Paris Face Cachée, radical leftwing tourism?

Paris Face Cachée is a 72 hour series of unique guided tours taking place next weekend, which is aimed to promote “interactive not contemplative tourism”, of the kind exposed in the bestselling book, Métronome, by Lorànt Deutsch.

There is a debate surrounding how Deutsch’s book attempts at rewriting the Paris narrative, which certain critics are calling “fabrications”. We wonder where the critics stand on Paris Face Cachée, with its selection of  ’experiences including the “prohibited, unpublished and unknown?

The Marie de Paris has said previously that it is aiming to rewrite the Paris narrative, we guess to try and move away from its tag of being a museum city, in the minds of Parisians only though, it appears. The entire event is being offered just in French, and, Paris as a museum city is surely a tag worth keeping in the minds of Americans, and every other nationality that pays homage each year, just for this reason.

The seed to Paris Face Cachée is in the Mairie de Paris’ 2001 proposal to support unusual and avant-garde events. “Being underground is knowing how to step aside”, is a line quoted on the Paris Face Cachée website (and translated via Google), which comes from Jean-François Bizot, a late leading figure of French counter-culture, and journalist and founder of the magazine, Actuel, and Radio Nova.

Bizot, switched from being an economic forecaster to journalism, working for French newspaper, L’Express, for three years to 1970, when he founded with some friends – Michel-Antoine Burnier, Patrick Rambaud, Bernard Kouchner and others – a leftist magazine, focused on the beatniks, freaks, punks, feminism, homosexuality, squatters, ecology, ultra-leftists, situationists, hackers, Kerouac, Karl Marx, and LSD.

Paris Face Cachee is championed by Paris’ Deputy Mayor of Paris, in charge of Tourism and New Media, and fittingly President of the Federation of Paris of the Radical Left, Jean-Bernard Bros. The event claims it will satisfy both the “nerd-hipster” and “grannies looking for a thrill”.

Examples of what to expect include entering a Masonic temple, spending the night in a major newspaper, and exploring a World War II bunker, to immersive experiences such as entering the village of Flateurville.

A joint collaboration between the Mairie de Paris (Paris Townhall) and A Suivre Productions, and with all venues and locations being kept secret from ticket holders until the last moment, activities also include those in Paris’ ‘less attractive’ neighbourhoods, such as, La Goutte d’Or (which claims the honour of being inner-Paris’  only Sensitive Urban Zone (ZUS)) or Belleville (lower down the scary scale, but still with its fair share of social issues, in addition to being Paris’ most artistically interesting area).

Paris Face Cachee - Clet Abraham - street art - Paris Underground

 

Paris Face Cachee - Clet Abraham - street art - Paris Underground

 

Paris Face Cachee - Clet Abraham - street art - Paris Underground

 

Paris Face Cachee - Clet Abraham - street art - Paris Underground

Paris Face Cachée, however, now in its second year, also includes family-friendly experiences at the request of participants. Working with a budget of €60,000, some of the tours for free, while others cost as much as €24 – the most expensive being a treasure hunt with a digital tablet.

Paris Face Cachee - Underground Paris Copyright

Bizot with Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads. Photo copyright Catherine Faux

The event poster which is currently omnipresent in the Paris Metro is designed around the street art of Clet Abraham – a sticker of man diverting the meaning of a no entry road sign with a sticker of the Eiffel Tower bent to the left. You can actually see Clet’s interventions stuck on street signs all around Paris. Clet Abraham is a Parisian ex-patriot, living in Florence, who makes a living as a street artist, painter and sculptor. There is now a gallery in Paris which specialises in artwork produced solely on road signage, including by Clet Abraham.

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Bizot’s book Underground, L’histoire (Denoël) published in 2001 uses the word underground, which he favoured over the term counter culture, he told French newspaper Liberation. Jean-François Bizot also wrote many other books including, Au parti des socialistes (The Socialist Party) (1975) with Leon Mercadet and Patrice Van Eersel, Les déclassés (The Downgraded) (1976) and Les Années blanches (The White Years) (1979). He also translated the works of Charles Bukowski, made documentaries for French TV channels, Arte and Canal +, and a movie, La Route (The Road) (1973).

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Paris Face Cachee - Clet Abraham - street art - Paris Underground

Paris Face Cachée takes placve on 1st, 2nd and 3rd February, 2013

Tickets are available online at www.parisfacecachee.fr.

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Check out more English and French language experiences at undergroundparis.org, including street art tours and stencil art graffiti workshops.

Le M.U.R. laced with paper cut by Rubbish

Rubbish Cube’s delicate hand cut paper lace artworks, each requiring many hours to produce, are recognisable on walls around Paris, especially Rue Amelot in the 11th arrondissement. The lightness and fragility of his street art, requiring an impressive technical mastery, now have a two week legal outdoors showing, courtesy of the impresarios at Le M.U.R..

Quickly, for those unfamiliar with Le M.U.R., it’s a project which revolves around a three by eight metre billboard set aside by the city council for the purpose of promoting street art.

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art - Copyright 2012 http://charliestine.net

Rubbish’s street art. Copyright 2012 charliestine.net

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art - Copyright 2013 True Duke http://www.facebook.com/duketrue

Rubbish approaches his working space.  Photo: Copyright 2013 True Duke

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art - Copyright 2013 True Duke http://www.facebook.com/duketrue

The previous iteration of Le M.U.R. by Da Cruz covered by Rubbish (tee hee!). Photo: Copyright 2013 True Duke 

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art - Copyright 2013 True Duke http://www.facebook.com/duketrue

 Photo: Copyright 2013 True Duke

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art - Copyright 2013 Laurence Pierrain-Mateudi http://www.facebook.com/laurence.pierrainmateudi

President of Le M.U.R., Bob Jeudy (left) with Rubbish (right). Co-founder and Secretry of Le M.U.R., Thomas Schmitt, in the background giving the artist a helping hand. Copyright 2013 Laurence Pierrain-Mateudi 

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art - Copyright 2013 Laurence Pierrain-Mateudi http://www.facebook.com/laurence.pierrainmateudi

  Community of dedicated Parisian urban art enthusiasts look on at the live artwork performance. Copyright 2013 Laurence Pierrain-Mateudi 

Street artist, Rubbish Cube (or his preferred name, Rubbish), a 32 year-old, self-taught artist who lives and works in Besançon in the east of France, creates delicate collages – reminiscent of female American street artist Swoon - which create a slender poetry in paradoxical symbiosis with the stone built Parisian urban space are mostly large portraits in black and white, often with a emotionally intense piercing gaze.

Rubbish, who takes his name from his former band, Dirty Rubbish, showed last year at Le Cabinet d’Amateur gallery in a group show, alongside Fred le Chevalier, Diamant, Gzup, Arnaud Boisramé, Miss.Tic, Paella and Tristan de Limbes, among others.

Ordinarily, pasted up on walls in Paris, evolving and eventually disappearing at the rate of the weather and the activity of the city, recurring motifs in his work, include the hand of the ‘Inquisitor’, or the ‘Heart of the City’. This interaction between the work of the artist and the vitality of the urban space, cause rise to fierce beauty, and the expression of an aesthetic accessible to all.

Rubbish Cube qualifies urban art perfectly as an ephemeral gesture of the values of libertarianism and humanism. Rubbish Cube inspired by Native American culture, myths and legends, or figures from the Beat Generation, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, uses colour rarely.

Made with incredible technical precision the poetic emotion that emanates from his delicate paper lace convey infinite patterns. By following the path of these fine carvings the viewer can be roused into a state of deep contemplation.

Rubbish admits being influenced by American street artist, Swoon, who also uses intricate cut lace paper collages, which she pastes up in New York’s Brooklyn neighbourhood, and further afield, but Rubbish’s work is a very different artistic style. Rubbish says he tends not to be influenced by street art, but rather pop surrealism and Lowbrow art, such as the art of Todd Schorr.

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art - Copyright 2013 True Duke http://www.facebook.com/duketrue

 Photo: Copyright 2013 True Duke

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art - Copyright 2013 Laurence Pierrain-Mateudi http://www.facebook.com/laurence.pierrainmateudi

  Copyright 2013 Laurence Pierrain-Mateudi 

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art - Copyright 2013 Laurence Pierrain-Mateudi http://www.facebook.com/laurence.pierrainmateudi

  Copyright 2013 Laurence Pierrain-Mateudi 

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art - Copyright 2012 http://charliestine.net

 Copyright 2012 charliestine.net

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art - Copyright 2013 True Duke http://www.facebook.com/duketrue

 Photo: Copyright 2013 True Duke

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art - Copyright 2013 True Duke http://www.facebook.com/duketrue

 Photo: Copyright 2013 True Duke

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art - Copyright 2013 True Duke http://www.facebook.com/duketrue

Photo: Copyright 2013 True Duke

Le M.U.R. - Rubbish Cube - Paris street art

Visit Rubbish’s website, at rubbish-cube.blogspot.fr

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Le M.U.R. can be visited twenty four hours a day, 365 days a year at the following address:

107 Rue Oberkampf

75011 Paris

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The post draws on articles and interviews at the following websites:

mcwp.net

parisianshoegals.blogspot.fr

streetlove.fr

 

JonOne tags up Eric Cantona’s Rolls-Royce for Artcurial

JonOne, the New York train graffiti artist who, many, many moons ago, settled in Paris, has painted a Roll’s Royce donated by Eric Cantona as a publicity stunt for the ArtCurial urban art auction taking place this afternoon.

A little bit of vomit appears in this writers mouth, too, but before swallowing, make note that the money raised from this graffitied Rolls-Royce will all go to the Abbé Pierre Foundation, which is a charity helping the utterly impoverished.

Exorbitant prices are staple at Artcurial, a private company with an annual turnover of €127 million in 2011, but Eric Cantona’s second-hand Rolls-Royce Corniche II covered with tags by JonOne is being flogged quite cheaply – bidding starts at just €20,000.

Today, nearly 330 works of street art are going under the hammer at the auction house in the Hotel Marcel-Dassault. Starting bids are at €400 and going up to €120,000, including the work ‘Kiss’ by Banksy’s protégé, Mr Brainwash.

Of course, Banksy’s work is represented at the Artcurial show, as well, with one work with a starting price of around €100,000. Banksy’s works are all sourced from the secondary market, however. Banksy generally does not participate in these sorts of bourgeois art affairs directly. Although, we hear from the Bankrobber gallery in London that he does feed the upper tier auction houses in the UK in an agreement to keep them from selling his ‘illegally’ gotten street pieces. In France it is actually illegal to take works from the street.

The Rolls Royce belonging to Kung Fu Kick Cantona, was painted by graffiti artist JonOne live on TV last November and will go under the hammer this afternoon. Artcurial has waived all fees and charges for the sale of the 1984 Roller, a Corniche model, which Cantona oversaw being ‘tagged up’ by JonOne on the French TV station Canal+ in June 2012. Cantona said (via a translation by Google): “I decided to donate it because it’s the ultimate symbol of wealth, and will help those in ultimate poverty.” Going on to add  (also, via a translation by Google): ” This Rolls Royce painted by the world-renowned street artist JonOne has a real coherence and a lot of force.” Not dissimilar to one of Cantona’s flying kicks, this writer imagines.

In the courtyard of Marcel Dassault yesterday sat the Rolls-Royce the former footballer bequeathed to Artcurial to benefit the Abbé Pierre Foundation that the American artist JonOne painted in November 2012 live on the Grand Journal show on French TV station, Canal +. The Roller is the largest of the 300-work sale, which is expected to raise around €1 million. In 2012, sales amounted to €1 million including costs, against €555 700 in 2011.

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (16)

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (12)

 

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (14)

 

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (15)

 

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (13)

 

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (17)

 

Among the other artists and artworks present are “Chinese Soldiers” by Shepard Fairey (with an estimate of €30,000 to €40,000), “Flying copper” by Banksy (with an estimate of €90,000 to €120,000). France’s Space Invader is represented by a number of mosaics available at starting prices of €800 to €12,000

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (11)

Shepard Fairey aka Obey showing room at Artcurial. Photo of Fairey holding up image in by Philippe Bonan, taken in Paris in June 2012. See our film coverage of when that photo was taken, here.

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (1)

‘Flying Copper’ by Banksy

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (7)

 Work by pioneering New York street artist, Keith Haring

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (6)

 Graffiti artist, Crash from New York

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (8)

 Photo of COPE2, the infamous New York graffiti artist

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (10)

 

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (9)

 Jana of street art couple, Jana und JS, painting live at the event, yesterday

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (5)

Spanish artist, Pez (top), middle bottom is by Chanoir. Top right work by FKDL aka Franck Duval. Bottom left work by Happy Seizewallmaker

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (4)

 Top right work is an original poster from the 1968 Paris riots, produced at the Beaux Arts, Atelier Populaire

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (3)

Snap back to JonOne, a main figure in Parisian ‘street art’ (he admits he has not painted outdoors for a long time): JonOne is first and foremost from New York, where he learnt the original style of the subway graffiti movement, which he imported to France. Born in 1963 in New York, JonOne began to write his name in the city in the 70s, before getting into painting onto canvas in the late 80s. His work today is a blend of his graffiti roots – tagging – combined with an abstract expressionism, brightly coloured, often including tribal patterning, and to some extent free of the conservatism of ‘hip hop’ graffiti. The movement, however, he still defends strongly.

JonOne developed his style alongside graffiti artists, A-One and Phase II, drawing inspiration from the New York subway graffiti movement. Many graffiti artists would denounce his canvas work, however, due to the additional influences of non-graffiti painters such as Matisse and Kandinsky, and abstract expressionists, Joan Mitchell, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Robert Motherwell.

JonOne paints Eric Cantona Rolls-Royce for Artcurial urban art auction in Paris (2)

JonOne canvas painting

Real name John Perello, JonOne was born in New York’s Harlem neighborhood to parents from the Dominican Republic. He first came into contact with graffiti aged 17, first tagging his name Jon with the suffix 156. Around this time he came into contact with graffiti artist, Bando. Following an invitation from Bando, Jonone moved to Paris in 1987, beginning his canvas work at a former hospital building converted into a squat, the Hôpital Ephémère (Ephemeral Hospital), located in Paris’ 18th arrondissement, painting alongside artists, A-One, Ash, Jayone and Sharp. A notable exhibition from his early days in Paris was the 1990 show at the Gleditsch 45 gallery in Berlin

His ties with the annual Artcurial Urban Art auction extend to its roots. In 2007 a canvas made at the Hôpital Ephémère in 1993 named Match Point, sold for almost €25,000 to a collector from  New York. It remains the highest bid ever received for a piece of French graffiti art.

JonOne mastered the stylistic conventions of graffiti during his New York days, but is ill at ease conforming totally to this school of art. Even before arriving in Paris in 1987, JonOne’s output  had never matched up to the archetypal notion of the graffiti artist. When he would rock up to a subway train in New York, he is known to have brought with him paintbrushes in addition to spraycans. Through the graffiti artist, A-One (Anthony Clark), JonOne, had a direct connection to Jean-Michel Basquiat, or, rather, a link between the graffiti world and the gallery world. Allowing himself to adopt mainstream ideas and techniques into his artwork, JonOne’s pieces show great movement, intense mixtures of colour, freestyle and precise strokes, repetition, all balanced to create a dynamic visual experience. (This last sentence is mostly plagiarised from the Wikipedia article on JonOne).

One of JonOne’s most significant paymasters, Artcurial (he is also represented by the top two Paris urban art galleries, Galerie Le Feuvre and Galerie Magda Danysz) is the foremost French auction house, and is fronted by three auctioneers: Francis Briest, Hervé Poulain, and François Tajan. It is an independent business, with shareholders including the Dassault Group, which owns among many other enterprises, the French newspaper, Le Figaro. It was located at 9 Avenue Matignon (which now houses Britain’s largest auction house, Christie’s), but is now based out of the  Hôtel Marcel Dassault at 7 rond-point des Champs-Élysées, owned by Dassault. Artcurial holds more than one hundred sales per year, across 20 specialties. Formerly holding the monopoly on auctions in France, a change in the law in 2000, opened up the market, and saw the arrival of British auction houses, Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Artcurial’s first partner and founder, Francis Briest, works with Hervé Poulain, and François Tajan, with auctions all being held at the 2,000 m² headquarters and open to the public.

Artcurial’s departments of expertise include Modern and Contemporary Art, Art Deco, Tribal Art, Asian Art, Eastern Archaeology, Islamic Art, 19th Century paintings and drawings, antiquarian books, autographs, engravings, antique cars, wines and spirits, among a number of other fields. It also sponsors and organises events, including the Artcurial Book Award for Contemporary Art and the Marcel Duchamp Prize.

It also controls four subsidiaries in France: in Toulouse, Deauville, Marseille and Lyon, as well as Artcurial China in Shanghai. In total it manages eight auction houses worldwide.

Head auctioneer, Hervé Poulain, was also an amateur race driver and has participated in eleven of the 24 Hours of Le Mans races, the the famous endurance race, held annually since 1923 and is the inventor of the “Art Cars ” concept, whereby artists decorate cars participating in Le Mans. Previous designs have been made by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Poulain is also the author of a number of books on art, including, Art, Women and Automobile (1989) and Pop My cars (2006).  He is the founder and president of SYMEV (the French national union of auction houses).

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Artcurial Urban Art Auction

January 22nd, 2pm

Artcurial

7 Rond-point des Champs-Elysées, 75008

www.artcurial.com

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To download the catalogue for the urban art element of the Artcurial auction, click, there >>>> here.

Da Cruz makes Le M.U.R. a cure for Paris’ damp and grey skies

Paris graffiti artist, Da Cruz’s artwork can be spotted mainly in the district of La Villette, between Crimee and Ourcq in Paris’ 19th arrondissement, but since yesterday, he is now also highly visible in the 11th arrondissement, having been invited by the l’Association Le M.U.R. to ‘do the honour’.

Quickly, for those unfamiliar with Le M.U.R., it’s a project which revolves around a three by eight metre billboard set aside by the city council for the purpose of promoting street art.

Da Cruz’s iteration is done in his typical, colorful style using very simple shapes, which show strong Latin American and African influences. To keep your attention, we might add here that Da Cruz has previously been invited to exhibit by that other grand contemporary art organisation, Centre Pompidou. (You will find a video about that at the end of the post).

Da Cruz’s playful spray painted artworks he says are “tribal” Latin American-inspired (Mayan, perhaps?) graphics which spring from his many trips to South America and Africa, and his own ethnic heritage. It might make you cringe to mention it, but we will anyway: his street artwork fits perfectly with the neighborhoods in which he paints which also have multiple cultural roots.

Da Cruz - Le M.U.R. - Paris street art and graffiti (10)

 

Da Cruz - Le M.U.R. - Paris street art and graffiti (2)

 

Da Cruz - Le M.U.R. - Paris street art and graffiti (4)

 

Da Cruz - Le M.U.R. - Paris street art and graffiti (1)

 

Da Cruz - Le M.U.R. - Paris street art and graffiti (6)

 

Da Cruz - Le M.U.R. - Paris street art and graffiti (7)

 

Da Cruz - Le M.U.R. - Paris street art and graffiti (8)

 

Da Cruz - Le M.U.R. - Paris street art and graffiti (3)

 

Da Cruz - Le M.U.R. - Paris street art and graffiti (9)

 

Da Cruz - Le M.U.R. - Paris street art and graffiti (5)

 (L-R) Da Cruz and co-founder and Secretary of Le M.U.R., Thomas Scmitt

Da Cruz was involved in a graffiti spectacle, the painting of an old customs house on the Canal de l’Ourcq, which we charted back in September.

Da Cruz has in the past been involved with Paris Face Cachée, an intermittent series of French-language tours that show people Paris’ hidden wonders, including its graffiti and street art. Paris Face Cachée looks brilliant, but if you would like to take an expert graffiti and street art tour in English (as well as French and Portuguese) you should check the tours and workshops offered by us, at Underground Paris.

 

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Le M.U.R. an acronym for l’Association ‘Modulable, Urbain et Réactif’), is at the junction of Rue Oberkampf and Rue Saint Maur in the 11th Arrondissement, and is refreshed every two weeks. 

The Le M.U.R. association was conceived in 2003 by Jean Faucheur and Thomas Schmitt, and has been a formal association since 2007.

Flateurville closes its doors in a blaze of blue smoke

Passing by the Office of the Sheriff, you are soon in The forest Flateurville. Make your way further, and you will face The backyard of the castle (concert hall). Then on your sides, Marcel and Lorette’s rooms. Continue to Marcel’s Workshop and two lounges. And finally, the Equipped cabins.

Flateurville has now come to an end after seven years, so no more confusion. But just so you know what on earth happened in the back alleys of the 10th arrondissement, not far from Chateau d’Eau metro station, let me explain.

The town of Flateurville are all hooked on a blue flower, which we are told can be chewed, smoked, injected; a gallery of portraits by Laurent Godard and videos projected on the television screens are showing throughout the complex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the entrance to the venue at 24, Cour des Petites écuries, 75010, one might expect to be greeted by artist/musician/filmaker/baker/dentist, Laurent Godard, the creator of Flateurville, this imaginary village, presumably on an imaginary planet, which he has created from places he has experienced on his travels and meetings which he has created in various places: an old tannery in Essaouira; an oyster farm on the island of Ré; a housing project in New York; a chateau in Burgundy; and the Piscine Molitor in Paris.

This  600 square metres site was formerly 24 small stables, before being occupied as the print house of the newspaper Le Parisien

Flateurville has until last night served as both all that is wrong and a place of awakening of the artist in each of us.

The paintings by Laurent Godard that hang all over the walls are created by the method of dripping, which we know best from Jackson Pollock, produced by dripping paint from the brush onto the canvas. The paintings represent the people of this unusual place: P’tit Louis, a pimply teenager, bored to death in this sad town; Susan, a painter who returned to Flateurville after a twenty-five years absence; Jean-Baptiste, the son of the priest’ Mouss, a little gypsy; Marcel, the bad guy, fresh out of prison.

Fragments of the history of the people of Flateurville everywhere, an amazing narrative journey, an evolving scenario about which we are both scared and curious.

Sadly it is no more.

However, the Flattervillois are searching for a new piece of land on which to settle, and would be happy to hear any suggestions.

Flateurville Facebook page

Flateurville website

 

Gay marriage and ‘democracy on the walls of the city’

Gay marriage and street art joined hands over the weekend thanks to French street-artist, Kashink, who produced a phenomenal mural at the Canal St Martin in support of proposed new equality laws.

Meanwhile, yesterday, up  to 150,000 marched on the Bastille in support of legalising marriage and adoption for same-sex couples, in advance of the new liberalisation measures proposed by President Francois Hollande’s new Socialist government, to be decided upon by the French National Assembly on the 29th January.

Alternative Paris, Contributing Editor, Fernanda Hinke, met Kashink and interviewed her on gay marriage and street art, while Richard Beban, photographer and co-editor of the online journal, Paris Play, captured the demonstration.

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Paris, yesterday, saw more than 60,000 protesters marching in support of gay marriage and the right to adopt children by couples of the same gender.  This heated discussion will go to the Assemblée nationale (French Parliament) in January, and with the new legislation facing strong opposition from right-wing politicians and France’s powerful religious factions, it’s not certain whether the proposals will be enacted or not.

Rather than sit and wait to see what our so-called leaders decide, however, Kashink has taken things into her own hands, and used the power of the spray can to shout out what many people are taking too long to recognise. I find it fantastic that street art can put the cards on the table and open up dialogue on this debate in such a way. I call it, ‘democracy, on the walls of the city’!

- Fernanda Hinke, Contributing Editor

Gay marriage France - Paris street artist Kashink mural at Canal Saint-Martin. Photo: Fernanda Hinke (1)

 

Gay marriage France - Paris street artist Kashink mural at Canal Saint-Martin. Photo: Fernanda Hinke (2)

 

Gay marriage France - Paris street artist Kashink mural at Canal Saint-Martin. Photo: Fernanda Hinke (5)

 

Gay marriage France - Paris street artist Kashink mural at Canal Saint-Martin. Photo: Fernanda Hinke (3)

 

Gay marriage France - Paris street artist Kashink mural at Canal Saint-Martin. Photo: Fernanda Hinke (4)

What is your intention by painting this mural on gay marriage?

I’ve already painted gay characters before, and this time I thought it could be a fun idea to paint a very big wall about gay marriage, since it’s been a very hot topic in France lately.

I had noticed this wall before, because of its size (6 x 15 m, around 20 x 50 ft.) and visibility. Some other guys had painted the whole thing before and it’s pretty challenging.  French President, François Hollande, during his election campaign, promised he would legalise gay marriage. Then when it was time to take a decision, he chickened out.  Then people started protesting against gay marriage. I was horrified to see how the hate and violence started to spread, so I felt it was neccesary to make a gesture in support of these equality measures

France is at the forefront of the street art movement, while at the same time it is behind several countries in terms of same-gender marriage. What is your opinion about this?

France can be old school sometimes, especially when it comes to issues involving religion. Our country is supposed to be all about secularism, and while Spain is a lot more catholic than we are, gay marriage has been legal there for seven years. Also, street art hasn’t always been well accepted here either, but this has changed in the past four years or so. Now everybody is starting to become interested.

Gay marriage demo Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012 (10)

Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

How do you think street art can help change society’s values?

As a street artist, I always try to put a message in what I do. Maybe some people will relate to it, some maybe not, you never know.  What I know, however, is that street-art is partly rooted in protest (anarcho-punk stencils, etc.), and I like the idea of keeping it that way.  The characters I paint are very colorful and sometimes they look like they could be coming out of a children’s book. So I guess it’s easier because the whole thing looks fun.

For this particular piece, I wanted to create an emphasise on romance. These two characters look happy, but they’re also a little shy. I wanted them to be cute.  Most people that passed by or watched me paint responded very well to the message.  I really hope that soon legalised gay marriage will be as accepted as women’s right to vote.

Gay marriage demo Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012 (4)

 Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Did you have the intention of linking this painting with the demonstration this Sunday in Paris?

Yes, I started working on it on Wednesday, came back on Thurdsday, and finished it Saturday. It was a real challenge for me to make it on time, because I knew that the protest was on Sunday.  The wall wasn’t on the protesters’ route but it was my contribution. I heard there was more than 50, 000 people demonstrating this afternoon, I really hope our government will have the balls to keep their promises.

Gay marriage demo Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012 (9)

 Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Gay marriage demo Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012 (21)

 Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Gay marriage demo Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012 (2)

 Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Gay marriage demo Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012 (6)

 Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Gay marriage demo Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012 (5)

 Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Gay marriage demo Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012 (20)

 Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Gay marriage demo Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012 (16)

 Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Alternative Paris.

Interview with pro golfer turned artist, Ken Sortais

Artist, Ken Sortais – most visible for his huge graffiti present all over Paris - is currently exhibiting indoors at the London-based, Galleries Goldstein, one year after his solo show at Palais de Tokyo, a consequence of his winning at the 56th edition of Le Salon de Montrouge.

Part of the vanguard Parisian graffiti crew, Peace And Love (PAL), along with Horfe, Sortais’ work is to be found everywhere in the streets of Paris, and most often high up on the rooftops of buildings. Check out our interview with Sortais filmed at the vernissage of his debut London exhibition at the Galleries Goldstein, Princes of Darkness, as follows:

Directed: Hal Arnold

Camera: Adam Singodia

Edit: Matt Owen

Music: Pali Meursault

Research: Fernanda Hinke

Producer: Demian Smith

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Sortais’ art evokes the style of Walt Disney, mixing pop and esoteric references and offering a rich and mysterious world in which to lose onself.

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (2)

Photo: lesmysteresdeparis.com

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (1)

Photo: lesmysteresdeparis.com

The description of the exhibition available on Galleries Goldstein’s website reads, as follows:

“If your indisposition is a burden, if it affects your life, if it tyrannises you and annihilates your desires, here is an ancestral remedy to cure almost everything, but be careful, it is precarious. This method is not taught in any books and can not be accessible to everyone. To make it work, you need to believe in it. Believe blindly.

“You have to devote yourself to the spirits you will try to call. From this moment, such an act of submission is not accessible to all : prudes, cowards and religious people may rebuff. This is nothing else but black magic, magic that has harmful repercussions on your life and on the ones close to you. In order to act, there is no other choice but to empty yourself from your consciousness : you must sedate it.

“Firstly, you will give birth to eighteen entities, each of them symbolizing evils buried since the beginning of Humanity. Eighteen apostles of evil whom you will know nothing about, whom you should not try to give meaning, but rather materialise as soon as you detect them. These spirits can take different forms, and their representations change according on the person considering them. Their nature is never-changing, buried in the most archaic layer of our minds. Once materialisation is operated, you have to prove allegiance by exposing these evil faces : these forces arrogantly feed themselves vicariously through the individual’s attention, here is the secret of this unusual recovery.

“By flattering the egos of these insatiable visages, you will allow them to enter their own process of creation, and the magic will happen. By entrusting them with a feeling of independence  you will fully prove that you are only the hand submitted to their will… I must recall that this is not an entirely safe experience for you and your loved ones, but past recoverings (sic) have proven the cure’s efficiency… Therefore, after a period of gestation, these small evils will concentrate their energies, all carrying a common will for revenge and you will see, nights after nights, the birth of their univocal venger (sic) arbiter : the golem.

“Protean, and largely capricious, the golem’s power of healing is immense. Traditionally  the spirit would penetrate darkest abysses of individuals to make them vomit on the surface. Do not be shocked or the magic would be shattered. Embrace the interpretation of your real nature. Do not fear recovery anymore.”

Indeed!

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (10)

 Photo: galleriesgoldstein.com

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (3)

  Photo: galleriesgoldstein.com

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (4)

  Photo: galleriesgoldstein.com

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (5)

  Photo: galleriesgoldstein.com

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (6)

  Photo: Adam Singodia copyright 2012

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (7)

 Photo: Adam Singodia copyright 2012 

Ken Sortais exhibition London. Paris graffiti artist Cony show in London after exhibition at Palais de Tokyo and winning of Le Salon de Montrouge (8)

 Photo: Adam Singodia copyright 2012

The exhibition at Galleries Goldstein also includes an accompanying print edition, available through the gallery shop, editions.galleriesgoldstein.com.

To see Sortais’ exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo last year, which took place after he won the Prix du conseil général des Hauts-de-Seine at the prestigious Le Salon de Montrouge, check out the coverage by these guys.

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Galleries Goldstein

20 Coronet Street London, N1 6HD

info@galleriesgoldstein.com

+44 (0) 789 174  6965

Show runs until 12th January, 2013

Palais de Tokyo entrails painted by Lek, Sowat & Dem 189

Abstract graffiti on the ceiling, floor and walls, mostly in black, red and white, tags everywhere. Few dashes of colour in drained graffiti and a soft pallet in the room beside of it, make this space in Palais de Tokyo a messy temple of graffiti culture.

Dans Les Entrailles Du Palais Secret [In The Entrails Of The Secret Palais] is an intervention created in the basement of the museum, and the next step after the astonishing Le Mausolée project presented earlier this year by French graffiti artists (not street artists) Lek & Sowat.

Inside the massive Palais do Tokyo complex, the project has been realised in the passages leading to the emergency exit, a space that has never been open to the public before, let alone used to show art. The space has been purposely chosen in an attempt to stay loyal to the original roots of graffiti, even inside the environs of a rich and powerful contemporary art museum.

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (2)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (10)

 

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (9)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (3)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (12)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (8)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (5)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (1)

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (4)

Firstly, about the artists leading the project: Lek, one of the first generation of Parisian graffiti art, learned his craft between the north-east Parisian districts of La Chapelle and Stalingrad, where French street culture emerged. Nowadays, he works with the crews French Kiss, LCA, GNS, RAW and 1984, with a focus on abstract graffiti, graffiti futurism, post-graffiti – whatever you want to call it, but directly connected to the artistic culture that started on the sides of New York subway cars in the 1970s and 1980s – graffiti, not street art.

Meanwhile, Sowat is a Franco-American graffiti artist who grew up between Marseille and Los Angeles. He was inspired by Chaz Bojorquez, an important figure in the Californian graffiti scene, who developed “Cholo writing”, a calligraphy used to mark the territories of Latino gangs in Los Angeles. Sowat works with one of the most sophisticated graffiti crews in Paris, Da Mental Vaporz.

Both artists are practitioners of Urbex, short for Urban Exploration, a discipline that consists of finding abandoned spaces, and in these artists cases, creating artistic interventions. The curatorial idea of this project was to reproduce the feeling of Le Mausolée, inviting artists from other generations with different artistic practices, to work together as a collective.

Palais de Tokyo Graffiti exhibition - Dans les entrailles du Secret Palais - Lek, Sowat et Dem 189 - Le Mausolee. Photo: Fernanda Hinke Copyright 2012 (11)

Other artists who were involved in the creation of Dans Les Entrailles Du Palais Secret at Palais de Tokyo, are as follows:

ALËXONE, AZYLE, BABS, BOM.K, COKNEY, DEM189, DRAN, HONDA, HORFÉ, KATRE, LEK, OUTSIDER, RIZOTE, SAMBRE, SETH, SOWAT, SWIZ, VELVET, WXYZ, ZOER

The Palais de Tokyo installation is inspired by Lek & Sowat’s, Le Mausolée project – one of the most astonishing ever illegal graffiti interventions, which was unveiled in 2012. Produced over a year long period by 40 of France’s best graffiti artists at a 430,000 square foot abandoned supermarket at Porte de Pantin in north Paris, you can watch a stop-motion video of the event, below:

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Palais de Tokyo

13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75016 Paris

www.palaisdetokyo.com

Runs until 1st September, 2013

‘Au-delà du Street-Art’ exhibition at Musée de la Poste

Recently, we have been asking artists what they think is the future of street art. One response has been that the future of the movement is inside of museums. However, this is wrong. This is not the future of street art. But, rather, the existing condition. Our case in point: the current exhibition at Musée de la Poste, Au-delà du Street-Art (‘Beyond Street Art’).

The exhibition presents eleven artists from around the world – Banksy (England), C215 (France), Dran (France), Invader (France), L’Atlas (France), Ludo (France), Miss.Tic (France), Rero (France), Shepard Fairey (USA), Swoon (USA) and Vhils (Portugal) – providing each artist with their own space; and comprising more than seventy works in different media, made using a variety of techniques, presented beside films showing the artists at work.Gerard Zlotykamien - Au-delà du Street-Art - Musée de la Poste - Paris graffiti art exhibition (7)

Gerard Zlotykamien

Ernest Pignon Ernest - Au-delà du Street-Art - Musée de la Poste - Paris graffiti art exhibition (8)

 Ernest Pignon Ernest

To start the show, an evolution of the French street-art movement is shown, including pictures of work by such pioneers as, Ernest Pignon-Ernest and Gerard Zlotykamien, representing the 1960s. This is followed with examples by French street art’s first generation artists, including, Blek Le Rat, Jef Aerosol and Jérôme Mesnager, representing the 1980s.

With a sharp curatorial focus,  the exhibition shows the different themes and universes explored by each artist: the enigmatic work by Banksy, the pixelated drones by Space Invaders, the critique on publicity by Shepard Fairey,  the dark and funny social commentary by Dran, the hybrid personages by Ludo, the delicate portraits by Swoon, the masterful pochoirs of forgotten faces by C215, the compasses and labyrinths by L’Atlas, the negation by Rero, the poesy by Miss Tic., and the stone carved faces by Vhils.

Dran - Au-delà du Street-Art - Musée de la Poste - Paris graffiti art exhibition (1)

 Dran

Vhils - Au-delà du Street-Art - Musée de la Poste - Paris graffiti art exhibition (4)

Vhils

Swoon - Au-delà du Street-Art - Musée de la Poste - Paris graffiti art exhibition (3)

Swoon

Rero - Au-delà du Street-Art - Musée de la Poste - Paris graffiti art exhibition (10)

Rero

Ludo - Au-delà du Street-Art - Musée de la Poste - Paris graffiti art exhibition (12)

Ludo

Shepard Fairey - Au-delà du Street-Art - Musée de la Poste - Paris graffiti art exhibition (2)

Shepard Fairey

Space Invaders - Au-delà du Street-Art - Musée de la Poste - Paris graffiti art exhibition (5)

 Space Invaders

L'Atlas - Au-delà du Street-Art - Musée de la Poste - Paris graffiti art exhibition (11)

L’Atlas

Miss Tic - Au-delà du Street-Art - Musée de la Poste - Paris graffiti art exhibition (6)
Miss Tic

Au-delà du Street-Art - Musée de la Poste - Paris graffiti art exhibition (9)

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L’Adresse Musée de La Poste

34 boulevard de Vaugirard, 75015 Paris.

Open from 10am to 6pm (closed Sundays)

www.laposte.fr/adressemusee

 Tel. : 01 42 79 24 24

Cost: €6.50

Runs until March 30th, 2013

Interview with French 3-D canvas graffiti artist, Shaka

French graffiti artist, Shaka, real name, Marchal Mithouard, is about to open his first solo exhibition in New York, which will include his distinctive canvas sculptures. Fernanda Hinke went to Montreuil in the east of Paris – an establishing hub for professional street artists – to interview him about these staggering works, and, also, curious about the anger present in much of his work, she tried to unearth the reasons why. What she discovered was not what she expected: a calm and friendly, nice mannered, and boringly balanced guy. The interview though is interesting, honestly.Shaka interview Graffiti artist from France Marchal Mithouard Paris street art and graffiti (1)

Le Malin

Shaka interview Graffiti artist from France Marchal Mithouard Paris street art and graffiti (1)

 Street Allegory

Shaka interview Graffiti artist from France Paris street art and graffiti (3)

 Strangler in the Night

You started to do graffiti in 1995. What brought you to the streets?

I started to do oil painting when I was nine years old. When I came to graffiti, I already had an oeuvre of canvases at home. By the time I was eighteen, my friends and I were students and we did not want to stay at home or paint in a studio. We were looking for fun and graffiti was a way of combining both. Graffiti was really expressive for me. I was not being judged, I was free,  I had a new name, I was excited,  with good feelings and vibrations. That’s how I discovered a new way to paint.

 What would you describe as your influences?

I was influenced by subculture and alternative culture, punk and Jamaican music. At the beginning, I did a lot of small stencils against racism and messages about anarchy, around Jamaican music. Later, when I was at school, starting to see graffiti on trains in France and hip hop music on TV, I started to make graffiti. It was a confrontation between hip hop and the punk movement.

You graduated in Fine Art at Sorbonne with a Masters in Multimedia Arts. You have your own studio and you are exhibiting in galleries. How you can define your work nowadays?

When I started to do graffiti it was just for fun; later, I realized how I could mix graffiti and more traditional painting. Nowadays, my work is a result of all these experiences. I like to mix all of this, in fact it’s the way hip hop exists, mixing things to make music.  I work in the same way on canvas, making sculptures, and doing graffiti.

Shaka interview Graffiti artist from France Marchal Mithouard Paris street art and graffiti (1)

 Outdoors painting at a factory in Brazil

Shaka interview Graffiti artist from France Marchal Mithouard Paris street art and graffiti (1)

Can you tell me your particular interest in making sculptures on canvas?

My first studio in Paris used to be an old factory building. There I started to use all things that I found on the floor. I used things to build, to put on canvas. In 2007, it was the first time that I used this process to make sculpture on canvas, it was experimental in that moment. I’m really concerned how our generation is submersed in a lot of information through the internet, and the virtual relationships that we have. I like to bring people to see my work personally with a proposal of a real interaction.

I want the public to have an exchange with me. You need to go to the gallery or go to my studio if you really want to appreciate my work.  It’s a way of enjoying sculpture. I’m interested in exchanging, real relationships.  All the characters want to exchange with people to get them to have a reaction. Some people say that my work is too violent, too aggressive. Its like a compliment, it’s the way that I want to provoke people.

Who are your personages? What are you trying to provoke with your strong and aggressive images?

I have sixteen personages, they are all my family and friends. Behind the violence and my energetic colour palette, there is a message of sensibility. It’s all about human expression, the movement of their bodies representing the struggle for individuality in social power politics.

I like to compare my paintings with how governments work. With the end of the American dynasty for example. One personage will fall for sure, but because of it’s selfishness and violence, it will push others to fall down with it. I want to provoke a reflection about this selfishness in human behavior.

Caravaggio is one artist that influences you. In his personal life he used to be an aggressive man, he used to have a lot of enemies, he had a tumultuous life and he also killed a man. Tell me about his influence in your work.

I have no enemies like Caravaggio. But there are some connections with his life and mine. I’m not hooligan, I don’t like football that much, but I like to be in a stadium to see and understand the forces of one group, five thousand guys, screaming, crying, fainting. It’s really impressive, it is another world for a moment. You have your normal life, family, friends and work, but at this moment in the stadium, all the group is a new force. I like to understand this human behavior with the compression of the society, rich and poor people in this place for one thing. The same way that Caravaggio was painting religion, his painting was really strong, contrasting, so his life was also strong like a hooligan.

Shaka interview Graffiti artist from France Paris street art and graffiti (6)

 Man versus Wild 

Shaka interview Graffiti artist from France Paris street art and graffiti (7)

Billboard paiting in the French town of Arromanches

Shaka interview Graffiti artist from France Paris street art and graffiti (8)

 Human Behaviour

Shaka interview Graffiti artist from France Paris street art and graffiti (11)

Autoportrait – bas-relief made from aerosol and acrylic

Do you connect yourself with the images that you create?

I am the opposite of all the anxiety  that I present in my work. I am a very calm person, except when I am in traffic. I have a group of friends since my childhood, my relationship with my family is very positive. My way to fight is through my art.

Why do you want to fight?

I grew up between the suburbs and Paris, between the ghetto and middle class guys, it was a positive cultural exchange for me. My first canvases when I arrived in Paris were about how a lot of guys from the suburbs come to Paris on a Saturday to party and to have fun. There is a real difference between people from the suburbs and downtown. Normally when journalists speak about people from suburbs on television they talk just about the bad things. I made canvasses in the same way that bad journalist reports explore the violence of the suburbs. There are a lot of positive things there but the television never reports on it. My first graffiti crew was from my neighborhood. My confrontation is not a speaking confrontation, it’s inside my art.  You have to fight some times – it is not my way of thinking, but sometimes if you want to be respected, you need to fight.

Do you have a balance when it comes to working on the streets and for galleries? What is the difference for you?

My canvases are big paintings in a graffiti style, but is not about graffiti.  You can make as many graffiti canvases for a gallery as you want, but it will never be graffiti. Graffiti is on a wall, on the street, and illegal. If I go to streets, I want to have the feeling of  what graffiti is. To be honest, I don’t really appreciate doing legal walls on the streets, you have a lot of photographers behind you, there’s no freedom.

If I have time, I like to go out in the streets to make interventions during the night, alone or with my crew, DKP, in the real way that graffiti is about.

Shaka interview Graffiti artist from France Paris street art and graffiti (12)

 Le M.U.R. in Oberkampf, Paris

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Check out Shaka’s website at www.shaka1.fr.

Check out Shaka’s New York exhibition opening on 14th December at gallery nine5: gallerynine5.com.