DRIP’IN: the adventure of an entrepreneur committed to urban art
Photo: Urban artist Demais working on a ceramic train from the DRIP’IN collection
A few days before an exceptional artistic event on HCMV, Dominique Mourey spoke about the human adventure behind his project DRIP’IN, which aims to create unique art objects in collaboration with various urban artists. Passionate and committed, Dominique has been able to gather around him international urban artists, craftsmen, NGOs, as well as his family, who have supported him unconditionally since the beginning of his entrepreneurial adventure.
Before becoming an urban art curator, your professional background had little to do with art. Can you tell us about this career path and the motivations that led you to set up DRIP’IN?
I spent 28 years working in the luxury goods, decorative objects, lighting, ready-to-wear and textile industries. I have held the positions of quality and production manager, industrial manager and general manager of sites and offices, in France and abroad.
I have always been passionate about urban art. It is the largest contemporary art movement at the international level. Beyond the artistic aspect, urban art is a social act that helps to embellish cities that are becoming more and more ugly. Yet urban artists are still considered vandals!
DRIP’IN was born out of personal frustration. Urban art is ephemeral, you can’t take it home. However, when a wall piece is masterful and touches you deeply, you want to be able to keep it over time. I have never found the same emotion with photographs of murals or the by-products sold by artists.
My desire was to have a rendering similar to that of the street. And for the works to retain their power and authenticity – artistic and emotional – despite their reduced dimensions. I used my experience in the manufacture of products, taking into account the characteristics of the artists and the choice of materials, in order to give the right “resonance” to the art object created.
Art Mural fresco by artist Frenemy in Oklahoma City and reproduction by DRIP’IN (©Frenemy ©DRIP’IN)
Tell us more about DRIP’IN: how did you develop your project? As urban art is meant to stay in the streets, how did you convince the artists to follow you in this adventure?
DRIP’IN aims to support and promote urban artists, both in terms of visibility and financially. So we had to start by discussing it with the artists themselves. Céz Art, a French artist from Reims, was the first to whom I presented my project three years ago. He was instantly present and trusted me. Afterwards, I found the same enthusiasm among all the urban artists to whom I offered to collaborate.
The most complex part is product development. Thanks to my knowledge of more than 500 manufacturing processes, I know what is possible…but then you have to experiment! For example, the ceramic wagon took two years to develop. No less than 12 different suppliers had to be tested to find the best finish for this object.
Generally speaking, the manufacturing process takes between four and six months, from the discussion with the artists to the release of the piece. Metal lithographs require several months of testing, just for printing. In addition, colour tests are necessary in order to reproduce the artist’s work in the best possible way. This requires close collaboration with the artists and a technical understanding of the fit between man and machine.
vietnamese urban art drip’inArtist Bao working on the ceramic train (©DRIP’IN)
Beyond your artistic collaborations, can you tell us more about the human aspect of your project?
It’s a beautiful human adventure! Even the suppliers and craftsmen were enthusiastic about the project and the technical difficulties. If we come back to the development of the wagon, one of our partners has even recalled retired workers. Indeed, only the “old” ones had the mastery of the viscosity required for ceramics.
The essence of DRIP’IN is artists, associations and people committed to the recognition of artists. We have met and exchanged with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, such as culture or industry. There are still bridges to be built between them, but that is also what DRIP’IN is for: to generate common interest.
DRIP’IN also has a social vocation. For each piece purchased, a portion is donated to an association chosen by the artist or, by default, to Emmaus Solidarité. All these associations have a resonance with the street. The aim is to “loop the ring” in a virtuous circle, since the artists work in the street and are close to the people who live there.
Finally, the DRIP’IN adventure has of course shaken up our family unit. But I am fortunately supported in this project by my wife and children, and everyone is participating. I often take the children to meet the artists, to see them work, to understand what drives them. The children are also introduced to spray painting and discover all the richness of this art. It is an opening which is certainly enriching for all.
DRIP’IN Poster of the event “House of Paint”, in favour of the association Poussières de Vie (Dust of Life).
DRIP’IN was launched very recently, on 9th October 2020, with the exhibition of your first art collection at the N21 restaurant in HCMV. What has happened since then and what are your ambitions for the future?
Our first success is that sales are starting to fall, both in Asia and Europe. What is worth noting is that Vietnamese customers have also bought pieces. Beyond the commercial aspect, this attests to the universality of this art. This reinforces DRIP’IN’s primary ambition, which is to raise awareness of urban art.
In the longer term, we have two ambitions. The first is to help artists by creating a DRIP’IN studio. They often have a lot of ideas, but don’t know who to turn to for the realisation. So we want to help them in the development and co-create unique pieces with the artists. The second is social and will be developed in partnership with Emmaus. We would like urban artists to come and paint in the centres that house homeless people.
In this vein, we are organising an exceptional event on Saturday 14 November at HCMV. International and local urban artists had a playground in a house in District 2. The doors will be opened during a unique evening, the main aim of which is to raise funds for the Poussières de Vie association (Editor’s note: translation of a Vietnamese phrase describing street children). Expect lots of surprises: live urban art pieces, video mapping, a dance performance, music, etc.
In order to help our readers discover urban art, can you name some of your favourite artists?
Hard to choose, there are many!
I have a sensitivity for Kobra, a Brazilian artist committed to the defence of Amerindian communities and the environment. I also love D*FACE, who paints these women inspired by American cultural icons, adding a life and death aspect to them. Of course, we can’t forget Banksy, for the beauty of her message. He is a very committed artist, who notably painted the famous frescoes in Palestinian territory.
And, above all, we must not forget the female artists, who have a different sensibility, a different poetry. In France, I like Miss Tic for the shock of words and her murals made with a stencil technique, always perfectly chosen to accompany her message. There is also Miss Van, another initiator of the women’s movement in urban art. In Asia, I am proud to work with Bao, who is a rising artist in Hong Kong. With a manga inspiration, this little piece of woman fights against the rules of a strict and macho society.
Interview dated 11th of Nov 2020 – Le petit journal – transated from original french language