Ivan Le Pays

Ambassador

Hometown

Paris, France

Hometown

Paris, France

Ambassador

ARTIST

An art teacher once told Ivan Le Pays a secret approach to paring a scene down to its bones – to squint. Through narrowed eyes, detail and complexity blur and outlines and global shapes appear. The Nantes-born, Paris-based artist has developed a sophisticated and sought-after style since that childhood art class, that exemplifies what the zen masters knew: simplicity is the ultimate goal of mastery. Obsessed with architecture, and having studied industrial design in his birth city, at age 22 he followed the lure of the megacity to the University of Fine Arts in Shanghai, where he organized several group exhibits, completed a Masters in Anthropology and Design, and came to see the human body, also, as a form of architecture. For Le Pays, who studied Chinese for seven years, the world is full of images waiting to be turned into symbols. Lending themselves to unique tattoos, his stylized geometric shapes distill landscapes and cityscapes into elegant ideograms, similar to the way early Chinese characters synthesised an idea into a drawing. A book and film, Tatouage Sauvage, documented the journey he took to Alaska, to turn vast wild scenes into free-form tattoos that he would ink onto friends in the wind-lashed, bug-strewn settings they wanted to mark into a permanent memory. He has tattooed more than a 1000 people for his Tattoo Postcard project, inviting them to etch an important place in their lives onto skin. His admiration for a beautiful line has morphed into an addiction to watching people rock-climb, and he plans to return to Yosemite, California, to study the line play of rocks. Now resident at the artist-run Wonder/Fortin Atelier in Clichy, he creates sculptures using abandoned furniture that he collects in the streets of Paris.

Achievements

  • Exploration of 35 countries
  • Award for the coldest tattoo -  -2 degrees Celsius, (Gate of the Arctic National Park)
  • Directed and wrote the documentary film “Tatouage Sauvage” (2018)
  • Regularly sells drawings on receipts to pay his bills
  • Organized “Tatouage Solidaire” in Paris (2019) to raise funds to pay for training of migrant cooks in reintegration
  • Masters in Anthropology and Design, University of Fine Arts, Shanghai (2014-2016)
  • Tattoo Sauvage, limited custom publication (2018)
  • Tattoo Postcard, limited custom publication (2020)
  • Featured in group exhibitions in Milan, Shanghai, Paris, Lyon and Nantes
  • Featured in GQ France, m6 TV le 1945, Lomography France, Virtute, Kiblind, A Nous Paris, Wertn, Rise Tattoo Magazine