Bricks And Bare Flesh: Louis Danjou

category: > Art, > Features

written by: Jaap Proost

LOUIS Danjou likes his canvas to be warm and soft or cold and hard. As a tattoo artist and graffiti writer, his sketches end up on arms and walls.

 

The work of the Frenchman reminds me of a story of Roald Dahl I once read. It was about a bump that roamed the streets of Paris. One day he passed a high-end gallery and saw a painting through the window he recognized. In his younger years he knew the artist who made the work. In the time, he persuaded the artist to tattoo his wife on his back. The bump walked into the gallery and took off his shirt. What the he didn’t knew was that the artist was world famous by now. Everybody in the gallery went crazy because of the discovery of the new work. At the spot, an hotelier offered him a room for the rest of life in his hotel, drinks included. All he had to do was to show his back at the swimming pool. The end of the story you have to read for yourself, it’s called ‘Skin’.

 

 

Danjou is (not at this moment) a world famous artist, but what he shares with the artist in the story is that he also likes the bare flesh as a canvas. He only tattoos his own designs; you can’t persuade him to tattoo something else. Under the name Grolou he also uses walls to display his work. I wrote him an email with some simple questions, like how he got into graffiti, if he tattooed himself, what his inspirations are, etcetera. This is what I got back. I show you the raw content of the email, because I like it allot. It’s like we’re both sitting on a veranda, drinking hard liquor with a full moon out, when he tells me his story:

 

Hi monowolf,


perfect thanks , iam happy you enjoy my stuff…


i am french , in my country, graffiti its forbidden, when i was 17 i was all  the time painting canvas and smoking weed. lots of trouble with the police and this is why  i never painted in my own country.


in 2006 i  was really bored and sad in france, my childhood wasn’t very nice, i had all this traumas of my crazy family, my girlfriend had left, everything was going wrong so i decide to go away , to change my life.


i came to south america, to argentine , BOUMMM, best spot ever, then i travel to chile , i met a lot of chilean graffiti artists like: pohyo wsdm, blok, gumy, mato, yisa, maña and they showed me how easy it was to paint in the street , it was 2007 and i never stopped painting ever since.


i got my first tattoo at 24 years old, 3 years ago, really late, here everyone gets tattooed when they are teenagers. i got 3 tattoos done with the king mariano castiglione from welledonetattoo, then i decided to buy the machine to try to do it myself, i tattooed my legs to learn and my girlfriend flavia. she has learned to tattoo too and now with flavia we tattoo 2 times per week, more o less, but we are not tattooist, because we only do our own designs.


i am never going to tattoo stuff i dont want to, if you want to get a hyperrealism of the face of your grandmother’s then you’d rather go see a tattooer, cos i ain’t gonna do that.  tattooing is one technique more i have learned in my life, i just want to learn new techniques all the time, and making new things, tattoo, wood cut, iron, sculpture, etc… now i am making my  own beer at home and it’s wonderful!!


i’ m living in quilmes , buenos aires, argentina. we’ ve got a house of love with my great and talented girlfriend Flavia, downstairs is the workshop, the place where we paint, tattoo, and do everything that’s messy and art related. And upstairs is where we sleep, eat, bath, watch tv, relax and have good time.


life is wonderful


i enjoy all the old legends and stories, here they have a lots of strange popular saints like “gauchito gil” who is like an argentinean robin hood, you can be walking down the street and see this weird place with wine and cigarettes and a gauchito statue and  its a place where people come to pray. There is also “san la muerte” who is a saint skeleton, i always loved these strange religions.


i always paint things like wolfs, snakes, cats, skulls… i don want to make a new style or to get bigger or better than anybody, i just to paint my imaginary world, just for fun… now I am preparing a big travel project in argentine to meet ceramists and work with them, its something new and a i really want to learn it.

 

 

 

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