Zoom on the creative process of L’Atlas

Can you remind us who you are and your artistic practice?

My name is Jules Dedet Granel, better known under my pseudonym of artist: L’Atlas.
I am a painter and I also practice film photography.

What is your background, how did you start creating?

I started to be interested in calligraphy, typography, graffiti, and the Sign (in the Barthian sense of the term*) when I was a teenager in the 90s in Paris. I then traveled during the 2000’s to meet, film and receive practical knowledge from calligraphers in different countries such as Morocco, Egypt, Syria, China, and Japan. I have gradually digested these different calligraphic influences to associate them with other currents in the history of art such as Optical Art, Geometric Abstraction, Minimal Art or Lyrical Abstraction.

My desire is to merge the art of writing and the history of painting; painting writing and writing painting is the axis of reflection of my practice, through a geometric and totemic plastic work that wants to be universal, “Atlasic”. It is a pictorial work located at the intersection between the gesture and its intention, between the process of creation and the final idea of the work. It is a question here of reading each form as a letter and each letter as a form. To read the painting and contemplate the writing. I have been painting/writing daily in my studio for 20 years to express this vision that is at the same time concrete, abstract and universal, which seeks to make the borders between different currents of the History of Art disappear and to make them merge through my practice.

I also realize monumental murals and carry out a photography project with my first 7 canvases that I put in scene on the cities of the world map.

In your daily work as an artist, what inspires you? What is the trigger for the creation of a work?

It can be a visit to an exhibition or the sight of a manhole cover or a scaffold for example. I am inspired both by the contemplation of the urban architectural world, and by the digested vision of this world by other artists that I assimilate through the knowledge of their works.

Can you explain to us the way in which you build a work? What are the different stages of creation?

I devote myself to finding all the possible forms of the word Atlas. By touching the limits of the legibility of the letter and the word. I thus reinforce its abstraction at the same time as the universality of the pictorial work produced. For that I proceed first to a work of typographer, (i.e. that I draw my letters on paper with a pencil). I then vectorize them on Illustrator, then proceed to small mathematical calculations to be able to inscribe my “written form” in the center of a support. I can realize these forms in a pure and minimal way mainly in black and white, or superimpose them on abstract gestural backgrounds thus making discuss the Cold Abstraction (Geometrical) and the Hot Abstraction (Gestural).
Sometimes I encrypt my logograms with checkerboards of squares or spans of lines in order to increase the vibration of the painting and to abstract the word even more deeply from its legibility. I also carry out series of prints made from large stamps, which I approach with gestural practices such as “dripping” or lyrical abstraction.

*Read “The Empire of Signs” by Roland Barthes.

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