“My name is Thibaut Paruite a.k.a SPOE, I live and work in Biarritz, got a degree in graphic design from Le Havre art school. I work as an artist and manage a creative studio. I am fascinated with images, with the idea of leaving a mark, with discovery, among other things.”

It’s not an easy task trying to get a hold of SPOE. He is constantly on the move, either surfing on the waters or painting on the other side of the world. After quite a few desperate attempts, we finally talked to him and he told us a little about his process.

* How did you choose your nickname, SPOE?

SPOE is an acronym taken from the graffiti era; it means Specific Point Of Entry, in other words, the “eye”.

* At which point did you decide that drawing would become your life?

My background is graffiti and art school. One thing lead to another and I enrolled in a graphic design school. It all came together naturally. Today, I go from one type of media to the other, and that pretty much defines my life.

* What were your first inspirations? What about today’s?

They’re still the same: the environment I’m in, the greatest masters of painting and pop art, the crazy pace of big cities and the quiet beaches in the winter.

* Surfing is part of your life, do you think that surf art is an actual movement, or do you think the term is a misuse of language?

Surf art does exist, it’s a fact, but I wouldn’t describe it as a current. If people like drawing things pertaining to surfing and calling it surf art, why not? Personally, I’m an artist and I’m also a surfer, these are two very distinct realities that come together just because I embody both.

* It seems that you are more and more attracted to abstraction. Is it hard getting your art recognized when you could be drawing super heroes?

I’m currently working on “graphic chance” and repetition. I start with lines and elements that have a strong graphic structure and then I cut, copy, paste letting my instincts work free, and obeying the “why not” theory.

* What does abstraction mean to you?

Instinct and freedom, but above everything else it’s about the painter’s story. I find abstraction to be very personal.

* Are you trying to convey a message through your paintings, or would you rather let the observer absorb and feel?

I would rather they feel something looking at my paintings. There are more clues to my personality in them than an actual message.

* At one point in time, you were drawing on surf boards quite a lot; do you think that because of it you somehow got labeled?

I draw on my boards more than anything else, just because I want to customize them. I’ve come to the point where I now shape and make them from scratch. I don’t think people have labeled me a surf art artist just because of that; I do switch from one activity to the other.

* You used to live in Paris, why did you move to Biarritz?

I actually also lived in Rouen and then Le Havre, but I’ve always been attracted to the Pays Basque region. In 2002, after graduating, I looked for work there and moved.

* Can you describe the arts scene over there?

There is a strong creative landscape, which is growing. We’re just a one-hour flight away from Paris, a one-and-a-half hour flight from London, and on Spain’s doorstep; it’s a strategic place for a creative mind.

* Last question, did you surf today?

No! The south wind was too strong. But when you don’t surf, you grow to appreciate the days when you do, like yesterday and tomorrow basically…