About Fernanda Hinke

went from fashion marketing in Brazil to biking and Buddhism in Toronto, Canada. Check her out at mylifeonmybike.com.

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.

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.

Le M.U.R. de l’Art exhibition (Day 3) Alber & Macay interviews

Phew! Saturday and the third day of  Le M.U.R. de l’Art organised by l’Association Le M.U.R., happening in the trendy Le Marais district in Paris, where fashion meets art and falafel. Check out the below footage, including interviews and performances by Alber, Macay & No Rules Corp.

Sound by
Pail Meursault

Filmed by
Jonathan Edwards
Cécile Ney

Edited by
Cécile Ney

Home of orthodox jews and the biggest gay community in the French capital, Le Marais is also the stage for the infamous graffiti artist Kidult and many of his sharp sentences, written on the shop fronts of luxury fashion retailers, with a paint-filled fire extinguisher.

The show is, of course, a contrast, the contrast being that the show is inside, while street art is expected to be outside. An issue for street art universe, that we have been discussing with the artists during the event in our studio at Rue de Rosiers in Le Marais, for a documentary on street art on which we are working, currently.

During the event we could often see children delighting in watching artists using their spray cans – a generation that will grow up without any judgment or prejudice of this way of making art.

Today, Sunday the last day of the French salon for street-art. If you are in Paris don’t miss it!

Below, are some of the best moments of from yesterday at Le Mur de L’Art 2012: live performances, artists working and signing for fans in their booths, and some pictures of the interviews for Alternative Paris documentary.

Kenor_Zosen_H101_Gola_Saturday Le M.U.R de l'Art expo l’Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux - Paris street art exhibition - Alternative Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

 Zozen Kenoir H101 GÖLA HUNDUNPhoto: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

The-Room-Saturday Le M.U.R de l'Art expo l’Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux - Paris street art exhibition - Alternative Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Macay-Mural-Three Le M.U.R de l'Art expo l’Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux - Paris street art exhibition - Alternative Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Macay mural. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Macay-Mural-One Le M.U.R de l'Art expo l’Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux - Paris street art exhibition - Alternative Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Macay. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

No-Rules-Mural-One Le M.U.R de l'Art expo l’Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux - Paris street art exhibition - Alternative Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

No Rules Corp. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

No-Rules-Corp-Booth Le M.U.R de l'Art expo l’Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux - Paris street art exhibition - Alternative Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

No Rules Corp booth. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

JS-und-Jana Le M.U.R de l'Art expo l’Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux - Paris street art exhibition - Alternative Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

JS und Jana (Jana und JS) Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Chanoir-Booth Le M.U.R de l'Art expo l’Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux - Paris street art exhibition - Alternative Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Chanoir. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Volunteers_One Le M.U.R de l'Art expo l’Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux - Paris street art exhibition - Alternative Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Team Le M.U.R. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Rensone-in-Rensone-and-Missy-Booth Le M.U.R de l'Art expo l’Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux - Paris street art exhibition - Alternative Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Ella-and-Pitr-Booth Le M.U.R de l'Art expo l’Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux - Paris street art exhibition - Alternative Paris. Photo: Richard Beban and Paris Play copyright 2012

Ella & Pitr booth. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Watch the footage from Day 1

Watch the footage from Day 2

Watch the footage from Day 4

l’Association Le M.U.R.

Mur is, of course, the word in French for ‘wall’ and the association heads up the three by eight metre former billboard advertising space, at 107 rue Oberkampf in the 11th arrondissment, which has had a different street artist create artwork onto its surface every two weeks since 2007.

What is essentially an institutionalised space for urban art is, however, not a product of bureaucrats trying to funnel teenage angst, but rather born from an ongoing campaign of intelligent, yet illegally and aggressively realised street art, made by some of Paris’ high-minded individuals who produce street art for a number of reasons, one being to demonstrate against the appropriation of public space by commercial advertisers,

Jean Faucheur and  Thomas Schmitt  founded Le M.U.R., and helped orchestrate illegal art campaigns such as the illegal billboard hijacking of 2002 , Une Nuit, which involved 60 billboard-sized artworks prepared by 60 or so artists over three months, pasted up just in the 11th arrondissment in one night (and a day).

This grand illegal street art campaign was a forerunner to the organisation, which established itself officially in 2007 and now exists with the support of the Mairie de Paris. Each artist who makes Le MUR is given a stipend of €500 to cover travel and materials expenses, and each new artwork is realised in place of the previous, thus continuing the principle of ephemeral street art. The exhibition, Le M.U.R de L’ART, fits into the logic of the association continuing to promote artists.

Since Le M.U.R. became an official association, more than 120 artists have been invited to produce artwork at the wall, and in 2012 the project has launched in other places. The 13th arrondissement (with an already sympathetic position towards mural art by those recognised for illegal street art – see Alternative Paris’ article and interviews and documentary on Shepard Fairey’s recent 13-storey high Paris mural) was born at Quai François Mauriac in July, and another one appeared in Normandy, on the beach of Arromanches. And a fourth wall was inaugurated in Marseilles in September.

The Le M.U.R de L’ART Exhibition

Located on rue Vieille du Temple, 75003 Paris, l’Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux is a unique venue in Paris and has a very rich yet quite unknown history. Constructed in the 15th century, the building has always evolved, and has never remained fixed into one singular activity. It is now dedicated to the arts and sports, but was at times a hotel, a hospital and even a convent garden.

Artists taking part in Le M.U.R de L’ART, as follows:

ALBER

ASTRO

BABOU

BUSTART

CHANOIR

COLORZ

DOMINIQUE LARRIVAZ

ELLA & PITR

EVER

FANCIE

FKDL

GÉRARD ZLOTYKAMIEN

GILBERT

GÖLA HUNDUN

H101

JANA & JS

JEAN FAUCHEUR

JEAN MODERNE/RCF1

JÉRÔME MESNAGER

KASHINK

KATRE

KEFLIONE

KENOR

KOUKA

LE CYKLOP

MARDI NOIR

MACAY

MICHAËL BEERENS

MISSY

MODULE DE ZEER

MOSKO & ASSOCIÉS

NASTY

NICE ART

NICOGERMAIN

NO RULES CORP

OX

PAELLA CHIMICOS

RENSONE

RERO

RUE MEURT D’ART

PAUL SANTOLERI

SHAKA

SIXO

SMASH 137

SMOLE

SPEEDY GRAPHITO

STOUL

SURFIL

TANC

Tarek Benaoum

TEURK

THOM THOM

Voodoöo / Weirdfarm

YZ

ZOSEN

————

Alternative Paris’ team helping document Le M.U.R. de l’Art 2012, includes: Charles DevoyerRichard BebanFernanda Hinke, Pali MeausaultCecile Ney, Jonathan Edwards & Demian Smith.

Kashink paints Le M.U.R. and the Parisian autumn starts

Women being rare in the street art world, yesterday, and the beginning of my first Parisian autumn, to mark the occasion I went to Le M.U.R. (Association Le Modulable Urbain Reactif) - the Parisian art project which revolves around a three by eight metre billboard set aside by the city council for the purpose of promoting street art -  to see French street artist Kashink’s performance.

Kashink Le M.U.R. urban art, Paris - Oberkampf - Alternative Paris. Photo: Fernanda Schweichler (3)

Kashink Le M.U.R. urban art, Paris - Oberkampf - Alternative Paris. Photo: Fernanda Schweichler (9)

Wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the work of Jean-Michel-Basquiat and a faux moustache above her delicate lips, Kashink distributed sincere smiles to an appreciative audience gathered at the wall in Paris 11th arrondissement, who watched her hands sliding around holding spray cans, drawing with sweet colours her unmistakable characters.

Kashink paints huge protean figures with multiple eyes, men mostly, or Mexican skulls, all in a colourful graphic style, away from traditional references to female graffiti. Inspired by Frida Kahlo and the “Bad Painting” of Basquiat and Keith Haring, among the themes that are usual to her, these include taboo subjects, such as homosexuality, the status of women, and death.

The number thirteen can be seen in her Le M.U.R., representing the character’s third eye, and is also Kashink’s lucky number, she explained me. Also seen is the phrase, “Okay Mom I will”, which relates to a mum’s concerns with her son and his response being boring, but positive.  What she really likes is for people to look at her drawings and feel stimulated to create their own meanings.

Kashink Le M.U.R. urban art, Paris - Oberkampf - Alternative Paris. Photo: Fernanda Schweichler (8)

Kashink Le M.U.R. urban art, Paris - Oberkampf - Alternative Paris. Photo: Fernanda Schweichler (6)

Kashink Le M.U.R. urban art, Paris - Oberkampf - Alternative Paris. Photo: Fernanda Schweichler (2)

Le M.U.R. is always a good place to meet friends, special people, and to exchange ideas with other lovers of urban art. I guess Kashink painted the huge six by four metre panel in around eight hours, of which I enjoyed three hours, yesterday. However, after being chilled by the cold sensation of the autumn air, sadly, I left before she finished the work, but then I came back this morning to take pictures of the work.

Kashink Le M.U.R. urban art, Paris - Oberkampf - Alternative Paris. Photo: Fernanda Schweichler (5)

Kashink Le M.U.R. urban art, Paris - Oberkampf - Alternative Paris. Photo: Fernanda Schweichler (7)

Thanks to a beautiful surprise from the Universe this morning! While writing this article beside Le M.U.R. at the Café Charbon I met Kashink still working on her painting that was supposed to be finished yesterday. I had the pleasure to talk with her again and receive her explanation of the work. I asked her to sign my bike and as always, smiling, she gave me this beautiful gift. Thirteen thanks for the beautiful performance of Kashink!

Kashink Le M.U.R. urban art, Paris - Oberkampf - Alternative Paris. Photo: Fernanda Schweichler (10)

Interview with spiritual-mystic Paris graffiti artist L’Atlas

Ten years after France’s ‘mini-revolution’ of 1968, former French street artist L’Atlas was born, hence there became a new force in graffiti on the streets of Paris, a pastiche of graffiti, ancient typography, Greek mythology and eastern spiritualism.

Until recently, L’Atlas fought the ‘good fight’ of putting up art in the urban space without first asking for permission, mixed with a, perhaps, healthy level of egotism, but now makes art just to sell at galleries in New York, London, Milan.

Based in an artists ‘atelier’ in Paris’ Belleville neighbourhood, Fernanda Schweichler went to meet and interview L’Atlas for her blog, My Life on My Bike, and has kindly published a version of the interview she made, here, with Alternative Paris.

L’Atlas billboard takeover in Paris

L’Atlas graffiti: his formal calligraphy training being put into practice illegally. Notice the work underneath by Paris ‘first generation’ stencillist, Nemo. Photo: Jojo Blogs

L’Atlas pastes up work at 105 rue Oberkampf in the 11th arrondissement, now the site of the institutionalised space for urban art, Le M.U.R.

One of L’Atlas’ “seven daughters”, the first seven canvases he painted which he takes with him on his travels.

A student of archaeology and calligraphy, L’ Atlas’ (real name is Jules Dedet Granel) began tagging his name on Paris’ streets in the early 90’s. Particularly interested in Sufism and writing geometric codes which he then transposes into the Latin alphabet, he switched mediums in 2001, from using spray cans to using Scotch tape (Sellotape).

Always attracted by mysticism and travel, his artistic approach was marked from childhood by books on astronomy and geography. After marking the floors and walls of the city with huge compasses and labyrinths, L’Atlas’ work took the path of kinetic art and geometric abstraction.

No longer working in the street, today L’Atlas is represented by galleries around the world in Paris, New York, Milan, London and Marrakesh.

You took the name of a titan in Greek mythology. How do you feel connected with this representation?

During my archaeology studies I learned about Greek mythology and middle-eastern spirituality. It fascinated me and I thought it was a good idea to mix this mythology with something contemporary. Because the atlas is a universal form that everybody understands, I let it really influence my work.

How did you first become interested in the cosmos, earth and geography?

I was attracted to things around energy, like the earth and the cosmos, and I used to do Tai Chi Chuan, which opened my contact with the energy of the universe. I think life is energy and also calligraphy is energy, painting is the translation of pure energy.

For me there is no difference between the universe and painting. When you look at a map, the universe and cosmos are geographic landscapes in a balance. In my paintings I’m looking to rediscover the balance of the landscapes and cosmos.

How did you start to learn Arabic Calligraphy?

I started to learn Latin calligraphy in 1996 and afterwards I began to learn Arabic calligraphy in Morocco, Cairo and Syria during 3 years, between 1998 and 2000, each time with a different master. The first time in Morocco, I learned classic calligraphy. I learned 9 or 10 different styles and the year after I came back to Cairo to make a documentary about calligraphy.

This time was the beginning of my art and when I was doing my first ideograms, trying to find a balance between the letters and the form.  In 2000 I made my first exhibition with a video of calligraphy.

L’Atlas billboard hijacking

One of the “Seven Daughters”, India

Photo: The Street Art Blog

In 2001 you stopped to use spray can and discovered the use of Scotch tape. How was this transition and what fascinated you to give confidence to start using this material?

Scotch tape is something I use to make straight lines. Also, the old painters used it to make letter forms. I was also working in the cinema in 2001 and in cinema you use tape to fix the cables and stuff, so I began to steal some as it was perfect for me to make the links with geometry. With tape you don’t have to draw something so the line is already there. I like this concept of the tape being physical.

Can you tell me about your street art projects, in photography, printing onto the ground, and with compasses?

Since I was a child I was looking at the forms of the city, especially geometric forms. The manhole cover influenced my work with graffiti and calligraphy.  I like the idea that I’m going to enter into this format and stay there.

In 2000 the city hall decided to clean away all of the graffiti and street art in Paris. It was really strange, overnight they cleaned everything. I felt confused and lost in the city in which I grew up. That’s why I started to make the compass, to find my own directions in the city again. It was a joke for me.

I also liked the idea that people think that those pieces were ordered by the city, like something really legal commissioned by the city or a museum, because it is useful and normally in front of a subway, people were confused by that.  Of course, today all of that disappeared and I knew that when you’re making ephemeral actions like this it is going to provoke something.

People use to come to me frequently and ask me: “what are these?”. For me was a good excuse to go to the streets to meet people, speak and have a relationship with them. Because I love to go to street, work all day long and make pictures. I’m not a photographer but I like to go to street with my canvas and make pictures of that

Why do you use to work in black and white?

I’ve been working in black and white for 15 years. I don’t feel like a painter, I’m a calligrapher and I also make pictures. I use letters and text on my work that is also black and white. It’s really optical as when you see something in black and white there is an optical vibration. What I want to express are the pure things, the essence of things. Nowadays, one by one I’ll add colours, some red, some fluorescent. During seven years, I used to say to journalists that I was colour blind, just because the truth was too boring: “why do you just work in black and white?” And people use to say, this guy doesn’t see colours. It was a game for me.

My current exhibition, at the Musée en Herbe in Paris, is called Persistence, and includes works whereby I’ve added light in a way that plunges the viewer into a fluorescent atmosphere.

One of the “Seven daughters” , Moscow

You are influenced by Hakim Bey, the researcher of Sufism. What do you think about this philosophy of self-knowledge and interaction with God? Do you follow any religion?

I don’t believe in God, I believe in a stronger energy and I am trying to follow this energy. I’m very sensitive to feel the energy inside places.  That’s why in my work I use tape because if you use stencil, for example, you make the same size everywhere but when you use tape, I can have a good proportion for each place that I will work, after I see and feel the place.

Normally, before starting to work for a show in a gallery, I need to see the place. I try to make something special for this space. This is a very exciting part of a show. I’m an intuitive artist, so I can’t create a good show without seeing and feeling the place.

I use to read a lot of books about Taoism and I feel connected with this philosophy, where everyone can find their own personality and that even in this philosophy there are no rules, it’s flexible, different to the monotheistic religions, which don’t respect your individuality.

In your manifesto you say that you have your “seven daughters”, or seven canvases that you always take on your travels around the world. What does it mean to you?

It’s about my first seven canvases that I did in 2001. In Greek mythology Atlas has seven daughters, and the constellation of Pleiades is the symbol of the universe in movement.  My idea was to travel with the canvases and make pictures of them everywhere, in each city that I passed by, always in the same way. I used to do it with graffiti when I was working on the street. With the seven daughters it’s the same thing because my name is painted onto the canvases. It’s the most ephemeral action that you can do on the streets.

On the other side it was to provoke the story of art and the way we value it. Normally canvases are very well protected and well packed, like a sacred thing. I want to break that rule, that’s why I never protect the “seven daughters”, they always travel like people there are scratches on them, like us. My idea is to transform those pieces into human beings.

In the beginning, 10 years ago, I use to travel with the seven canvases. Nowadays, I travel with just one or two, because I have problems with my back. But I always change the pieces, because I don’t want that they become jealous.

I’m editing a book, which being released soon, with 400 pictures from 40 cities with the seven daughters.

L’Atlas, Strasbourg. Photo: Fat cap

L’Atlas creates a giant compass in front of the Pompidou Centre, the world-class modern art museum. The compass was in response to a crackdown on graffiti by the Paris authorities, which left him feeling lost in the city

How do you mix the street and the gallery, what distinctions do you make between the two?

I’m trying to mix the two things. I have to say that it’s cool what’s happening with street art today, but it didn’t make any sense in 2001. At this time, it was really good to do it because nobody was doing it that much. But now, it’s a kind of a trend, I mean you just put two stickers up on the street and you’re a street artist.

But street art didn’t come from another planet, graffiti and street artists know the history of art, they just created a new movement with that knowledge. It regroups all the people who make photos or pictures or stencils or graffiti, and it’s a specific movement for me because in their own way people working in the street continue to develop the art. It’s important for me to say that, even if at this time my work is more a “studio work”, sometimes I spend one month just on one canvas.

I make the choice to work with galleries, but sometimes I need to go to the street and make big things, big walls. Sometimes I miss the street because before I had the right balance between the street and the studio. Now I’m working in a big studio with Tanc and another artist. I work for several galleries around the world so I’ve to spend a lot of time to create exhibitions. The street is a good thing to show your art, because if you sell a canvas, maybe 50 people will see it, but if you work is on the streets, maybe a thousand people or more will see it.

What I mean is that the power of the walls is huge. Writing a name, using graffiti, for example, is a really a strong action. It was really natural for me. I had the opportunity to create my own show with Agnes B. when I was 21 just because I used to tag her truck in front of her gallery. So that’s why one of my favourite quotes is, “actions speak louder than words”.

Inside of L’Atlas’ studio in Belleville in the 20th arrondissement

 

Shepard Fairey in Paris documentary “Street Art x Fashion”

Shepard Fairey documentary in Paris ”Street Art x Fashion”

Filmed & edited by 

Maria Fernanda Hinke Schweichler

Cécile Ney

Demian Smith

Music by

Pali Meursault

————

Background to Shepard Fairey documentary:

(by cultural journalist, Maria Fernanda Schweichler – MyLifeonMyBike.com)

Last Thursday Demian Smith & myself had the opportunity to interview one of the most famous street artists in the world: Shepard Fairey aka Obey. It’s a tremendous responsibility to interview an artist like him, who is also involved in business and politics. But yes, working as a journalist of street art I believe that when we have pure intentions and our goal is to absorb what the artist has to show in a positive way, we always get the right dots to connect.

Shepard Fairey is the brains behind the Obey Giant campaign, and also the Barack Obama Hope poster, which went viral during Obama’s first presidential election campaign. Shepard came to Paris to launch a collection for Levi’s at its flagship store on the Champs-Élysées and also to create a huge wall in the Thirteenth Arrondissement of Paris.

During the interview with Shepard Fairey we talked about his relationship with the fashion world, the project with Levi’s, all the charity programs that he is involved with and the help he gives to several institutions, and also about how he feels nowadays after being responsible for influencing so many people to vote for Barack Obama with the poster, Hope.

It’s hard to deny that Shepard Fairey is a mix of artist, politician and businessman. Talking with him and hearing his strong voice and well articulated answers I realised that he has a strong power to make a difference and to be a great example. It was really beautiful to hear how he is concerned about using his own profit to help others and the environment by collaborating with non–profit organisations such as Occupy Wall StreetSurfrider Fundation and many others.

When the interview with Shepard Fairey had finished, in an informal way I asked him if he was planning to paint something in Paris, and so we had the information first-hand of the address of the wall that he was going to paint (which was kept secret for the first two days of work). The wall was painted over three long days, and we were there following step by step his work in progress, which you can see in the video and in our previous post.

On the third day (Sunday 18th June)  the street art gallery responsible for the  project, Galerie Itinerrance, invited the media, fans and people involved with street art to make a conference on the residential building  that he was painting. As a super-star Shepard Fairey was there posing for pictures and giving autographs with patience, even with a lot of work to do before finally finishing the black and red, and involved and beautiful painting.

Between Thursday and Sunday, My life on My Bike and Demian Smith recorded different moments and perspectives of Shepard Fairey’s stay in Paris to produce a video that you can watch now in the video above and discover more about Shepard Fairey’s positive ideas and his performance in Paris.

Interview with the first Knight of Paris street art, Fred le Chevalier

Paris street art ‘man of the moment’ Fred le Chevalier, having captured the Paris public’s adoration in such a way that his last show, and first solo show, sold out in under an hour, could be considered a phenomenon.

The proof of this is the story of when Fred got caught by the Paris police: rather than receiving a fine, or worse, spending time in a cell, he found out he has fans in powerful places. 

Maria Fernanda Hinke-Schweichler, who also blogs at MyLifeOnMyBike.com, has managed to track down this French street art cavalier. Below is a summary of what she discovered.

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (1)

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (5)

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (4)

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how and when you got started in making street art?

I used to do draw when I was a child and I stopped when I was a teenager. Then seven years ago I started again and I began posting my work on MySpace. I received really good feedback and I would give my drawings to people who were fans of what I was doing. The positive responses that I received encouraged me to draw more and since then it’s taken up a lot of space in my life.

I started to go out on the street to paste up my work three years ago, with the same idea I had with Myspace and with giving my drawings to people, about sharing my work with people without being in a gallery. Doing street art is a way to talk with everybody, not just with a specific audience.

Who are your biggest artistic influences?

When I was young I was really impressed by Ernest Pignon Ernest. I liked this kind of poetry on the street. I’m not a specialist on street art but I had a good feeling about this kind of art, as I like free things. Punk music has the same spirit of being able to express yourself freely without being a musician. In the same way I felt free to draw without knowledge of any formal technique.

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (2)

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (11)

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (8)

Where does the name Fred Le Chevalier originate?

I use to read books by Alexandre Dumas, and I always liked this kind of literature with knights and a little romanticism. Also, I took care of a young baby and I use to give names for his family so I chose one beautiful name for me, Fred le Chevalier (Fred The Knight) because of the literature, Don Quixote, and then other people used to call me Fred Le Chevalier. When I had to choose a name to sign my drawings, it was natural to take this name.

What motivates you to go out and put art on the streets?

I started to have self-trust about my drawings from the feedback of people that saw my work on Myspace. I like to walk, so I walk around the city and put my art at the same time. The first time that I put up work in the street it was for a woman that I use to love – it was a gift for her.  At the beginning I didn’t realise that I could do it so often. Putting my drawings on the walls of the city is the only way to share and to talk with all the people. People can stop to see or not, people can like or not. We walk very fast in Paris, we have many things to do, we don’t have time but sometimes when you see something on the wall you can stop for one second or for ten seconds and slow down. I like this kind of poetry.

How often do you put your art on street?

I use to put three times a week and nowadays I always work during the day.

Do you have any idea how many collages have you been posting on the streets, so far?

I have no idea, but in the beginning I use to post small ones. Once I posted 100 in just one day, during one year it was just small pieces, now I put big ones. Maybe so for I’ve stuck around two or three thousand pieces.

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (12)

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (13)

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (3)

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (14)

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (15)

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (16)

I heard that once you were caught by the cops and one policeman loved your work?

This story is really funny. In the beginning I use to stick during the night. I thought I should be discreet because it is forbidden. It’s not so true actually, when you do with sprays you have to be really careful, when you do it with paper it’s not so dangerous. I had posted one paper the night before in the same area, the day after I was sticking again when I was approached by a cop. He started to ask me what I was doing and I was unable to answer. I started to hesitate, I was really nervous and afraid that he would make me pay a fine, but the cop asked me to show him what I was doing that night and told me he really liked what I do, and to have a good night. It was funny and strange, because he really knew about my work.

What are you trying to achieve with your art?

What I like about my work is that people can create their own meaning. I like when people appropriate my drawings and recount their stories with their own imagination. I like sweet things that come from the infancy to the adult age connected with the dream realm and tales. Sometimes are sweet emotions about love, but sometimes are hard emotions. My characters never are adult or child, man or woman, it’s always a mix. I try to do things that are optimistic. I’m not interested to make a provocative work. I like mixing poetry with street art. I really enjoy when people tell me that my work makes them remember their childhood or for instance a mother that already passed away. When people take ownership of my work, this is what gives me pleasure.

Where the inspiration for your characters comes from?

They come from my feelings. I identify myself with most of the characters.

Could you explain a little about the alter ego in your work?

In the beginning my characters were just about me, always the same characters, same shoes, same tie, same hairstyle. Now I have more characters. Most of the time it is about me, but sometimes I try to represent people that I know, especially friends. I try to stick the drawings close to places that they are used to going, but I don’t tell them.

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (9)

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (6)

What do you think about the work of Tristan des Limbes?

Tristan is my friend and I feel close with what she does. Some people say that we are opposite, my characters are sweeter, while her message is depressive. But I don’t think it’s so true, because poetry is not just to say that the sky is blue, so I consider what she does as a poetry, dark poetry, but poetry. In my characters there are a lot of occult meanings, sometimes in their eyes. It’s also about despair. I don’t consider my art so far from her art. I really love what she does because it’s her, you identify easily, is black and white as my drawings and when I see her work this inspires me to stick more.

You have been putting up your work in Paris and as well as other cities in France. But you have also put up work in Brazil.  Do you have any plans to travel anywhere else in the world with your street art?

In Brazil it was collaboration with a friend that takes pictures of street art. I have given them some drawings to stick. I didn’t go to Brazil unfortunately, this project is called Street Art Without Borders. He put some art from abroad in Paris too and he put mine in Brazil, Germany and Denmark, also he will go to Japan. Will be great for me because I drew a character for a Japanese movie and my drawing is going to Tokyo. I already went to Berlin and I was impressed with the amount of art on the walls. I would like to go in more cities in France and in others countries too. This is something that I would really like to do.

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (17)

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (18)

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (7)

Do you choose where to put your pieces in advance or do you improvise?

Both, there are some walls that I go to again, again and again, especially in Le Marais because I started there. Every time that I go somewhere I try to stick something.

Where is your favourite neighbourhood to show your work in Paris?

I stick in the Le Marais in the 3rd Arrondissement very often, because I have a lot of friends that are lesbians and we go there often to take coffee – it’s like a habit, and I like a lot of bakeries there. I like Le Marais but I prefer Bellville and I would like to live there.

I had the pleasure to go to your first vernissage at Le Houla Oups bar and everything was sold in less than one hour. How do you feel about that?

It was a great party with a lot of people and so much good feedback. I didn’t expect to sell all the pieces so fast – it was crazy and a surprise for me. It was a perfect start and evening but also a bit disturbing to be honest.

What do you think about street art inside a gallery?

I’m not a specialist about that, but I’m discovering this world now and I will have more exhibitions this year. I’m a lit bit afraid of this world. I see a lot of people coming to me because they want to buy my art as a product, which I don’t consider very funny. I’m more interested to sell for a cheap price for someone that loves my work instead of selling for a big price to someone that wants to buy as an investment.

When I draw it’s the same thing for a street or for a gallery, but the emotions are different. I really like the feeling of sticking my drawings on the street.

You work in a school too. Do you like to support yourself just with your art?

I would like only to spend my day drawing. My goal is not to become rich, if I can get enough money to support myself from drawing it would be perfect. But I have my job at the school that makes me free to say yes or no, which for now is a good way to make better choices.

What are your plans for the rest of 2012?

I have a show opening on May 31st - a collective exhibition at the Cabinet d’ Amateur gallery  (lecabinetdamateur.com) alongside various artists, including big favourites of mine, Rubbish Cube and Diamant. I also have other collective exhibition in Paris in August in a gallery near to Beaubourg, Nivet Carzon. In July I have plans to stick my characters in Aulnay-Sous-Bois during a cultural event near to the canal on July 4th. I will have my first solo exhibition in a gallery in Le Marais in September in a place called Sometimes Studio. And then finally, I will have an exhibition in my home town Angouleme, in October in a shop gallery called Chez Cax.

Street art in Paris by Fred le Chevalier. French street artist Fred is very active on the Paris street art scene currently – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (10)

Find out more about Fred le Chevalier at his website, http://fredlechevalier.blogspot.fr/

This interview was originally published on the website, Street Art Paris.