Francois Royer: Stanker

How can you not like something called 'Stanker'? When I saw the piece above on The Alternative Consumer, my mouth dropped open and I rushed to his website to see more. Then I emailed Francois to ask if I could blog about his work.

Here is an excerpt from his PDF about page:

In November 2003, in the narrow hallway of a Paris basement that served as his studio, Francois Royer created the first Stanker from an old oil barrel and the wheels of a supermarket caddy. His intention was to make a sort of furniture on wheels - but especially to rid the school where he was an art teacher of an impressive pile of metallic junk that had accumulated over the years.

Impressive is an understatement, these works are priceless jewels of invention. Who can take something so useless and toxic and make beautiful, fun, functional works of art? I actually feel excited and giddy every time I look at them. This is art that has life and purpose!

I asked Francois a few questions, there is a slight language barrier as I do not speak French, luckily for me he speaks a bit of English. Here is our exchange:

(P) I'm curious about the process of just cleaning those barrels, I'm sure some of them are very toxic and nasty.

(F) well it's a dirty job but someones got to do it ;-) I use sawdust, sand, solvents, wear rubber gloves and pinch my nose

(P) And like any other material, do you feel that each barrel has its own possibility...is that what speaks to you or do you have the idea and just use any barrel?

(F) both of them. But most of the time I have the idea first. It's getting harder to find drums with particular shape, like one of my last ones BB06/lemmy.

(P) What is one of your favorite pieces and why?

(F) definitely the next one. It's a never ending challenge to create a new piece from the same old steel cylinder

(P) do you have help working on these or is this a one man operation?

(F) I work alone. It's my second job. First one is art teacher.

(P) I'm curious, your fabrication process and skills, maybe the first piece you ever made from a barrel.

(F) From getting the drum to finishings the process of the work is quite long but classical : I have to clean up the drum, strip it, brush it, cut it, make the wooden parts, assembly everything, then paint, varnish or waxen and polish... I don't make a lot of sketches before, ideas come easily, most of the times from my imagination or background.

I have so much admiration for this work. It is rare that I feel total excitement when I look at art, Stanker has taken hold of my heart. I am inspired and jealous. This work is raw, exciting, totally unconventional and reaches out to viewers on so many levels you can't not at least marvel or smile when you see what a beautiful transformation these barrels have gone through.

This 75 Piece Collection is being exhibited at the Kreyol Factory April 7 - July 5 at the Grande Halle De La Vittette in Paris. More info here. Take a closer look at what the barrels look like before they are made into masterpieces. You can read more about Francios here.

I'm a minimalist but I would live with a few Stankers in a heartbeat. Who needs conventional when you can have THIS! Best to you Francois ~ hope its a sellout show!


sarala said...

Very cool. Although I'm not sure I don't like the first photo of the intact barrels best! It reminds me a lot of your work.

self taught artist said...

wow, it reminds you of my work? i'm honored...honestly i feel his work is on a whole different level.

Margaret Ryall said...

Love the colour, structure and functionality of this work. It's imaginative and exciting. Thanks for bringing it forward.

self taught artist said...

yep, if anyone ever wants to buy me a gift, this would be it!

AnitaNH said...

Paula, your blog is looking great! Enjoyed the interview and also the police blotter post. And your Marilyn puzzle piece is fantastic.

self taught artist said...

thanks anita! you know i'm checking your circles out too :)

San said...

Paula, it IS like your work. Very cool. You've located a kindred spirit.

Kickcan and Conkers said...

Fran├žois was my son's art teacher and also our neighbour. Not only is his work amazing, raw, imaginative, beautiful, but he's also a wonderful man. Enjoyed your article. Thanks!