Anna Chalon: Tell us a bit about your background.
JS: Jana is Austrian and I am french. We fell in love in 2004 when we were living in Madrid. When I returned to France, I met Artiste-Ouvrier, who taught me about his stencil technique. Jana returned to Austria to study in Vienna, during which time she shot a lot of photographs on film. During our back and forth between Paris and Vienna we shared a lot of our respective practices. When Jana finally moved to Paris, we really began working together. For the last 6 years we’ve been living in Salzburg, Austria, where we have set up our studio.
AC: How did you get into making outdoor paintings?
Jana: JS saw a lot of stencils on the walls in Madrid, and began painting simple little things. I quickly began making stencils as well. A bit later, we began painting our first walls together in Paris, mixing portraits and architecture. The idea of integrating our images within the urban landscape interested us immediately.
AC: What are your favorite materials to work on? Why?
JS: Right now, we are really enjoying painting on old rusty metal. We like materials that show the passing of time and their history. But it’s not really the material that matters when we’re working outdoors, what really maters is to find a beautiful space – a space that inspires us and in which our work finds meaning… For our studio work, it’s similar. We often look for original materials, that come from our trips or our urban explorations.
AC: What are some things that inspire your work?
Jana: A few years ago we would have said without hesitation the cities that we travel to. Today, although we are still inspired by the urban elements of the cities we work in, the human element is taking the lead. The people we photograph, their attitudes, they expressions, and their stories are what fascinate us the most.
AC: Describe your creative process – how do you come up with an idea for a new piece?
JS: Our painting is based on our photographic work. Each of our stencils is cut up based on photos we’ve taken during our travels, or during our everyday lives. Sometimes we have an idea and we ask our friends, family, or even each other to pose. The places we’re we are going to put up our work influence our painting, as it is essential that each piece fits within it’s urban setting.
AC: Can you tell us about a piece / project that you worked on recently that you’re particularly proud / fond of.
Jana: Last month we painted a few pieces in a little train station near Salzburg in Austria. We painting on different materials: pieces of train track, a pole and pieces of concrete… We tried our best to integrate our paintings into their surroundings by using these elements. In early 2014, we also did some paintings on tree trunks in a forest – it was a really different experience from painting on city walls, as the setting was very peaceful, which transpired into the work.
AC: Where do you see yourself in a year? in five years?
JJS: It’s hard to say. We don’t really make plans. If we look at our lives 10 years ago, when we met, or even 5 years ago, it would be hard to picture where we are today – and it’s really a nice surprise! Today, we’re enjoying our lives as a young family, with two kids, so we’re assuming in a year no big changes. In 5 years, we hope to have the opportunity to continue traveling, painting and leading our lives.
I'm a singer-songwriter from France, now living in Brooklyn. I'm passionate about art and music and try to check out as many concerts and exhibitions as possible !