• $ (USD)
  • Need some help ?

Meet Yannick Boesso

President and founder of Urban Art Fair

Meet Yannick Boesso - illustration 1

A portrait of Yannick Boesso, President and founder of Urban Art Fair 

Passionate about urban art and an entrepreneur at heart, Yannick Boesso founded Urban Art Fair in 2016. An innovative event, this fair that he brilliantly pilots every year has contributed to the growing place of street art in the contemporary art market in France. Artsper went to meet this tireless visionary, so that he could talk to us about his journey and reveal a glimpse of the 2022 edition of Urban Art Fair!

1. Hello Yannick! You are at the origin of Urban Art Fair, the first international fair dedicated to urban art, which has since imposed itself on the art scene. Can you tell us about your background? What pushed you to set up this project in 2016?

I started my professional career in the music industry at Dièse Productions, then as an intern at the Barclay label, then as an assistant to the president of Universal Music France, Pascal Nègre. When I left the music industry, my first wish was to find direct contact with art and to be able to set up projects as I wished. It's always a risky bet, but it's usually worth it in the end. At the time, about 12-13 years ago, it was the release of Banksy's film "Exit Through the Gift Shop". It meant a lot to me, as I became fascinated by the limitless imagination of urban artists, their techniques and their codes... and the adrenaline of discovering new horizons that they were offering us, and then the impact on society. As I have often said, I learned simultaneously that the artist Stanley Donwood (who is notably the illustrator for the band Radiohead) was in the same gallery as Banksy, Mode2, Invader etc... My worlds collided at that moment, and it gave me a lot of energy to discover and undertake. What followed was a perfect synergy between my growing passion, my discovery of each gallery in the movement, future partners who were promising and motivating - and above all, the desire for us all to be united in the same hall to create this new urban art marketplace which did not exist until then.

2. The year 2022 marks the sixth edition of the fair. What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?

There are challenges every year. But at this point in the journey, financial resources are certainly one of the keys to longevity. Canceling a fair when it is the main event on your calendar is almost insurmountable, but we managed to do it, largely thanks to our exhibitors who supported us, and whom I thank. We also had to cancel the Urban Art Fair edition that was initially planned in Moscow in September 2022, for obvious reasons. But we have other ideas for our deployment outside France, of course. The important thing is to continue to create new challenges, to appreciate the good things and minimize the bad... It's life!

Meet Yannick Boesso - illustration 1
Meet Yannick Boesso - illustration 1

Photographs of the Urban Art Fair 2021 and 2016 editions

3. This year, Artsper is proud to be a partner of Urban Art Fair again, which will allow the fair to be experienced both physically and digitally. Why did you set up this partnership? And how do you see the future of contemporary art fairs?

Artsper is the first online art selling platform I used. At the time, it was through my gallery KID Art. It creates links! Artsper is a French company, so that's obviously a factor, but if we want to target a more international audience, I think that every year the platform gets better and better and it won't stop growing. Besides, many of the galleries present at the show are also on Artsper.

The markets of online sales, auctions, galleries and fairs need to be very much connected. This seems essential to me. During the first edition of the fair, we offered a clickable virtual tour which redirected to the pages of the works available on Artsper. It's a lot of work and preparation, but I would like us to repeat this project soon, in an even more advanced way.

4. Can you tell us about the specificities and novelties of the upcoming edition?

This year, we are organizing many institutional partnerships and conferences on the NFT market... We are also enlarging the outdoor space reserved for live painting, in collaboration with the Agnès b. Foundation, and we are happy to welcome back the selection of short films from the Urban Films Festival, as well as a preview on Friday, May 13, in the Carreau du Temple auditorium. About 30% of new galleries have joined us this year, which goes hand-in-hand with our desire to renew ourselves, starting with a brand new layout of the show!

Meet Yannick Boesso - illustration 1
Meet Yannick Boesso - illustration 1

Photographs of artists and visitors of the Urban Art Fair, 2021

5. Urban Art Fair celebrates street art, a very specific genre born in the city. What do you say to those who say that urban art should not exist in museums and institutions?

In my opinion, there is really no more debate to be had on this subject, because above all else, we present artists. Each one has his or her own path and techniques, and as long as we don't show works taken from the street but made in the studio, they exist to be shown - whether it's in a hair salon, a gallery, an art fair or a museum.

6. At Urban Art Fair and on Artsper, emerging artists rub shoulders with the most famous names in contemporary art, and buyers have access to them all. In your opinion, is it the role of an art fair to federate a community of enthusiasts, whether they are well-informed collectors or not?

The artists who have emerged from urban art have mostly opened up new emotions, as much in lay people as in informed collectors. A striking image or style is ultimately just a thought, a point of view that the artist shares with us. So why should we reserve this opportunity to a particular category of people? I think that a collector will always be happy that the image of the work he owns travels around the world and is now printed on a mass-market bag, seen by thousands of people, is part of the collective imagination... Images and thoughts must travel, and on our side, we try our best to be at the initiative of some of these trips.

7. Are you a collector yourself? If so, how do you choose your acquisitions? Can you tell us about your latest artistic crush?

Yes I am, on my own little level. I have always collected with a specific plan in mind... That of being able to show works while telling my own story. I also like not to collect only one work per artist, but rather to show polyptychs: a painting, a photo by the artist and a print for example, or a collection of portraits of cubic monsters, a series on tagging, the outstanding works presented at Urban Art Fair,... etc. Sometimes the works I like fit into this plan, this snapshot of the future that I have in mind and that should be readable by all. But sometimes, certain artists fit into an even more personal dimension, and it is also this relationship with them that I like to keep.

To collect is to compose while looking for harmonies!

My personal favorites are as varied as there are ways of painting. But if I had to pay a tribute for this fair's edition, it would be to the artist Mode2. He is one of the greatest: technicality, emotion, history and movement... His work has everything, and it will always be at the forefront. We are very proud that he and his gallery are so involved this year.


Their favourite artworks

Shepard Fairey (Obey), The Music of David Lynch, Print

Shepard Fairey (Obey)

The Music of David Lynch, 2015
24 x 18.1 inch
Print

Sold

Mist, Age Of Tomorrow, Print

Mist

Age Of Tomorrow, 2015
31.5 x 22 inch
Print

$1,100

Our recommendations Ernest Pignon-Ernest, Wagner, Fine Art Drawings

Ernest Pignon-Ernest

Wagner, 1988
14.2 x 15.7 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$16,590

Alexandre Monteiro (Hopare), Portrait homme, Fine Art Drawings

Alexandre Monteiro (Hopare)

Portrait homme, 2011
19.7 x 16.1 x 0.4 inch
Fine Art Drawings

$6,740

Daniel Arsham, Futur Relic 09 / Keyboard, Sculpture

Daniel Arsham

Futur Relic 09 / Keyboard, 2018
4 x 40 x 11 inch
Sculpture

$3,422

Franck Noto a.k.a. Zest, Zest F60, Painting

Franck Noto a.k.a. Zest

Zest F60, 2020
51.2 x 38.2 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$6,118

Monkeybird, Sans titre, Painting

Monkeybird

Sans titre, 2018
94.5 x 98.4 x 0.8 inch
Painting

$10,576

Soklak Elgato, Encrypted burned BW, Painting

Soklak Elgato

Encrypted burned BW, 2021
45.3 x 45.3 x 1.2 inch
Painting

$3,629

Brusk (DMV), Dance of fire (Silver Edition), Print

Brusk (DMV)

Dance of fire (Silver Edition), 2021
42.1 x 30.7 inch
Print

$945

L'Atlas, A Rough World, Painting

L'Atlas

A Rough World, 2020
23.6 x 23.6 x 2 inch
Painting

Price upon request

Futura 2000, Untitled Pointman, Fine Art Drawings

Futura 2000

Untitled Pointman, 2004
14.8 x 9.6 inch
Fine Art Drawings

Sold

JonOne, The Story Of The House, The Woman And the Car, Painting

JonOne

The Story Of The House, The Woman And the Car, 2021
37.4 x 37.4 x 1.6 inch
Painting

Sold