HOPNN – ‘I want to ride my bicycle!’ – an Italian street artist in paris

HOPNN artist 2013-04 blog by Ludovica Giuliani for Underground Paris DSC_0384

When walking around a city, very few people pay real attention to what’s hanging on the walls. Probably this is the ‘advertising effect’ – we’re overloaded with visuals wherever we walk. However, when what’s on the wall happens to be anti-automobile propaganda, such as a man eating a lipstick red car, one is forced to take notice.

The street artworks of Yuri (aka HOPNN – Yuri written in Cyrillic.), an Italian artist who recently moved to Paris, are composed of dreamy characters painted in white and red, featuring bikes as their core ‘sacred’ element.

HOPNN was inspired to focus on bicycles while living in Rome – if you have ever been there you will know it’s a city choked with traffic.

Underground Paris reporter, Ludovica Giulianini, caught up with HOPNN at the weekend as he painted a wall at rue Denoyez in Paris (75020), and reports back on his words, as follows, (after the photo of his bike and paint brushes!):

HOPNN artist 2013-04 blog by Ludovica Giuliani for Underground Paris DSC_0358

“Growing up in a small village is not very easy,” Yuri says, “there’s not much to do. Graffiti was one of the few things kids were into, and that’s how I started – when I was fifteen.  Going from graffiti art to street art was for me a very natural transition, helped by my studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome.

“When I lived in my hometown, Chiaravalle (east-central Italy), I always used my bike to move around. When I first got to Rome I understood that biking would have been a challenge, if not an extreme sport. I loved participating in the critical mass events in Rome; I love the fact that during those events bikes, and not cars, are causing traffic.”

HOPNN artist 2013-04 blog by Ludovica Giuliani for Underground Paris DSC_0378

HOPNN artist 2013-04 blog by Ludovica Giuliani for Underground Paris DSC_0364Photo: Ludovica Giulianini copyright 2013

Yuri tells me that painting bikes became a sort of political message for him, even though he says, now, “the bike has become more of an abstraction in my thoughts: I use bikes to talk about other things, not only to push the message of biking more. Even though, one day, while I was painting, a stranger came up to me, as he recognised my work, and told me that he started biking more after having seen my posters around the city. To hear that was a great joy and a personal victory”.

HOPNN artist 2013-04 blog by Ludovica Giuliani for Underground Paris papa2web

In Paris, he said, people pay more attention to pedestrians and bikers compared to Rome. He loves painting in Paris, there are legal walls he can spend time on and people don’t mind if you paste up posters. The only problem, he said, is that in Paris the recycle of works in the streets is very intense, and it’s very easy to be covered up by others. But that’s part of the fun, as long as he can keep painting.

HOPNN artist 2013-04 blog by Ludovica Giuliani for Underground Paris DSC_0365

HOPNN artist 2013-04 blog by Ludovica Giuliani for Underground Paris dscn5407 copy.jpg

If you are in Paris and you want to meet Yuri, you can take art classes at the Académie des Beaux-Arts, where he works part-time as a figure model (he’s the static naked guy in the middle of the room, in case you wondered).

In the future, Yuri says that he would love to invent a pedal car (I’m guessing, like in the Flintstones!).

HOPNN artist 2013-04 blog by Ludovica Giuliani for Underground Paris p1110091 photo hopnn.com copy

HOPNN artist 2013-04 blog by Ludovica Giuliani for Underground Paris p1110107 photo hopnn.com

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Visit HOPNN’s website, here.

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Of course, our contributing editor, Fernanda Hinke, is also concerned with biking in Paris, but more in a journalistic capacity. You can read her journey of discovery at her blog, My Life on My Bike, here.

Tagged as: bike art, critical mass, hopnn, italian street artist, my life on my bike, paste ups, rue denoyez, Street Art Paris

[Ludovica Giulianini on April 23, 2013]