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 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.

Interview with James Brett founder of The Museum of Everything

The Museum of Everything, presented in Paris by Chalet Society, led by former director and chief curator of Palais de Tokyo, Marc-Oliver Wahler is a collection of artworks by those untouched by artistic culture, work by men and women who function without art education, theory or society. We have interviewed the founder of the exhibition, James Brett.

The show consists of work by those who for various reasons exist, or at least produce artwork, outside of the mainstream culture, unconcerned in their creativity with worries of competition, acclaim or social promotion; for whom the act of creation and the impulse to make depend neither on destination nor on definition.

Founded by Britisher, James Brett, the 500 works span the 19th, 20th and 21st century, and highlights include the panoramic adult fairytale of Chicago janitor Henry Darger, the towering spirit scrolls of Chinese factory worker Guo Fengyi, the mystic constructions of French miniature architect ACM, and the dense tramways of Dutch self-appointed naive Willem van Genk.

The Museum of Everything was established by James Brett in 2009 in an old dairy in Primrose Hill, north-west London, and has since travelled the world. The show is in Paris until Christmas before heading to Moscow.

In the interview, Brett explains a little on how one determines outsider-ness, how the exhibition ended up in Paris, and why Banksy’s former gallerist, Steve Lazarides is the King of Outsiders.

Henry Darger - The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (3)

Portrait of a Girl Scout by reclusive American self-taught artist, Henry Darger. Photo: © The Museum of Everything

Josef Karl Rädler - The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (9)

Portrait by Austrian porcelain painter and psychiatric patient, Josef Karl Rädler. Photo: © The Museum of Everything

Henry Darger - The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (6)

 Double-sided panoramic episode by reclusive American self-taught artist, Henry Darger. Photo: © The Museum of Everything

Henry Darger - The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (7)

  Double-sided panoramic episode by reclusive American self-taught artist, Henry DargerPhoto: © The Museum of Everything

The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (11)

The Woodbridge Figures. Photo: Pavlos Metaxas. © The Museum of Everything

Prophet Royal Robertson - The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (8)

Environmental sign by Prophet Royal Robertson.  Royal Robertson created countless drawings of aliens, buildings, women and calendars, as well as signs directed against his former wife. Photo: © The Museum of Everything

Justin McCarthy - The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (15)

 Portrait of ice skater, Hans Leitner, by Justin McCarthy.  The prolific McCarthy is considered an important and enigmatic Southern American self-taught painterPhoto: © The Museum of EverythingAleksander Pavlovich Lobanov - The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (16)

Hunting scene by Aleksander Pavlovich Lobanov.  A Russian deaf-mute confined to an institution for 50 years, Lobanov created a vast body of work, including drawings and paintings which featured him as a gun-toting hero of the revolution. Photo: © The Museum of Everything

The Museum of Everything artworks are by contemporary and historic self-taught, visionary and non-traditional artists, often termed outsider artists. Tell us a little bit about how you came to be involved with the Museum.

The Museum of Everything started because it had to. No other British art institution dedicated itself to creators whose creations had no perceived destination. When museums did present this work, they relied on labels and categories – like outsider art and art brut – to design a distance. The art was often abstracted or neutralised, the artists presented as others, rather than as aspects of us.

These segregations seemed more than a little inappropriate. So our first exhibition curated over 100 artists in a ramshackle former dairy in London. We invited all the contemporary artists, curators and thinkers we knew to choose their favourites and verbalise their choices. The result was an informal and alternative history which seemed to touch and inspire a wide-ranging audience.

Their enthusiasm inspired us, so we carried on. Hence, three years, a bunch of shows across Europe, movies, books and a vast obsessive creative mess.

Are there really any outsiders anymore? And if so, outside what?

Most people think of themselves as outsiders, most creative characters do anyway. It’s the romance of difference and counter-culture. Add the word art and we tend to project: to the isolated hermit carving masterpieces in his cave. So on that level the implication is correct. Today there are less caves, less hermits.

Yet it’s one thing to label oneself an outsider, another to have the label stuck on you. A person who cannot see or hear can be called an outsider from a physiological or psychological point of view. But what if it was your child and what if it was you?

Questions of outsiderness are all a bit irrelevant. This person is like us, he or she is us, different to some, similar to others, a varied variable human being whose art might speak to us even when he or she cannot. We don’t really need a word to find our empathy. If anything, the definition is more likely to encourage the opposite. That’s why The Museum of Everything always has an eye on its tongue.

No inside, no outside, no walls.

WILLIAM HAWKINS - The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (2)

King Kong by William Hawkins.  Hawkins is one of the most reknowned and sought-after self taught African-American painters.  Photo: © The Museum of Everything

Dan Miller - The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (14)

Environmental sign by landowner, GT Miller.  Photo © The Museum of Everything

The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (17)

Anonymous working model of funfair ride.  Photo: Pavlos Metaxas  © The Museum of Everything

The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (13)

William Hawkins installation shot at Exhibition #1.1 in Paris.  Photo: Pavlos Metaxas © The Museum of Everything

The exhibition is installed in an ephemeral space, an ex-Catholic school in St Germain, and includes 500 works: private drawings, signs and carvings, hand-made books, discovered bodies of work and environmental installations. How did the venue reveal itself to you?

The venue appeared courtesy of a tall Swiss gentleman called Marc-Olivier Wahler, the esteemed former director of Palais du Tokyo.  We knew each other, were mutual fans and shared a cup of mint tea in North Africa.

There in the heat, Wahler revealed his new art space - Chalet Society - an anti-museum centred around radical philosophies of creativity. The chosen building was a monument trapped in time. Thin and decrepit, it had once been home to the city’s Catholic students, where a printing press pumped out propaganda inside rooms painted in more colours than a Parisian rainbow.

We fell in love immediately, changed nothing and we started to hang pictures and place objects. As we did, the structure spoke to us, told us what it wanted and where it wanted it to go. We just got on with it.

The exhibition also incorporates essays by leading artists, curators, writers and thinkers, including David Byrne, Ed Ruscha, and Marlene Dumas. Can you tell us a little about the way the non-outsider art world views the Museum of Everything and outsider art in general?

It’s a good question, but what is the art world? Some know us, many more don’t, a lot turn up, the lucky few get it, museums ignore us, unless of course they don’t, free-thinking curators embrace us, traditionalists steer clear, collectors are intrigued, galleries flirt, auction houses don’t bother; we don’t merit the market.

But the contemporary creative communities are as fascinated as we are. Artists, designers, musicians, filmmakers and writers connect with the authenticity of this work because it connects with their own creativity. Through their support, our ideas have reached out into the world, call it the art world if you must.

All we see is that our artists are turning up more and more, in major shows across Europe and America, in festivals, fairs and biennales. That seems to indicate some level of impact, although you can never really tell.

The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (12)

Morton Bartlett installation shot at Exhibition #1.1 in Paris.  Photo: Pavlos Metaxas  © The Museum of Everything

The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (10)

ACM installation shot at Exhibition #1.1 in Paris.  Photo: Pavlos Metaxas © The Museum of Everything

The Lazarides gallery in London calls the pieces it sells outsider art, partly because it is produced by artists who also make work outside, the website notes, tongue in cheek. The gallery most famously used to represent street artist, Banksy. Should artwork produced by this stable of commercial street artists share the outsider art label?

Steve Lazarides is the King of Outsiders, Banksy draws on walls, we knock them down. It’s all a question of taste and intention. But since hermits like cave walls, it would seem a little short-sighted to impose a world-wide ban.

What are your future goals with the exhibition Museum of Everything? And, do you have any other projects coming up that you can tell us about?

Right now we are sojourning in Paris, after that we trek to Moscow, for a final show of our Russian summer discoveries. Then who knows, the universe beckons and there are many tiny creative nooks. Sign up to our newsletter, when we get a moment, we’ll let you know.

The Museum of Everything by James Brett at Chalet Society by Marc-Oliver Wahler, former director of Palais de Tokyo (1)

Almighty God installation shot at Exhibition #1.1 in Paris.  Photo: Pavlos Metaxas © The Museum of Everything

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Chalet Society presents The Museum of Everything // Exhibition #1.1

14 boulevard Raspail, 75007 Paris

Wednesday to Sunday, from now until  end of February, 2013

 www.musevery.com

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Also, while you’re there you can check out Le Café d’Everything –  an exclusive coffee-counter and all-you-can-eaterie with bespoke delicacies from the animal and vegetable kingdoms, created by Momo and Derrière.

And, The Shop of Everything an award-winning boutique, with limited edition books, prints, clothes, homeware and knick-knackery to benefit The Museum of Everything and its artists.

The Shop of Everything can be found rive gauche at Chalet Society, 14 boulevard Raspail, Paris 75007, and rive droite at Merci, 111 boulevard Beaumarchais, Paris 75003.

For the full range, go to www.shopevery.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.

Le M.U.R. de l’Art exhibition (Day 2) Bustart & Zozen interviews

The second day of the grand Parisian street art exhibition, Le M.U.R. de l’Art, organised by l’Association Le M.U.R., in Paris’ Le Marais district, and yet more footage of live art performances and interviews with some of the street art high society, including Rensone & Missy, Bustart, Zozen, Kenoir, H101 & GÖLA HUNDUN.

Sound by
Pali Meursault

Filmed by
Jonathan Edwards
Cécile Ney

Edited by
Cécile Ney

Zozen-Kenoir-H101-Gola-Two - 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 Gola. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Zozen-Kenoir-H101-Gola-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

 Zozen Kenoir H101 Gola. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

YZ - 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

 YZ Yseult Digan. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Woman-with-Kashink-Cow - 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

 Woman with Kashink Cow. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Watching-Rensone-and-Missy-Work - 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

Watching Rensone and Missy work. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Thom-Thom-Photo-of-the-Day - 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

 Thom Thom – Photo of the Day. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Surfil-Signs-for-a-Fan - 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

 Surfil signs for a fan. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Stoul - 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

Stoul. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Smoles-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

 Smoles booth. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

SIXO-Draws-a-Fan - 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

 SIXO draws a fan. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

SIXO - 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

 SIXO. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Reading-the-Entrance-Wall - 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

Reading the entrance wall. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Paellas-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

Paellas booth. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

No-Rules-Corp - 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

Mosko-Spying-on-Mesnager - 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

Mosko spying on Mesnager. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Missy-of-Rensone-and-Missy - 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

Missy of Rensone and Missy. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Mesnager-Mural-From-Thursday - 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

Mesnager Mural from Thursday. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Le-Cyklop - 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

Le Cyklop. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Kouka-with-a-Fan - 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

Kouka with a Fan - Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Kashink-Mural-From-Thursday - 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

Kashink mural from Thursday. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Kashink-Mural-From-Thursday - 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

Mosko. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

FKDL - 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

FKDL. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Fan-Posing-for-SIXO - 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

Fan posing for SIXO. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Entering-Paellas-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

Entering Paellas booth. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Gilbert - 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

Gilbert. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Considering-Some-Mosko-Tigers - Gilbert - 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

Considering some Mosko Tigers. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Cecile-Filming-Rensone-and-Missy - Gilbert - 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

Cecile filming Rensone and Missy. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Bustart_Two - 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

Bustart. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Bustart_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

Bustart. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Bob Jeudy - 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

Bob Jeudy. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Best-Fashion-Look - 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

Best fashion look. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Watch the footage from Day 1

Watch the footage from Day 3

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.

Le M.U.R. de l’Art exhibition (Day 1) Beerens & Kashink interviews

The film of art exhibition Le M.U.R. de l’Art in Paris’ Le Marais district  includes footage of live art performances by French street artists, Beerens and Kashink, and interviews on the current commercial trends in the street art movement.

Le M.U.R. de l’Art, organised by l’Association Le M.U.R. - footage from day one of the ‘Paris Salon’ to street art – coverage and artist interviews by Alternative Paris.

Sound by
Pali Meursault

Filmed by
Jonathan Edwards
Cécile Ney

Edited by
Cécile Ney

Le M.U.R. de l'Art 2012 (Day 1) French street artists Beerens & Kashink. Photo: Richard Beban (Paris Play)

French street artist, Kashink, performance. Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Watch the footage from Day 2

Watch the footage from Day 3

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.

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.

Paris’ #1 graffiti vandal – Horfe video interview by Will Robson-Scott

Paris street artist Horfe is considered to be one of, if not the leading graffiti writer in the world. His contribution to the Paris street art landscape is huge. Below is a short documentary on this amazing Paris graffiti artist.

The film entitled Death is Home is part of the Crack & Shine International series by London-based creative agency Topsafe - to which Horfe belongs, along with other graffiti art ‘progressive’ British graffiti artist, Roids. The film is directed by graffiti photographer, Will Robson-Scott.

Horfe has been writing his name on walls for the past 12 years, mainly in Paris, where his graffiti can be found on shop fronts, trucks, walls, train sidings and roof tops, city-wide.

Paris street art by Horfe. French graffiti artist Horfe is prolific in the Paris graffiti scene – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (7)

Paris street art by Horfe. French graffiti artist Horfe is prolific in the Paris graffiti scene – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (8)

His style of graffiti is extremely unique, blending typography and flat coloured illustration – it’s rumoured that Horfe attended the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, the distinguished National School of Fine Arts in Paris.

Horfe’s ‘dubs’ (graffiti painted quickly with no more than two or three colours), for example, are done with a naivete that disregards typical graffiti style. It is instead reminiscent of very early New York subway graffiti.

Horfe’s regressive approach to outdoors graffiti practice is being adopted by other leading graffiti artists. One notable example of this new approach is in the outdoors graffiti of London street artist Sickboy (a former stablemate of Banksy),  under the influence of London-based writers such as Petro.

Paris street art by Horfe. French graffiti artist Horfe is prolific in the Paris graffiti scene – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (11)

Theatre Lavoir Moderne Parisien painted by Horfe (France) & Sickboy (UK) - arranged by Alternative Paris. French graffiti artist Horfe is prolific in the Paris graffiti scene – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (1)

Horfe & Sickboy (London) painting on the front of the Theatre Lavoir Moderne Parisien in the Goutte D’Or in the 18th arrondissement, arranged by Alternative Paris.

Horfe (left) & Sickboy (far right) stand outside the Theatre Lavoir Moderne Parisien. French graffiti artist Horfe is prolific in the Paris graffiti scene – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (12)

Horfe (left) & Sickboy (far right) stand in front of their painting at the Theatre Lavoir Moderne Parisien

Paris street art by Horfe. French graffiti artist Horfe is prolific in the Paris graffiti scene – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (5)

Paris street art by Horfe painted in Le Marais

Paris street art by Horfe. French graffiti artist Horfe is prolific in the Paris graffiti scene – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (10)

Horfe painted shop front in one the main Paris street art spots in Belleville in the 20th arrondissement

Paris street art by Horfe. French graffiti artist Horfe is prolific in the Paris graffiti scene – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (9)

Horfe painted truck on Boulevard de la Villette in the 10th & 19th arrondissments – a good place to find some of Paris’ best truck graffiti.

Paris street art by Horfe. French graffiti artist Horfe is prolific in the Paris graffiti scene – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (4)

Horfe rooftop painted near to Les Halles and the Centre Pompidou

Paris street art by Horfe. French graffiti artist Horfe is prolific in the Paris graffiti scene – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (6)

Horfe’s regressive typographic style is seen in the letters PAL, painted by an unknown member of the PAL collective, one of the most active Paris graffiti crews

Paris street art by Horfe. French graffiti artist Horfe is prolific in the Paris graffiti scene – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (3)

Theatre Lavoir Moderne Parisien painted by Horfe (France) & Sickboy (UK) - arranged by Alternative Paris. French graffiti artist Horfe is prolific in the Paris graffiti scene – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (1)

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

Interview with Paris stencil art genius, Artiste-Ouvrier

Paris stencil artist Artiste Ouvrier interview - Paris street art - Alternative Paris (14)

Paris stencil art by Artiste-Ouvrier at the vernissage of Le M.U.R (Association Modulable Urbain Reactif), on rue Oberkampf in Paris’ 11th Arrondissement.

Tell us a little about your artistic background and what inspired you to first start painting stencils, and become a street artist?

Street art came late for me, as I began stencilling in 1993, in order to have artworks from Klimt or Paolo Uccello, rather than the usual posters which I found silly and too far away from the painting. So basically I studied Philosophy at the Sorbonne for five years, and a bit of art history, after, and before having all kinds of jobs, from waiter to train cleaner, teacher for violent children. I began to paint in the street, half legally always, in 2003. I was already painting walls, but in the squats in Paris where I used to live.

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