I worked in several cities in Europe and continue to do so – I’ve just returned from Antwerp and Amsterdam, where I worked on the roadsigns there too. So far I have mostly worked in large European cities, Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, Milan and Brussels, and also in some smaller cities such as Barcelona or Valencia. I’d love to get out of Europe, America or Asia could be interesting.     Clet Abraham interview   SL: Lastly, let us know which street artists have inspired you.   CA: Not one street-artist in the strict sense. In my art form in general, my source of inspiration is the Flemish painter Brueghel because he used art as popular communication tool. But my work is just an example of how you can use or represent the art – my true inspiration is from newspapers.   Thanks to Clet for giving us the time and sharing his thoughts with us – stay tuned for more great interviews, and have a great end to your year!   (all images ©Clet Abraham, unless otherwise stated)

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