Dear reader, as this is my last post of the year, I would like to share a retrospective of my work in 2012.
Aimed to be a journalist specialized in street-art, I did a selection of 20 works that I experienced on the streets of Paris and most touched my heart. I organized it in chronologic order with a few words to describe my emotions during the four seasons.
Spontaneity and pure heart were rules to execute my work. Extraordinary things happened and filled my soul in the chaos of my own existence.
I came to Paris exactly a year ago. Since my first day in the city of lights I have been shooting all art that I have been finding on the streets. In total of 600 different art-works from artists all over the world.
In January will be one year that I have been blogging here at My Life On My Bike. So far I wrote 60 articles, mostly about street art. I was blessed to be seen in almost 100 countries with more than 10 000 viewings.
I did my first street-art tour in Paris last April. Moment that I met for the first time the journalist Demian Smith. Both passionate for street-art, together we produced my first video documentary. I became a Contributor Editor for Alternative Paris and I got the chance to interview one of the most important street-artists in the world: Shepard Fairey.
During 2012 I interviewed more than 50 graffiter and street-artists. At Le M.U.R de L’Art show last november, just in 4 days I interviewed 35 artists. A marathon of interviews for a street-art documentary that I’m working for and will be ready in 2013.
I traveled to Prague, Amsterdam and London . During all those trips, I had open eyes to register and learn the local urban art scene.
I went to vernissages and I visited a lot of shows in galleries and museums focused on street-art and graffiti. I watched many performances, mostly at Le M.U.R. (organization that promotes urban art in Paris, with live performance each 15 days). I hang out with artists, photographers, journalists, poets, cinematographers and ordinary people passionate about it. I met so many beautiful souls.
Passion and gratitude are the feelings that define my year of 2012. I thank for everyone, I say thank you for the Universe. I am thankful for all good energy in the world. It was all about learning! And I dedicate all this learning for inner peace and happy mind for all leaving beings in the world.
See you in 2013 with new projects. Even more dynamic and professional!
Have a lovely New Year!
1 – On my first day in Paris in a cold night of winter time, I found this poetic wall. I started to discover the sophistication of Parisian street-artists. Fred Le Chevalier became my hope to keep me dreaming. (read my article about Fred Le Chevalier here)
2 – Close to my place, at Le Marais, days before Christmas of 2011. I found this big collage on the dramatic roofs of Paris by Bonom. In those days, my world was like this, completely up-side-down. (read my article about Bonom here)
3 – A treat by Fred Le Chevalier welcomed my year of 2012. A such blessed year!
4 – The Mario Bros from Space Invader made me complete nostalgic during the hard weather of January. I felt I could play as Centre de Pompidou plays with his modern and colourful architecture, contrasting with the classical and beige atmosphere of Paris. (read my article about Space Invader here)
5 - On the same day that I visited Gagosian Gallery, one of the most powerful galleries in the world, ironically, I found this graffiti by Kidult. I questioned myself: How power could eliminate misery? (read my article about this story here)
6 – While visiting the hype store Collete at Saint Honorre street I got obviously dominated by the desire of consumption. Getting off I saw this work just next to the store. I was reminded by Jérôme Mesnager that freedom is about controlling those desires.
7 -End of the winter. I was walking on the streets of Saint German des Pres and been surrounded by imposing and classic galleries, I was surprised by the cross of LMDLDZR. The feeling of elitist art was immediately broken. (read my article about LMDLDZR here)
8 -During my first street art tour with Underground Paris, I was introduced to Le M.U.R at Rue Oberkampf in Beleville. I felt in love. A new street-artist working live each 15 days?! Love at the first sight. (read my article about street-art tour here)
9 – On a beautiful primrose Friday in Paris. At Canal Saint Martin I interviewed Fred Le Chevalier. In that moment, he was the first artist that I catch up in Paris. My knight of the streets is so lovely as his art is. (read my complete interview here)
10- Love, street art, bike and spring time was in the air, was on me.
11 – On the day that Francois Hollande was elected the French President, while a huge party was happening at Bastille, I was editing my first mini-documentary about the project Museum Imaginary. An ephemeral and illegal exhibition that was opened for the public just for one day, the day of the presidential election. I was lucky to be there. We documented this genial art project. (read my article about Museum Imaginary here)
12 – I tried to invade the abandoned super-market were the fantastic artistic residence Mausolée was done. We just taste part of it. Fear, dirty and darkness blowed our minds. The sense of being unsafe dominated us. We will come back.(read my article about Mausolée here)
13 -Summer arrives. Sunshine, colours, sensuality, pic nic on the parks, smiles, happiness and more street-art on the walls. Paris is like a dream!
14 - I interviewed Shepard Fairey in a hot summer afternoon at Champs Elyses. I was informed directly by him that he would start working on a wall that you can check bellow. We followed Shepard while he was painting it for 3 exciting days. We produced a documentary about his visit in Paris. He liked it (check his personal comment here) and we loved that experience. (read my article about Shepard Fairey here)
15 -I interviewed my Brazilian country fellow Rafael Suriani in a bucolic day. He brought me to see some of his paste-ups. We spoke in Portuguese, we talked about Sao Paulo and discover some beautiful connections. I felt home. (read my interview with Rafael Suriani here)
16 - During a street-art bike tour with Underground Paris on a astonishing sunny day, I was captured by the expressive eyes of this carving by the Portuguese artist Vilhs. Our eyes are the mirror of our soul. (read my article about bike street-art tour here)
17 -Nether is an artist from Baltimore. During his short stay in Paris, one night, we filmed him putting some illegal stuff on the streets of Le Marais. I indicated him to past up on this wall…the work didn’t rest to much. I learned that is not about time, is about value. Nether art is all about enriching children of his forgotten city Baltimore.
18 -My family was visiting me on the end of the summer. With my lovely nieces in a playground in front of the Seine in a surrealistic moment I saw this work from Leo and Pipo. For a moment this people looked real and playing with the children, looked like a beautiful dream. I get confused to distinguish what was the reality.
19 – Parisian autumn arrives. I was been warmed with the presence of my Mom and my second Mom (my aunt) from Brazil in Paris. Together we watched Kashink performance at Le M.U.R. The importance of family is a matter of surviving in my life, Kashink seems to feel that and wrote as a thought of his four eyes character : Okay Mom, I will. (read my article about Kashink here)
20 – Colourful autumn trees are decorating Paris. Red, green and yellow leaves are scattered on the ground. I’m working with Alternative Paris crew covering the five days event Le M.U.R de L’Art. My little house was transformed into a recording studio were I interviewed 35 street-artists in less than ninety six hour for Alternative Paris documentary (expected to be ready in 2013). I also posted a daily article during the event. Despite the long working hours, the good energy from all people involved marked a great experience in my heart. (read my articles here: opening, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4)
Just one more than 20:
21 – Last picture that I took in Paris two weeks ago at Belville Park, days before the winter comes again. It’s sensible: I believe that without cultivate our spirituality , we will have a unbalanced life. Seth said in a recent interview: “If art is not spiritual, it doesn’t work for me”. Such beautiful philosophy for one street-artist!
During the year of 2012 I travelled several times between Paris and Amsterdam. Because of my huge passion for street art and biking, those two cities attract me as a perfect alchemy.
On my first trip to the Dutch capital, a city well known for its liberal way of thinking, I discovered a painting on a empty lot that caught my attention. A huge stencil of a monkey, quite screaming, in black and white.
When I shared my pictures on facebook, Thom Thom, a French street-artist and co-founder of Le M.U.R. (an important organization that promotes street-art in Paris) gave me the name of the artist: Bustart.
After a while I met Thom Thom in Paris during a performance at Le M.U.R. He was wearing a black t-shirt with the monkey from Bustart. In that moment I realized how I really like this character. It’s not just about a beautiful monkey drawing, more than this. Unconsciously I knew that I should discover more about this artist.
Bustart is a street artist from Basel, Switzerland, based in Amsterdam. He left his city a while ago after being arrested several times for graffiting in the walls of one of the most important city in the art-world. Nowadays he is a versatile street-artist that works with different techniques and wants to provoke through his message. Non-stop is the best way to define Bustart, his art is everywhere in Amsterdam.
After discovering the outstanding monkey from Bustart, during my others trip to Amsterdam, his art was revealed to me by some paintings on the streets containing imperative words, such as: Belief, Consume, Revolution, Solution…. From this new discoveries I could understand the reason why I get so connected with the monkey of Bustart.
I’m fascinated with the fact that street-art can be a powerful way to fight against big corporations that handles upon 99% of the world for the profit of 1%. Naturally this is not the only message that can be intrinsic in street-art. In fact there is no limit, street-art and graffiti are suppose to be a transgressed way of self-expression for everyone that wants to manifest one’s ideas, thoughts or share their creations freely on the public spaces.
I strongly believe that street-art can bring positive things into people’s life: Hope, love, inspiration, joy, freedom, dreams, accessibility, interaction, and many others. But I confess that I have a special taste for artists that have skills to provoke a critical way of thinking. Bustart has been doing it. His art-work contains a critic sense of propaganda and consumption, that makes me remember the work of Ron English, Shepard Fairey and the culture jamming.
During my time in Amsterdam this year I counted more than 30 works of Bustart on the streets. Also a big show that he was involved named Urban Art House last August, moment that I could appreciate his work on canvas and installations.
Finally, last November at the show Le M.U.R. de L’Art in Paris, through Thom Thom again, I met Bustart personally. During the show I had the pleasure to interview him for the street-art documentary that I’m working with Alternative Paris. Moment that he was accompanied by his girlfriend and artist Zaira. This footage is reserved for the edition of the documentary, but you can see below a video teaser with Bustart and other street-artist that Alternative Paris crew also produced at this time.
As a non-stop street-artist, during his time in Paris, Bustart naturally did some illegal works on the streets. I was surprised that a poster of his campaign Consume devil, was kept for almost a week on the streets of Le Marais, a temple for consumption in Paris.
On my last trip to Amsterdam, a week later after interviewing Bustart and Zaira in Paris, I hang out with the couple of artists. We biked around Amsterdam to discover new works on the walls and I also watched them performing on the streets. Street art + bike = perfect alchemy.
My year of 2012 have all been running by incredible connexions and discovered as I had with Bustart travelling between Paris – Amsterdam. Right now, by the end of 2012 it is time to dream with new goals for 2013. I really expect to continue seeing the work of Bustart and Zaira but this time more often in the streets of Paris. Let’s cross fingers.
I recently visited the studio of the French artist Shaka who emerged on graffiti style for an interview.
Alternative Paris and My Life on My Bike came to submerse ourselves in the anxious universe of Shaka – a felling that is strongly provoked by his work on canvas, sculptures and graffiti painting, through characters in movements that reveal the emotional work behind the facade of everyday human interactions.
Shaka’s first experience on the streets, in 1995, was influenced by punk and hip hop culture. In the beginning he used to make small stencils against racism and messages about anarchy around Jamaican music. Later Shaka started to observe graffiti on the trains in France, and hip hop songs on TV got him inspired to make graffiti. In the beginning it was only for fun, but later he realized how he could mix graffiti with his painting skills and nowadays his work is a result of all these experiences: “I like to mix it all, in fact it’s just the way hip hop works, mixing elements to make music. I work in the same way.”
He started to do graffiti in the streets of Paris and suburbs seventeen years ago. It was a natural way to continue painting for someone who started doing it on childhood.
“I started to paint with oil on canvas when I was 9 years old, so when I started with graffiti I already had that experience. By the age of 18, my friends and I were students and we didn’t 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 wasn’t judged, I was free! I had a new name, I was excited, it brought me a good vibration and feeling, and that’s how I discovered a new way to paint”.
Continuing his artistic path, Shaka graduated in Fine Art at the Sorbonne, where he also did a Masters in Multimedia Arts.
One artist that influenced him was the Italian painter Caravaggio from the sixteen century (1571 -1610), an aggressive man that had a tumultuous life, including a lot of enemies and a murder story.
Impressive sculptures, some surprisingly on canvas, make Shaka’s work as impressive as his unique technique. His first studio in Paris was in an old factory building: “In this studio I started using all things that I found around me on the floor. I used found objects to build, to put on canvas. In 2007 it was the first time that I used the process to make a sculpture on canvas, it was experimental in that moment.”
I was curious to deeply understand Shaka’s message. During the interview he revealed his interest in human interactions. Observing hooligans and the power of group force, coupled with his own need to have “real life” relationships during the current internet era, makes it clear for him that his art needs to be so strong in order to provoke reflection about human behaviour.
Concerned about how our generation is submersed in a sea of information over the internet, and the virtual relationships that we have, Shaka is interested in bringing people to see his work personally with the intention of having real interactions: “My canvas and sculptures, the strong colors and characters speak about this. I want you to have an exchange with me, you have to go to the gallery or to my studio if you really want to appreciate my work. It is the way to enjoy sculpture. I’m interested in real relationships, all the characters want to exchange energy with people, to cause a reaction in them. Some people say that my work is too violent, too aggressive. For me that’s a compliment, it’s how I want to provoke people.”
A strong reflection is generated after carefully observing Shaka’s work. Behind the violence represented in his paintings and sculptures thru an energetic color 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 work with how governments works, with the end of American dynasty for example. One character will fall for sure, and with his selfishness and violence he will take others down with him. I want to provoke a reflection about this selfish human behavior”.
When I ask him to explain why he is particularly inspired by Caravaggio, he says: “ I don’t have enemies like Caravaggio. But there are some connections between his life and mine. I’m not a 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, crying, beating, fainting. It is really impressive, it’s another world for a moment. You have your normal life, family, friends and work, but at that moment in the stadium, the whole group is a new force, rich and poor people together in the same place for a purpose. At the same time that Caravaggio was painting religion, his painting was really strong and contrasting, so his life was also strong like a hooligan.”
Shaka describes himself as the opposite of all images he creates, as he is a very calm person with good childhood friends. His art is the way that he has to fight, he explained: “I grew up between the suburbs and Paris, between the ghetto and middle class, and it was a positive cultural exchange for me. My first canvases when I arrived in Paris were about how people come from the suburb to Paris on Saturday to party and to have fun, there is a real difference between people from neighborhood and the center. Normally when journalists speak about people from neighborhood on television they talk just about the bad things. I made canvas in the same way that bad journalists report the violence on the suburb. There are a lot of positive things over there but the television never talks about it. My first graffiti crew was from the neighborhood. My confrontation is not a speech, it’s inside my art. You have to fight sometimes, is not my way of thinking, but sometimes if you want to be respected you need to fight.”
For Shaka it is evident that as an artist he has two different disciplines; working in the studio on canvas, and free work as a graffiti artist, alone or with his crew DKP in Paris. “My canvas are big paintings in graffiti style but is not about graffiti. You can make as many “graffitis” in a gallery as you want, but will never be graffiti. Graffiti is on the wall, on the streets and it’s illegal. If I go to the streets I want to have the feeling of graffiti… to be honest I don’t really appreciate doing legal walls on the streets, you have a lot of photographers behind you, it’s not free. Sometimes I like to be on the streets and make interventions during the night, what real graffiti is about.”
To finish the interview I asked Shaka which situations make him behave like his aggressive characters. He confessed that being in the traffic can make him very nervous, so I couldn’t miss the opportunity to ask him: “Why you don’t start biking?” It was a good chance to influence street artists through one of the proposals of My Life on My like, isn’t it?
To close my series of articles about Le Mur de L’Art 2012, I want to talk about feelings and abstract things relating to street-art and graffiti.
After interviewing 35 graffiti and street artists during the last 4 days of the event, plus some interviews with other artists during the year of 2012, I try to transcribe a general feeling of all them: Street-art and graffiti are about freedom, generosity, democracy, exchange, adrenaline and self-expression.
Some of those aspects can be very contradictory with the feelings that I just describe above, making street art and graffiti loose their truly roots.
Alternative Paris is producing a documentary with the intention to discuss all those issues and trying to understand this new artistic movement that someone described as: Urban Contemporary Art.
For now, I can summarize my own perception during this event in a very positive way. Even if some natural roots of street-art are lost in events like that, it’s impossible to deny that Le Mur de L’Art was a great friend and created a constructive environment where artists, public, gallerists, collectors, photographers, journalists and filmmakers all exchanged their knowledge and energy with joy.
I hope all people involved in some way with Le Mur de L’Art during these last days, could have the same feeling that I had: It’s all about learning!
Well, nothing could fill my soul more than learning in every day life surrounded by street art universe that I’m super passionate about.
Love, peace and prosperity!
Hot Saturday for Le Mur de L’Art show! The exhibition is happening on the trendy quartier of Le Marais in Paris where fashion meets art and falafels. Home of orthodox jews and the biggest gay community in the French capital. Also stage for the infamous graffitier Kidult to write sharp sentences on the walls. The favorite place of the street-artist Fred le Chevalier and his sweet paste-ups. Contrast, is all about it! The contrast about being 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 on our studio at Rue de Rosiers in Le Marais, for Alternative Paris documentary.
As expected, the event was crowded during the whole Saturday! That is to prove how street-art have been rising interest in a larger scale. During the event we could often see children delighting while watching artists sliding their hands with a spray can. 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!!!
Check below on the videos and photos, the best moments of this Saturday at Le Mur de L’Art 2012: Live performances, artists working and signing for fans in their ateliers, music and the backstage of the interviews for Alternative Paris documentary.
Backstage of the interviews for Alternative Paris documentary at Rue des Rosiers, Le Marais – Paris.
My Life on My Bike and Alternative Paris are daily covering the exhibition of Le Mur de L’Art in Paris. Every day a new post with fresh pictures and a video-teaser are presented in our website.The event happens until this Sunday (11thNovember) at l’Espace d’animation des Blancs Manteaux on Le Marais Cartier in Paris.The Paris Salon of street-art is gathering over 50 artists from France, Switzerland, Spain, Holland and other.Every day 3 live performances in a 6,2x4m panel show the work in progress of different artists. The stands of some artists are also used as ateliers and the public can enjoy them while working in their canvas and installations in different techniques as stencil, paste-up, spray paint…
Alternative Paris crew, which I am contributor editor is recording a documentary during the Le Mur de L’Art show, exploring some issues of the street art world. In my Studio at Rue des Rosiers on Le Marais, just a few meters from the event, the artists are coming to share their thoughts about this important artistic movement. Beside the cinematographer Charles Devoyer, so far we already interviewed 20 artists that are participating on Le Mur de L’Art show. Check out the pictures below.