Written By: Rens.Eno
The combination of dark colors and grotesque misshaped figures dribble into a realm where Ring-Lords dominate Victorian midgets and freak show carnivals come to life, and a place where inspiration is found at Danny deVito’s on stage circus leader act. It’s a dark world to explore as this endless tunnel’s mind ventures off to creating 15th century Flemish primitives. Turf One, Born Jean Labourdette says he needs a shrink, but who knows, maybe he’s the only sane one alive.
Turf? How’d that come about?
It’s a second hand name. I was around thirteen, changing name every second day… My best friend’s older brother had been tagging this for a bit and decided to switch to another name… I thought it sounded and wrote well, so I picked it up.
Were you ever involved in a graffiti crew?
TW, VAD… With strong ties to the PCP crew as well. This mostly in the early to late nineties…
Late 90s? Does that mean you don’t do graffiti anymore?
That means I am not part of any crew anymore. But it is also true that I haven’t had much time to do any kind of work in the street these past couple of years
So where did you find inspiration for your imagery of “Victorian-looking midgets sporting dandy facial hair, Russian icons, dead things of all sorts, carnival sideshows and seedy vermin-infested theatre stages”? Out in the streets or was it your dream to be part of a sideshow but could never been part of it, or was it just a fascination you’ve generated from watching too much twilight zones and tales from the crypt?
I don’t know, bro… You gonna have to ask my shrink
Touche’! Of all the sideshow characters you’ve generated over the years, is there one in particular you find yourself going back to, painting over and over again?
Ah, I guess I’ve been painting A LOT of cirrus ringleader-like midgets with Victorian moustaches… You know, like. Danny de Vito in Tim Burton’s Big Fish ?
I’m trying to imagine Danny de Vito in that movie right now, and all that’s popping up in my head is de Vito as the Penguin in Batman Returns. That image of him will forever be embedded in my mind. Speaking of Batman, word has it that you’ve been involved in comics?
True. I had a 2-page spread in Radikal (a French Hip-Hop magazine) from 1996 until 2001… Then I did a few strips for Pound magazine in 2001-2002…
2 page spread? Was it an on-going story line? Or just random strips like you would find in newspapers? What kind of characters did you have involved in it, and what were their roles?
It was usually one theme/story per spread… I would come up with new characters every month depending on each theme.
Besides creativity, are there any other traits or skills you wished you possessed?
More patience… And being more athletic
I was hoping for a ring-leader. Haha. Just Playin’. Could you tell me more about your book? Word has it that it’s a limited edition and you only printed out no more than 1000. Are there still any books available, and if so, where can people buy it?
The first print run of the book was printed in an edition of 1000. The first half of the book is a look back at the last 4 years of my work. The second half of the book is a photo essay. This photographer and writer Paul Labonte spent a week in my studio and shot the space and my process. You can get the book online at www.desfois.com and it was published by www.secondhandprojects.com
Are there any artists out there who you would to work and collaborate with one day?
I used to go out a lot to do graffiti with other. We’ve had this project on working on a show together for the past 5-6 years… Hopefully we’ll make it happen eventually.
I also have a 2 person show planned with my friend Martin Witfooth…
I got the chance to work with Shawn Barber for our 2009 show at Galerie d’ Art Yves Laroche… It was great and I d love to work with Shawn again at some point.