My name is Jean Rooble, I am an artist, I am 38 years old, I live and work in Bordeaux.
Like all my nicknames, I found ROOBLE by tagging on a piece of paper … I have always liked when the letters have a “flow” and the words have meaning. It became “Jean Rooble” over time.
My main influences and origin of my painting are the graffiti and the hip-hop culture that I discovered in the mid-90s . However, I am influenced by many artists, illustrators, painters and graffiti artists. I am influenced more and more by muralism, something that I want to tackle further .
I’m also motivated by a lot of photographers, mainly analogue, and I’m a big fan of music.
It must have been in 1997/98 in my parents’ garage … My first lines must still be there, but the first time I ventured out to do some colour lettering it was in 1998, in a vacant lot next to my house. There’s no trace of it now!
I am self-taught, so learning has been long and tedious. I started with portraits in a single colour range, trying to master the shape and the volume. Then I tried to reproduce the nuances of skin and smaller and smaller details. With the evolution of spray-paints, low pressure, new colours, as well as the adoption of the “stencil cap” technique allowed me to push realism. The rest is stubbornness…
I started in the late ’90s and the city had a different face: no tram, no bridge after the les hangars de Saint-Louis (Chartrons) and there was wasteland nearby. The city was covered with tags and for me street-art was all about posters and stencils.
So, I started to appreciate graffiti because it was still present in the city. There were frescoes made by many active collectives and you could find chrome and tags everywhere.
Then the tram arrived and the big clean up started.
There are (fortunately) still active graffiti artists in the city center, but anything that displeases the cleaning services disappears in a few days.
In short, as most French cities, graffiti (tags, lettering, stencils) have largely been erased and there is a a systematic cleaning of downtown and surrounding areas. So now we see a new generation of artists, graffiti artists or street-artists, get involved. They are better accepted because their work is often more figurative, colourful and easily understood by the general public.
Difficult question… Bordeaux remains a small French town, clean and quiet. It’s artistic culture resembles the soul of the city. The same goes for the “street-culture” here. However, Bordeaux has always been a pleasant place to live and there are many artists who come from here. Some head out and work aboard, but many continue to work locally to promote the local ‘know-how’.
Favourite place to chill in Bordeaux?
It was a great experience! It’s been a while since I wanted to do my first solo show. It enabled me to spend 6 months in my workshop developing an exclusive series. Over this time, I was able to really work with material, framing and evolving my technique. It was exhausting but so addictive. Then to be guided by such a professional and pleasant team was a luxury! I am delighted with the rendition and set design, with the opening being a huge success with over 1200 visitors !! It was crazy!
I am asked this question very often, but I like to remember there are many artists out there. Even if our art was born on the street, our practices, influences and goals are all different.
When I started, I didn’t imagine becoming a professional and being able to live off my painting.
In my opinion, it’s not about not being pure to the art form just because we have put it in a frame. It’s more about if we continue to evolve despite that?
Personally, I don’t put importance on this. There are always new artists who appear and who do this just for the sake of their art. Or perhaps, it’s just to find their place in society that moves at a million miles an hour.
If a creation or the artist is sincere, where their art is displayed doesn’t change much for me.
Jean Rooble’s work is on exhibition until the 19th May 2019, at the Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez, 16 rue de Tivoli, Bordeaux.