"My work is based on how I have come to see the world. The animals represent emotions I go through on my own journey - some are big and wild, others almost not noticeable."
Christophe Siel is a Danish artist living in Florance, Italy. He is mostly known for his series of characteristic multicoloured animals, and sometimes animals and human bodies combined.
Siel spent his early childhood in Stockholm, Sweden, before the family moved back to Denmark. In Denmark, he grew up close to the sea, the beaches, and forests.
During his childhood, Siel was very fond of dinosaurs, action heroes, and ninja turtles. He began painting and drawing them and he quickly showed an incredible talent.
"For the moment, I love creating my ideas on my computer, it gives me the freedom to experiment much more. Once I'm satisfied, I print it on canvas and then 100% re-paint it. So it’s fully covered with paint."..."I create conflicts and tension by using very vivid colors and then bend and manipulate them into working alongside each other - creating a controlled chaos.”
How did you get interested in art?
I guess it all started back when I was young and I used to draw the ”teenage mutant ninja turtles” a lot. I really enjoyed creating my own heroes and villains. Basically, I created my own toys for my imagination to run loose with - plus it was cheaper – a lot cheaper.
20 years later, I'm with a brush in my hand, still creating.
What are you most proud of in your life?
I'm actually proud of everything I'm doing right now. I'm proud of having taken the choice to go all in with no Danish security net to fall back on. But there have been many things to be very proud of. Especially when I landed my first exhibition in London. But mostly, I'm proud of the people I'm surrounding with.
What is your source of inspiration?
I grew up in the beautiful north of Denmark. My family is all creative in their field. Therefore, I think it was fed into me, good food and music all around. Songs and melodies really inspire me to think of something that I will eventually try to portray on a canvas. Also, just filtering all the situations that happen around me, global and personal.
How would you describe your style and why do animals often take part?
I always have trouble trying to put words on my art, or to define my style. I always try to do something that I haven't seen before. I've often heard ”street art” mentioned in relation to my work.
But then again, I've also heard it looks like ”Disney on Coke” .
I enjoy painting animals right now, and with them, I create stories that force the viewer to give them personality, trying to let people see the world through the animals.
Did you attend art school or are you an autodidact?
I started on a video school as this was my initial idea of the direction I wanted to take, but I kept feeling I was drawn back to painting a story. But I never went to an art school, instead, I studied graphic design in Spain for 3 years. So I must admit that I'm an autodidact.
Art was always the priority since graphic design never really captured me. The business like graphic didn’t get me like paintings did. I would be painting in my spare time more than I would be learning about logos and typograpy.
I lived in a beautiful mountain village in Spain, and inspiration kept popping up all over the place.
Who are your favorite contemporary artists?
In honesty, it’s only recently that I have started to look at others work. Social networks really have made me stumble upon so many fantastic new artists. Right now, I'm a big fan of Etam Cru, Fintan Magee, Connor Harrington, and Hornsleth.
What are you doing besides being an artist?
Besides painting, I love to travel and going on adventures, meeting new people. I love the feeling of doing something new as often as I can, which is why I travel and live in other places.
Watch the portrait of Siel - "The kid who stayed alive" - a short film which explores his journey, his thoughts, and struggles of encountering when trying to pursue his dreams.