Pierre Burnel – BRNL, Street-artist (Caen, France) [Interview]


I was out of inspiration for this artwork. Finally, an idea came and I made something spontaneous. The artwork is called “Sorry”, as to say “Sorry for being lazy”, “Sorry for the shortcut between Facebook and our so called art”. “I am the only one to blame for this easy way. – BRNL

CxC/ Hi Pierre, to start, how must we call you ? Paixdraw, Burnhell… ? What nickname do you us and like most ? 

BRNL/ Hey guys! To start off with, I’d like to say I’m really honored to be featured on your promising blog. So…. my names are really weird and they sort of evolve with time, after having made my name more “english” with Paixdraw or Burnhell, I decided to make it short  MSTRKRFT style, by adopting the name BRNL which is also the title of my blog. I think that particular change succesfully shows my artistic evolution as well. I discovered my love for contemporary photography (Jeff Wall, Les Becher, Depardon) and background music…. minimalisme is becoming a real interest for me.

CxC/ Can you present yourself, in a few words, for the Couvre-Chefs readers ? How would you define yourself ?

BRNL/ I enjoy trying out lots of different things, so I’m pretty much ecclectic: painting, street art, photography, writing, drawing, graphic design, video, music. I like that plurality, because it locks me up in a certain innocence, that actually describes my artistic style.

CxC/ What are your principal activites ? Do you have a favorite one ? In other words, amongst which one do you feel yourself comfortable ?

BRNL/ I’m really lunatic artistically, I get easily bored with a project. When I’m impatient and in a hurry I use photography because it really does symbolize the whole créative-pulsion thing. When I’m in Cherbourg, and that I have a free afternoon, I borrow my dad’s gorgeous painting studio. I either paint on canvas or on paper strips (street art). Finally, when I’m settled and something is troubling me, the best solution I can find is writing. In the end, I feel the best when all these activities merge and intertwine, that is when they fully make sens.

CxC/ Can you explain to us in what they consist ? Try to develop on your activites : pictures, drawings… explain your « thing » for everyone of these…

BRNL/ It would have been really difficult for me to pass by the whole street art fad, I was really interested before daring to do something. Instead of graff or stencil I actually went more towards painting. Kind of like Paul Bloas, I paint silhouettes on large paper strips. I like the energy in painting because you can see the strength of the artisti’s mouvement, you can understand his state of mind, his sensitivity throughout the lines, the color… These silhouettes, I put them up where people walk by a lot but also where I know no one will take them away. The whole thing ends when I come back the next day or the day after that to photograph them. If there have to be one art work in my action, it would be the final photo.

Cherbourg, France, 2010/
Cherbourg, 2010
Concerning photography, it’s something I find difficult to talk about because I think everyone can do photography. How can you make a photograph interesting? by associating a sound, a text, in order to translate an emotion, an atmosphere. Photography that serves itself is called contemporary photography, which is a concept I am not yet easy with but that really intrigues me. If I had time and money to be even more interested in it I’d buy a dark room, and a larger silver pring so I can take pictures of spaces, urbanity, life scenes. You need to be able to use this medium to it’s full potential, so I always refer to my travel buddy: a Canon reflex. With whom I archive what I see, my photos are classified by date, by place. When I go back home, I start to use Photoshop, and I try to give to my snapshots a pictural style to associating the poor characteristics of the silver photographgy. The problem now is, we feeling like cheating; the actual trend doesn’t care about numeric style, considered too easy, too drab, then we «impoverish» our picture, grainless, colorless, contrastless, and we try to give it back more wild, more authentic !

Marrakech, 2011/
Marrakech, 2011
CxC/ How do you fonction ? do you work on instinct, or do you like planing your work ?

BRNL/ I wait for the evident, the research phase is something that comes after the idea. We don’t go searching for an idea of creation, you kind of just end up face to face with it, somehow. Once you’re contaminated by something, you go around it, you observe it, you don’t let go. It’s a little bit like a reflexion that always starts out with a blank page and ends somehwere….

CxC/ On your blog (http://pierreburnel.tumblr.com/) we can see pictures from your last trip to Moroco, do you travel a lot ? If you do, are travels a source of inspiration ?

BRNL/ Sadly enough I don’t think I traval enough, but I really want to! I’m easily impressed by landscapes, urban spaces, vibes. I think it’s mostly thanks to the fact I have a camera, that I am able to experience so much pleasure by contemplating a landscape, because I know I’m going to be able to tell a story about it. It’s quite clear to me that travelling shapes who you are, but I also think you can’t fully enjoy those moments if you are alone. Pleasures like that should be shared.

CxC/ Still on your blog, we realise that music and cinema are part of your univers ; in what way do they rythm your life ? do you get your inspiration from that ?

BRNL/ Music and the 7th art are to me primordial in everyone’s life. Any sensation must be able to be accompagnied by music. Cinéma is an outlook on life, represented by sound, image, rythm and a story, it’s the most beautiful art. These are help me to understand the world and make me imagine in differently.

The problem now is, we feeling like cheating; the actual trend doesn’t care about numeric style, considered too easy, too drab, then we «impoverish» our picture, grainless, colorless, contrastless, and we try to give it back more wild, more authentic !

CxC/ What about your actuality ? What are your latest projects ?

BRNL/ I’ve just recently started working for the creative agenct Murmure based in Caen(14). I’m an intern and i’m trying to associate my commercial skills to the creative dynamic of the company (http://www.murmure.me/). Thanks to this work atmosphere, I’m going to fufill certain street art and photography projects.

CxC/ We like to ask people we interview if they have any anecdotes to tell us ; so, do you have one for us ?

BRNL/ Last summer with Antoine Voyer we decided to make a huge painting with white and black paint. We painted a massive 10m chicken…. just when we were about to finish cops came out of nowhere and asked us to come with them to the police station. Only problem: we made this huge painting onto a classified site, an old fort built during the Napoleon éra. The municipality was furious and asked us to immediately wash off the huge chicken… which we did…

Huge chicken, 2010/
Poulet de compèt, 2010 

CxC/ Other than from your blog, where can we follow your news ? 

BRNL/ I’m trying to really keep the exclusivity to my blog, although sometimes I upload picture and painting on my facebook account -> Pierre Burnel.

CxC/ One last thing, you also make music artwork isn’t it ?

BRNL/ I’m making for the second time the visual mix for DJ Adrian Gee, this one is called “The Flight Back” which originates from my series of photos from Morocco. You can discover is house-mixes on the following website : http://soundcloud.com/adrian-gee/the-flight-back-september