OCEAN LOVER #1: SupaKitch
Those who have already had the opportunity to visit our Pop-Up Store in the Marais were able to discover the paintings of Guillaume Grando, aka SupaKitch. Celebrating "the form of matter" from every angle through wall painting, canvas painting, sculpture, illustration and more recently tattooing, the artist-painter divides his time between his studio... and the sea. A source of daily inspiration for this seasoned surfer, who explains that he has become particularly sensitive to the environment and the protection of the oceans.
A talent and concern that Apnée wanted to honor by dedicating a portrait to him, the first in our series dedicated to “Ocean lovers”.
Can you tell us a bit about your beginnings?
Being an artist-painter from graffiti, I originally come from a rather urban environment. Then over time and my different experiences, my work evolved towards something more plastic. From painting on the wall, I moved on to painting on canvas, especially after meeting my wife, Koralie, also an artist. At the same time, I started doing sculpture, then illustration and even a little tattooing… If painting remains my main means of expression, today I am what is called a multidisciplinary artist.
Where did this fascination for the “shape of materials” come from?
Along with graffiti, I started doing a lot of skateboarding. Then from skateboarding, I then moved on to surfing, which gradually made me leave the cities for the beaches. There, I not only fell in love with the surf but also with the environment that goes with it. Today, the forms created by Nature have become my main source of inspiration, whether it is the forms that the wind draws in the sand, the strata that time carves out in the rock or the reflections of the water that the sun when it crosses the ocean…
The reflection of light through the water is also what inspired the pattern of the swimsuit that I designed in collaboration with Apnée.
Can you describe to us the feeling that animates you when you paint?
Generally, when I travel or go surfing, I find myself in beautiful places. By contemplating them, I realize that Nature is the best designer. I am fascinated by its shapes and materials. Suddenly, when arriving at the workshop, I often try to interpret and play with the feelings that I may have felt while observing it. My paintings are in a way landscapes that become abstract thanks to this interpretation.
Which artists inspire you?
Even if I am more inspired by Nature than by people, I must admit that I am particularly touched by two artists. The first is the painter Pierre Soulages for his work on light. A subject to which I am very sensitive. This is actually why I started using gold leaf in my paintings: to recreate the golden light at sunrise and sunset, the best times of day for surfing.
The second artist is the American painter Mark Rothko. Every time I find myself in front of a Rothko, I've only wanted to dive into these solid colors as if it were a big swimming pool.
What does your typical day look like?
At the moment there is very little routine, but in general it starts with a good breakfast, a surf session if there are waves and then I go to the workshop, where I like lock myself up to paint. Then the end of the day very often ends with an aperitif and family life.
Where would you like to be and what would you like to be doing in 5 years?
In 5 years, I will possibly still be in Biarritz and for the rest, if I already knew, I wouldn't wait all these years to do it. I think it's good to leave a few surprises. Far be it from me to relate everything to surfing, but it is a discipline that instills a certain philosophy of life, in particular that of knowing how to be patient and wait for life to bring you waves to take them, surf them and go even further.
Instagram accounts that you particularly like?
That of my wife, Koralie , and that of Pierre Soulages
What place does the ocean hold in your life?
A primordial place that I could not even quantify. In fact, I realized that I always needed to go to places where there was the sea. I can spend hours contemplating it, or surfing and swimming in it. Water is really my element… Besides, I love painting with resin, a liquid material that allows me to create random shapes. I like the fact that she decides where she wants to go, drawing effects similar to the marbling of the ocean once the foam breaks up.
What does your favorite sport look like?
I love the Ilbarritz spot because there is both the ocean, sand, rocks, cliffs, a hill and even beautiful architecture, thanks to its castle and its magnificent houses. Also a very important aspect for me, knowing that I started working on the street.
What are your favorite beaches in all countries?
Trestlesen Beach, California, and Bakouach, Costa Rica. A magical place that I discovered thanks to a friend who owns a house there.
A memory in the water that you will never forget?
Every time I've managed to tube – which is rare enough for it to stick in my memory – or every time I go surfing with my 16-year-old daughter. I love helping her catch a wave and seeing her go standing on her board.
What was the trigger that made you want to get involved in protecting the oceans?
There is no particular click… I have always been naturally concerned about the environment, even if the fact of surfing and spending time in the water must have accentuated things.
Concretely, how does your commitment translate?
Through a series of small daily gestures, such as picking up litter when I walk on the beach or raising awareness among my children by regularly reminding them of the importance of the environment.
Are you optimistic for the future of the planet?
I'm more of an optimist by nature, but here I have to admit that I don't know if I should be… In my opinion, the future is precisely those brands like Apnée that manage to create by recycling. I hope this process will soon become common throughout the fashion industry. In any case, it is urgent that it becomes so. Unfortunately, this effort must also come from large groups for this to have a real impact on the world. They are so powerful that it would almost be enough for them alone to change policy to bring about a profound change in our societies.
According to you, what would be the solutions to preserve the oceans?
I often read articles that mention promising inventions, such as machines capable of cleaning up the oceans without using energy. However, I do not understand why the researchers who develop them are not more encouraged. It's a shame because a lot of good ideas are mentioned but ultimately, very few are implemented.
We should also change our way of consuming in order to curb the problem of overfishing. At the moment, for example, it's the fashion for poké bowls in France, in which we mainly offer tuna and salmon. It's pretty and colorful, but over time, catching too many of them creates a real imbalance in the food chain. I have the impression that there is still a great lack of communication and education about this. In fact, when it comes to the environment, people often have a distorted picture of reality.
An artist in connection with the sea to make us discover?
I really like the work of artist Jason deCaires Taylor, who makes huge concrete sculptures that he then places at the bottom of the ocean. His works have a real ecological dimension because they allow the coral to regenerate by developing on their surface.
Do you have a practical tip to less pollute the beach?
When I go surfing, I often have a plastic bag or a garbage bag in the car, so I can pick up the trash I find in the dunes and the forest. It's not much but if everyone did it, it would already be better. Moreover, once I have thrown the plastics in the trash, I always wonder what it becomes and if it is really recycled. So, now that I know that Apnée uses a technology that recycles plastic bottles to make swimwear, I feel like the circle is complete. If it is, the swimsuit I wear is even made from a plastic bottle that I picked up on the beach!