British artist Andre Veloux is widely known for his lego masterpieces featuring feminist icons and works that question the circumstances and expectations surrounding femininity and gender expression. Created with thousands of individual lego pieces, the works can literally be taken apart and rebuilt, playing on societies' ever-changing demands for women to present themselves in a specific way to garner acceptance. Veloux shows works internationally and hangs in the homes of many private collectors. You can see his works on view at Kraus Gallery as part of their group show, 'Emerging to Established', opening January 6th.
How do you describe your work
A feminist, gender equality and women's rights project, which explores the way women are viewed and society's expectations of them.
What's your preferred medium to express yourself and your work? How did you come to working that way?
I was first attracted to Lego because of its limited yet consistent colour palette as well as its physical properties. It is hard, durable and tactile, and can be taken apart and reconstructed as needed. The ability to build layers and structure into wall hanging works was the natural progression from working with Lego.
Where did you grow up, and do you think that's affected, at all, your vision as an artist?
I grew up in a small seaside town in England. The small town mentality combined with my formative years in a boys school certainly laid the foundation for my future counterpoint to that as a feminist artist.
What triggers your imagination?
Music, Film, People and Travel. Travel in particular is a very special privilege, taking yourself out of your usual environment and exploring different attitudes, people, scenes, cultures and traditions produces the most inspirational moments. I always come back from a journey with new ideas and thoughts scrawled across the pages of my notebook.
What are some instagram accounts or artists you particularly enjoy / are inspired from?
Here is a list including Cindy Sherman as well as a selection of emerging women artists from my instagram feed.
Cindy Sherman @_cindysherman_
Lauren Rinaldi @laurinaldi
Suzy Floozy @suzy.floozy
Dantje Bons @daantjebons
Alison Brady @alisonbradyart
Kat Allisone @kat.allisone
KS Brewer @ks.brewer
Amelia Strong @amelia.strong
Bri Cirel @bri.cirel
What was your dream growing up as a child?
To play for Liverpool (football as in soccer) like every other boy at my school who wanted to play for Liverpool or Everton.
What has become most important to you or your work at this moment of your life?
I recently had a long term installation at Princeton Public Library with a series of accompanying events, such as a residency, talk, workshop etc. This ability to connect with the public without commercial restrictions is very special, and I'm working on new ideas as well as other similar opportunities like this.
Is there any specific moment(s) or memory in your life that pushed you definitively towards the arts or to pursue your creative ambitions?
One of my closest school friends was killed in a train crash when we were 21. Up until that point in my life I had no long term or even short term focus, but literally overnight from then on whatever was happening in my life I was always working on specific creative projects. There was no more time wasting and that mentality and desire has remained with me.
What does your work mean to you? If anything at all?
The art and the message comes first. My work is the means by which I convey the message, which is gender equality, feminism and basically any way we can put a stop to the systematic abuse of women.
What is your definition of ‘art’, even if it’s total bullshit?
Art is freedom of expression, which is more or less anyone's expression of themselves. Be it visual arts, music, cooking, fashion etc. I don't put a quality or a value on it, because it's personal to everyone. I don't find the art world itself to be a fair representation of the creativity out there.
Any projects coming up?
The Affordable Art Fair, NYC in March followed by a full show at the Krause Gallery in NYC in June. I am currently talking to another public institution about an installation of my Mask of Femininity show. Finally, a longer term project is a student workshop series centered on the theme of consent which I hope to hold for the first time later in the year.
You can follow Andre on Instagram: @andreveloux
Visit his website: veloux.com