Fred Le Chevalier – Interview

It’s Friday, 7.15pm, a beautiful and sunny afternoon. I have an appointment with the street artist Fred Le Chevalier in front of Le Canal Saint Martin in Paris. Wow, I’m nervous, I will interview him for my blog and also as a guest for a post on the Street Art Paris Organization.

It’s not a secret that I am a big fan of his work. I already wrote two articles about him, I went to his first exhibition and I’m following everything that this so poetic street artist has been doing.

I was there waiting for him with a friend of mine that was really lucky and bought the last piece available at the day of his first vernissage. He arrived, dressed in black clothes and also with a suitcase filled of his work.

Fred Le Chevalier and My friend MInes at Canal Saint Martin.

Now I will share with you the sweetest words from this Knight and his so true intentions with his art that inspired me and I am sure that inspire a lot of people in Paris and soon all over the world.

Fred Le Chevalier started to draw when he was a child and stopped as a teenager. Seven years ago, for our happiness, he started again. At the beginning, he used to upload his drawings on MySpace, also presenting them for people around who appreciate the work. With a positive feedback, three years ago he got the confidence to stick on the streets.

“The first stick was for a woman that I used to love. It was a present for her. At that time, I didn’t realize that I could do it so often”, he said.

When young, he found influence on the work of  Ernest Pignon-Ernest and on the punk movement, that represented freedom to be and do whatever you want.

In love for literature as Alexandre Dumas and Don Quixote, he explained to me where the name Fred Le Chevalier comes from: “I used to take care of a young baby and I had to gave names for his family, so I chose one beautiful name for me, Fred Le Chevalier (Fred The Knight)”.

Three time a week, during the day, Fred walks around the city to act. He doesn’t know exactly how many drawings he’s already sticked but he estimates around 2 or 3 thousand works. “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 1 second or for 10 seconds and slow down.”

I asked him to describe his work,  that is about his alter ego, once all his characters come from his feelings:

“It’s not easy to explain. But 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.”

My friend MInes bought a original drawing called “I live in a house inside of me” that coincident is the same serigraphy that I have in my wall at home.  Both of us created our own personal meaning for this drawing, but here is Fred Le Chevalier explanation for his creation:   “The draw – I live in a house inside of me – is a story about a child discovering the world and considering the world as cold and violent. The child decided to come back inside himself to find his own place again as a way of protection. When you create your own world inside of you, then you can communicate easier and grow up. It’s also a story about self development and improvement.”

“I live in a house inside of me” by Fred Le Chevalier

As I already wrote here, in his first vernissage  at Houla Ops Bar, he sold everything in less than one hour and after this success he was invited for some galleries to exhibit his work (check his agenda for 2012 at the end of this article). But talking with him about the issue Street art vs. Gallery was so beautiful to hear from him, his pure intention with his drawings: “I’m not a specialist about galleries, but I’m discovering this world now and I will have more exhibitions this year. I’m a little 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.

Quick enquête with Fred Le Chevalier:

One color: saffron

One book: The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

One website: Beatrice Myself

One Movie:  Monty Python and the Holy Grail

One meal: Asian vegetarian food

One place in the world: Toulouse

A period that you like to be born: Tomorrow…maybe!

Below, some draws that Fred Le Chevalier did between 2011 and 2012.

Fred Le Chevalier agenda for 2012:

May 31 until June 24 – Collective exhibition at the gallery Cabinet d’ Amateur in Paris.

July 4th  –  He will stick his characters in Aulnay-Sous-Bois during a cultural event near the “Canal” in Paris.

August – Collective exhibition at the gallery Nivet Carzon in Paris.

September – Solo exhibition at a gallery in the Marais Sometimes Studio in Paris.

October – Exhibition in his town Angouleme,  at the gallery Chez Cax.

He came at night: LMDLDZR at Le M.U.R

As I wrote here, in my last article about Le M.U.R at Rue Oberkampf, the proposal of the organization is to cover the panel with urban art each 15 days. In May 19, the Portuguese artist VHILS performed at Le Mur and his work was supposed to be there until June 7.  But in the night of May 23 – 24, unfortunately the work was stolen.

To keep the main purpose of this open sky gallery and show urban art constantly, the members of the organization worked fast and invited other great French artist to perform,  LMDLDZR (Le MoDuLe De ZeeR).

His performance happened last night, between 1am and 3am, I had this information on first hand by the Street Art Paris Organization and I was there with exclusivity to watch, photograph and talk with the artist.

LMDLDZR arrived at 1am and discretely start to work. The street was full of people enjoying Friday night in Paris but no one that pass by couldn’t unnoticed his act. For 2 hours a huge spontaneous audience was luck to appreciate his figurative and abstract graphic work in progress.

At 3am, he finished after using 6 black markers.  When I asked him the meaning of this masterpiece, he answered me that prefers that each one has your own interpretation. Once his work is completely black and white, make sense that you can interpret by yourself and add colors in your mind.

LMDLDZR does not sign his work, but he sticks QR codes in the end. He believes that this is a democratic way. Once street art is for everybody and doesn’t select the public,  people that are interested in his work, can scan and discovery more about his art.  With ambitious projects, we hope to see his work soon on the streets of New York and London.

Congratulations LMDLDZR for your art. Congratulations Le Mur for bringing us such amazing performance at night and also congratulation Street Art Paris Organization for being so informed in what is happening on the “crème de la crema’ of street art scene in Paris.

Below, pictures of the artist LMDLDZR working last night.

 

 

Le MUR – Promoting Urban Art

At number 107 of Rue Oberkampf in Paris, on the corner with Rue Saint-Maur, a huge panel measuring 24m2 has been presenting live artistic performances promoting urban art since 2007. Le M.U.R (modulable, urbain, reactif) is an association that invites street artists providing gallery exhibition conditions to the streets.

Saturday, May 05, I was there to watch the performance number 120, made by the French artist Alber. For 6 hours I could appreciate all his creative process and also observe how this idea transformed a billboard (as for what the panel used to be use) and brought art to the general public.

Le Mur is an entirely legal association that has been running by 8 volunteers (artists and enthusiastic with urban art). Their work is to promote street and contemporary art, giving the financial and structural support for the artists that will performance on the wall. The organization is sponsored by the city hall, donations (that can be tax deductible) and by selling their own books.

The main idea is to cover the wall with a new art each 15 days. The artists are selected by a process similar to filmmaking, through casting and proposal. Artists from all over the world are welcome to apply and performance at Le Mur.

The artists are paid for the work and also all the material that they need to paint is offered by the organization. Even if the artists don’t have a workspace or are just passing by Paris, they can work “in residence” for a few days on the headquarters of the association.

During the performance by Alber, I enjoyed step by step the spray of his precise curves and edges in his caricatured characters. Everyone is welcome to watch the shows, which some times can last just half an hour or, as Alber’s performance, can last for 6 hours.

It’s beautiful to observe how people, passing by, start to be curious with the movement. In the end of the performance a vernissage happens with free drinks for the public. I also visited the Le Mur studio, with the intention to deeply understand this laudable initiative that is administrated by the association’s president Mr. Bob Jeudy.

I bought a book that was published in 2010 celebrating 3 years of their existence (Le M.U.R The Wall edited by Kitchen 93 27,00 euros). This example can easily be a model for all the world to promote street art. Instead of using the walls for advertisement, talented artists can have the opportunity to show their work.

Below, pictures of the artist Alber painting Le M.U.R performance number 120.

Le Mur studio

Le Mur studio

Wall for artists practice at Le Mur studio

Books edited by Le Mur Organization

Imaginary Museum – Ephemeral Artistic Residence

Some artists of the collectives 1984 of street artist in Paris have chosen the day of the presidential election to invade an abandoned building in downtown Paris and present us the Imaginary Museum.

12 artists worked for 12 hours overnight in a complete illegal way. The abandoned building owned by  the electricity company EDF was invaded on the night of Saturday May 05 and opened for the public on Sunday 06, just for one day.

With the proposal of transforming the negative and abandoned part of the city in a place to display art work. An collaborative public including children and seniors accepted to use manholes to access the building. By the time the guards who were posted outside realized that the  Imaginary Museum was already in full effect, it was to late and there was nothing to be done. As predicted by the organizers, the police didn’t show up once they were busy during the election day.

Cakes and quiches were offered to the visitants by donation, in a so lovely way, confirming the good intention of the artists who were there in the name of true street art.

While there, in company with Demian Smith of Street Art Paris, we  use the opportunity to make a video and register the process and result that were so shortly available to the public.