Ben Sanair is a graphic artist born in Lyon (1984). He lives and runs his own silk-screen atelier named La Generale Minerale in Avignon; he produces limited art prints, posters and books. His work ranges from complex graphics to abstract visuals, pop art and Japanese graphics.
Hello Ben, first of all, thank you for the interview. You have been producing fantastic works for a long time, colorful abstract graphics, silkscreen posters and grafzines, recently you have also started making some toys; Would you like to tell about yourself for readers who don’t know you, how long have you been dealing with art?
Thanks to you Erman. My name is Ben, I live and work in Avignon (South of France). I work in silkscreen media but as an artist since eight years old. I mostly do posters, books for myself and also for different artists, at the same time I’m running my own printing house called La Générale Minérale which have now more than 150 items. I’m also a teacher in screenprinting here at the school of fine arts and running workshops in prisons, schools, colleges etc. I see myself as a craftman/artist; I’m printing for different artists for a week, then the other week will be dedicate to my own drawings, so I’m free and that’s the most important point for me.
Beside of these, I’m also running a gallery/shop call Turboformat (This is also the place where my silkscreen studio is), we are five people working here since four years now.
La Générale Minérale is not so different from any other ateliers, it works the same. The only thing I try to do is show the artists we are not used to seeing very often.
When we look at artists such as RNST or Rafael Houee that you have worked with within the scope of La Generale Minerale, it draws attention that you are an artist who enjoys delicate and technical works; am I wrong ?
I like a lot of different types of art from contemporary drawings to photography and more. Rnst is the artist who teached me how to print in the first place, we used to work together years ago. I put a lot of efforts making prints as good as possible, for my editions or when someone asked me to print his own art.
For my side, the pandemic didn’t affect my art at all, on the contrary I’m so lucky because I have more work now than before.
How would you define your own graphic style? As La Generale Minerale what do you think makes you different from other ateliers?
My own works are influenced by popular culture and my own childhood, since four years old I’m interested in collections and people who collects. This is why I’m making my own toys. Basically I’m into Japanese monsters and Sentai mixed with American comics and all kind of popular art.
La Générale Minérale is not so different from any other ateliers, it works the same. The only thing I try to do is show the artists we are not used to seeing very often. I worked for a year and a half with Pakito Bolino at Le Dernier Cri and it would be no sense for me to print LDC artists, I want to work with my own Artists.
We see that you have traveled to different geographies such as Germany (Le Petit Mignon), Japan and participated in various group exhibitions outside of France. You mentioned that you’re thinking to come to Istanbul soon, would you like to open an exhibition here, too?
Yes I‘m coming to Istanbul in March from 19 to 24, I want to see the underground activities in Turkey. I have no plans to make an exhibition for now because I need a vacation.
I’m glad my works travelled a lot, I had exhibition in Japan, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Taipei, Barcelone, Paris… I had chance to make all of these, but most of all I didn’t wait them to happen, I’m a hard worker person and I just did my best to make things happen.
Are you working on anything in these days?
As always I have tons of work to do. I’m working on a big mural here in Avignon with kids, I will also make a silkscreen book in a prison in April. Beside of that I’m working on a book with Japanese Photographer Yoshi Yubai, I‘m also working on my new book ‘Les Chroniques de Gramastok’.
How did the pandemic affect the art scene in France?
For my side, the pandemic didn’t affect my art at all, on the contrary I’m so lucky because I have more work now than before. The only negative thing I see is when we did exhibition in Turboformat we have less people coming than two years ago.
In the upcoming period what are you planning to do as La Generale Minerale ?
I have the two books I mentioned (Yoshi Yubai’s and mine) also I have some new toys coming.
Thank you very much for this little interview Ben, I wish you and La Generale Minerale good luck, I hope everything goes well and we will enjoy watching your new works.
Thanks again Erman, hope to see you soon. Take care !