In conversation with Florian Picasso
A few weeks a go we had a delight speaking with Florian Picasso about his new projects and very special event he hosted on the 20th of February in Cannes.
Please tell our readers about your special event, that was on 20th February, and what inspired you to create such a cool event?
The event was a DJ set at our villa in Cannes, which is also known as villa Californie, where my great grandfather by adoption used to live and paint and we did it in our living room, today's living room. But when Picasso lived there, it was an atelier actually. So, we emptied the room and made it like if it was set in another year. I played the DJ set, jointly with the graphic artist Cyril Kongo, who painted a few pieces.
Cyril Kongo is a pioneer of the street art graffiti in France and he's the one who actually kind of developed this art back in the eighties. I respect him a lot, his life is not similar, but he's also Vietnamese. He moved to the Republic of Congo and that's why that’s his nickname, Cyril Kongo. He then came to France and since then he's been on the road, he's been collaborating with Hermes, Chanel and many more other brands. I really, really liked what he's been doing. And we had this project actually since Bali, we met in Bali two years ago. And then during Covid, you obviously have a lot of time to think of out of the box projects. This project of me doing a DJ set and Cyril the painting, we were meant to do it in Vietnam actually. But in the end, it didn’t happen. So I was like, okay, let's do it in Cannes in the Pablo Picasso atelier. And he said that's amazing because he is a huge fan of a Pablo Picasso. So it's a big opportunity for him as an artist. And we did it together with Pioneer. They gave us a lot of gears and now we’ve got paint on the gears as well. And the paintings on the gears are going to be sold in auction with Global Gift Foundation, which is a charity, and all the profits are going to go to an orphanage in Vietnam.
What inspired the event idea and what is the story behind it?
It was a 90 minute set and we’ve streamed it on our Facebook pages and jointly with all the partners. The event was on the 20th of February. We had to empty the living room and then we put some decoration, everything was very subtle. We didn’t want to go hard on the production aspect. It was very minimalistic actually, cause I wasn't able to focus mainly on Kongo’s art because he was painting a few paintings. The paint was going on the DJ booth, then he was going back to one painting. I also painted, which was fun because I've never done it and it's a fun experiment.
How did the current strange times influence your creativity and development of your artistic work?
You have more time to think of stuff, you know, like everybody's on the same page. I mean, just see when you tour and stuff, it's the way you're living and the way you are as an artist. And now everybody comes with new ideas and is trying to stay relevant and creative. So when you have time and creativity, you can do anything. At first I was like everybody, a bit down and depressed, but in the end you have to capitalize on time. Time is the essence of life. And I was like, okay it's tough, but again, I have to use this time to be creative and not to be depressed and so it came naturally to be honest.
What are your first experiences and memories with art and music? And what made you embark on a profession in this industry?
First it was more like a hobby, when I was 13. And then I really liked it and I was very passionate about it. And then when I grew older, I had to choose music or some other stuff. And I really wanted to make music and to live off my passion and that's it. But yeah, it came at an early age, the hobby, cause I wanted to be a cool DJ and have all the girls around me and eventually it didn’t really work out, but then I fell in love with deejaying and music production. So I decided why not to give it a shot.
Tell us something that that you wouldn't normally put on your resume or something that you don't mention a lot about yourself.
I'm a great chef. Usually I’m into French cooking, more like slow cooking style, like in the pot. I like to cook all day. I like the preparation, it's a bit like in a DJ set, you have to mix the ingredients and then you have to wait for the results. I like to do marinade stuff, experiment stuff and over cooking. So yeah, really traditional, like countryside issue food.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020? What is your outtake on 2020?
Time is real. Because obviously for some people, they think they've wasted a year or something. And don't take anything for granted.
How do you think Covid-19 will affect the music and art industry long-term, especially now with a year of no performances, no festivals, no concerts?
Well, it's great to develop new technologies. I've been in contact with people who are developing new ways to interact with the crowd online. And I've seen people really wanting to take it to the next level, so to be honest, I think we're going to have something, a new branch in the music industry. I mean, you have the live stream, you do that in the music studio, etc. But now people discovered that it's actually going to be very profitable. I'm not talking about doing a DJ set in the bedroom or in the living room, I’m talking about pure technology like Tomorrowland is doing. There are stuff I've seen from people in the industry that are mind blowing.
It's definitely not going to be the same. But there are some people, that I met actually on my trip to Dubai, working on a project and there are going to be some big names in the project. Like big Dutch DJs actually and it’s going to be a next level project. I mean, I'm not in the project, but I talk to people and it's serious and it's going to be like wow.
Tell us more about your collaboration with Cyril Kongo on this extraordinary event?
At first it was going to be only one painting, but we did eight, eight smaller because we thought one was going to be a bit boring for the audience. So we put canvases everywhere in the room and he was going around, so it was very dynamic.
What does music mean to you?
It means everything and nothing at the same time, because it's so abstract, but yet it's so concrete. Sometimes you can identify yourself with music and then you really feel like it makes you feel something. And sometimes music can be the opposite, it's something that you want to listen to and you want to disconnect. So there's this thin line between everything and nothing. So it depends on what your quest is, because sometimes you want to listen to some music and you want to feel something and sometimes you just want to relax and you don't want to feel anything. So I think that's the power of music and the power of art. If I compare it to a painting, even if you're not an expert and you're going to be facing a Picasso painting, it’s either gonna make you feel nothing or something.
Jana Letonja & Timotej Letonja