Louis Lambert (Lille, 1978) aka 3ttman or “Trois Tête Man” from the French “man with three heads” was born in the French city of Lille, but has been living and having his studio in Tenerife for a few years now. Since he was a child he has been passionate about painting, however the street and its idiosyncrasy came into his life relatively late, in the years 2000, and they came along hand in hand with one of his best friends and French artist Remed. From starting out pasting stickers he jumped into painting large scale walls, also working with billboards and the elements that public space had to offer him. It was also in the 2000’s when he moved to Spain to set up his base of operations in Madrid, which he kept for a long time before moving to the peace of the Canary Islands. His work, colorful and with a naïve air, takes us to the forms and figures of the most primitive art that he develops through different techniques and materials. Oils, spray cans, waxes and his latest discovery, silicones, join his work with ceramics and even cement. His leitmotiv? To have fun from beginning to end. A big boy, with a long and recognized professional career, who does exactly what he wants to do. Check out here the instagram live incursion to his studio!
The studio in Tenerife
«My studio is located in the Bajamar area of Tenerife. It was an old henhouse, a big space located in the middle of the banana plantations that I share with the artist Murone. From the entrance of the studio we see the sea, it is a wonder and I painted the entrance door, is the Dos Hermanos mountain, very near from here and a place with great energy. I’ve been here for at least four years. I divided the space into two parts. I have a large room where I usually paint because I have better light and can work on several works at once, and on the other side of the wall I have the construction area with all my tools. I have spray cans, oils, silicones, saws… Everything! Then I have a space to store all the works, I’m looking forward to close it so it remains clean and I can preserve the works better».
Having fun and discovering new materials
«For me the basis of being an artist is to have fun, that’s why I am always trying to find new techniques to enjoy from start to finish. Many times there are works that require a very laborious process, with tapes, layers, a lot of detail… and the result I like very much but I lose that fun during the process. That’s why little by little I’m getting to techniques with more instantaneous results, like what I’m doing now with silicone. When I was making the flowers, which is the last work I have finished, I was having an incredible time! I was adding sunflowers, adding colors, composing freely… It was pure creation! It’s through the oil paint that I got to discover these silicones. I really like the finish of the oil painting but it has a very delicate process and takes a long time to dry. Besides, I have a good chance of screwing it up when working with it (laughs). I investigated other techniques that could have the same aesthetics but with other points in favor. I love the texture that the silicone leaves, you can see the whole process on its trace. I use this pastry bag for cream, and I fill them with the paint, either oil or silicone, and ‘drip’ over the work».
Waxes, quarantine and upcoming projects
«This is the last piece I’m working on. I’ve already sketch it in pencil and now I’m starting to fill it in, this one will be in colored waxes, I found some fluorescent colors in a store and I bought them to try them. I’m marking the sections with the colors and if my wife comes by she will give me a hand and so we finish faster. I have a couple of works already finished with wax: one of a dragon (on the floor) and another that is a shark-submarine. Both are going to Varsi Gallery in Rome, we are going to start working together and since I have done many works during confinement, apart form the waxes, I have proposed a few more. During quarantine I felt super repressed and made a series of Covid themed pieces in oil with the ‘pastry bag’ [next pictures]. I created them without a previous sketch and without a very deep purpose. I’ve tried to make them very free. Oh, and the artwork hanging on the wall is a Momo».
«I have been able to travel quite a lot over the years and something that amazes me is how in many different cultures there is a link between the color, the shapes or figures and the message, whether you’re in India, China, Vietnam or South America. Being primitive art it directly refers to the ancestral human being and everyone drew the same. I draw this way in a natural way, also because it is how I like to do it but especially because I believe that doing it in this way the message can reach everyone. It’s the same with children’s drawings, they draw the same in China and in France, it’s something I love, it’s the pure being inside of us that’s drawing. I don’t consider myself to be making primitive art, but I do follow that aesthetic».
Experimentation and natural connection
«I have always felt a certain connection with nature. Surfing for me is something very strong, it connects you with the present, it connects you with the instant in a very powerful way. You are in the ocean, in a different environment where you don’t control anything, you depend on the environment and you can’t think about anything else but swimming, jumping… All the movements come from inside yourself. And precisely when I paint what I want to do is connect with the present, that has a lot to do with the work, enjoying the moment, that instantaneousness, that spontaneity. Another incredible thing that Tenerife has is its wild nature, a mountain of 4000 meters, the craziness how the weather changes from one side of the island to the other, the dense leafy forests, different plants, palm trees, giant trees… When I go hiking it makes me think about how nature is truly pure creation in itself, the way the roots entangle… I want to paint forests in a very spontaneous way and I have a painting that is quite big with which I have been working for more than six months… I’m letting it breathe, I’m in no hurry to finish it. I mix materials, put them on top of each other, cover them with different layers, it’s a very lively painting and that’s why it’s so interesting. It’s fun but also frustrating not knowing when to stop. I signed it already but I will probably get on it again soon!».
«In the studio I don’t have an oven yet but I’m looking forward to buy one. For now I create and mold the ceramic pieces in the studio and take them to an oven in La Laguna, about twenty minutes by car. The four-legged figure is called “The Dreams Guardian”. I also work with tiles: I have them in raw, I sketch the drawing on a piece of paper, I make a grid to scale the drawing into the tiles I want to use and then I use two types of paint: polychrome glaze and enamel. You have to add to the paint a transparent cover that you then bake. For me working with ceramics is like doing alchemy, how you put into the oven a figure with a matte termination and how it comes out with shine. You never really know how it’s going to come out, a lot can happen inside the kiln, in fact in Asia they play a lot with the oven mistake, it turns the piece unique».