Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Interview with Ndeur

Ndeur (pronounce it “Under”) is Mathieu Missiaen, a French artist and graphic designer who comes from Paris and now lives in Toronto since April, 2007. He started to become famous with his work on high hills which made him appear on several magazines and blogs (Format Mag, Wad, xlr8r, Strut magazine), and also on Canadian television (Much Music, Fashion Television). You probably have seen some of his work on flyers for several Toronto based nightclubs like Circa or the Social ( He worked lately in collaboration with Microsoft for the launch of their new mp3 player (Zune) in Canada, with Van’s for a store in San Diego (Milo Shoes Gallery), did a stunning exhibition of wooden objects at Omy Gallery (1140 Queen street West, Toronto) and launched a t-shirt line with Coltesse (
I had the chance to interview Ndeur in his own work environment: his living room!!

Kevin: Where does your name come from?
Ndeur: My name… so it’s a little story: When I did my first exhibition in Paris, people always told me that I have to sign my canvas, because I didn’t at this time; and at the same time, the term “underground” was used to much for me (I HATE this word) so the idea was to do a big signature in the middle of the canvas with this term. So in the middle I write “UNDERGROUND” and after it became “NDEUR” which is an anagram of under.

K: How did you find this idea to draw on hills?
N: In fact it’s not really my idea. When I came here in Toronto, I was looking for a job so I went in several store in the [Kensington] market and areas where I can find artsy shops and stuff like that. So I found the store named The Rage in the market and the owner of the store offer me to paint some shoes for her because she had like tons of vintage shoes in the back of the store so I told her yes. We tried to do the first ten pairs and we sold those in like seven days so we see with Sarah [Campbell, the store owner] that it was a really good idea and did another ten pairs that sold really fast … and that was the beginning!

K: Why Toronto?
N: The idea was to come in Canada, I mean… first in a country that speak English. We have not so much choice: it was UK or United States or Canada or maybe Australia but … I don’t know. I just enjoy Canada because I was came here when I was younger and I really enjoyed the country. And Toronto because it’s the closest city to the United States; it’s like in the shadow of New York.

K: Where does Ndeur find his inspiration?
N: I really try to influence myself with everything I can see and obviously in fashion. Most of the time I’m really curious and I love the art in general, especially graphic design, so I try to always see what’s happening in fashion, graphic design and music also. I try to mix everything to try to be in the “moment” of fashion but still give my own interpretation of fashion and what’s happening

You collaborated with a French artist, Duponchel, for your exhibition held at Omy Gallery last month; can you explain to our readers the themes and ambitions of your work?
N: So, first we had with my friend Elie [Duponchel] the aspiration of doing beautiful objects I mean … try to do beautiful objects [laughs]. The idea was to not necessarily do art but more craft work so it was like… to use our skills and try to do objects with this influence I learned for this last past years with patterns etc… There is a lot of pattern in fashion right now (more and more) especially since last year because of the revival of the ‘90s (patterns with tigers and stuff like that) so we tried to mix these two ideas: do beautiful objects with patterns in a really craft way with the challenge of working only with wood and try to work around fashion and around decoration.

K: Do you have any other collaboration in perspective?
N: Yes! I have a collaboration with Manu Custom [] who is also very famous custom artist in France and in USA. We are in contact since one month right now and we have the ambition to first do two pairs [of shoes]: one pair of Dunk (Nike) and one pair of Doc Martens.
We want to try to do these two pairs together to give them to Wad Magazine who is a really famous art magazine in France to have the “buzz” and maybe in the future to do a show in Paris.

K: I’m going to ask you now 8 quick questions. Are you ready?

K: Jazz or Rock n’ Roll?
N: Jazz!

K: Left or right?
N: Uh … right. [laughs]

K: Line or Curve?
N: Line.

K: Tea or Coffee?
N: COFFEE! [laughs]

K: Steven Spielberg or George Lucas?
N: “Oouh”… I would say Lucas!

K: Clown or juggler?
N: … Juggler!

K: Asia or Africa?
N: Hum… Africa.

K: You are starving and you have three restaurants in front of you: a Mexican, a Thai and a fast food restaurant. Which one would you pick?
N: [laughs] THAI!!! With Chicken!

K: More seriously, what are your future projects?
N: So the two future projects apart doing shoes of course for several shops (one in Belgium and one in Turkey) are to do pillows [actually big cushions] for a company in Switzerland [] who do pillow with young graphic designers. And another one to do bed for dogs!! [laughs]

K: More t-shirts?
N: Not right now! I don’t have anymore t-shirt lines in perspective.

K: Bonus “Would You Rather” question:
Would you rather have your hair made of salad or having to listen to a Christina Aguilera song every 10 minutes?
N: [laughs] I DEFINITELY prefer the hair made of salad!!!

Find out more about Ndeur:


peter slack said...

love this!

Guillaume said...

Thanks for the citation :-)
But KOLORYS is French :-)

Amanda Stines said...

I love the pictures.

Stanley C. Judge said...

Great choice for an interview Kevin

Laura Laxson said...

Love this Kid! Plus funny interview!

Cassandre Hiltz said...

Great interview style! Very relaxed and informative! Great work Kevin!

cassandra ray said...

This interview is great, I love the informative responses and original visuals, makes it so much more readable.