Art of  Bustart: Paris – Amsterdam  

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.

Street art in Amsterdam

Street art in Amsterdam

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.

Monkey by Bustart in Amsterdam

Monkey by Bustart in Amsterdam –  Owl on the left by Zara

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.

Consume by Bustart in Amsterdam

Consume by Bustart in Amsterdam

Belief by Bustart in Amsterdam

Belief by Bustart in Amsterdam

Consume by Bustart in Amsterdam

Consume by Bustart in Amsterdam

Revolution by Bustart

Revolution by Bustart. Work on the left by Zaira in Amsterdam.

Zaira and Bustart

Consume Devil by Bustart. Work on the left by Zaira in Amsterdam.

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.

Auto-portrait  by Bustart

Auto-portrait by Bustart in Amsterdam

Street-art made me poor by Bustart

Street-art made me poor by Bustart

Wall by Bustart in Amsterdam

Wall by Bustart and Zaira in Amsterdam

Canvas and installation by Bustart at Urban House Show in Amsterdam

Canvas and installation by Bustart at Urban House Show in Amsterdam

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.

Bustart for Le M.U.R in Paris

Bustart for Le M.U.R in Paris

Bustart  mural for Le M.U.R de L'Art in ParisPhoto: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Bustart mural for Le M.U.R de L’Art in Paris
Photo: Richard Beban & Paris Play copyright 2012

Bustart and Zaira during my interview for Alternative Paris - documentary.Photo by Charles Devoyer

Bustart and Zaira during my interview for Alternative Paris – documentary.
Photo by Charles Devoyer

Consume Devil poster in Paris by Bustart

Consume Devil poster in Paris by Bustart

Zaira and Bustart work in progress in Amsterdam

Zaira and Bustart work in progress in Amsterdam

Stencil by Bustart in Amsterdam

Stencil by Bustart in Amsterdam

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.

Suriani: a Brazilian street-artist shines in Paris.

It’s Monday night and I’m going to meet the charismatic Brazilian artist and urban architect Rafael Suriani in front of Cirque D’hiver,  at Rue Amelot in Paris. A place that he suggested to meet me when I asked to interview him close to some of his recent works.

In a traditional Parisian cafe on the beginning of Rue Oberkampf we had an enjoyful  conversation for almost 2 hours and after that, we walked around and I had the pleasure to see personally, Suriani’s 4 latest works on street accompanied by him.

Based in Paris since 2007, I first met Suriani on the vernissage of a collective exhibition at Le Cabinet d’Amateur in the end of May. On that moment he was exhibiting his canvas beside the artists Fred Le ChevalierDiamantRubbish Cube and others. Naturally I felt interested  to decode  the work of a fellow countryman from Sao Paulo. Our connection, which is not just about coming from the same country, speaking the same language and working with street art, is also about sensibility for the same subject, a coincident  story that I will tell you later on in this article about the fashion industry, the Bolivian workers and the Braz neighborhood in Sao Paulo, that in 2006 both of us, Suriani and I were involved in different ways.

Rafael Suriani

Suriani knew that he wanted to be an artist since he was a child. He studied architecture because was a way to have a career and also the possibility to draw a lot. His first work on the streets was in 2002, time when the first generation of past-up emerged in the city of Sao Paulo.“In the middle of the architecture course I started a search of urban art, public art, monuments and sculptures in the city of Sao Paulo. In that time it was also the boom of muralist graffiti, the explosion of artists like Os GemeosNunca and Zezao, because I already liked the graffiti movement I was inspired and I started to past-up in 2002 and never stopped since then”, he says.

Suriani’s most recent work in Paris

Suriani’s most recent work in Paris

Suriani’s most recent work in Paris

Suriani’s most recent work in Paris

His thesis for the architectural university was a series of past up about Bolivian population working on the fashion industry in the Braz neighborhood, Sao Paulo. Is in this exact point of his work that Suriani and I got connected with our past. I used to work with fashion for a long time and I use to buy clothes to supply my store on this same place. One day I heard about the reality of the conditions of Bolivians that use to work for those companies, almost as slaves, working in inhumane conditions to generate more profit for the owners of the business and also to achieve competitive prices for people like me, that were buying from  them and collaborating for this unjust system. When I realize this sad situation, it was the same year that Suriani was “protesting” with his art work. “I contacted the Bolivian people that use to work in this conditions and inspired me in their culture to create this series. I took the millenary weaving of fabrics that they have and contrasted with the not poetic conditions that they came to work in the fashion industry in Sao Paulo, I inserted the image of a Lhama in the context that this people are living and had been suffering. Once one Bolivian man that saw this image on the wall in Sao Paulo came to me crying and moved with the memories he had of this animal in his childhood. I created a social visualization  for a specific group using the image of an animal, a metaphor.”, he explained me.

Suriani’s work in Sao Paulo

Suriani’s work in Sao Paulo

Suriani takes his inspiration from the urban life, urban culture, skateboarding, night life, street fashion, mythology from different continents, tales and everything that is related with young culture. “ It may seem incredible, but even using animals, my inspiration doesn’t come from nature but from the urban life. My characters are hybrids, which are very connected to the mythologies, the man/animal thing, this universe fascinates me”, Suriani says.

Animals were always present in his life: “ When I was a child I didn’t play with cars but with animal toys and I also use to have a dog, a fish, a turtle and a chicken that was devoured (laughs). Normally in my work I make series, I choose one animal and a state of spirit for him that can be funny, sensual, mysterious… That is also related with my spirit, with what I’m feeling in the moment. ”Even with the presence of animals in his life, he says: “ Work with animals in my art is not a personal thing, but I am fascinated that animals are living beings like us,  but we don’t understand them, we use to project ourselves in our pets, through our eyes we humanize animals.”

Suriani’s work in London

Suriani’s work in Paris

I asked Suriani what brought him to past up on the streets and he said:“ The necessity to participate without asking if I can, the desire to go out and intervene, change something on the environment. I like the idea that street art brings life for places without trying to sell anything.  Someone that brings its own energy and live this energy for the city. In the point of view of the artist, we have the opportunity to be spontaneous, something that we lost in our society. An opportunity to show our work without following the rules of traditional portfolios. I also like the sociability with other people that is possible when you join in the urban life.”

In 2007 Suriani moved to Paris, while working on restaurant he discovered a scholarship for a master degree at Université Paris VII Vincennes-St Denis with the theme: Urban art and collage, practice and theoretical, with the goal to investigate in what artists do on the streets with spontaneity. He searched about the theme “post-graffiti”: “There are not a lot theory studies about this subject. Graffiti was born more than 30 years ago and around 10 or 15 years the range of street art got expanded. Graffiti is an element of hip hop movement and post-graffiti are artistic interventions on the street that are not connected necessarily with hip hop. For example Os Gemeos use to make mural paintings with bomb spray and they are not always directly connected with the hip hop movement. Graffiti is the origin of street art and nowadays post-graffiti  is more amplified for people that are connected with other movements or not.”, he said.

Suriani’s work in Paris

Living in Paris he already did a lot of projects. One of them is the French bulldogs series, he explain: “The French bulldog is a dog race originally from Paris which has a sulky face. They are intimately related to the Parisians. It’s not a social critic, I love Paris! But is a critic about the famous image of the Parisians who always complain and are never satisfied ”.

French bulldog series in Paris

French bulldog  series in Paris

Cats also appear in Suriani’s work, “Cats are urban animals, specially here you can connect them with the famous roofs of Paris, they are free and not so submissive like the dogs. It’s not a ecological discourse but a way to talk about the urban man. Everyone can interpret the message of my work in different ways, I don’t want to say something specific, I believe that the work is strong when you have different interpretations, this is important for me”.

Street cats in Paris

Street cats in Paris

One issue that I was interested to know Suriani’s opinion, was about when street artists work above other street artist work, he sad: ”In Sao Paulo we call it “run over”, there is a lot of respect for the work of the colleagues. Here it is more usual to see an artist place their work on top of other works. In my opinion is unnecessary. There are so many walls, unless that the paste-up is really old or is ripped off.”

I asked him to compare the street art scene in Paris and in Sao Paulo: “Sao Paulo is a city always in construction because of the real-estate market  which is considered ugly. Personally I like this aspect of demolition and construction. The graffiti scene and mural painting are really strong . We have a lot of worldwide successful artists like Os Gemeos, Zezao, Kobra, etc… The city offers lot of walls and because it is considered ugly the reception for street art is very positive. On the other hand you don’t get so much visibility, because Sao Paulo has a lot of visual and sound pollution, a heavy atmosphere.  In Paris the past-up technic is really strong as well as installations and mosaics like Space  Invaders, Diamant and the collective French Tricot. Paris is calmer than Sao Paulo, monochromatic, less visually polluted. People use to walk more, even tough the pieces stay on the walls less time they have more visibility.” Suriani says

Suriani’s canvas















Observing Suriani series of work along those 10 years since he started, its clear the cohesion of an artist that mixes in perfect harmony theory studies and sharp concepts to create spontaneous and sophisticated work that he does on the streets and for galleries,

Suriani’s next show will be at Cabinet D’amateur on September 06 in Paris. He also will have a show in London at Islington Arts Center and he was invited to exhibit in Florianopolis, Brazil, let’s cross the fingers to see the work of this talented street-artist running the world! Congratulations Suriani!!

Bonom at Le M.U.R XIII

For the inauguration of the second Le M.U.R wall in Paris at the thirteen arrondissement, the association invited the Belgian artist BONOM to do a live performance last Wednesday in front of the Senna River.

As I’ve written here before, the famous Le M.U.R  at Rue Oberkampf  has been presenting live artistic performances every 15 days, promoting urban art since 2007. Le M.U.R  (which stands for modulable, urbain, reactif) is an association that invites street artists providing gallery exhibition conditions on the streets.

The Mayor of the 13e, Jerome Coumet, is really engaged in promoting culture in this area. With a lot of expressive national and international works from artists as Shepard Fairey, C215, Vilhs, Jana & Js and Inti, the arrondissement has been transforming into an open sky museum for street art, specially now, after the opening of the second wall of the dynamic Le Mur.

I was there, expecting to watch Bonom draw an animal, a subject that he draws very often and is really impressive to see around the city.

But for this performance he drew a woman, a beautiful naked woman, which, I’m guessing, could be a nice tribute for his girlfriend who was there.

I quickly asked him only one question: Why did you decide to paint a woman instead of an animal? He replied: “ Why shouldn’t I paint a woman? It’s so motivating!”

With a raw technique, he used spraypaint only in the beginning to add some colors and the first traces of the drawing. After that he painted with a roll in a rustic and rushed way.

See pictures of Bonom Performance at Le M.U.R XIII

Shepard Fairey interview in Paris

As contributors to Street Art Paris, last Thursday Demian Smith and I, we had the opportunity to interview one of the most famous street artists in the world, currently: Shepard Fairey.

It’s a tremendous responsibility to interview an artist like him, who is also involved with 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 during his campaign for the presidential elections. He came to Paris to launch a collection for Levi’s at its flagship store on the Champs-Elysees, and also to create a huge wall in the thirteen arrondissement.

During the interview 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 and influencing so many people to vote for Barack Obama with the poster “Hope”.

It’s hard to deny that he is a mix of artist, and politician and businessman. Talking with him and hearing his strong voice with 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 organizations such as Occupy Wall Street, Surfrider Fundation and many others.

When the interview 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 in 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.

On the third day (Sunday 18th June)  the gallery responsible for the  project , 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 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 involving and beautiful painting.

Between Thursday and Sunday, My life on My Bike and Street Art Paris recorded different moments and perspectives of his stay in Paris to produce a video that you can watch now on the link below and discover more about Shepard Fairey’s positive ideas and his performance in Paris.

Pictures below by – Demian Philip Smith – Street Art Paris and Maria Fernanda Schweichler

Hand-picked artifacts from the Studio of Shepard Fairey exposed at Levi’s Champs elysees.

Hand-picked artifacts from the Studio of Shepard Fairey exposed at Levi’s Champs Elysees.

Hand-picked artifacts from the Studio of Shepard Fairey exposed at Levi’s Champs Elysees.

Shepard Fairey on the pick-up, VIP Party @ Levi’s

Shepard Fairey – work in progress day one, Paris

Shepard Fairey – work in progress day one – Paris

Shepard Fairey – work in progress day two – Paris

Shepard Fairey – work in progress day two – Paris

Shepard Fairey – work in progress day three – Paris

Shepard Fairey- work in progress day three – Paris

Shepard Fairey- Paris

Shepard Fairey – Paris

Dasein Projekt  x Paris Zona Libre  

Continuing the “Invasion Berlinoise” in Paris, last Saturday I joined the opening of the installation – Dasein Projekt x Paris Zona Libre. The second exhibition of the project Paris Zona Libre happening now at the Gallery Frichez Nous La Paix on Belleville neighbourhood.

After the exhibition of the itinerant Gallery Open Walls with some well known artists of the street art scene from Berlin, it’s time for Estelle Beuvais, director and producer of a series of french-german movies called Dasein Projekt.

In the occasion of this event, through a collaborative way, the concept of the project was to bring 80 different artists from Berlin and Paris to present their work sticking it in the gallery (and outside as well). Moment also to present the new series of movies that Estelle produced, called: No Art No Street (which can be entirely watched on the Desain Projekt website).

It was pleasuring to spend the raining Saturday afternoon watching the act outside of the gallery. The work of the artists were stick on the wall by the representative and very good hands of artists such as SP-38 and Demain Roudeau who is also responsible for the organization of this event.

SP 38 painting alive for Dasein Projekt

Around 7pm the official opening started with good music and an animated party. The walls inside of the gallery were all covered by pictures and drawings full of poetry,  everything in black and white.

If you are interested to submerse yourself in the beautiful and positive message of the fusion of the creative scene from Berlin-Paris, make sure to reserve a good time to visit the small gallery and appreciate each universe of the 80 different artists.

The installation is running until this Thursday, June 14!

Below pictures of the event.

Great street art exhibition in Paris

This week I visited two galleries to see Street Art “on canvas’. This is one great thing about this cosmopolitan city, in Paris there are so many cultural and artistic things happening for all kind of tastes. Normally, Wednesday to Friday are the official days for the vernissages.

Yesterday I went to see the opening of the “Collages Urbains”. A Collective exhibition that presents works with variable techniques as drawing, painting, silkscreen, paper and mirrors cutting and writing, all this presented by the artists: Fred Le Chevalier, Diamant, Rubbish Cube, L.N.2.3, Pioc Ppc, Suriani, Clet, Paella, Gregos and Shadee.K.

The artists use to put their works on the streets to bring color, happiness and poetry for our ordinary lifes. Accepting that their works exposed to the obvious characteristic of the streets, the ephemeral, fragile victim of time, occasionally get stolen.

The exhibition proposed to reveal the personality and style of each artist, giving them a generous light on each work.

“Collages Urbains” will be running until June 24 at the gallery Le cabinet d’ Amateur in the eleventh arrondissement.

All pictures by Maria Fernanda

Rubbish Cube



Fred Le Chevalier, Diamant, L.N.2.3

Rubbish Cub

Paella, Gregos, Diamant, Shadee.K, Rubbish Cub


An other exhibition I visited this week, was at Frichez-Nous la Paix, in the heart of the Belleville neighborhood.

Considered the meca of street art in Paris, this place is a mix of gallery, meeting place,  workshop and a privileged spectator of street art performances achieved on the ‘opposite wall’.

With the theme “Paris Zona Libre” that will run until June 30, 4 invasions from Berlin will happen mixing works of art, movie, music and serigraphy alive (check here their complete agenda).

Until 6 June, the first  Berlinoise invasion at this place is presented by the itinerant Berlim street art gallery Open Walls that brings to Paris recent works form the artists: Alias , BR1, SP 38, Tona & Vermibus.

It’s a very good opportunity to have a vision of the capital shifted yet “rebellious”.






BR1, Vermibus

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.