Olaf Ladousse. Portrait photography and interview by BARTE.
The Straight-Up series by Juan Barte is part of his long-term project “Enjoy Madrid”; A soul-searching work of love exploring the path of art through some of Madrid’s new art scene key individuals. Follow Barte’s Enjoy Madrid progress on Instagram @Juan.barte.
Formidable Magazine. What was your first creative impulse?
Olaf Daousse. As a kid, I used to plug my electric toys (like the Scalextric cars) into the wall. I got a shock, but the fuse saved my life. Let’s consider those accidents a creative impulse.
F.M. Is there some epiphany moment or experience that made you realize art would be your way?
At school, they teach you things and the “right” way to do them. But it also stimulates your imagination, trying to answer their questions a different way to form your own personality. The search for a “wrong” alternative response to the scholar question is still my propose.
F.M. How would you define your work?
This is a question for the spectator. I try to do things my way. It could be music, comix, design. Then the public makes its own interpretation through their sensibility. Sometimes they applause, sometimes they buy the fanzine or our instruments. My motto is “Do it yourself” and so should do the spectator to define my work.
F.M. Inspirational artists?
I am a salmon swimming back against the mainstream inspired by Punk and Art Brut. One day I’ll notice all the salmons doing the same thing, looking for their roots pretending to be different and it will be the end. But right now I am happy swimming at the margins.
F.M. Would you say your studio setting influences your work?
I take advantage of recycling. I use part of a found object to build another one, as an economy of resources. The aesthetics will be a mix of opportunities. I am well settled in a central flat, with nice light. I am constantly listing to vinyl records from my huge collection. It’s easy for me to work close to the pickup and not far from the kitchen. Those records have a strong influence. I may unconsciously choose the same colors for my engraving printing that the record close to the pickup.
F.M. Is the studio just a place for production or also inspiration is inherent to the studio space?
Some need a neutral space to create. I don’t. I need a practical one. Every morning, I go out in the streets to come back with the feeling of arriving at work in a different place. I invent myself a job constantly.
F.M. Did you have a plan for the layout of your studio or did it develop organically?
Like every salmon I also like vegetables, my studio grows up like a plant.
F.M. How is a day in the life of Olaf Ladousse?
I wake up early to prepare the breakfast for my lover, brush my teeth, go to the market, pass by the post office, come back and notice nobody leaves messages on the answering machine, play a record, plug the computer to check e-mails, then start to work on what I should have finished yesterday. Time to cook, Carmen will soon arrive. In the afternoon I try not to depend on the computer and find an excuse to get out again before sunset. Same on Sunday, but with a flea market visit early in the morning.
F.M. Best and worst night out?
Best: Have a cheap caña in an old bar. The band is terrific, this is the first time I see them. I complain with my friends about so small audience for such a great concert. Worst: The beer is too expensive for a gentrified neighbors. I heard millions of times the same; the place is packed, the band “way too cool”. This is hip and it’s raining.
F.M. What do you love and hate about Madrid?
The architecture is not pretty but the sunlight is fantastic. People come from all over the world. so they care less about their patriotic identity. Too many flags lately, more and more tourists. Where are you from? What’s your football team?
F.M. What’s on your playlist?
I have no cellphone, neither iPod/Spotify. The last playlist might be a tape from the 90’s to listen in the van on tour. I always have new secondhand records to listen to. From free jazz to lautareasca.
F.M. Our motto is “A life less ordinary”, what makes life less ordinary?
Look in the margins; up, down and to both sides. You may find the extraordinary.
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