Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday ProFile: Le-Fix's Benny Bee

In an increasingly hectic world, there’s nothing like the comfort of old friends. My grandmother is an excellent example of how social networks provide crucial support in good times and bad. (Hi, Jean!) At nearly 80 years old, she still keeps in contact with friends from high school. They travel together, play cards together, and meet up for dinner and drinks. I admire her ability to cultivate such lasting friendships. Since they’ve known each other since childhood, they’ve grown together and share similar interests. Copenhagen’s Le-Fix collective is a younger example of such friendship, but the bond between them is still strong. This group of five friends shares a common past, a brazen attitude, and a passion for street art.

Explaining the name’s origin, crewmember Benny Bee says, “There was an old lady who had a shop called ‘Fix’. She was a big inspiration for us, so we added a French touch and named the group in honor of her.” While the group bombs under another name, they use ‘Le-Fix' as an alias. The crew sprouted from the original graffiti scene, consuming a steady diet of Futura 2000, Seen, Ghost, and Dez. Bee got his start at the tender age of 12. “I was trying to do a ‘Bode’ caricature in the night,” he recalls. “but it was so far for me to see where to put the final outline. I just imagined where it should be, but the result was pretty bad.”
Fortunately, Bee kept practicing. Since his humble beginnings, Bee’s tags have evolved into a richer, more complex style. “When I started, my style was absolutely naïve,” he confesses. “I hated everything I was doing until seven years later. But when I look back on my old stuff, I am actually jealous of that naïve quality. It’s impossible to get back.” For the past 23 years, he and the other Le-Fix members have bombed everywhere from Copenhagen to Tokyo. He may dabble in gallery work, but Bee always returns to the streets. “I love the silence of doing something away from people,” he explains. “It is like I am a ghost that comes and leave without being noticed, leaving a mark for others to see.”
As his own style evolved, Bee and his friends also watched the scene evolve. “It feels like we’ve lived through different generations of graffiti and street art,” he says. “I have great respect for times of change. They make the culture more alive. I think it is great to see how people seek new ways to do the same thing.”
Balancing real life and alter egos can get tricky. “I almost made myself sick with my split personality,” he explains. “I was trying to live a normal life while bombing the system. I’ve been very lucky during this time. I’ve been caught three times, but that’s not bad for 23 years of writing.” Sometimes Bee’s real life bleeds into his street activities. When the electric company took him to court for unpaid bills, Bee decided to return the favor. “I went into the power plant and did a piece of the big gas tanks,” he laughs. “It was not easy to get around because it was a totally secure area!”
As a participant in street art’s past and present, Bee believes the scene has a bright future. “It will keep spinning around like a big wheel,” he predicts. “Old school gets new again and the whole story repeats. That is how I think it’s always been.” Currently, he’s occupied with many solo projects. “I don’t do anything unless my heart is in it,” he insists. “I’m always trying to grow and develop. Right now, I am getting ready for an exhibition. It’s at a Copenhagen gallery with which I am affiliated. It is an art instillation with sound. My plan is to do four different pieces with four different musicians.” In terms of the group, the crew is still getting up and out. “We are working on a new Le-Fix collection and still getting out at night,” he says. “Our ghosts are still alive!”

All photos courtesy of Bee. For more info, check out their website.

You may notice a nifty new feature. That's right, folks, the comments section is back in full effect. Now that you have them, use them! Tell me what's good, what's new, what I should write about, what you found on the street, or what you had for dinner. No matter the topic, I want to know what's up. Have a great weekend (Happy Fourth of July, for you Stateside folks) and I'll be back on Monday.

1 comment:

  1. This is art,I'd like to create my own art, but I need all the implements to get it I hope those products being cheap because I really work in something like that.m10m