With Boston Show Opening, Why LA-Based Artist PunkMeTender Is Never Bored

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday April 29, 2022

Those in Boston for the next six weeks have the opportunity to view the work of Romain, a.k.a PunkMeTender, the Paris-born artist who had his start in graffiti-art before evolving to fine art and mural installations. From the early 2000s, he worked with fellow artist Thiery Guetta, but in 2016, Romain started a new venture — PunkMeTender.

His newest show, "Voyage d'Ulysse," is being shown at the Pelas Gallery located at 114 Newbury Street, Boston, MA through June 18, 2022. The show will exhibit a variety of pieces from the Parisian-turned Angeleno artist's repertoire of work, including two of PunkMeTender's NFT pieces from his collection of "Punk Angels," continuing Pellas Gallery's commitment to showcasing NFTs. "The Punk Angels Collection" combines his signature "Butterfly Wings," with 480 different intricately hand-drawn traits. "Voyage d'Ulysse" will also include graphic acrylic pieces on wooden panels, a mixed media piece that uses stretched canvas, and other pieces by PunkMeTender that combine his roots in street art, graffiti, photography, fashion, and the female form. PunkMeTender's work has been getting a lot of attention on the West Coast, most recently Kylie Jenner commissioned a large lilac butterfly piece from Punkmetender for her recent Kylie Cosmetics x Stormi launch.

In addition on Friday, April 29, the artist will be appearing at the gallery to live paint a white Ducati outside the Gallery storefront. Live painting begins at 6pm.

Romain came up with the name PunkMeTender from two of his major influences: Daft Punk and Elvis Presley. At first, graffiti and street art were his main goal, creating illegally on billboards or walls under cover of night. But soon the focus evolved to fine art and mural installation. Butterflies became his source of inspiration because they represent freedom, spirit, and beauty. They have become a constant in all of his artwork.

A few years ago, PunkMeTender created a new kind of mural installation, integrating three-dimensional butterfly shapes as if they were flying — representing connection on a spiritual and physical level. They are designed to invite the viewer into the art and to be a part of it by taking pictures of it or with it, ultimately to be inspired to imagine their own reality. PunkMeTender is constantly studying art, constantly evolving. His goals are stationed on the moon.

EDGE spoke with Romain recently about his art, Elvis, and "Voyage d'Ulysse."

EDGE: How did you choose the name PUNK ME TENDER?

PunkMeTender: Late one night while lying in a lounge chair in my yard I was looking at the stars and thinking about a proper name. I decided to play some music on my iPhone, and the first song that played was "Love Me Tender" by Elvis. I got inspired by the song, but I wanted to mix a little bit of my personality to it and came up with PunkMeTender.

EDGE: In a world where everyone wants to be famous, why did you choose to be anonymous for so long?

PunkMeTender: The #1 reason was I was doing graffiti and it was illegal back then. Unfortunately, people need to tie the object to a person to collect more money, so that is why I am more visible.

EDGE: Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?

PunkMeTender: Not really. I didn't go to school for art, and I wasn't trying to be famous or anything like that. My intention has always been to do what I love, and that is paint.

EDGE: Tell us about your show, "Voyage d'Ulysse?"

PunkMeTender: It is a good mixture of what I do. It includes some graphic acrylic pieces on wooden panels, a mixed media piece that uses stretched canvas. It really just combines my roots in street art, graffiti, photography, fashion and the female form.

EDGE: When preparing for an exhibit, how do you choose which art to show?

PunkMeTender: It's really a conversation between me and the gallery owner. I just wanted to show art that is going to make sense for me, the gallery, and the city that I am in.

EDGE: What initially attracted you to†street art?

PunkMeTender: The freedom and recognition of doing something that is illegal. Plus, the fact that when you are finished it looks great but also makes you think. It's more than just colors on the wall, it's a statement. Some people will love it, and others will hate it, but most importantly you got people to talk about it.

EDGE: Can you tell me what it's like for you when you paint a wall?

PunkMeTender: It's like a drug. The first one you paint, you are so stressed and shaking from nerves. The more you do, the easier it becomes, and then you want to paint on bigger walls.

EDGE: Why do you love what you do?

PunkMeTender: There is not one minute of my day that is the same. Art and inspiration are always changing, and because of that I am never bored.

EDGE: What excites you most about having a show in Boston?

PunkMeTender: It's always exciting to do a show in a new city and discover what makes it so special. I've been to Boston once for a couple days, so I am excited to come back and spend more time. What's really exciting is to meet new people and get their perspectives on your work. Having people challenge your ideas and learn what they see is so amazing for me as an artist.

For more information on PunkMeTender and his work, visit this webpage.
"Voyage d'Ulysse"@ Pellas Gallery runs from April 29 — June 18, 2022.
For more information, visit www.pellasgallery.com