The Pont des Arts, connecting the Louvre to Rive Gauche of Paris, once carried the weight of hundreds of thousands of lovers. Once upon a time couples would latch a lock manifesting their love, engraved with their initials to the bridge and throw away the key, immortalizing their relationship by the Seine in Paris, the city of Love. Controversially Paris and the mayor were moved to dismantle some 45 tons of iron from the bridge’s railings for fear of its collapse, but with many couples infuriated, Paris needed to find some solution to their burdensome problem. Once the romantic padlocked bridge today has been transformed into a public gallery for street art.
French street artist Intra Larue started casting plaster sculptures from her breasts as a joke. She works a day-job and hasn’t told her father about the endeavour yet, which is surprising because with 450 painted breasts and counting, her sculptures are slowly giving flecks of colour to a grey Paris.
Since 2006, sheeps heads have been appearing on walls in the French city of Grenoble (and Las Vegas). Even though unsanctioned, strangely, the townhall doesn't want them removed. The artist explains here how his nom de plume is a pun on the superlative of "cheap", but also a play on the verb, être (to be), and a reference to the vulgar cheap products that we buy, which shape our lives.
Hazul Luzah is an artist whose work predominates on the streets of Porto, Portugal’s second city after Lisbon. He’s a self-taught graffiti writer, who has developed a style blending classic lettering, transformed into undecipherable, decorative calligraphic forms – which this interviewer mistook for Arabic calligraphy! – often mixed with imagery from nature. He describes his work as a “step-by-step” process, always building on his last work.
Hybridisation is probably the most and least suitable noun to describe Michael Kershnar’s work : a mixture of graffiti and skate cultures, indigenous American iconography, Old Testament stories. We met him at an apartment he’d been keeping for a few months, close to the Grands Boulevards, where he took time to graciously share his story with us, along with some cheese and avocado.
Born in the Lorraine region of East France, 27-year-old Levalet takes advantage of Paris' architecture, combining his knowledge of theatre and painting especially, with a keen eye for topography, to produce site-specific scenes painted with Indian ink. Here, he talks about what makes his work possible, his artistic background, the legality of making street art in Paris, and places he likes putting up work.
Christian Guémy travels to bring his work to environments that remain virgin and pristine, a.k.a that haven’t become trendy hubs of street art culture. We discovered he’s quick to diss a few obvious ones, like New York or London, but it’s his criticism of his own hood, Paris, that really resonates. Calling in from Sri Lanka, we got the straight scoop on what drives this artist off the beaten track.
In Paris to paint at Le M.U.R., the three by eight metre billboard set aside by the city council for the purpose of promoting urban art, his latest painting is child-like and colourful, but actually serves as a vehicle for a much darker message. You may be drawn in by Pomar's work at Le M.U.R. with its chipper rays of sunshine, but this mural is certainly no wallflower.
SAMBRE grew up in the country to farmer parents, training first as a carpenter and then as an artist, ending up in Paris where he became friends with a group of artists, working out of a studio at the infamous Belleville art space, La Forge. Follow our interview with SAMBRE here as he makes a work for the Le MUR project in the 13th arrondissement, on Paris' Left Bank.