SAYPE: the artist signs a monumental and ephemeral work to the profit of The SeaCleaners

The internationally recognized French-Swiss artist Saype has appropriated the valleys of La Coquerelle in the Jura Mountains to support The SeaCleaners with a monumental and ephemeral work.

Being in the right place at the right time is what it takes to be able to admire the works of Guillaume Legros, aka Saype. This artist specializes in landart. He travels the world with his three partners and childhood friends to create gigantic scenes using biodegradable paint. Behind each creation, the desire to mark the spirits and change the rules of the game.

“My first goal is to impact minds and capture attention. We are so visually challenged in this day and age that it's hard to be noticeable.”

Saype Artist

After having invested emblematic places like the Champs de Mars in Paris or the heart of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Saype answered the call of the Delémont’s Lions Club to work this time on the valleys of the Caquerelle in the Swiss mountains in order to raise awareness about plastic pollution. Over 160m, the artist depicts a little boy building a boat out of plastic waste, called ‘The Sea Cleaner‘.

I find it interesting to create a work, here, in a very terrestrial region, to support an association that will help clean up the oceans. It reminds us that the oceans and the earth are closely linked: the waste thrown on land will inevitably end up in the rivers and so on, so for me the logic is obvious.

He knows the oceans pretty well. Indeed, Saype is a former sea rescuer. After a successful collaboration with SOS Méditerranée, the idea of using his art once again in the service of the blue planet immediately seduced him. But how to produce a work of such magnitude, using nature as a canvas?
Three questions impose on him: WHAT, HOW and WHERE. What is the message to be conveyed, how to express it and where is the best place to bring it to life? Once these points are defined, Saype organizes a photo session to paint from a model.

For this piece, the realization was particularly complex because of the hilly setting and the length of the motif (160m). I have to keep my bearings and use wooden stakes to find my way in the space. I also use a drone so that the image interacts well with the landscape. I then start a first sketch in black and use 5 different gradations that allow me to play with the volumes and create the illusion that the works are laid on the ground.

In total, it took 3 full days on site to create The Sea Cleaner.


“I always say that my creations require a year of work for one day of existence. It's super poetic to know that your art will be recovered by nature, isn't it?”

But why use nature, which is unpredictable, to deliver its message?  For Saype, this is the whole point:

I read a lot of Buddhist literature, and use the same central pillar for my pieces which is impermanence. Everything is constantly changing, in motion. I like the idea that my creations will move and evolve with nature. I like the idea that I will be able to mark the collective memory, without leaving a trace on the ground. 

An exclusive print edition of 200 lithographs of The Sea Cleaner is being sold by the Lions Club of Delémont. All profits will go to  The SeaCleaners NGO.  To purchase a lithograph, follow the link below.

Buy a limited edition lithograph of The SeaCleaner by Saype