“I remember the first time he thought about peeing as an artistic process. We were going back home seriously drunk and Lou wanted to pee in the snow,” recalls friend and fellow artist, Ott. “We stopped and he wrote his name in the snow.” From that hazy winter night, artist Lou Buche continued to leave his mark on the streets of Amsterdam.
In its boozy tradition, much of the content streaming from the Pee-Project is thought up in the spur of the moment. “The spontaneity that can emanate from a drunk drawing," Buche explains, often tinkles notions that may not have been realized sober. Influenced by the festivities of a particular night, most of the subject matter is taken from intimate exchanges— the name of a new friend or an inside joke.
That same intimate essence flows into the work’s ephemeral nature. Given the volatility of pee as a material, most compositions are shared with only a close few, typically those wandering between parties along side the artist. The fact that a very well done piece can be created and then forgotten shifts some magnitude to the act itself: an impressionable moment shared between artist and viewer.
But much like the pieces, the fleeting aspect is a phase bound to disappear. In a balancing act, the ultra modern need to document has become apparent in a fresh addition to the series: a Pee-Project blog set to document the creations.
While content and durability may be dynamic, it is the concept behind the work that reveals its lasting lucidity. The artist, who describes himself as an opportunist, fully revels in the opportunity to create— even when material availability is limited. For him, the emphasis is on making “use of your habits, your desires, your defaults” to spark the creative process. Utilizing his own God-given instrument, only water or beer are required to emulate what he describes as the same sensation a painter feels when creating a masterpiece.
Unlike a painter, though, sensation takes on a new degree here. The physicality of using the body as the tool invokes a distinctive anatomic sensitivity, sometimes even leading to bodily repercussions. Through experimental development, Buche has gained the ability to control his pee stream, creating a perfect cursive. This, of course, has led to a desire to create more elaborate pieces, often provoking him to push his own physical limits to do so. Limiting himself to six beers, he admits, “it’s hard to focus on new letters when the urge to pee is too present.” In an attempt to make his pee blue, he even tried drinking methylene blue once, which made him sick.
Although Buche has stuck mostly to the streets as his canvas so far, he has no desire to be labeled a “street artist." His most apparent approaching aspiration is to incorporate pee into his studio work. Of course, that will be when the time is right and the resources are available. It is that work with what you’re given mentality that breaks his creative seal, after all.