ArtCatto Gallery showcases the brilliant works of ...

ArtCatto Gallery showcases the brilliant works of SEATY for the first time in Portugal

SEATY, FAR AWAY #8 120x95cm

By: Ben Austin 

Photo: Far Away, 120x95cm

With his roots in Urban Art, SEATY is a well-known name in 21st-century Contemporary Art

The artist known as SEATY grew up immersed in the Urban Art culture. As a kid, he went around his hometown of Honfleur, France, tagging walls and in the early 2000s he joined the Toulouse graffiti scene. The streets, highways and railway stations were hit with his ‘throw ups’, elaborate spray lettering and figures. The thrill of getting caught added to the excitement and adventure for the young SEATY, whose urban art name reflects his deep-rooted connection to the city.

The price of illegal graffiti is that the text and images are often temporary, chemically removed, whitewashed, or worse still, replaced by another artist or even the artist ending up being prosecuted. Eventually, SEATY decided the time had come for the city streets to come inside, to produce artwork in the studio that can be universally seen, admired, and collected.

SEATY calls his artwork “the evolution of [his] vandal paintings”, where he continues and develops his distinctive Urban Art style. “I’ve always wanted to keep the spirit of graffiti in my creations”, he says. He still prefers to work with paint bombs over brushes and often elements of the street art walls form part of the backgrounds. The artist reveals his artwork is more about the process rather than the adrenaline rush these days: “I don’t paint to create a message in particular. What is most important to me is to depict an emotion that, if only for a moment, captures the attention of the viewer,” he explains.

Rosalie – 130×142

SEATY works predominately in portraiture, working up the surface in grayscale, using paint, spray cans, and marker pens. His work often features head shots of Afro-Caribbeans and other figures of differing ethnic origins. The greys, whites, and black shading of his subjects are dramatically contrasted by sudden pops of colour.

Heal The World – 145x110cm

Traditional head scarfs and clothing become vibrant and vivid, the palette hyper saturated, creating an explosion of colour, gestures, and marks. This striking dichotomy stems from his background in street art, as he states: “I like the contrast of grey and colour that reminds me of the city walls with colourful graffiti.”

For SEATY’s most recent series, children are his chosen subjects, often with accompanying graffiti-style text in the background. The words and expressions give emphasis to the foreground image, with children being emblematic of innocence and hope.

Peace – 132x115cm

In these troubling times, the painting entitled Peace is particularly poignant. It depicts a child, his face covered by a scarf, one arm raised aloft holding a paintbrush with fresh red paint on it. Under the arm, the child is holding a book with the cover somewhat obscured by his arm, on which is written “I have a… MLK”, which of course is a reference to the famous Martin Luther King Jr. speech.

On the wall behind the boy is the word ‘peace’, tendered as brushstrokes, which has a red heart replacing the letter ‘A’. Above the child’s head hovers a dove, the international symbol for peace. Other symbols and text in the background reinforces the message whilst simultaneously referencing people of admiration and influence. To the left of the paintbrush, we see in pink a three pointed ‘Basquiat Crown’, this being a signature motif of the acclaimed American Neo-ExpressionistJean-Michel Basquiat.

Above the crown one can just about read the words, ‘I love you’ written as if by marker pen, expressing SEATY’s feelings towards Basquiat, who was himself very much part of the graffiti and emerging Hip Hop scene of 1980s New York City. The literal connection between Basquiat’s crown and the great civil rights activist’s name is enforced with the text, “I have a dream” written on the opposite side of the painting and a peace symbol featured underneath along with a child-like drawing of a flower.

Depictions of kids in artwork are of course cute, but they also represent curiosity and discovery, they are naughty and playful, much like an urban artist. It is no coincidence that one of SEATY’s charity of choice is Un Enfant par la Main, a French organisation dedicated to child protection in developing countries.

Imagine – 132x115cm

SEATY has had numerous exhibitions in his native France and in the Middle East, such as Dubai, and has a growing list of collectors, who recognise his talent and his importance in the Urban Art scene.

“SEATY is a highly skilled urban artist, a painter who doesn’t rely on stencils and cut outs,” states Gillian Catto, founder and owner of ArtCatto Gallery, in Loulé.

“He is constantly reinventing himself and evolving, emerging from the French graffiti scene, and now getting the art world recognition that he deserves. ArtCatto is proud to be exhibiting his work for the first time in Portugal.”

SEATY’s work has been on display at the Conrad Algarve hotel alongside his compatriot, Alain Bertrand, since April.


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