Category Archives: paris

Street Art in Paris Pt 7 – Space Invader

i know i’m repeating myself a little here but i can’t resist.

and not just because he’s popular and a little bit well-known,

but because what he does is truly unique, because the work individually and as a collective whole is fun, and because his concept is really coherent.

i’m talking about the street artist formally known as space invader.  he currently has two awesome exhibitions running in Paris (one on either side of town – see here for more details) to celebrate his thousandth invasion on the city.  and that’s not including his hometown of lille or any of the other 40 or so cities he has hit over the span of his career.

the pictures and info that follows is the result of my visit to the exhibition at la general.  upon arrival one enters through what is essentially a large warehouse space through a dimly lit shipping container filled with mosaic tiles.  exploring the space one will find, among numerous other wonders, a perspex box of (used) shoes which have been made with soles featuring a space invader logo, a vending machine of space invader stickers, a two storey high illuminated rubix cube, space invader disco ball and several maps indicating the artists plethora of invasions – all chronologically numbered.

caption: shoes made ​​and worn by invader in his invasions around the world

for sale at the conclusion of the exhibition is beer and waffles – in the shape of the infamous gaming icon.  yes, the man actually manufactured an invader waffle iron.

the more serious work, which is the true focus of the show, is not what i would consider his more traditional or classic work but it’s something he’s been doing since at least 2005. much in the vein of the recent shepherd fairey exhibition i last wrote about here in part 6 of the series, space invader appropriates popular imagery of bands, musicians, actors, films – with a twist.  invader uses only rubix cubes to build the image.  he has even made a rubix cube version of shepherd fairey’s original andre the giant sticker (perhaps in homage to his peer), along with representations of two highly recognised artworks by lichtenstein and hokusai. ‘how postmoderrrrrn! you might say.

what i find remarkable is that he doesn’t deconstruct the cube to use the pieces individually (as with the mosaic tiles featuring in the majority of his street work) rather, he puts the piece together using the entire rubix cube making sure the face holds the correct colours in the correct places to fit the whole image.  i’ve always admired anyone with the patience and skill to solve rubix cube but i think this might have to be one step above!


even with the rubix cube, invader remains within his central theme both visually and conceptually.  the mosaic imagery remains in addition to the reference to gaming and childhood pastimes.  more than anything (and this is becoming a theme for my own work here at tobeilluinated) is the aspect of  fun his work contains.  the colours, the reference to gaming, the score keeping, the act of vandalism/installing the space invaders, the simplicity of his visual style – it lights me up inside.

NB: again, sorry for the poor quality of some of these images

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genevieve dieng

 

here you will find the drawings of a girl.

her name is genevieve dieng and i just happened to spot her drawing out in the sunshine on the terrace of the palais de tokyo, not far from when i live.  as soon as my eye caught what she was working on i had to take a closer look…

the drawings i watched her make (and later summoned the courage to ask her about) were ridiculously detailed, feminine and lush.  i wanted to be one of the girls in her drawings with endless flowing hair, angry mouths and surrounded by raining, radiating patterns of flowers, snakes, disco balls and playing cards.

something about her drawings is decidedly melancholy.  despite some of the work being hyper coloured and full of movement and action, the expressions of the characters remain somber and deadly serious.  i like the contrast… it’s very zen in a strange way.

so, taking a deep breath and unearthing my best french – errrrr franglais i found out that dieng studies art at the moment and that she preferred i didn’t show any of the work she had in her sketchbook – a HUGE shame as the work i saw was truly magnificent!

massively disappointed i pushed a little further and was told i could find some of her older work on her facebook page.  the following is what i found…

 


 

pas mal, genevieve!

 

 

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street art in paris PART 6

otherwise known as OBEY, shepard fairey has been in the street art game since 1989.

something you might recognise:


he began by slapping his ‘andre the giant’ sticker (beginnings of what evolved into his trademark image, as above) everywhere he could with his mates and fellow design students.  the now artist, designer and entrepreneur eventually refined the design to be made into posters and finally pasted them on a multitude of walls globally.  an act and image only really meant as an in-joke became more and more recognised by the general public and generated a slightly overwhelming reverberation.

fairey himself admits,

at first I was only thinking about the response from my clique of art school and skateboard friends. the fact that a larger segment of the public would not only notice, but investigate, the unexplained appearance of the stickers was something i had not contemplated...

i was lucky enough to stumble across his paris exhibition just recently.  here i found host of prints by the artist which are currently for sale.  personally, i never knew the extent of the work fairey had produced outside the OBEY stickers and posters and was amused to find a multitude of interesting pop culture identities and references within the work displayed.  

fairey’s experience in design on large commercial scales (having made a name for himself in the marketing/design world, he has worked for the likes of pepsi, hasbro and the black eyed peas to name just a handful in addition to founding his own design company) is evident and the work is highly polished and seriously well made.

i love the subtle (and not so subtle!) nods to different styles of commercial design in the direction of art nouveau posters of the 20s, skater style imagery, chinese propaganda designs and 1960s music posters.  the simple use of colour (predominantly black, neutrals, red and blue) and continued reference to the stencil also floats my boat, as i’m sure it will yours… take a geez…

NB: this exhibition can be found at the gallerie magda danysz
(78 rue amelot, 75011 – the work will be around until 18th June so be sure to check it out!)

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street art in paris PART 5

ok SO.
for this little post i have a bunch of poster/sticker bits and pieces to share with you humans.

these are really from all over the city and for the most part i just think these are cute/clever/nice to look at.

(working two jobs has me a little less descriptive and eloquent than usual, je m’excuse!)

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street art in paris PART 4

here are some images of some of jef aerosol‘s stencils

he is prolific here in paris (and in his own right) but lives now in lille and perhaps my favourite stencil artist (besides banksy of course). he makes a lot of portraits of famous rock stars and other celebrities and in addition a lot of lovely detailed figures in various poses.

the artist works usually in black and gray tones with his trademark red arrow punctuations.  to me he has a simple and very clear visual style which i really appreciate.  i think a sophisticated play with simplicity is important!  both in life and art. (more of his work in my previous post).

my favourite

found in the same area as these (around the 20eme arrondissement) and also in the le marais area, among other locations, can be found the stencil work of lézarts janaundjs.  much more colourful, this work includes a similar measure of detail and skill as aerosol and can be found almost as frequently (in my experience).

again, all photos are my own so please seek permission before reproducing. thanks!

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street art in paris PART 3

hello again, this here post centres on the stencil style of street art (as requested!)

stencil art is perhaps one of the newest forms of street art and is also perhaps one of the most involved and highly skilled media within the genre.  it’s labor intensive, it’s extremely risky and it involves extra equipment to achieve if you wanna do it right, yo.

to produce a piece with multiple colours or tones one must draw and cut the same number of stencils as are colours/tones. each stencil is sprayed onto the wall and later overlapped with another stencil and another layer of colour/tone (very much like screen printing if anyone has dabbled in printmaking) to produce a detailed, high depth work.  in between each layer is a waiting period, depending on the type of paint used, which can be a risky business when making ones art where people often pass by.  even in the wee hours it only takes one narrower-minded walker-by to pick up a phone and dial 17 (the number for the police here).

hence, my feelings of respect towards such individuals and the work they so lovingly produce is strong.  please scroll for a number of random works i am unable to credit very well (feel free to help me here if you can!)  and never fear, i have a handful more really superb stencil works featuring in my next post.  so watch this space!

enjoy…

by ‘jef aerosol’

i assume also by ‘jef aerosol’ as the style is remarkably similar
(esp. with the red arrows)
the red text on the windowsill translates as “the music soothes the walls”

i admit this one is not particularly skilled BUT i love the concept.  this work is also really well located, surrounded by a lot of expensive boutiques, restaurants and bars in one of the most wealthy arrondissements of paris – a nice little comment on some of the weath and status obsessed parisians… and it’s cute!

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street art in paris PART 2

space invader!

if you dig street art and haven’t heard of space invader my first question to you would most likely be, have you been living under a rock??! said with much indignation, buckets of disbelief and a hint of outrage.

probably one of the most iconic and infamous street artists in existence, space invader himself is based in paris (lucky me!).  the tally of his invasion of this city is currently at 704 which means that you’d have to have seriously impaired vision not to spot one of his works!  i’ve noticed that there seems to be more of them around the north and east of paris if you’re keen on hunting some down. also check out his website here for more pictures and info.

besides paris and the rest of france, space invader has left his mark literally all over the world.  again, check out his web site for more details.  perth and melbourne (in my beautiful country of origin) hold totals of 26 each (including one stuck to a shipping buoy in the middle of the ocean!).  however, it disappoints me slightly that sydney has been forgotten… he’ll just have to come back someday.

the things i love about space invader
*  his street art name is both clever and cute
*  staying true to the original video game he gives himself points for every invasion
*  each little character up on a wall is different
*  his visual style is really simple, iconic and fun
*  it’s such a nice surprise to turn a corner and bump into one here… sometimes i play a game to see how many i notice (and how many points i can accumulate) in a day.

please scroll to see some of my favourites…


on a side note:
i’ve noticed a few around town that look like they might be fake or copycat versions… can anyone confirm/deny/offer an opinion on this??

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