Hi Swed, great to meet you. Swed Oner is your artist name? Can you tell us a bit more why you’ve chosen this name?
Hi Laurent. My name is Swed Oner, I am 32 years old, my artist name comes from my past, having been a big weed smoker… I chose my artist name one day when i had just smoked a huge joint. Swed is the initials of “Smoke Weed Every Day”, you can also pronounce “Sous weed” in French, which means “I smoked weed”. I’ve stopped smoking for a while now but decided to keep that name. 🙂 The meaning of Oner, is traditional in Graffiti art, it means “I am the first”.
Where are you from?
I am from the South of France, I live in Uzes where I opened my workshop one year ago, I also lived 5 years in Montpellier and 5 years in Nimes.
How and when did you discover art and create your first artworks?
Before creating art, I first discovered graffiti, it was in 95-96 and i was 11 or 12 years old.
I immediately felt passionate by this very creative movement and at the same time i discovered rap music and culture.
I was fascinated by the great graffiti frescoes of this time painted by graffiti artists such as: Psyckoze, Kongo, Vizion, Mode2 …
and very quickly i fell in love with the characters created by Marko93 and Alex.
I loved everything in the Graffiti movement, the state of mind, freedom, talent … Those people were my rock stars.
So at this time I scrapped a lot of paper, spending hours on my desk writing letters, drawing and creating my first characters …
As I was a young boy i didn’t have money in my pockets to buy sprays, so my first graff, like many other artists, I created with spray cans stolen from my town’s hardware store. My best friend was caught, while I ran away, I was 13-14 years old, this was the time of mischief 🙂
Where was your first mural? Is it still available to see today? Where can we discover your murals around the world ?
The graff still exists even though it has erased with time. I painted it on a sunday afternoon, it was a Colorz graffiti and my buddy Alban had created a side illustration. Since then, of course, things have changed, i no longer steal my spray cans hahahah … , and now i have been painting portraits for around 2 years, and have been living from my passion for about 3 years.
I’ve also been lucky, i traveled a lot, I’ve been painting in Barcelona (Poble Nou district), Morocco in Tangier in the Medina, or more recently in Peru and of course all around France for example Paris (the aerosol paris 18th), (the Paris Montreuil marble factory), Dijon, Belfort, Mulhouse, Nimes, Montpellier …
What is your personal favorite mural artwork ?
I have in fact no favorite artwork . I am quite critical with my own work and i’m rarely satisfied by my paintings …
But if I had to give you a favorite one it might be the biggest mural i’ve done which was in Uzes (France), it was a huge wall of 37m x 10m where I represented an Amazonian child. This artwork was carrying a strong warning about world deforestation.
Do you paint with spray cans or do you use any other techniques?
I use different techniques when I paint. I work the large surfaces with aerosol and as I like detail, i use brushes for very precise parts of my artworks, it helps bring texture to my portraits.
Recently, I start to work from my own photographs, it brings a more personal approach. I choose the subjects I want to paint,that’s cool! I also have a nice series of photo portraits from my trip to Peru, artworks to come soon so stay tuned .
Did you collab with other artists ? Do you have any artists you would like to collab with in the future?
I have had the chance to collaborate with many artists, i especially remember my collab with Astro (ODV) in grau-du-roi last summer, a great experience and a great encounter.
I have no particular collaboration that I would like to do, even if I love mixing my universe with artists who are at the opposite spectrum to me, like those specializing in illustration, graphic art and painting with a lot of colors, because I paint all my portraits in black and white always.
Where do you get your inspiration ? Any specific message in your artwork?
My inspiration is simply from the street, my artwork revolves around humanity, humanism, I like to find expressive human faces that tell a story . Walls have ears, I try to give them words. I am not trying to deliver any particular message except probably one, i believe in humanity. Our current era dehumanizes everything, mechanics and technology take up more and more space, the social networks serve to communicate, but in true life when do we communicate in person? I deeply love people, I am curious to know who they are, and my inspiration is fed by those people i meet, we all have to learn from others don’t you think so?
If you can describe yourself, would you say you’re a Street Artist, Graffiti Artist a Painter, an artist … or something else.
Today there is a great debate between street-art and graffiti, I have no problem classifying myself in both disciplines,
even if originally I belonged to the graffiti movement, in fact street art didn’t exist at this period. Although i classify myself as a humanist, before any other title.
Do you have a “favorite” city where you love to paint ? Is there a dream place around the world you would like to go for a mural artwork?
I want to paint everywhere around the world, I do not have a favorite place,i would probably be happy anywhere I painted.
Do you have any exhibitions and upcoming art fests in the future?
In the near future I will go to paint in Toulouse, I’m preparing a solo exhibition based on my last trip to Peru and i also plan to visit India, Russia and maybe Asia. We’ll see;)
Thank’s a lot . Would you like to add anything else for Streetart360 readers?
My final word will be a dedication to my different crews, MKC, 132, EPDM and a kiss to all the people who end up in my work. The human is not dead! Thank you very much Laurent
More About Swed Oner: Facebook Profile – Facebook Page – Mr Blønde