INTERVIEW WITH MR. D
We recently spoke with Mr. D to learn more about his inspiration, process, and work.
Can you please tell me your name and where you are from…
My name is Sebastien Boileau AKA “ Mr.D1987,” originally born in Versailles, France and have been residing in the US for 20+ years, currently based in Houston, Texas.
Can you tell us a bit about your work?
I paint just about everything I can get my hands on, from large-scale outdoor walls to cars, pianos, canvases, and everything in between. I love variety, from realism to abstract, from political to decorative! I paint according to my ever-changing moods... I also like the challenges of stepping out of my comfort zone, to try new things and experiment. My art background comes from classic (illegal) graffiti in the 80s in Europe, and I have never taken an art class, so I feel free to do what I want, as if “Art Rules” do not apply to me LOL... I feel like this daring mentality helped carve my own path and create my own style through experimentation and life experience.
What was the first piece of work that really impacted you and made you consider becoming an artist? Who was the artist?
More than a single person, It was the graffiti movement in NYC, the trains, the counter culture aspect, the underdog mentality… That creative freedom of expression pulled me in as a young boy in 1987 and I am still in it.
Where do you find inspiration for your work?
As cliché as it sounds, it’s life, in all it’s glory and stupidity! Some days I am happy and in love and I will paint butterflies and flowers. Some days the world pisses me off, and I will react and voice my visual opinion, and will get political, defiant, or satirical.
Do you have a particular plan/routine when you start painting? Or would you say that you have a routine in your creative process, or is it more organic?
After painting for 30+ years, I know who I am and what I can do. I trust the process, and failure is a big part of it, so I like being unscripted and going with the flow of the unplanned. And yet some projects require engineering skills and great scaling and preparation. The variety of surfaces and styles have made me well-rounded, but also provided me a healthy career.
What is a typical studio day for you? Do you listen to music? Are your materials chaotic or are you super organized?
There is never a typical day. I travel, meet clients, work on-site, paint for hours, or sit at my desk and answer emails and create project proposals with my team, Eyeful Art Murals and Designs. Music is big part of the equation. I will play different genres depending on if I am brushing carefully or spraying with fat caps or letting loose with oversized brushes rigged together.
How has your work evolved this year? Have you had to adapt in response to COVID-19?
It has been a challenging year but also an important wake-up call, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses in all of us, mentally and financially. After reevaluating work practices, priorities, etc., I realized the need to diversify even further. I was able to keep my staff (4 people full-time) and keep producing cool projects through 2020.
What do you still find exciting about painting as a medium?
There are no limits to what artists can do now. The world is our canvas and the internet has opened up so many opportunities. Painting is my happy place. It’s like childhood memories, camaraderie and shenanigans. I may be a professional artist with responsibilities but I try to have fun, support others, be grateful, and keep the ego down... It seems to be working out okay LOL.
How do you find working with Liquitex materials?
Discovering Liquitex’s range of “intermixability” products in 2010-2011 was a game changer in my career and increased my technical abilities... And I am still learning which is exciting. My relationship with the brand has given me the opportunity to do amazing projects but also share product and knowledge with others. I can sincerely say that the collaborative mentality of Liquitex has been a highlight. The brand wants to constantly improve and I am glad to be able to participate in providing feedback , testing and challenging the products in various environments and surfaces… I even talked with the chemist in London for hours a few years back. The various products are so good together that it challenges your skills and creativity. There’s no excuse! If you can’t do it it’s on you, not the product LOL.
How does traveling to new places impact your work - do the things you encounter in your travels feed into your paintings? How so?
I have lived around the world: France, Australia, California, Dallas, Houston and travelled extensively. So yes, seeing the world and the talent out there is humbling and exciting. I have been participating in Wynwood-Miami for 10 years, rubbing elbows with artists from around the world. And there is no greater stimulation that “training” with the best... it is important to collaborate and get out of the studio. I love seeing fine art people get down in the street and vice versa. Likewise, I test in the studio and take it to the walls. It’s healthy and keep things fun. If you don’t have fun you can’t paint right.
What do you find are some of the best things about being an artist?
FREEDOM. Art gives me joy and an exciting (though sometime tiring) life. I am not sure if one is born an artist or can just be taught to be one? I believe it’s a mindset, a lifestyle… you have to have a few loose screws (LOL) and embrace risk… and failure. Of course, some people do it casually and that’s great. In my field (street art, murals/ graffiti) it is very competitive, so one has to have the desire and a resilient competitive spirit... and good organizational/ logistical skills… and... and… and…
What do you find most challenging about being an artist?
Well, to be at the highest level, you simply have to be good at everything (no pressure LOL) from creativity, design, business skills, social media management... and, yes, even painting. The grind is real, but it is so satisfying. We truly make a difference in people’s lives. I have received testimonials of fans who were on the verge of suicide and my art or story gave them hope and reason to carry on. So after 25+ years as a professional artist I realized it’s about the experience, the people you meet, and enjoying life. The fame or financial gain is just a consequence of doing the other things right.
Do you have an upcoming project that you could share with us?
Thankfully I always have exciting projects in the pipeline (@MrD1987 on IG for the latest) but the one I am most excited about was motivated by this COVID pandemic and the need for people to re-connect through art safely in private groups. I am launching an art experience in my own indoor/ outdoor studio in Houston, where people can come with their loved ones and paint with me and my assistant, to learn, and have fun! ...I think we all need this 🙂