Parisian artist Horfee likes to create disaster wherever he goes, leaving gooey, gruesome pieces on walls around the world. But for his current exhibition, “Chaos Pays,” at New Image Art in LA, Horfee organizes his “mess,” as he calls it, and shows more than 20 new mixed-media works.
The works in this exhibition feature a different color palette, with layers of neutral tones to draw in the viewer and lead to discoveries. “All the greyish ones take more time for your eyes to adapt to,” Horfee told The Hundreds. “My work is full of movement and landscapes with characters where nothing is what they are supposed to be anymore.”
Though more organized, his work inside the gallery is just as weird and wonderful as it is on the streets. “I just see more interesting things in a piece of art that is weird than in a piece that is perfect,” he explains.
In the interview below, Horfee discusses how he developed his aesthetic, his favorite zines, his new exhibition, and also compares his work on the streets to shit and his work in the galleries to vomit. Continue reading to find out why.
ZIO: How did you develop your aesthetic? Did you go to art school or were you self-taught (or both)?
Horfee: I think style is a mix of practice, personal energy and accepting the clumsiness in what you do. Incorporating the errors of what you wanted to do in the beginning. If you push your limits you find where you’re comfortable to do your thing, and take pleasure in it. I did graffiti with my nickname HORFEE, and kept it for many other things. I was not really drawing at all when I was a kid, but when I had an a serious accident, I had to stay three months in a chair, so I started more and more drawing stuff around my name. It was just a signature at this time. I went through a lot of documentation about people who were doing graff in the U.S. It was obvious that I wanted to feel comfortable drawing whatever I wanted and I figured out I just had to do more and more of what my body could produce. I stopped school very early to finally enter in a fine art school in Paris seven years later. I sucked at it. Just boring rich people inventing an exotic activity in a studio. I wanted to create disaster everywhere I went. I didn’t belong there but I figured I had to finish it. During this time, I also understood that I wanted to succeed in bringing my expressions indoors. And all I was doing was drawings on walls—that doesn’t belong at all in a gallery.
In the last year or two, you’ve been participating in more and more exhibitions. Have you found it difficult to create work with the same energy for galleries that it has on the streets?
This question is the center of the entire wave in the period we live nowadays to me. I think doing shows and sharing what I do with this scene is a new kind of motivation, so I have been doing new kinds of works. The energy that makes me shit on the street of a city is mine anyway, so my paintings or installation goes with it. It makes sense to me to evolve toward that direction, aesthetic wise or space wise, that I like. I adapt my ways until I feel good in the middle of it. The vocabulary in the street is very rough and direct, and the approach of the gallery space is also different because maybe the words I use are different: street could be shit and gallery vomit. One is digested and direct because you need to get rid of it, and the other one is more of a research and try to see if you feel better after it.
Read the rest of the interview 0ver at Thehundreds.com
When did you start writing? Late 90’s/early 2000 I really have huge memory problems! But….
I was 14 more or less and every morning I used to walk from the station to school through the hall of fame of the crew SIC and THP (of course my favourite international crew of that period) and from my classroom and my grandfather’s balcony I used to watch pannels in traffic of crews like CKC, VDS, VMD70’S, FIA, SIC and THP and all those writers like Rax-e, Bean, Spice, Robin, Mind, Dumbo, Panda and other writers from all over that come to paint the line.. A couple of years later a lot of stuff of the crews FUXIAS, INSANE, ADM and many others in running really influenced my taste. I was lucky, because that was the best time for Milan graffiti and for the legendary FNM, Train line. You really need to watch the video ‘Nero Inferno’ to understand what I am talkin about: Nero Inferno
How would you describe the graffiti scene and the climate in your country/City? Italia and Milan are full of talented guys and of wack pieces at the same time. There are so many writers, maybe because painting here used to be a little easier then the other European countries that I know. In my opinion the city of Milan was better about 5-6 years ago, with crazy handstyles, throwies and tags everywhere. I got to say though, that there are still some champions around. Foggy in winter, hot and humid in summer.
What is graffiti for you? Something natural, that I have always done, even when I was not painting like crazy I never quit sketching, tagging and looking at graffiti around me, It is the only thing that has been constant in my life. Unluckely, I have never been the best in school or at work and i don’t even like football. I just love to write my name the best way I can.
What do you do when you’re not painting? I love to pass my “not painting time” with my girl and partying, drinking and getting wasted with her and my crew. Oh yeah I work too. (Fuck That).
How would you describe your style? I’m not an inventor or a trendsetter and I can’t do puppets, ahahaha. I would say my style is simple, basic, and readable. I always try to put something in it (some tricks or loops or connections) that makes the piece look like it’s mine.
Influences? The New York pioneers from the ’70’s and ’80’s of course, and New York graffiti bombers like Skuf1 YKK, R.I.S crew or IRAK for example. I Really love the European scene, from the North European handstyles, passin by some Parisian bombers. I must say though, that most of my influence comes from my crew and the friends that I usually paint with.
What keeps you still writing? The constant evolution of style i’ve seen in the last 10/15 years. The younger writers and the competition I feel every time I go paint. The real question should be: ‘What’s gonna stop me.
Future plans? There are still a lot of pieces to do, a lot of cities to paint with my crew and my girl (puna). Work less and paint more- Maybe a fanzine.
Shout outs: My girlfriend Puna, for being with me every fucking day, Every single element of my crew B&H, and TBS. Aoner for teaching me everything ,when I was writing without even knowing what I was doing. My boy, lacost IVC-SST, my brother Tapes from Florence, 10foot from London. AY Crew from Trieste , all my friend from the crews ADM, MLS, FUXIA, Shone, Gordie, the 152 Boys, mosone, Pera RFC. My mom and my dad for never supporting me