Meet Philippe: Navigating structures beneath urban chaos

September 30, 2019
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Strokes of straight lines and angled blocks scatters and jumps out of the canvas. Brown above lime and powder blue; thin lines of Red, White structured above Real Black.

Philippe Halaburda travels as he explores the relationship between human emotions and their environment. Born in South France, he moved to Brooklyn, New York in 2016. “It changed my life to live with four people. You pay a lot for a small room.”

Q1. How do you like New York City so far? How do your surroundings impact your art? 

I believe the environment changes the way we feel, behave and experience. I express these differences visually — translating them in my abstract way, the light and color I see, what I feel in the moment. I saw a change in my art after I moved to New York from France. The atmosphere, the light, the speed, the color palettes are all different in New York. New York is a very energetic city and I experienced 5 days-worth of emotions in 1 day. It’s chaotic, but from chaos you can create something beautiful.

Q2. How does being a graphic designer or theatre designer impact your work?

I combine my different skills to create something new. I use both my right and left brain to create. I let my intuition take me to paint the state of my mind and usually don’t make any plans beforehand. So my art looks chaotic and emotional but at the same time it looks mathematical, architectural, and logical.

Q3. It seems lots of artists are political nowadays. Do you have political message too?

That seems to be the trend. My move to the US coincided with Trump’s election, so that definitely affected me. But I want to keep political messages subtle and indirect in my art. I think it’s almost dangerous to draw Trump because you are making him an icon. I just always try to give a positive impact to people, even if it comes from a painful moment. 

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Q4. What do you feel about the art scene nowadays?

It’s rare to see something original, unique nowadays. I feel like what I see has already been done before and it’s a bit disappointing. Big paintings look impressive but it doesn’t mean it’s something new.

Q5. Do you think you’ll stay in New York?

I don’t know. I think I’ll leave once I feel that I painted everything I feel about New York. Once I feel that, it’s time for me to explore other cities for new inspirations. I want to constantly evolve as an artist — my art has shifted from figurative to abstract in 10 years, this is the logical process of my evolution as an artist. If I can’t inspire and renew myself, I can’t be an artist. I want to be the first one to be surprised by what I create. 

Written by Sunny Liu

works from the artist

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