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- Illustration , Graphic Design

»What influenced my work most was graffiti.«

Olivier 2Shy’s creativity has its roots in the Paris graffiti-spraying scene – which perhaps says something about his artist moniker …



Of Polish ancestry, Olivier trained initially as a sign-painter. From 1992 he got busy in the Paris graffiti scene. »For four years I was working by day in an advertising agency … at night I’d be painting graffiti on trains,« he recalls. Then followed a few years across the border in Liège – the move to Belgium was a consequence of recent not wholly lawful graffiti artistry – and here he founded Partyharders, a collective of graphic designers and electro party organisers. Here, too, he created his first fliers, even these early pieces bearing his unmistakable stamp; and an exhibition helped to confirm the direction he was taking.



On returning to Paris, he finally launched his career as freelance illustrator – still in love with big-wall murals, and now they were being commissioned. »But I’m also doing a lot in fabrics and ceramics,« says Olivier 2Shy, who describes his style as »a little bit childish, combined with geometrical patterns«. But big, bigger, mega is his real and abiding passion, even if sometimes that takes him very near his limits: »I remember a project to do with the Center in Kiev, European Cup time in 2012 … They wanted me to do my thing with this massive surface 15 by 18 metres. It was my first ever mural on that scale – that big and that high ... I’d simply never been that high in a cherry-picker, found my knees going like jelly! On top of that, of course, the operator guy didn’t have a word of English, nor me Ukrainian! But in the end it all went off OK, and the result was really fantastic!«



Hearing that tale, you do wonder a bit whether Olivier is in fact anything like as timid as his »2Shy« professional name suggests; and his coming projects hardly betoken limited horizons: »Me and my mates from Mon colonel et Spit are going to decorate a school in Brussels. And then I have this idea of going to Turkey, right down to the border with Syria, and painting a wall there and putting on workshops for the local kids.« Anywhere the world over, Olivier and his energy-laden, zestful mural art will surely be welcome …

This interview was first published in our novum issue 08.18. You would like to discover more unusual designers? Single copies are available:


Further illustrations works: