« I like the idea that art takes the streets to spread freely »: Michael Relave, painter of the heart and joy

By Michel Fily, April 17, 2019


Michael Relave was born in 1978 in Lyon. After studying at the Beaux Arts School, he implicated his art on a certain duality. Lightness and paradox are on the scale of his original works, which manage to surprise. Between the limits of the real and the absurd, he does not seek to respond to a conventional artistic demand or to adapt to the aesthetic canons of mediums, styles or social norms, but he simply responds to the expressive impetus that pushes him.


Urban Street Art Urbain met the artist on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition « We are no Angels » he shared with the painter Emilie Teillaud, at the Anticafé, in Lyon, in partnership with the online gallery Pandorart.


Hello, can you introduce yourself to the readers?

As stated before, my name is Michael Relave and I’m 40 years old. I have a perfect dentition and I imitate super well elephant’s voice. I am a visual artist, graphic designer and singer in a Punk Rock band. I am a fan of meditation and I like to cook wild plants. I am of correct size and I wear shoes size 45 (laugh).


What triggered your artistic career?

First of all, my parents never blocked me nor what I wanted to do, they were always supporting me. Then there were encounters, moments of life, crossings, signs on my way that led me to what I create today. Good and bad meetings. But everything is meant to show you the way. I made my path, little by little, with the artistic desire that has always filled me.


What are your inspirations and influences?

I am inspired by comics, by different gods and gpdesses (Hindu, prehistoric …), by books of all kinds, spiritual or biographical, by images (many images) and conversations. When I was at the Beaux Arts, I had the chance to meet Carmelo Zagari, who told me this sentence: « Do what you say ». That changed everything, because every word I said had to take shape to become a project. So I ended up in action, and I still am at the present moment. As to my favorite painters, I like Robert Combas, Matthew Barney, JR, Vhils and Blu‘s animations.


What are your techniques and creative media?

I paint with Posca, sprays and acrylic, on walls, canvases or volumes. I do not ad black in my colors, it brings a lot of light.


Tell us about your meeting with Pandorart.

I studied at the Beaux Art in Lyon with Rodolphe Bessey. We met again at different openings  and we got back in touch recently, to work together on new projects. I like their way of working, him and his brother Sébastien. They are complementary and they have the gift of bringing out with passion the best of each of us. We have simple, fair and professional relationships.


Tell us about your relationship with the public.

I like to exhibit because I like this link with the public, I discover myself through the spectators. Generally, colors affect their eyes. I am often told about joy and qualified as a painter of the heart. It’s a real exchange, often with a spiritual connections.


What would you like to convey to the public who meet your works?

Nothing more than what it brings today. The joy and depth of sharing.


What do you think of the evolution of Street Art today?

Street Art is gaining more and more place on the international scene. I like the idea that art takes the streets to spread freely.


What are your current artistic activities and your future projects?

Photography, sculpture, volumes and frescoes… I have a lot of projects with the elderly, in a local setting, I prepare photo workshops with them, after they make portraits of their great grandchildren, among others things… I will exhibit in May, at the Afforddable Art Fair in Hong Kong. Then in September, with Pandorart, for the Biennale Hors les Normes, at Galerie 39, in Lyon.




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