The first time I returned to Paris after a few years of exile in Montreal, I was very excited by the idea of all the art I’d be able to find on the streets. But I rapidly realized that it would be difficult to hunt street art as I used to in Montreal… not the same art, not the same way to catch it. Paris is very intense, always the same artists, at every street corner, seen hundreds time on blogs, Flickr, instagram, etc… not easy to have the sensation of finding something new… not that I hate these productive artists, I really appreciate some and respect all of them, but I expected something different. So I asked someone that really comes from the streets in this city to give me a private art tour, Lilyluciole. Lucky me! What she showed me is not necessarily new, except a few pieces, but what a pleasure to see some precious artists like Kub, Baubô, Kraken, Kouka, Koleo, Sobre, Hopnn, Le Diamantaire, to see the refreshing pieces of my friend Lilyluciole in Paris, to admire illegal art work by Swoon, Stinkfish, Invader, Mr Chat, to discover some amazing unknown spots, like the rue de l’Ourcq in the north of the city with walls covered by Da Cruz, Batsh, Sly2, Orfée… and some other spots, the Rue Desnoyers, Les Usines Éphémères. So, here is a personal point of view of the streets of Paris, by Lily and me.
Stinkfish and Buytre APC painted the above piece about two years ago in London. Originally, it looked like this. As you can see, it now looks mostly the same, except for the face Stinkfish painted. Was it the buff squad? No, that would be a strange buff. Was it that Stinkfish used a strange paint that faded much quicker than the rest of the piece? No. Did a vigilante come along and paint over the face because they didn’t like it? No. Well, sort of. Depending on your take on things.
Pochoir (aka Paul Stephenson) is behind the removal of Stinkfish’s work. In the gallery, Pochoir removes portions of old paintings that he buys at auction. Interesting stuff, right? Well how about on the street? For this piece, Pochoir painted acid onto the parts of the piece that he wanted to remove, and then used half a dozen different abrasive tools to get the paint off.
I recently met Pochoir and he explained to me how a lot of people look at his removal paintings and in their mind they can project an image of what has been removed back onto the painting. Makes sense. I look at this piece and I can imagine that there was a horse there once and what the horse looked like, even though I’d never actually seen the piece before Pochoir got to it. With the removal of Stinkfish’s portrait, I think the same effect is still possible. I can still imagine some sort of idealized version of Stinkfish’s work even though it’s gone.
So I really don’t know what to think of Pochoir’s work. In the gallery, I find it really interesting. It reactivates “dead” paintings. And street art is ephemeral, but should we embrace the intentional speeding up of that process? Or is that completely the wrong way to look at this since Pochoir’s erasure is also artwork too. I don’t know.
Last time we saw Stinkfish, he and fellow APC member ZAS had been traveling around Chile and painting. The two have thus moved on to Bolivia, where they found and had a field day in a “train cemetery” in the small southern town of Uyuni, bringing a whole new meaning to painting freights. Stinkfish says that his piece above is based off of a 1979 portrait by one of Mexico’s greatest photographers: Graciela Iturbide.
Stinkfish is letting everyone on the streets of Paris know that he’s in town. He’ll be making his way to England soon for his first London solo-show opening at High Roller Society. The show, entitled Espina, opens to the public on the 27th and runs until November 11.
Speaking of protest art, some revolutionary graffiti and street art was recently painted over in Egypt and that’s been causing quite a stir, with Egypt’s prime minister backing the artists and even calling for more revolutionary graffiti.
What do people think about this work from ABOVE pointing out the 24% unemployment in Spain? A mural that simply points out such a depressing fact without any obvious rage or anything behind it seems to me like it’s doing practically the opposite of what murals should do, but maybe it’s a good way of making that fact more known. Thoughts?
It’s a mega link-o-rama this week because I’ve been traveling from last Saturday until Thursday morning.
Here’s a video of Morley’s show at Lazarides Newcastle. When I first saw Morley’s work about a year and a half ago, I thought it was hilarious and touching. Now though, while I appreciate that he has tried to literally make his gallery work 3D and therefore a bit different from what he does on the street, I’m kinda bored of it. Anybody else feeling this way?
If you aren’t sold solely on the opportunity to own a limited edition print by a member of the APC crew (including Stinkfish, Buytronick, Meca Mutanterio and Lorenzo Masnah), than Mula Printing has included a bit of artistic competition to this collective print release to sweeten the deal: The first 40 to buy one of these APC prints will be eligible to partake a coloring contest using this unfinished Pez piece. The winner, who will be chosen by Pez himself, will receive an original drawing by Pez. Buying a print includes the chance to win a Pez print from an edition of 6 as well.