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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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 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.

Stolen VHILS Le M.U.R. is replaced with work by Le MoDuLe De ZeeR

VHILS Paris street art at Le M.U.R. Stolen & replaced with work by Le MoDuLe De ZeeR – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (6)

VHILS Paris street art at Le M.U.R. Stolen & replaced with work by Le MoDuLe De ZeeR – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (8)

Last night, French street artist Le MoDuLe De ZeeR hit ‘Le M.U.R.’ (Association Modulable, Urbain, Réactif), after the authorised work by Portuguese street artist Vhils was stolen earlier in the week.

The work of VHILS was taken on May 23rd by dastardly midnight marauders. The Le M.U.R. association, which manages the three by eight metre billboad set aside by the city council for the purpose of promoting street art, where Rue Oberkampf meets Rue Saint Maur in the 11th Arrondissement, invited the French street artist also known as LMDLDZR to create a temporary artwork to fill the artistic void.

VHILS Paris street art at Le M.U.R. Stolen & replaced with work by Le MoDuLe De ZeeR – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (9)

VHILS Paris street art at Le M.U.R. Stolen & replaced with work by Le MoDuLe De ZeeR – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (7)

At One in the morning, the anonymous LMDLDZR started work on his  figurative and abstract graphic-style design, using just black marker pens, managing to fill the white panelled wall in just two hours. He signed the work with a QR code also drawn in his motif pattern style.

VHILS Paris street art at Le M.U.R. Stolen & replaced with work by Le MoDuLe De ZeeR – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (5)

The artist is known for his ‘Tic Tac Toe’ street campaign, which can be seen all over Paris, and soon, on walls in New York and London the artist recently revealed to Street Art Paris over a stealthily supped espresso.

VHILS Paris street art at Le M.U.R. Stolen & replaced with work by Le MoDuLe De ZeeR – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (1)

VHILS Paris street art at Le M.U.R. Stolen & replaced with work by Le MoDuLe De ZeeR – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (3)

VHILS Paris street art at Le M.U.R. Stolen & replaced with work by Le MoDuLe De ZeeR – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (4)

The Le M.U.R. Project billboard usually changes every two weeks although this time the gap was a little shorter.  To find out a little more about Le M.U.R. please check out our previous post which covered VHILS’ work.  We will be regularly covering developments at Le MUR so check back soon to stay updated.   Below is another great piece by Le MoDuLe De ZeeR:

VHILS Paris street art at Le M.U.R. Stolen & replaced with work by Le MoDuLe De ZeeR – Alternative Paris. Photo: Demian Smith (2)

Photos of Le M.U.R. and additional information by Maria Fernanda Hinke Schweichler at MyLifeOnMyBike blog.

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

Vhils, aka Alexandre Farto, hits Le MUR in Oberkampf

Vhils aka Alexandre Farto Paris street art at Le MUR, Oberkampf - Alternative Paris - Photo: Demian Smith (1)

Yesterday, Portuguese street artist VHILS, aka Alexandre Farto, hit ‘Le M.U.R.’ (Association Modulable, Urbain, Réactif), where Rue Oberkampf meets Rue Saint Maur in the 11th Arrondissement.

Vhils aka Alexandre Farto Paris street art at Le MUR, Oberkampf - Alternative Paris - Photo: Demian Smith (2)

Vhils aka Alexandre Farto Paris street art at Le MUR, Oberkampf - Alternative Paris - Photo: Demian Smith (3)

Vhils aka Alexandre Farto Paris street art at Le MUR, Oberkampf - Alternative Paris - Photo: Demian Smith (4)

The Le M.U.R. Project revolves around a three by eight metre billboad set aside by the city council for the purpose of promoting street art by presenting a different artist the opportunity to get up on the billboard every two weeks. Each time, the old artwork is covered by mash up of advertising posters and the latest artist is invited to put up their piece. The Le M.U.R. association was conceived in 2003 by Jean Faucheur and has been getting work up on the billboard consistently since 2007. A perusal of the Le MUR website reveals the staggering number of artists that have participated in this project and allows you to see the different incarnations of the billboard.

VHILS himself works with a variety of media but is probably best known for the relief portraits that he chisels into plaster and brick walls all over the world and in places as far flung as Shanghai, China. However, he is also at home creating portraits out of collage and wheat paste when the opportunity to attack the wall itself does not arise.

We, at Alternative Paris, intend to cover Le MUR regularly so please check back in two weeks time for details of the latest piece …

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