Born in 1980, French artist Théo VALLIER has lived and worked in Phnom Penh since 2007 where he explores the theme of streets and their movement. He has exhibited in France (Paris and Marseille) and Cambodia, enjoys working in multiple media and continues to experiment with different techniques in painting, graphic art, Graffiti, photography and silk-screen.
In addition to painting on canvas, Théo VALLIER developed a pictorial style of painting on sheets of rusted metal in order to capture the aesthetic feel of the contemporary urban environment. His work expresses a particular perception of urbanism that reminds the viewer of the impermanence of all things and forms, and pushes the viewer deeper into the image and closer to the raw materials. The artist finds in the city a singular material, rust – created by erosion and the passage of time – and employs it almost as a living material.
In his images of Phnom Penh, he creates a unified feel by using common materials, colors and characteristics. He creates a feeling of depth in this works of art by layering different materials. The first layer is the support structure, the sheet of metal with its inevitable oxidation. White is added in successive layers to mask the rust, that in turn attacks the paint, and then is once again covered by more paint, and so on…. For Théo, “a representation in art of the interaction between man and nature.”
“I really want to try and develop the street art scene in Cambodia, and that’s my most important goal,” says Theo Vallier, who co-organised the Urban Art Festival with the French Institute and fellow street artist, Chifumi. “It was hard when I first got here because nobody really knew about it or understood what it was about.”