Być*, a Swiss artist born in Lausanne in 1982, did not choose this pseudonym at random: in Poland, the homeland of one of his grandfathers, this word means "to be" or "to search".
Indeed, in all of his artistic approach, there is an undeniable existential quest, begun in early childhood. A time when he drew and painted everything, all of the time, required paper after paper, again and again... Back then, we could have believed this to be a fleeting whim, but it was nothing of the sort; drawing, painting, caricature, they are his fundamental means of expression, one could even say vital.
Early graphic design graduate at 18 years old, he immersed himself in the world of advertising, earning a good living due to his quick ascension to an international level. However, he also saw the limits, in both the artistic and ethical senses. Być voluntarily withdrew from the advertising scene after several years to entirely devote himself to his artistic research, which he had never abandoned in parallel to his career.
He leaves his comfort zone (his academic training) and for more than a year, 7 days a week, from morning to evening, he uses the graffiti technique to push himself in his methodologies and media choices. By giving up his previous career, he also gives up the easy way: he must solve material problems (premises, painting, supports, must be the least expensive possible). Then, he leaves for the United States, to Taos, and decides to face the vast desert spaces, embraces the culture shock, and shakes himself up all over again.
He is interested in recycled materials, and turns these new constraints of abandonned desert objects to elements of his message. Everything makes sense. The support itself inspires him, and dictates the work. For Być, there is a kind of complicit association between the used object, whose poetry he perceives from the previous use, and what it makes him feel and inspires him to do.
Thus is defined his vision of contemporary art and Street Art, which goes from the street to the greatest museums, which challenges codes, challenges the world, sometimes mocks, often denounces, or admires.
For Być, to provoke is to make people think, mix, connect: people, times, styles, perceptions. He says, "a good work grows with you", he hopes, for multiple, evolving and "nourishing" interpretations.
The first contact he made with a gallery owner was immediately fruitful. Exhibited for the first time at the Scope Miami 2018, Laurent Marthaler, his gallery owner, sold 3 of his pieces to big Turkish, New York and Panamanian collectors. He has since exhibited in Art Miami, Art Wynewood, Frame Basel, Santa Fe, Taos (New Mexico), Montreux.
For Być, "to be" means to constantly seek to say, to show, to share, as the painters he admires have done before him: from Toulouse-Lautrec to Blek the Rat, via Hokusai and Norman Rockwell, Basquiat, Warhol and all those whose lines and paintings have described their worlds with tenderness, sometimes cruelty, and without complacency. To hyper-consumption, he opposes recycling', to intolerance, he imposes humour or emotion, to ugliness and wear and tear, the proposition of another life. He wants to be free and does not care about people who think he is old when he is young or a woman when he is a man. He is Być.
* Pronouced "Bitch"
Why the choice of graffiti or the influence of Street Art?
Because it is not subjected to the same technical contingents as is oil painting, watercolor or photo. Street Art is a libertarian protest movement. It does not follow the same laws as the so-called "traditional" art. It is practiced on virtually any medium, in any place and under any conditions with restricted material. The fact that the artist is a good illustrator or not, ultimately has little importance. It is especially the idea of the visual that takes precedence, the less the question of how it was realized.
The graphic border is very thin between the achievements of two street artists from two different continents. The historical visual codes that differentiate the countries fall and there remains only the image and the emotion! No way to know the origin of the artist. There is no school of graffiti, as it was the case with the art schools from the Renaissance to the present day where influences, styles and techniques are recognizable. Street art avoids the formatting encountered in art schools.
Did Banksy influence you?
Yes, as well as all other street artists known and lesser known. We use the same media. The anonymity we share is for freedom.
What does your work bring?
I see Street Art as a testimony of a contemporary reflection in much the same way that the caves of Lascaux tell the life of the prehistoric.
It is a very personal reflection which is in reality universal. As Andre Malraux said: "Art is the shortest path from man to man".
Because Być (pronounced "Bitch") is to be or to look for in Polish, country that I like.
I like the idea of jostling the Ego as well as the personal narcissistic recognition.
Back to a humanity and a whole!
The reflections and the glances aroused by the works have no borders and are universal.