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Skyface Paris, 2016 | © Roots
Skyface Paris, 2016 | © Roots
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Thomas Lamadieu Paints the Sky Like You've Never Seen

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 27 October 2017

The French street artist, aka Roots, ingeniously uses the sky as the backdrop for his imaginative paintings.

From Hamburg to Hong Kong, Thomas Lamadieu finds inspiration for his ingenious work in all manner of locations as it’s the shapes that buildings – whether historical and contemporary – make against the sky that inspire him.

© Roots

© Roots

For the past seven years, the French artist has been filling in the sky-gaps that office blocks, residential apartments and skyscrappers create with his cacophony of characters, including a bearded man, a rabbit, dog, cat and long-haired woman.

Skyface Berlin, 2017 | © Roots

Skyface Berlin, 2017 | © Roots

His series SkyArt and SkyFace will make you look up to the world above our heads and have you seeing these architectural spheres in an entirely new light.

We caught up with Thomas, to find out how these brilliant and enigmatic works came about and reveal some exclusive works from his recent trips to Taipei, Aarhus and Budapest.

Courtesy of the artist

Courtesy of the artist

Culture Trip (CT): Where did the idea to start using the sky as a backdrop to your drawings come from?

Thomas Lamadieu (TL): It was in 2010, I walked around the city of Avignon, my hometown, when I suddenly figured out a rabbit by looking up to the sky and observing the electric cables. That was the day I started to be inspired by the sky and to draw my characters between the buildings.

Aarhus, Denmark | © Roots

Aarhus, Denmark | © Roots

CT: Do you find there are particular countries or cities that offer the best architecture to create the best skyscape to work with?

TL:  I can’t really make a choice as I love the modern cities, but also old architecture. But still.. I got the opportunity to visit New York and Hong Kong and these two cities have really impressed me because of their huge buildings.

Taipei, Taiwan | © Roots

Taipei, Taiwan | © Roots

CT: How do you go about selecting a location?

TL: I don’t really select them..it’s on my journeys, either for holiday or for work. I just enjoy to walk around the streets and to get inspired by looking up to the sky.

Budapest, Hungry | © Roots

Budapest, Hungry | © Roots

CT: What media do you prefer to work in? 

TL: I have different media that I work with, but most of the times I work with my notebook. I also like to mix media by using digital prints and then paintings.

© Roots

© Roots

CT: Who are the characters in your drawings?

TL: The main character, the bearded man, it was 2010 when I drew him the first time. Since then, he is traveling with me..he is representing the sky between the buildings (there is no religious meaning). Sometimes there is a woman beside him..this is like a new story which started.

© Roots

© Roots

CT: They often recur, like the bunny, what is their relevance?

TL: It’s simply because the shape of some buildings remind me of the ears of a rabbit…but I also see other animals like cats or dogs between the buildings.

© Roots

© Roots

CT: What do you hope people take away from your work?

TL: I hope they get new perspectives by looking up to the sky and just dream a little bit..it’s a new way of drawing.

© Roots

© Roots

And because we just can’t get enough of Roots’ work, here are some more.

© Roots

© Roots

© Roots

© Roots

© Roots

© Roots

© Roots

© Roots

© Roots

© Roots

© Roots

© Roots